Thursday, January 28, 2010

GOLF Magazine's Mike Walker is here to blog the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open, where Phil Mickelson is making his 2010 season debut. Join in the discussion by leaving a question or comment below.  Leaderboard | Torrey Pines Interactive Map | TV Schedule 5:56 p.m. Closing down the Live Blog today. Thanks to Brady Riggs and all of you for joining me. Tomorrow Golf Magazine's Alan Bastable will be driving the bus. Join him at 3 p.m. EST at Over and out.

5:54 p.m. Ernie Els makes his birdie putt on 18, 2-under. 5:51 p.m. Twitter revolutionary Alan Shipnuck stalks Phil right out of the parking lot. Disappointing
whip: Phil is rolling a Benz that must be 8 or 9 years old. I'm
guessing his caddie has a nicer ride. And other caddies, too.
5:50 p.m. Ernie (1-under) hits a sweet wedge into 18 for a good birdie chance. 5:48 p.m. Piercy lags it close, birdies 18 and is your leader with an 8-under 64. He'll have the South Course tomorrow. Ernie lays up on the South's 18. 5:46 p.m. Things I never thought I'd hear during a golf telecast: "Scott Piercy could really blow this thing open." He's 7-under and has an eagle putt on 8. 5:43 p.m. Are guys like Boo and Ryan Moore too quirky for the PGA Tour? No way, said SoCal teaching pro Brady Riggs. "Quirky is great," Riggs said. "Guys who do their own thing are comfortable with themselves and they won't get caught up in swing fads and trends. Greatness is unique and I like seeing student who show some individuality." 5:38 p.m. Boo Weekley shot 5-under today. He didn't disappoint in the press room either, dropping some Boo-isms. Q. Have they told you what it is? BOO WEEKLEY: Plantar fasciitis. I don't know how to spell it, though.

Q. You're not taking time off? The report was erroneous? BOO WEEKLEY: I don't know who said it. They misunderstood what I was
saying I reckon, but I wasn't taking no time off. I'm going to go home
after this tournament for two weeks and finish up hunting season and
see if -- go down and see the doctor again and see what he says. 5:34 p.m. Peter Kostis says that John Daly's swing positions are the same but his sequencing is off. His balance is excellent as always, Kostis adds. Daly is 7-over. 5:31 p.m. Greenside magic from Ernie Els, a soft chip which nestles next to the 17th hole. Still 1-under. 5:28 p.m. Scott Piercy saves par on 17, remains in 4-way tie at 7-under with Imada, Crane and Tidland. 5:26 p.m. I hear that Chico's Bail Bonds might sponsor a PGA Tour event later this year. 5:24 p.m. Noticed that The Golf Channel went back in time and made Phil Mickelson a three-time Farmers Insurance Open champion. 5:23 p.m. Best score on the more difficult South Course today: Robert Allenby at 5-under. 5:20 p.m. I guess we'll find out next week which team noted NFL expert Phil Mickelson likes in the playoffs. Personally, they can't make that line high enough to take me off the Colts. 5:18 p.m. Slick bunker shot by Ernie and he'll save par on 16. Meanwhile, Twitter martyr Alan Shipnuck has a sartorial report on Mickelson from the press room. Phil's shoes and belt are a matching skin - alligator? Snake? Whatever, it's classy. If not politically correct. 5:16 p.m. We may have jinxed Ernie, who landed in the bunker on the par-3 16th. 5:13 p.m. If Ernie is an older guy who might have a major left in him, Brady Riggs thinks Vijay Singh's days as an elite player might be over.
"After all the trouble he's had, it's going to be tough for him to get his confidence in his putter back," Riggs said. "But Vijay is a guy who got everything out of his talent." 5:10 p.m. Ernie Els stays at 1-under through 15. 5:04 p.m. The Golf Channel's Jim Gray catches up with Mickelson, who was clearly pleased with his 2-under round. "I played somewhat cautious. Under par on the South Course is a good score and I'm excited to get off to a good star. ... I believe tomorrow on North Course will provide opportunity to go low."
Phil's wife and mother both are fighting breast cancer and he told Gray that the long-term prognosis for both women is excellent but that fighting cancer is never easy and he thanked the medical staff helping them. 5:02 p.m. Dan writes: It would be great for the game to have JD back with his new lifestyle.
If somebody so charismatic shows that it's possible to get over and to
get results as a consequence, would be a very very good image and
example. I root for him!
I think we all for JD, but I don't want him to be a circus sideshow if his game's not ready for these big stages.

