8:20 That's it from the 109th U.S. Open. Tiger's seven back, Phil's five back, Duval's five back, and Barnes just remembered he's never won even on the Nationwide tour. Ought to be quite a day Monday. For Azuma Yano and everyone here at the Black, signing off.8:15 Sean writes, "Why is Ricky Barnes caddy (brother) wearing a Nike hat? Barnes has no sponsorship from Nike…" Nope, I'm sure his bro doesn't, either. However, the University of Arizona men's golf team may have a Nike thing going on. Ricky's brother (and occasional caddie) is an assistant coach there.8:08 So what have we accomplished here tonight? Tiger just made birdie in the dark and is 1-under for the final round, even for the tournament through 7, seven strokes behind co-leaders B&G. He's two shots closer to the lead than he was a few hours ago. Phil has hit the first two fairways but missed two very good birdie tries. Still, he is only five behind the wobbly Barnes and five behind Glover. Phil's a shot closer to the lead than he was a few hours ago. All in all it was a good night for the stars. Bad night for Ricky, who looked like he couldn't get out of here fast enough after the horn blew. 8 The horn! Play has been suspended! Or someone just got cut off on the LIE. Players can finish the holes they're on, which is a tough call. Tiger just stiffed his approach on 7, because as we know from the last Bethpage Open he can play well in the dark. Funk kept playing after the horn Friday night and while he was waiting for the van told me, "Maybe I shouldn't have. I hit two inches behind the ball." 7:58 I'd say Barnes looks nervous, but that would be an understatement. He missed left with his tee shot on 1 and bogeyed, and now he's missed left again on 2. If he makes par from there he should get a free chainsaw. 7:55 Jim asks: "How is it Stenson and Westwood threw their golf balls to the gallery after putting out on the third hole?? Has the rule changed? I thought a ball had to be unfit for play before it could be taken out of play and if their golf balls were unfit for play I think they would have replaced them before they putted out!!" Good question. That rule applies if you're in the middle of playing a hole. In between holes, though, you can keep adding as many fresh pellets as you please.7:50 By the way, I'm hearing Monday's restart won't happen until 9 a.m., not the usual 7:30. Rejigger your hot yoga schedule accordingly. 7:45 Phil finds the second fairway! I could be wrong but I think he's been in the left rough every round. Duval bogeys 1. Even if your heart is the size of a bottle cap you've got to hope he at least keeps it together to finish top 16 and get invited back. 7:40 Our leader has found the left rough with his opening shot. Wouldn't it be cool if Ricky Barnes won and could start referring to himself in the third person like Ricky Henderson did? Just sayin'.7:35 Phil missed his birdie putt on 1. He's got to create some mega-roars out here to help B&G remember where they are. This isn't the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic here. Dave, who was wondering why Tiger gets away with not being terribly gracious to the fans, writes, "but sergio is a star and can be snarly. He has been beat up by fans/media, so ….. " I have to disagree with the premise. Sergio's woe-is-me act is what elicits the negative response. Tiger doesn't indulge that kind of thinking/talking.7:25 Okay, so Phil is off and hit the fairway on 1. I went on record last week saying he's going to win, and I'll stand by that here. It's going to take a magical round, though, and some help from Barnes and Glover (let's just call them B&G, even thought that sounds like a hardware store). I'd say Phil needs to fire a 65 to get it done. 7:20 Oops. Tiger just hit a lacklustah third shot and dropped da F bomb. (I'm going to do the rest of this live blog in Long Islandese. No. That would be cruel.) Ooh, Mickelson on the first tee! Quiet, please!7:18 Tiger looked like he wanted to break his club again after a poor second shot to the par-5 3rd. One of these days I want to see him just let it go and see how far he can throw it. Good temper story in N.Y. Newsday this morning. Barnes used to be such a hothead he would pulverize his golf bag, inadvertently crushing his brother's cell phone inside. Twice.7:10 From Dave: "Just wondering why fans like Tiger when for the most part he is snarly toward them?" Because he's really good. That would be my Tiger-press-conference answer: brief, to the point, and not terribly helpful. My real answer is that the normal rules don't apply to the stars, and that includes the normal rules of decorum. I've seen him signing more autographs lately, though. It started at the Players. Not sure why. Maybe that long layoff made him appreciate everything more. 7:05 Johnny posts: "I'm done with the NBC lovefest of the New York fans. They were idiotic in 2002 and continue to be idiots in 2009." Thank you, Mr. Miller. What I've noticed is there's an "idiot hour" which is another term for "happy hour." We saw it on Friday of last year's Open at Torrey, when Adam Scott's caddie got in a rasslin' match with one of