Michael Walker, Jr., senior editor for GOLF Magazine, blogged the Saturday U.S. Open action. Senior editor Connell Barrett covered the morning shift. Join the discussion by leaving a comment below. Follow Michael Walker, Jr.'s live play-by-play on Twitter Leaderboard | Photos | Join SI GOLFNation
7:01 p.m. BREAKING NEWS ALERT!!!! There will be no re-pairing for final round, according to a source speaking on deep background. Sorry to get so excited, but it's the first time we've ever had breaking news in the Live Blog.That's all for today. As the wise George Costanza once said, "Showmanship. Always leave them wanting more." See you all tomorrow.6:54 p.m. The horn sounds; it's pouring. USGA boss David Fay says it's a "nondangerous" suspension of play. Guys can finish their holes if they want to. 6:53 p.m. In the "hardest rain of the day," Tiger (3-over) hits a masterful chip out of the cabbage and will save par on his first hole.6:50 p.m. Reader Rob asks: Who was it that was putting with his driver today and what happened to the putter?Noted hothead D.J. Trahan rendered his putter" un-usable". (At the Live Blog, we understand.) Per the Rules, he couldn't replace it so he putted with his driver. Needless to say, D.J. won't be joining us for Round 3.6:47 p.m. Huge par save for Mickelson on No. 1. That's how you win U.S. Opens. Adam Scott (3-over) started double, bogey but sticks it close on No. 3. Tiger is struggling.6:45 p.m. Phil (1-under) will have a long par putt on No. 1. Sergio (even) saves par and looks confused by the fans cheering him so loudly. They like you, Serge. They really like you!6:43 p.m. Phil's got a thick lie in the rough on No. 1. Hacks it out back to the fairway. Tiger Woods (3-over) leaves his tee shot on 10 in the fairway bunker. 6:39 p.m. Sports Illustrated's Alan Shipnuck checks in from Bethpage:All the hand-wringing about the rain-check policy and the weather
delays has been replaced by the raucous cheers that defined the last
Bethpage Open. Maybe the fans are delirious from such a long day. Or
drunk from the long break between the end of the second round and the
start of the third. Whatever, it's delightful to hear the roars
again. It's taken a while, but it feels like the U.S. Open has finally
begun. Hopefully this energy can be sustained tomorrow, and maybe, just
maybe, this tournament will get the memorable end it deserves.6:33 p.m. Adam Scott makes double on No. 1, he's now 2-over. Struggling Scott could use a good showing here, because the British Open has never been his best event. It's starting to get dark out there, NBC reports.6:30 p.m. Phil on the first tee. If this is a Jets game, Phil is Joe Namath, circa 1969. Get him a fur coat.6:24 p.m. Furyk gets to even par with a birdie on 4. Who does Golf Mag Top 100 Teacher Brian Mogg think will win? There are more young
players this year playing well and not as intimidated by being in a major as
normal as the Rickie Barnes, Michael Sim, Gary Woodland and Francesco Molinari
are all in or near the lead. Is this a sign of things to come? Who is positioned best at
this point? I like where Sean O Hair and Phil Mickleson are, Sean is well
positioned with his youth, talent and enough experience that I would expect him
to continue his solid play and be near the lead through Sunday. Phil
is very motivated with his wife’s condition and with the support of the NY
gallery, he may also be near the lead for the whole event. 6:19 p.m. NBC's Bob Murphy knows how to handle unruly crowds. One time, Bob was playing a tournament and a group of guys were drinking beer and heckling the players. Bob went over, gave 'em 50 bucks and said, 'I don't care what you do, just be quiet when I'm hitting." Actually, he used saltier language than that. Murphy won the tournament and next year those same guys were wearing "Murph's Mob" T-shirts.The lesson: You catch more flies with beer money.6:12 p.m. Sports Illustrated's Dick Friedman, longtime F.O.B., thinks the New York crowd is letting loose because their teams have given them little to cheer recently. The beer is helping too.These are the same folks who sit out at Giants Stadium
in December and January, so a little weather is simply an excuse to
avail yourself of some more liquid fortification. Besides--New York
fans have had very little to cheer about in the last few months, so
they're ready to let loose! I'm sure a lot of them would stay all night
if permitted.6:09 p.m. Dustin Johnson, Ross Fisher, John Mallinger...these young guys look so much alike they're going to have to start wearing last names and numbers on their backs. We need more players like Rory "Noonan" McIrloy. You know it's him from 100 yards.Graeme McDowell makes birdie on 12 (his third hole) and gets to even par.Villegas starts with par (2-over).6:04 p.m. Rocco misses birdie on No. 2, still 2-over. We've got a weather report from Friend of the Blog Dick Friedman in Princeton Junction, N.J. And it's not good.87 miles west of Farmingdale: About 10 minutes ago,
moisture began descending from the skies in torrents. In plain English,
it's raining hard! Gotta think it'll be over Bethpage in about 90
minutes, more or less.6:01 p.m. Man, I wish I was out there at Bethpage. It sounds like a Jets game.5:55 p.m. Sweet bunker shot from AK on his first hole. He should save par and stay 2-over.More from Friend of the Blog Brian Mogg, who played here at Bethpage in the 2002 U.S. Open: Bethpage is playing unlike
any other Open as traditionally you can’t even stop balls on the tough putting
surfaces yet everyone is fighting too much backspin on the approach shots and