4:57 p.m. Phil's got a short commute home to Rancho Sante Fe, aka the nicest town in California. He pays a 9.3 percent state income tax for the privilege. Florida state income tax: zero. 4:54 p.m. Do you know who Chris Tidland is? Your Farmers Insurance Open co-leader at 7-under along with Crane and Imada. 4:52 p.m. Announcer Nick Faldo says Phil's birdie putt is actually 6 feet, 1 inch. He drains it anyway to finish 2-under and well in the thick of things. 4:49 p.m. Ryan Palmer just misses eagle on 18. Birdie makes him 4-under for day. Playing partner Phil lag putts and has a Danny Devito left: a tricky 5-footer. 4:48 p.m. Meeting reporters this week Rocco maintained his strong support of Woods: I've always been a Tiger fan. I always will be a Tiger fan, I don't
care what he does. He knows what he's done; he knows he's wrong; he
knows he's trying to fix it. That's all over and done. But when he
comes back, he's just one of us. He's just one of the guys. He's a
really good one of the guys. But I'm not going to treat him any
4:45 p.m. Charter member of the Rocco Mediate fan club Casey writes: Rocco with a solid -3 first round. I didn't expect much from Rocco this week, but if his back is feeling OK, I guess he could stick around. Sure would be fun. 4:44 p.m. Mickelson (1-under) reaches the 18th green in two with a massive second shot. Looks to be about 30 feet or so for eagle. 4:40 p.m. Star of tomorrow Rickie Fowler is playing well, 2-under through 12. Fowler is one of three young players that Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs is watching closely in 2010. The other two? Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy. "Folwer hasw a lot of confidence and I think he'll have moments of brilliance and some struggle as a rookie," Riggs said. McIlroy had a great finish last year. I want to see what steps he's taken. And I've always like Kaymer. He might be the closest of the three to winning a major."
One  young player Riggs won't be watching: Camilo Villegas: "I just don't think he has the all-round game of those other guys." 4:38 p.m. Phil stripes his drive on the South Course's 18, which became one of the game's iconic holes during the 2008 U.S. Open. 4:34 p.m. Phil gets his par on 17, still 1-under. Some twitter humor from @ShaneBacon: I know Phil Mickelson has been working out and all, but if he's 200 pounds, I'm a crocodile. 4:32 p.m. Hey now! Ernie birdies 13, 1-under. 4:30 p.m. Phil in position for par on 17. 4:28 p.m. Daly's middling round (3-over) is getting a lot of TV attention, which shows you the lack of star power on Tour these days. Look for ticket-selling Daly to get a lot of exemptions this year. 4:25 p.m. Boo finished at 5-under. He had a lot of injuries last year, hope he makes it back, the Ryder Cup wouldn't be the same without him. Giddyup! 4:22 p.m. White-hot Allenby gets to 5-under with a birdie on 17. Playing partner Stuart Appleby is 3-over through 17. 4:19 p.m. Reader Dan writes: Please tell these people stop crying about Phil uses the old wedge. It's getting old. I hear you. My feeling is that if you're not a Tour pro and you have an opinion on the groove rule, you should buy your wife or girlfriend flowers tonight. Trust me. 4:16 p.m. Golf Channel interviews co-leader Ben Crane after his 7-under round to make sure it was the real Ben Crane. 4:14 p.m. Phil makes birdie on 16 and he's under par. "This should be his time," Brady Riggs said. 4:12 p.m. Rumors that Tiger would return at Torrey Pines were obviously false, but you can't help but think of him when watching golf here. 4:10 p.m. Confident birdie par putt from Ernie Els, who is now even through 12. 4:09 p.m. After his par on 15, Phil sticks his tee shot on the par-3 16th. He'll have a decent look at birdie. Ben Crane birdies 18 to tie Imada at 7-under. 4:06 p.m. New leader: Japanese player Ryo Imada. He's 7-under through 16. Piercy gave one back and is at 6-under with Ben Crane. Importantly, all three are playing the easier North course. Best South Course score is Ryan "I'm not Arnie's grandson" Palmer at 5-under through 15. 4:01 p.m. From about 15 feet behind the green on an upslope, Phil takes that refitted, loopholed 20-year-old 64-degree Ping wedge and almost drains it. Friend of the Blog Brady Riggs doesn't like it.
"It's not acceptable," Riggs said of Phil using the loopholed wedge to evade the Tour's new groove rules. "He's getting a competitive advantage other guys don't have. You can't do that. It's cheating." 3:58 p.m. J.D. Salinger died today at age 91. In his honor, here's a Holden Caulfield golf reference from The Catcher in the Rye.

