Sunday, August 30, 2009

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — Tiger Woods was surprised that players were allowed to use some forward tees at Liberty National on Saturday in The Barclays.

"Where the tees are, they are playing the ladies' tees most of the day," Woods said after shooting a 4-under 67 to reach 4 under overall on the rain-softened course.

He was tied for seventh, five strokes behind leaders Paul Goydos and Steve Marino.

The links-style layout played at 7,064 yards in the third round, 355 short of the 7,417 listed on the scorecard. The par-5 13th, listed at 563 yards, checked in at only 509, and the par-4 18th was cut from 508 to 453. Along with the forward tees, players were allowed to use preferred lies because of the wet conditions.

"The tees are way up, I mean, geez, they are so far up there," Woods said. "It's just unbelievable how short the golf course is playing.

"I was telling (caddie) Stevie (Williams), `This is a day where if you're playing a good round, we can get up there in that lead.' Because I thought if anything, today would be the day they play it back because we have ball in hand, who cares. But they played even further up today."

Marino thought the course was still plenty long.

"I definitely didn't feel like I was playing off the ladies' tees," Marino said. "They made it a little bit easier on us and I think they did that because I think they expected the worst with the weather, and we got real lucky that, I guess, it missed us. ... But I think you can expect to see the tee boxes moved back tomorrow."

POPULAR YANG: Y.E. Yang is getting a lot more fan attention after his PGA Championship victory over Tiger Woods two weeks ago at Hazeltine.

"I'm focused, but when I sometimes hear my name being called out, it does give sort of a moral boost," Yang said through his interpreter.

"It's a feel-good situation, especially when I finish up and everybody is calling me. Some people actually are calling me 'Yeah Yang.' I don't know if they are doing it on purpose or their own convenience, but I don't mind."

He stood at 2 under after a 3-under 68.

For a while Saturday it looked as if Yang might end up in another Sunday pairing with Woods, a possibility the South Korean didn't relish.

"I'd rather avoid him than play with him the next round," Yang said.

SPONSOR'S DREAM: While player reviews of Liberty National have been mixed, title sponsor Barclays is thrilled with the waterfront course near the Statue of Liberty.

"I think probably No. 1 is the New Yorkness of it, if I can say that," Barclays PLC president Bob Diamond said. "I think the skyline, the Statue of Liberty, the location and many, many different ways, from a branding point of view.

"I think for the players and the fans, getting to stay in Manhattan. Phil Mickelson has talked a lot about it, but a bunch of players have moved from hotels here over to the Ritz in Battery City. ... You take a boat right past the Statue of Liberty, takes you 7 1/2 minutes and you're at the clubhouse."

The event has worked well logistically.

"Better than we thought," Diamond said. "I think when we made a decision on this, the logistics in terms of getting people here we resolved very quickly. There's massive areas to park nearby and the buses and the ferry.

"The biggest challenge we face is a small footprint, so would you be able to get the hospitality tents in areas for the viewers, and I'm amazed how well it's come out."

PHIL'S BIRDIE: One thing Phil Mickelson likes about Liberty National is the variety of shots that can be played from around the green.

In his case, that includes ON the green.

Mickelson hit driver onto the front edge of the 16th green Saturday, leaving an 80-foot putt for birdie through a series of ridges. Lefty chose to chip from the putting surface, a steep swing to get the ball in the air until the back portion of the green. He got it within 5 feet and holed the putt for birdie - but not before repairing a divot the size of a credit card.

It was his only birdie in the third round and he shot a 74. Mickelson came undone on the par-5 eighth, when he got tangled up in the rough and took a triple bogey. He was 6 over for the tournament.

ABSENT-MINDED: Jim Furyk cost himself four penalty strokes - and probably a chance to win - when he inadvertently left an extra 60-degree wedge in his bag.

Furyk discovered the 15th club on the second hole and had to take two penalty strokes for each hole, turning his two opening pars into double bogeys. He finished with a 70 and was 1 under overall, seven strokes out of the lead.

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