overspinning their shots. The wet conditions are making the shots easier
to attack pins and to keep balls in fairways but then making it more difficult
to remain close to the hole. I was there in ’02 and it was difficult to keep
shots on the greens and the firmness of the conditions but not this year. 5:50 p.m. The "Future of the Game" pairing of Anthony Kim and Rory McIlroy (both 2-over) are on the course. Good thing for AK that they won't be playing golf trivia:Rory on Bethpage 2002: I remember Tiger hitting a 2-iron into 13 in the middle of the green, two-putting for birdie.AK on Bethpage 2002: I didn't watch the '02 Open. I was probably doing something else. I was
probably playing basketball or something like that. I know Tiger won. I
saw a couple of the highlights this morning on SportsCenter.Rocco makes bogey on No. 1, now 2-over.5:44 p.m. Graeme McDowell's gets a big cheer for a decent bunker shot. Clearly, the fans are ready to watch some golf. When Phil comes out, this crowd will erupt.5:39 p.m. Round 3 preview from Friend of the Blog and SoCal teaching pro Brady Riggs:This is not the leaderboard the USGA or NBC were looking for. Ricky
Barnes? Hopefully, the Cinderellas will step aside and let the major
players have the stage. Mickelson is very well positioned despite being
8 back. Nobody thinks the leaders will stay The same once they realize
where they are.
I am rooting for Duval. I love his fight and courage, probably unrealistic but I can hope.
Best chance in the top 10 has to be O'Hair. 5:34 p.m. Great Round 3 pairings: Scott and Garcia, McIlroy and AK, Steve Stricker and Mickelson, and Tiger and Andres Romero. The leaders, Ricky Barnes and Lucas Glover, will start at 7:22 p.m.5:30 p.m. We're back live at Bethpage Black for Round 3. Dan Hicks says they could play as late as 8:30 p.m., which sounds optimistic. Hicks also thinks we might finish this tournament tomorrow.5:25 p.m. We kid them some times, but the Live Blog loves Canadians and we're big fans of Mike Weir (6-under through 36), one of the truly good guys on the PGA Tour. We asked Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brian Mogg, a former Tour player, why Canadian golfers and international players in general are doing so well at this Open: The leaderboard has an
international flavor of the top as there are more Europeans than ever on the
first two pages in what is normally a very American dominated tournament.
Canadian golf has come a long way as Weir is near the lead and amateur Nick
Taylor is on the first page, Matt Hill recently won the NCAA and might be the
No. 1 amateur in the world in contention with Taylor. Andrew Parr also qualified from the
Canadian Tour and there are probably more Canadians playing this year than any
other year. Weir recently got back together with his old coach, Mike
Wilson, and supposedly left the stack n tilt” guys He appears to be playing
very solid. 5:19 p.m. Dave writes: I was at
Bethpage on Friday and got kicked out for yelling "Eye of the Tiger"
just as Tiger was swinging. He looked right at me and I yelled back
"Sorry".Dave, if a thuggish-looking guy from New Zealand shows up at your house tonight, DO NOT ANSWER THE DOOR.5:14 p.m. The Zeb asks: Here is a question. What is the real story on Rocco and the very married Cindi Hilfman?I just finished Rocco's autobiography Are You Kidding Me? and I still have no idea. Rocco's personal life is his own business. However, the NY Times talked to Cindi Hilfman's husband and the situation sounds, uh, unorthodox. http://tinyurl.com/kwcwms[Rocco] considers Hilfman, who is married to Greg Hilfman, a keyboardist for the rock group The Bangles, much more than his physical therapist; he has described her as his best friend and business partner.......In an e-mail message, Hilfman’s
husband, Greg, said, “Cindi loves the golf world and interfacing with
Rocco’s entourage.” He added, “It’s sometimes challenging to be husband
#2, but I think Roc’s a cool guy.” 5:06 p.m. Dave asks: Why does it take so long for you guys to re-post blogs? Since we're waiting around for Roud 3 to start I figured it made sense to slow down the posts and let you guys talk in the comments. We'll start picking up the pace, promise.5:02 p.m. Pat writes from Thailand (!): Hey, this is a blog to watch, I barely look up at the TV and replays running. It's 3.45am in Thailand, and I'm still up for the blog. Boring rain,
and boring ESPNStar as they keep cutting into commercial almost
everytime players turn their back to the camera.Thanks for the note, Pat. We're going to make Singha the official beer of the Live Blog today in your honor. Since you're staying up, here's a quiz to get you through to the 4:30 a.m. start of the second round.Match the Professional Golfer to the Twitter Post1. "was told by the
cop at accident the guy was fine (which happens to be a preacher)--how
about this man of god now sayin he's hurt- UNREAL"2. "Out for sushi with justin rose, I thought sushi was apt as were gona feel like a fish tomorrow."3. "This is turning out to be quite the perfect hair week, I must say.... I'm quite pweased by this yay"
4. "We're pretty close to Manhattan here at Bethpage. I know because a guy asked me to sign the current issue of "The Economist." a. Ian Poulter
b. Stewart Cink
c. Christina Kim
d. John Daly-----Answer: 1) d; 2) a; 3) c; 4) b
BTW, that Daly post is from about an hour ago, probably worth keeping an eye on him.4:52 p.m. NY Post's Page 6 reports that
Donald Trump and a pal beat Bill Clinton and Arnold Palmer at golf last week.