them. N.Y. fans can be funny, though. On 17 this afternoon, one of them bellowed to NBC on-course reporter Dottie Pepper, "Dottie, whaddya doin' tonight?" Even she thought that was funny.7 p.m. Tiger so far: one bogey on the first hole, where he can't find the fairway, and a birdie at the second. In other words he's going nowhere fast. I like Phil's pairing for the fourth round, since he and Mahan are Ryder Cup buddies. They were chatting outside the clubhouse after round three, and will be more than comfortable playing with each other. If one gets hot, the other may start drafting and look out.6:55 p.m. Not even the players always get how the restarts work. Fred Funk came out of the clubhouse ready to head back out, figuring that since he's 9-over, almost in last place, he'd go first in round four. Oops! As it turns out, it's the middle-of-the-pack guys who go off first, while those at the top and bottom go last. Funk, off with K.J. Choi at 7:21 p.m., went back in to get his shoulder worked on some more.6:50 p.m. Yeah, NBC's going to show a lot of Tiger, but honestly, the guy is going to have to shoo
t like 60-nothing to win this thing. I can see Barnes and Glover falling apart, but what about the other dozen guys in front of him? Like I said, Tiger's going to need to shoot 60-nothing AND an asteroid strike.6:42 p.m. Todd Hamilton, playing in his last year of an exemption for winning the British Open, has already secured an invite to the 2010 Masters, and now he's gunning for the 2010 U.S. Open. He could easily be 3- or 4- under right now, but in round three he twice his shots that buried so deep into bunkers he had no chance to get up and down. The second time, on 17, he made double. C'mon, Hammy! 6:35 Hey, everyone, this is Cameron Morfit from the Open. So much depends on Barnes and Glover, who won't go off 1 until 7:37 p.m. If they both get going the wrong way and start feeding off each other, anybody could win this thing. If they just shoot a couple of even-par rounds or a few under, it's over. Key stat–total PGA Tour victories between the two of them: 1 6:29 p.m. Tiger Time. He takes the first tee and pushes his drive into the rough and trees at the turn of the dogleg. Not the start he wanted if a 63 is in the cards.6:27 p.m. Sergio blew his shot left on No. 1. Then played away from the green, across the fescue to some trodden-down mud near corporate village. Wild shot. We'll see if the strategy pays off … yes! Sticks it to 15 feet. Great stuff. Speaking of Serge, dude's been kind of a non-story this week. Kind of shocking given the icy reception he received in '02. Guess New Yawkers have warmed up to him.6:19 p.m. Hate that they have to go off two tees. The leaders will all go off No. 1, but to think that the Open champion could come from deep in the pack and potentially hole the winning putt on the ninth green? Just ain't right.6:14 p.m. Reader Patrick on Jim Brown's comments: "Do we
really care what the hell Jim Brown thinks? Tiger does plenty of
charitable work and he does it personally, that is, not just a donation
to some group, he actually appears. Brown just expects Woods to be like
he was, and Woods isn't the person, and he has no obligation to try to
be that person." True enough. The only guy Woods is trying to be right now is the heart-breaker who shoots 64 in the final round and steals the 2009 Open in dramatic fashion.6:10 p.m. Lots of young birdie machines on the course right now — Kim, Scott, Holmes, Villegas, McIlroy. Again, if one of these guys can get out and post a low number early, you never know. Especially with pressure/expectations not on them6:04 p.m. Birdie for Anthony Kim at the first. He's at 2-over. Not hard to imagine him firing an out-of-the-spotlight 66. When Kim gets cooking, looks like he could shoot 56.5:59 p.m. Pairings here.5:58 p.m. OK, play has restarted. First shots NBC showed were from the 5:53 p.m. pairing of Anthony Kim and Adam Scott … yet TWO groups went off before them. Not sure what's that about. Guess the replay from last year's Open takes precedence. As it turned out, Henrik Stenson, playing in the first pairing with J.B. Holmes, just chipped in for birdie. 5:53 p.m. "How is
Bubba looking?" Sasha asks. "He has improved with each round. If he keeps that up in
the fourth round, he could be looking very good at the end of this thing." Nice point, Sasha. Bubba Watson has quietly had a great week, shooting 72-70-67 while only hitting 59 percent of his fairways and 57 percent of his greens. If he can find a little more accuracy tomorrow, he might be right there.5:45 p.m. Reader John Husch says, "I feel Phil has a great shot. Like his style. I'm not one to give up on tiger but he has a hard road ahead."Let's talk about Tiger first. He's at one-over, nine shots back of Barnes. If Tiger can shoot 64 and Barnes shoots 73 — not unfathomable, especially if we get some rain tonight — that would send them to a playoff. Of course there's the small matter of the 13 other players between them. If one of them can post a 65, 66, 67, even a 68 in the case of Fisher, Duval or Glover, one of them could take the hardware. Lots of variables. Now Phil. If Lefty, at 2-under and six back, can post a 66 or 67 — and with seven birdies today, you have to like his chances — he could be right there, assuming Barnes and Glover shoot a 72 or 73ish. Then again, Ross Fisher could shoot 64 and win by five. Who knows…? 5:35 p.m. Wow, NFL legend Jim Brown makes some biting comments re: Tiger coming up on this week's Real Sports on HBO. "This cat is a mamajama; he is a killer. He'll
