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Jason Sobel - May 11, 2012

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Tiger Woods is in danger of missing the cut in consecutive events for the first time in his pro career. Tiger looked very inconsistent in the first round and the fact is no one knows what Tiger will do from day to day. It is an enigma and a fascinating story and that is why so many people are talking about this. He could shoot 75 or he could shoot 65 today and it will be interesting to see what happens.

Tiger was more relaxed than usual in his post-round news conference on Thursday and Sobel does not know whether it means that Tiger is truly calmer than he used to be after a bad round or he is hiding his feelings of frustration. In any sense, it was a different Tiger than what we usually see following a not-so-good round.

Angel Cabrera withdrew due to personal reasons after the first round and considering the fact that he made a 9 on the par 3 17th hole, laughter erupted among members of the media when the PGA TOUR announced that news. Many media members felt that the personal reasons involved the pain of losing three balls on the 17th hole.

The morning wave has the advantage on Friday as the weather is calm and the greens are soft. As the day goes on, the conditions will get tougher. First round co-leader Ian Poulter may not be able to have the putting performance that he had on Thursday, but he still has a great chance to play well on Friday afternoon following a 65 on Thursday morning.

Sobel was very surprised to see Steve Stricker shoot 76 while playing in the same group as Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson. Stricker has not played a lot in 2012 but when he has played, he has turned in strong performances so it was a bit of a shock that he did not play well on Thursday. Fortunately, Stricker is playing on Friday morning so he has a chance to significantly improve his position and hopefully make the cut.

In his second visit to Friday’s edition of Morning Drive, Sobel began by talking about Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson who played together in the first round. Mickelson shot 71 while McIlroy shot 72 so Phil should feel a bit better about his position. They played in the afternoon on Thursday but are playing in the morning today and Sobel thinks that both of  them could make big climbs up the leaderboard  today.

Sobel was very surprised to World #3 Lee Westwood not have a great day but was also surprised that the top 5 ranked players in the field (1-3, 5-6) were over par combined in the first round. One would expect the world’s best to be in the lead and although only one round has been played, it is still surprising to see the world’s best get off to a slow start.

1996 PGA Champion Mark Brooks is caddying for J.J. Henry this week. Both live in Fort Worth, Texas and Brooks has wanted to help Henry for a while now and Henry trusts Brooks’ perspective and experience. While Brooks is a Major Champion, he still expects Henry to pay him for his services if he makes the cut.

Jeff Klauk is the son of the longtime superintendent at TPC Sawgrass and Klauk has been on a medical extension due to epilepsy. He has been undergoing a series of procedures to find out where the seizures are coming from in the brain and then hopefully doctors will be able to perform surgery to where Klauk can return to the PGA TOUR and play without the fear of seizures. He loves the PGA TOUR and he loves THE PLAYERS and he just hopes to be able to play again.