Wonder who the source was? http://tinyurl.com/kskmdj 4:42 p.m. Watching Phil from the morning round. How good do you have to be to wear white pants on the golf course? I say scratch. A 15-handicap in white pants looks like the ice cream man.4:34 p.m. The Zeb asks: Are they going off both #1 and #10?NBC says, Yes. And also, they'll be playing twosomes, not threesome. The USGA is like the Vatican in releasing info about this third round. I'm going to check the smoke signals coming from USGA Headquarters in Far Hills, N.J.4:27 p.m. Reader Dani on the, uh, less-svelte David Duvall: BTW. This guy is not DD. He's the guy who ate up DD!4:22 p.m. Sports Illustrated's Gary Van Sickle spots Donald Trump at Bethpage. Here's how he writes it up on Twitter. https://twitter.com/gvansickStanding by
Bethpage clubhouse waiting for interview, a Rolls Royce pulls up. The
governor, someone asks? I joke, it's probably Trump.Driver's door
opens, out steps guy in a cream-colored windbreaker with red baseball
cap. It IS Donald Trump. Where's his parking pass, man?I bet Trump doesn't have the mandatory USGA sticker on his cell phone, either. C'mon, Kowalski--frisk him!Hey, Donald. I
know you're reading this. How about a ride back to the Marriott in a
couple of hours? I'm tired of the ol' media shuttle.BTW, the celebrity quotient at this U.S. Open is down. Donald Trump? Warren Sapp? Heidi and Spencer would be an improvement.4:12 p.m. While we're waiting for Round 3, let's go back and replay the Live Blog from Tiger Woods' epic victory last year at Torrey Pines. j/k, j/k.Instead let's hear from Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Jon Tattersall, who's stoked that David Duval is in the hunt:David Duval back on the first page of a leaderboard, nice to see. He is working hard with former GA Tech college coach Puggy Blackmon to get his game back where it was earlier this decade. He has been working hard also on the Tim Herron conditioning program!4:03 p.m. Nick writes: Why are we waiting so long for round three. Let's get going already!I'm impatient to watch the leaders too, but in fairness there's a lot to do--the cut, the new groups (they'll be playing threesomes) and the Round 3 pin positions. I'm sure everyone's moving as fast as they can.4:00 p.m. Jacob writes: This blog is terrible. Tiger isn't in the hunt, so why are we constantly following him. Talk about someone else.Sorry, Jacob. Is this blog something you're forced to read as part of your parole? Speaking of Tiger, I emailed Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs--as big a Tiger fan as you'll ever meet--and asked him if Tiger was done. Brady's reply: "Unfortunately!"3:55 p.m. As far as I can tell, Round 3 will start at 5:30 p.m. The skies look clear enough to play a couple hours--no sunlight so they can't go as late as yesterday. In the meantime, NBC will show Duval's round and other morning highlights.3:53 p.m. Just overheard in
the locker room: Uh, Mr. Barnes?
