PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. ' Here is a list of first-round jabs, jeers, and cheers from The Players Championship. Id just finished throwing a bouquet of roses at Phil Mickelson's feet during Golf Channel's live telecast after hed gone to 3 under when he began to leak oil. Phil still teases as much as he amazes. But naturally, at Friday 64 is not out of the question.
Former TPC Sawgrass superintendent Fred Klauk, in the parlance that only greens guys use, said thirteen-one-hundredths of an inch killed us. He was referring to the rain that fell overnight and softened the layout enough to leave it defenseless in the face of the morning wave.
This can be a cruel game and a cruel course. Last years sentimental star Paul Goydos opened with a 78.
Spoke with Pete Dye around 3:30 p.m. Thursday. Asked if the course will eventually exact a toll, he laughed then said, Oh yeah, I think so. He added that with the course firming up there might be 30 to 35 sub-par rounds Friday where there were 50-plus on Thursday.
Klauk joined son Jeff for an interview with Steve Sands after watching his son compete for the first time as a pro on the course he tended to for a quarter century. He likened it to Deacon Palmer, also a super, watching Arnold. When the interview was over, Fred trailed his son to the practice area. We got to find a way to make some putts, Dad said. Theyre a team ' and a family.
Goydos may be out of the picture but Long Beach still lives at The Players. John Mallinger and John Merrick, like Goydos, hang out at Virginia Country Club. Pauls been a great mentor to us, Mallinger said.
I could feel a wave of Sean OHairs one-of-the-five-best-players-in-golf stories coming when he went to 3-under through 13. Then he went 4-over the last five.
Inga Hammond followed Sergio Garcia for a story on Live From and said he was completely down on himself and down on his game after his round of 71. My heart went out to him, Inga said. He seems to be going through one of those tough stages that all of us go through at some point.
I ran into renowned sports psychologist Dr. Richard Coop earlier in the week. He said that among the most destructive habits he sees in professional golfers is the tendency to sit on the pity pot too long.
After the greatest season of his life, Padraig Harringtons fixing his swing. I dont understand it, but I guess its the Pamela Anderson syndrome ' if youre not growing, youre not getting better.
If Tiger and Phil dont break par Friday, this championship will need a Red Bull infusion heading to the weekend.
Love Jeff Slumans take on 17: Its really an easy hole for the pros, except for four days a year.
Ben Crane could use a win if, for no other reason, than to shake the slow play stigma. For what its worth, he really is a nice person.
Did I mention that this can be a cruel game and a cruel golf course? Brian Gay won Hilton Head by a hundred. He made a nine at the fourth in Round 1. Maybe its the rib he said Tuesday was bothering him.
A few characters sitting at 5 under ' Bubba and Poulter.
Nick Watneys at 4 under and could swing the pliable media back to his camp in the best-American-under-30 discussion that currently favors OHair, a couple months after having favored Kim.
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