A lot of schools were home for vacation already, and there were about a
million girls sitting and standing around waiting for their dates to
show up. Girls with their legs crossed, girls with their legs not
crossed, girls with terrific legs, girls with lousy legs, girls that
looked like swell girls, girls that looked like they'd be bitches if
you knew them. It was really nice sightseeing, if you know what I mean.
In a way, it was sort of depressing, too, because you kept wondering
what the hell would happen to all of them. When they got out of school
and college, I mean. You figured most of them would probably marry
dopey guys. Guys that always talk about how many miles they get to a
gallon in their goddam cars. Guys that get sore and childish as hell if
you beat them at golf, or even just some stupid game like ping-pong.
Guys that are very mean. Guys that never read books. Guys that are very
. 3:55 p.m. Phil (E) way overshoots the green on 15. His 6-iron went 195 yards. Wish I know what that felt like. 3:51 p.m. Mickelson makes his par on 14. Looks like he's worked out the cobwebs. Here's's man at Tour and Twitter martyr Alan Shipnuck on seeing Phil's caddie Bones this morning: I mentioned to
Bones the sky-high expectations, he mumbled something about 10 weeks of
competitive rust. Me: You guys get no warmup this year
3:50 pm. Rocco's dropped to 2-under through 17. Be nice to see the people's champion do well here. 3:45 p.m. Major Rooney expects a big season from Phil and Geoff Ogilvy. "With Tiger gone, there's a bit of blood in the water." He also expects big things from fellow Kansas guy Gary Woodland when Woodland returns from injury. 3:41 p.m. Highlight of the day at PGA Show in Orlando: I got a chance to talk with Major Dan Rooney, the fighter pilot who founded Patriot Golf Day, the charity which provides scholarships to the spouses and children of military service members disabled or killed in service. Rooney told me that a lot of soldiers watch the PGA Tour at bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. We appreciate you guys and want you home safe.
Update: Read David Feherty's account of a flight with Rooney here. 3:38 p.m. Scott Piercy posts a front-nine 29. Whoa! Alone in lead at 7-under. 3:34 p.m. Top 100 Teacher and Friend of the Blog Brady Riggs is going to be watching Ernie Els closely this year. "I want to see if he's got another major in him," Riggs said. "I'm rooting for him. I don't know if he's going to be in contention regulary on the Tour anymore, but all the big guys always have one more major in them. 3:33 p.m. Phi's drive find the bunker on 14. Will be a tough par from there. 3:30 p.m. John Daly in zebra-striped clown pants is 3-over through 8. As Tommy Armour III told SI's Farrell Even this week: "When I see a lot of the younger players off the golf course they're
dressed too casual. They don't look like pros. They dress like they're
going to the gym."

3:26 p.m. 3:22 p.m. 3:20 p.m. 3:15 p.m. Phil's caddie Bones didn't go all Larry David on it 3:13 p.m. 3:11 p.m. 3:09 p.m. 3:08 p.m. 3:04 p.m. 3 p.m. Welcome to Live Blog 2010. We're going to try to bring you more live golf on this year, so check this blog for leaderboard updates, course news and some fun golf talk.

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