There's a Mr. Beezlebub here to talk about your contract? 3:48 p.m. Ian Poulter (4-over) is back on Twitter: I think the cut will be +5. This side of the draw was a little difficult, still got a chance though. Long way to go.3:43 p.m. Brian writes: You have the wrong Molinari. This is his younger brother. Oops. Well, Francesco caddied for his brother Eduardo when Eduardo won the 2005 Amateur, so that has to count for something.3:41 p.m. The Zeb asks: Will there be an update on NBC's update of what Eldrick has for lunch?If they could only get Roger Maltbie in the players' locker room... Yesterday, we got a report on what movie Phil saw (The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3) and where he had dinner (P.F. Chang's). Seriously. 3:38 p.m. Nice to see 2005 U.S. Amateur champion Francesco Molinari (1-over) playing. Always good to keep an eye on Amateur winners at the Open.3:33 p.m. Is there anything less interesting to fans than the cut line? According to NBC, it's 4-over. If it gets to be 5-over you'll have even more guys with no chance of winning playing at 5:30 p.m.3:30 p.m. Kid Dynomite Jim Walker writes: Why don't
you just change the name of this blog to As Tiger Goes. Is anybody else
playing? Say someone within 10 shots of the lead?The short answer is no. Of the so-called "morning wave" that caught the worst of the weather, only Lee Westwood (1-under) is within a Boo Weekley spit of the lead and he's seven strokes back. I hear you, but for better or worse, people want to know how Tiger Woods is doing.3:23 p.m. Sorry for the delay, folks. We were out changing the pin positions for Round 3, which is set to start around 5:30 p.m., according to NBC. Until Ian Poulter gets off the course and back on Twitter, we won't have an idea what's really going on.3:08 pm Go ahead, hit me with your zings and arrows, but I don't think TW's out of this by a mile. Sure, he's behind by 11, but it's a soft 11 (no offense, Ricky Barnes and Lucas Glover). It's an Open where you can make a lot of birdies, for a change. Before he's done with his career, we will see an Arnie-like charge from Tiger to claim a major. And he still has 36 holes to play with.
If I'm delusional, let me know. Or better yet, let Golf Magazine's Mike Walker know. He's about to take over blog duties from here, through the rest of today's soggy action.
Thanks for reading. Take it away, Walker... 3:04pm You could fry an egg on Woods, who was hot in his post-round interview with Maltbie. "If I could hit the ball a little better, it'd be great," Woods said with a sarcastic grin. I'm worried he might sneak into his hotel room for a Da Vinci Code-esque bout of self-flegellation, to atone for his sinful chipping. 2:56pm Tiger's par putt was closer to 10 feet, and he missed to the right. "In a deep hole," Dan Hicks says of Woods, and he's not wrong. He's 11 off the lead, and you can almost see the steam coming from his ears. 2:51pm Correction: Tiger's second stayed out of the bunker on no. 9. He chips to 5-6 feet and has a great look at par. 2:47pm Tiger made good contact from the junk but knocked it into the front bunker on no. 9 (his 18th). 2:44pm Saving the worst for last, Tiger pushed his drive on no. 9 into a Russian gulag. Knee-high fescue. It's a lie only Shivas Irons could love. (It would make me reach for the Chivas Regal.) He'll have a battle to save par. 2:38pm Tiger hit a great, confident putt, but it didn't drop. Par on no. 8. (Reminds me of Nicklaus, who used to say, "I made the putt. I just didn't hole the putt.") 2:35pm Ogilvy moves it to even par for the event, 3-under for the day. Meanwhile, Tiger has a good look at birdie -- call it a 10-footer -- on no. 8. My pre-round prediction of a 66 for Tiger lives! 2:32pm Johnny on the spot! Miller asks USGA czar David Fay about the third round. Fay didn't talk about a timeline but revealed that we're probably looking at the players going out in threesomes. 2:28pm Cabrera moves it to plus-2 for the event, with a birdie putt on no. 7. The Duck is just a few Rosetta Stone lessons away from being the hit of the talk-show circuit, says S.I.'s Dick Friedman: In terms of reactions, Cabrera is the Charles Barkley of golf. Like El Pato, Sir Charles never let a moment pass on course without a facial expression. If Cabrera ever elected to converse in English, he'd be a regular on every talk show. 2:25pm On no. 7, another missed birdie putt for Tiger, though par -- even at this year's kinder, gentler, wetter Open -- is never a bad thing. Johnny Miller adds some clarity: Tiger is still two pars away from a 68, which is not a bad round. It's just that so many other players have been pouring in birdies. 2:20pm On the brutal par-4 7th, Tiger hits a gorgeous long iron from over 200 yards to about 18 feet. He'll have yet another birdie look, to get to 1-over for the event. 2:17pm OK, the $50,000 question is: "When will the 3rd round start"? The USGA hasn't made any announcement yet, so we simply don't know. But I think it's safe to assume that the 3rd round can't start until the 2nd round ends, what with a little thing called "the cut" to consider. Everyone playing the second round has now reached the back nine, so I'm guessing that we wouldn't see 3rd round action start until around 6pm.
Assuming, of course, there's no rain delay. Oh what a fine mess!
Either way, when we know more, you'll know more. 2:07pm But he won't get one on no. 6. Tiger made a great putt from well over 30 feet that misses by inches. Par, to remain at 2-over. 2:04pm The cutline is projected at plus-6, Tiger fans. So Woods appears safe, barring a big stumble. I'd be surprised if he didn't post another birdie or two coming in. 1:56pm Steve Stricker has very sneakily (because with NBC, it's always the Tiger Woods Show) reached 2-under for the Open, and 5-under for his round, with three holes to play.
Are you like me? Do you have Steve Stricker Fever? (Yeah, didn't think so...) 1:52pm Tiger, not to mention Maltbie and Miller, misread the green on no. 5. Par for Woods. 1:50pm Who needs Al Roker? Sports Illustrated's Dick Friedman, in Jersey, has Beatles tunes bouncing in his head ("Here comes the sun, do do do do...") He reports: Maybe good news for later in the day: Out here in Princeton Junction, we're actually seeing some brightening of the skies. I went out and saw my shadow. On Groundhog Day, that means six more weeks of winter. On June 20, it shows I need to lose six pounds. 1:46pm Tiger, taking advantage of the soft greens, knocks an iron from 171 yards -- uphill -- to about 12 feet on no. 5. He'll have a nice look at birdie with what appears to be a fairly flat putt. 1:42pm It's now just "barely misting," Johnny Miller reports. (Watch out, Al Roker.) 1:41pm On the heels of his birdie on 4, Tiger finds the fairway on no. 5.
Meanwhile, the rain is coming down steadily -- it has been for a while -- but so far it hasn't fallen hard enough to become more than a minor distraction. And the higher winds, reportedly set to kick in this afternoon, have yet to blow. That's good news for Tiger, who needs to fire at some pins as he finishes his round. 1:38pm Tiger, to 2-under! He rolls in a nifty little 5-footer on no. 4, for three birdies in the last five holes. 1:35pm Army Major asks, "What, if any, is the plan to start the 3rd round today?"
I haven't heard yet, but I'll let you know when I find out. Given the forecast, I think USGA officials will be doing a jig tonight if they get the entire second round finished today. 1:32pm Tiger skipped his half-pitch to about 5-6 feet, but he leaves himself with a tricky birdie putt on no. 4. 1:30pm Tiger, at 3-over, has a short pitch of about 35 yards into the green on the par-5 4th. 1:23pm OK, coffee break. Back in five, Golf.commies! 1:21pm Hey, NBC. What's up with the Pinpoint Animation 3-D hole flyovers? That video-game stuff is fine when I'm pretending that I'm Tiger Woods on EA Sports, but how about showing us the actual golf course at the U.S. Open? They have these things called helicopters and videotape. Just sayin'... 1:17pm Check that. Tiger's par putt on no. 3 was from about 10 feet, and he ran it past the right edge of the hole, then stalked off the green. Bogey. He's 11 off the lead. 1:15pm Tiger drew a nice lie from the thick stuff on the par 3, chipped to about 6 feet, and now has a par putt on no. 3. 1:13pm You can put Harlan in the Anyone But Tiger Brigade. He posts (and he's not alone): On this Tiger vs. Phil thing, the part most commentators, including those on this Blog, are missing is there are a LOT of golf fans that are VERY tired of Tiger and his arrogance and root for ABT - Anybody But Tiger. Count me as one of the many. 1:10pm Hitting 5-wood to the 227-par-3 3rd, Tiger's tee shot went into the right rough and sunk halfway to China. Now that's the U.S. Open cabbage I know and love! 1:07pm Dave wins the Most Observant Watcher/Poster, with this gem. They just mentioned that Jim Furyk flies commercial, he's a humble guy, etc...and as they said it, he was walking away from his putt with his hat showing the "Marquis Jet" branding..... Ha. Well-played, Dave! Come take over for me while I get my 13th coffee of the day. 1:01pm And it scoots past the right edge. Par for Tiger. 1:00pm Tiger lines up a putt for a third straight birdie... 12:59pm I'm a little peeved. When I bought my big-screen HDTV, the guy didn't warn me about Al Roker. 12:54pm For those of you not watching the action on NBC, Tiger hit an iron from 142 yards on no. 2 that hit the back of the green, then pulled a string, tugging it to about 10-12 feet for a birdie chance. He'll have a good look at a third straight bird. 12:46pm
DD promptly went out and made a 17 (or so it seemed) on the first hole and missed the cut by a mile.
My point: How DD plays is almost entirely up to him, between his ears. It's not about his swing. He's had that going for several years now but has lacked the confidence and faith. So, it'll be exciting -- and a little frightening -- to watch his week play out.
Duval's a philosophical, good-natured guy. A real thinker (to his detriment, sometimes). And I for one hope he's there and playing great come the final round. It'll be great for him and great for golf. 12:32pm Tiger makes his birdie putt on no. 18 -- let's call it from 8 feet. He's 3-over for the tournament.
Light rain is falling, Dan Hicks reminds us. And the hard stuff edges closer and closer. 12:29pm Scott took my David-Duval-as-race-car metaphor and adds: "And Duval hits the wall in turn three! He will crash like me after 4 days in Vegas." 12:27pm Just when you thought it was safe to enjoy the golf. [Insert Jaws music here]."It's raining in Hoboken, Connell," writes Paul Crawford, in Joizy. That means the wet stuff is about 30 miles from Bethpage. 12:23pm Speaking of heroic and epic, Tiger stuck his iron approach on 18 to about 6 feet, a chance for his second birdie of his front 9. 12:21pm The NBC talking heads just said that sure, the fans like and respect Tiger here, but Phil is loved. Balderdash, says Golf Magazine's Mike Walker. "I disagree that fans love Phil more than Tiger. At a golf tournament, Phil is very popular, but Tiger is like a cross between Elvis, Barack Obama and Beowulf." (Thanks, Walker, for making this the first ever golf blog to include a reference to an Old English heroic epic poem.) 12:18pm Woods finds the fairway on no. 18 (his ninth of the day) with a 5-wood. 12:16pm Tiger makes a par on 17. I know it's only the second round for him, but he's running out of holes. 12:10pm A reader named Scott isn't quite ready to admit that Duval's truly back in Black: "I don't think DD has a chance in hell to win this, but I agree, I will be great to watch. I for one am rooting for him." I think he does have a shot. He's clearly refound his swing and, for now, his confidence and self-belief. It will be like watching your favorite NASCAR driver -- whether he keeps humming along or hits a wall, you can't look away. 12:05pm Back to the action in a moment. But besides the weather, SI's Dick Friedman is watching an amateur: "One guy I am keeping track of is amateur Bronson Burgoon. Three weeks ago, he won the NCAA team title for Texas A & M on the last hole with a miracle wedge to a few inches. Then, on June 8, he made it through sectional qualifying in Dallas to earn a trip to Bethpage. (And how was YOUR month?) So he’s kind of playing with house money. He bogeyed his first today to go to 5 over." 12:01pm Tiger missed a 14-footer for birdie on 15, an apparent misread of the right-to-left break. He'll stay at plus-4. 11:59am Fantastic factoid, NBC: Tiger is plus-6 on the par-4s this week. He was plus-1 in 2002 on the par-4s. 11:54am Reader Drew wonders what number will win this thing. "Anyone care to predict the winning score at this stage? My guess is 4 under wins."
I think we'll see something much lower than 4-under, Drew. This is not a U.S. Open. This is the Funai Classic on 'roids. Players are attacking pins because of the soft conditions, and the Black ain't drying out any time soon. Not to mention Ricky Barnes setting the 36-hole Open scoring record. Ricky Bleepin' Barnes! "Birdies are out there," Lucas Glover said yesterday. "You just gotta hit it in the fairway."
I can't believe I'm about to type this, but I see 13-under winning. Maybe lower.
Am I nuts? What do you think? What's the Black magic number?
11:44am Tiger drains it. Bogey. Back to plus-4 for the week, even on the day. 11:42am If he misses this putt, for double, you have to think he's toast. 11:41am A nice slo-mo replay showed how Tiger's chip hit the top of his wedge. It wasn't a fat chip -- it was a pop-up. Tiger chipped again to about 3-4 feet, which he'll have to make to avoid a double-bogey. 11:39am Egads! Three words: Tiger chunks chip. He's still in the rough. 11:37am After a perfect tee shot on the par-4 15th, Tiger cuts an iron over the pin, into the right greenside rough. He'll have some work to do to save par.
Mudball? I'm thinking he had a hangnail. 11:33am Poulter makes bogey on 15, to fall back to even for the week.
Question for the roundtable: Are you like me? Are you beyond pumped to watch David Duval's U.S. Open play out? I'm ranked higher than D.D., and I'm a 9 handicap! Yet here he is, poised to pull off the greatest back-from-the-abyss comeback in golf history. From No. 1 to No. 800-plus to... U.S. Open Champion? 11:27am So excuses, counter-intuitively, can help you, in small doses. Which is why, when I cold-shank my tee shot and shoot 112, I blame it all on the dewpoint.
Back to the action! Tiger made par on 14 (he dang near drained a longer-than-Gigli birdie putt), then striped his drive on 15. He looks good today. Just a question of when the putts start to fall. 11:23am We joke about Tiger-related excuses (his or others), but sometimes there's a psychological reason for, shall we say, explaining away bad shots. Golf has a long line of players living in confidence-boosting denial. When Nicklaus missed a putt he was supposed to make, he famously tamped down an imaginary bump on the green. Hey, it wasn't my fault, he seemed to think--just a bad hop. That kind of it's-not-me-it's-you mentality, sports shrinks will tell you, can help keep the demons away and build self-belief. 11:17am Weather, obviously, permitting, there appear to be some low rounds to be had today. And Lee Westwood has begun birdie-birdie-birdie to move it to 1-under for the week. 11:15am Tiger leaves his tee shot about a half-club short of the pin on the par-3 14th. Hmm, it's not his fault, though. There was mud on his tee, I hear. 11:11am ...and strokes it in. Tiger moves to 3-over. 11:10am Human Excuse Factory Tiger Woods, mudball or no, stalks a 10-foot birdie putt on 13. 11:09am The line of the day so far goes to Johnny Miller, though it's unrelated to golf. Commenting on World No. 1 tennis player Rafael Nadal, who has backed out of defending his Wimbledon title due to tendonitis in his knees: "Don't they have Advil in Spain?" 11:06am Excuses, excuses... that's what a reader named Zeb says about all this talk of mud on Tiger's golf ball: "Will they speculatively attribute bad shots to mudballs for other players? Doubtful. Mudballs, wrong side of the draw, the excuse factory has added an extra shift. Tiger played 12 holes in the same conditions as Weir et al yesterday and elected to go +3 during that time, including crapping out at the end, when conditions were most favourable." Thanks, Zeb, but next time, please give us your unfiltered opinion. 11:02am Tiger lays up on no. 13, so he'll have a wedge in. A nice detail from Maltbie, who tells us that Tiger hit a low, running lay-up to get his ball bouncing, so it would shed any bits of mud. 10:58am Ian Poulter has replaced his broken 3-wood and is back to a 14 clubs in his bag. He's right in the mix at 1-under for the Open.
Meanwhile, Tiger made a smooth, powerful swing with driver on the 605-yard par-5 13th to find the fairway, dead center. Can he reach the green in two, to make eagle or birdie, and recharge his round? 10:53am Tiger hits his bunker shot to 5 feet on 12, then calmly rolls in his putt to save par. He's even through 3 holes today, plus-4 for the Open.
I stand by my prediction: Tiger shoots 66 to get back in it today. But he'd better not wait too long. There are too many other guys and too many birdies out there. 10:49am Ian Poulter, we find out, has been playing his round thus far with 13 sticks, after busting his 3-wood on the range this morning. I always knew he was one club short of a full set... 10:46am Mudball? After a perfect 310-yard drive on the 500-yard par-4 12th, Tiger leaves his iron approach in the left bunker. NBC's Roger Maltbie is reporting that Tiger got himself a mudball, which may have impacted the ball flight. Tiger now has to labor to save par, to avoid dropping to plus-5. 10:41am Have you seen the weather radar shot of the NYC area? Not pretty. A massive, comma-shaped green-and-yellow blob is lumbering toward Bethpage Black, slowly but steadily.
The question seems to be not if the skies will open but when. A report from Sport's Illustrated's Dick Friedman, who's watching the action from his living-room bean bag: "The rain has hit Princeton, NJ--and it's steady. I am 87 miles from Farmingdale." 10:37am Tiger burns his birdie putt on no. 11 on the right edge of the hole. Par. 10:34am Tour veteran Lucas Glover is a stroke behind Barnes, at 7-under.
The Magic 8-Ball Award goes to the New York Times' Mark Sweeney, who crunched some numbers and wrote this two -- count 'em, two! -- days ago: My top sleeper pick is Lucas Glover. He is ranked first in total driving on the PGA Tour and has a tournament scoring average almost four under par, equivalent to Phil Mickelson. Glover has two top 10 finishes this year but has yet to win. He goes low every five tournaments on average, which makes him due for a top finish within the next two tournaments. 10:30am Tiger sticks an iron to 10 or so feet on no. 11, for a nice look at birdie. 10:26am Tiger rips a 5-wood down the center of the 11th fairway. He has his game face on. Alas, the game he's playing is catch-up. He is (counting on my fingers and toes) 12 strokes behind leader Ricky Barnes. 10:25am A weather report from Golf.com's chief meteorologist Dave Dusek:
"I woke up this morning in Brooklyn, and now it feels like I'm in Batswana. It's hot and humid out here at Bethpage. The sun is shining and the moisture is radiating up from the soil. The players on the range are all breaking a heavy sweat out there, and until the rain comes, wet grips from perspiration could be an issue for some players. Can we get a dome over this place for the next Open?" 10:20am Tiger cozies a long birdie putt to about 2 feet on no. 10 (his first of the day). He'll tap in for par, to stay at plus-4. 10:18am Correction: Tiger's tee shot stayed out of the bunker on no. 10. He knocks an iron some 180 yards onto the back of the green. 10:15am My so-bold-it-will-no-doubt-come-back-to-haunt-me prediction: Tiger is loose, smiling and joshing with Mike Weir on the practice tee this morning... The course is a cupcake, and Tiger, of course, is all but immune to Open pressure. I say he shoots a second-round 66 today, returns to par for the event, and gets back in this thang. 10:12am Tiger makes a great looking swing with his driver on his first hole of his second round (teeing off on no. 10), but he got a bad hop into the fairway bunker on the par-4. 10:09am We're with you for all the action today, whether we get a full day of golf in, or if the rains wash away play. Latest forecast: Hard rains could start falling between 1-3pm, with heavy T-storms likely. Winds could pick up as well. Also, there's a 90 percent chance of NBC's Jimmy Roberts being cloying. Stand by for more info as it becomes available.
So talk to me, blog readers. What's the biggest story so far? The weather? Ricky Barnes? David Duval? The U.S. Open playing like a cupcake course? Sound off. 10:05am Oh, and Bob Costas' booth partner right now? Al Roker. That says so much. 10:03am
Hey, Golf.commies! Welcome to Day 2.769 of the 2009 Buick Open – err, I mean U.S. Open. The greens are softer than Kenny Perry’s mid-section. A guy who's never made an Open cut (Ricky Barnes) is the clubhouse leader and now holds the 36-hole scoring record. Tiger's gotta worry about missing the cut. Oh, and David Duval is partying like it's 1999.
We're through the looking glass here people. Black is white, and white is Black. 9:38 a.m. Phil Mickelson is in the clubhouse with an even par-70 in the second round. He's one under for the tournament. David Duval also carded a 70. He's three under. 9:30 a.m. ESPN just aired this commercial of players, including Tiger, Phil, Stewart Cink, Boo Weekley, attempting New York accents. This live blogger fell off her chair laughing ... next update as soon as I compose myself. (Obviously in my third day of U.S. Open marathon madness I'm becoming a bit delirious.) 9:26 a.m. Notable score updates: Lucas Glover -7, Mike Weir -6, David Duval -3, Sean O'Hair -2, Phil Mickelson -1, Adam Scott Even, Sergio Garcia Even... not so notable: Ernie Els +15 9:25 a.m.Dusek: I guess Justin Leonard doesn't follow Ian Poulter on Twitter. In the practice bunker, Poulter is telling him about getting three different tee times last night from various USGA sources. He Tweeted about this earlier."I know guys who went to bed last night who have different times now. I hope they find out," Poulter said. 9:05 a.m. Commenter Pierre was asking about the weather. Weather.com Bethpage report says, "Cloudy this morning. Scattered thunderstorms developing this afternoon. High 74F. Winds SSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60%." The hour-by-hour has the thunderstorms hitting Bethpage around 2 p.m., when Tiger Woods should hopefully be nearing the end of his round. For now, it's sunny and 70F. 9:00 a.m. Dusek: Tiger and Rory Sabbatini are the only golfers on the left aide of the range. I wonder if Tiger is tempted to say, "You know Sabo, if you hadn't dissed me so much and WD'ed from my charity event a few years ago, you wouldn't have to wear that ugly shirt and have Nerf as your golf bag sponsor. You'd still be with Nike." 8:37 a.m.Dusek: Luke Donald, Drew Weaver and a few others are wearing white pants. Optimistic bunch of guys. Ian Poulter is wearing powder blue pants in case you're wondering. 8:22 a.m. Dusek: The Man arrives. Tiger and Stevie strolled to the practice green at 8:22. 8:20 a.m.Report from David Dusek in the practice area: There are two sounds you hear everywhere around the practice green -- 'squish' and 'click.'The fans outside the fences here at Bethpage are walking on pathes when they can, but there is still mud all over the place and many have already decided to sacrifice their shoes for speedier routes here and there. Squish, squish.The clicks are being made by the pros in their golf shoes, and many are opting for old-school steel spikes that crunch on the red bricks outside the clubhouse.Under the eyes of his coach, Charlie Eeps, Angel Cabrera is already practicing his putting by hitting 10-footers with a training aid. The training aid is a yellow lie board that ensures he makes a perfect stroke as he slides his putter back and forth along it.Vijay Singh tried K.J. Choi's putter, which has a super-oversized grip. When he drained a 10-footer with it, Choi burst out laughing. However, the Big Fijian said he's sticking with his belly putter. Hey, if it fails him, at least Vijay knows what to try next. 7:00 a.m.Morning report from David Dusek at Bethpage: Playing conditions are still ideal here at Bethpage. There are lots of clouds, but there is almost no wind. Clearly the players who can finish their second round early are going to have a huge advantage today. Writers in the media tent are wondering where the best nap locations can be found this afternoon.
Everyone is assuming that the afternoon groups are once again going to get the raw end of the deal.
The muddy footprints of yesterday's crowd are still everywhere, but the course itself looks to be in perfect shape.
The scene on the first tee when Tiger played on Thursday reminded me of the 2006 Ryder Cup played at The K Club in Ireland -- soggy and loud.
I bet I get that feeling following Tiger again this afternoon.