run over you, he'll kick your ass," Brown says of Woods. "But as an individual for social
change, or any of that kind of —-? Terrible. Terrible." Brown has been hard on Woods in the past regarding his stance (or lack thereof) on social and race issues. But don't remeber him ever being so caustic. 5:30 p.m. Looks like we're not the only ones trying to figure out this evening's tee times. A tweet from Stewart Cink: "Waiting for final round tee times to come out. Guessing game. Just glad to not be taking shuttle out to tenth tee AGAIN!" That's no small point from Cink. It's a 20-minute haul to get out there. 5:23 p.m. Have to say Barnes seems like a cool customer. "I'm going to get back to basics [tomorrow]," he says. "Hit fairways, hit greens." Playing once again with low-key Glover has to be a boon for Barnes. If he got stuck with Tiger or Phil or even Duval, it's hard to believe he'd be as at ease.5:20 p.m. Barnes, who's now speaking to Bob Costas, should be assessed a two-shot penalty for that hat. Bad job by Costas not asking Barnes about the shady practice swings at 10.5:18 p.m. Tiger hath spoken. He just told the press that all the starting and stopping this week has been a mental grind. "Can you remember what round you’re playing?” he was asked.Tiger: “We can’t remember what day [it is].”Hell, I'm not sure I can tell what year it is. This has to be one of the most peculiar weeks in major championship history, and it’s not over yet. Tuesday playoff, anyone?5:15 p.m. Hope you all got a chance to read Dick Friedman’s heartstring-tugging column. (Dick, good knowing you. My wife wants you out of my life.) 5:07 p.m. That's a wrap. The boys have played 54 holes, though it feels like 154. We've got some time to kill before the field gets back out there, so let me open the floor. Was Barnes' missed putt at 18 a portend of things to come? Will Glover keep striping fairways and stick around? Can 882nd-in-the-world-ranked David Duval get it done? Will Phil pull of a miracle? And if so, will NBC replace Al Roker with Al Michaels? Your thoughts, please… 5:02 p.m. Glover tidies up his par from three feet. He's in with a 70. D'oh! Barnes misses his par attempt, not even catching the hole. If faced with another meaningful five-footer on 18 tomorrow, you gotta believe that putt will be stuck in his head. Still, that's also a 70 for Barnes, and the second-lowest 54-hole total in Open history. Nothing to scoff at. At 8-under, he'll take a one-shot lead into — well, Monday morning it appears. 4:57 p.m. After a good drive at 18, Barnes got a little tight with his approach, blocking into the lettuce left of the green. With a little help from the giddy galllery, he finds his ball in a foot of gnarly rough. Thump—pretty little chip to five feet. Is that a yardage book in his back pocket? Or War and Peace? 4:53 p.m. Kevin from Canada asks about the tee times for the final round. The USGA said this morning that it plans to get the players back out there within an hour of the third round's conclusion. That means we're looking at a 6:15 p.m. (or so) restart. The leaders, it seems, are unlikely to get started at all. BTW, sorry, Kevin, Weir missed his bird at 18.4:48 p.m. Quick proposal: Should the U.S. Open, as rumored, return to Bethpage in 2018, the park ought to invest in one of those retractable roofs Wimbledon just installed. Maybe FEMA could pitch in? 4:45 p.m. Disastrous day for Mike Weir, who just peppered the stick at 18. A birdie there will get him to 3-under, but 5 bogeys and 10 missed fairways today could well have sealed his fate. 4:42 p.m. Duval now for his birdie at 18 …. got it! Man, love to get inside that guy's head right now. Even he shoots 69, 70, 71 in the final round, the week will have been a resounding success. I'm not ready to say the guy is "back" (as Miller just proclaimed), but you must give him a tip of the hat.4:38 p.m. Duval throws a dart to six feet at 18. "Best leave we've seen all day," Miller says. If Double D's can drain that, he'll shoot 70 and climb to 3-under for the championship. Barnes birdies 17 (!!!), sneaking it in the right side of the cup. That's clutch. Glover misses. Lead's back to two.4:34 p.m. Johnny Miller tells us only eight players have posted under-par scores today. Back at 17, both Barnes and Glover hit solid tee balls. Barnes has made just a single birdie since the third hole. He needs this putt like Hunter Mahan needs a razor. 4:28 p.m. Glover gets his birdie at 16. The lead is one.4:27 p.m. Englishman Ross Fisher makes birdie at 18, likely displacing Phil from the
penultimate group. NBC's golf producer, Tommy Roy, puts his fist
through a monitor.4:25 p.m. Barnes blows his tee shot into the right rough at 16, but makes a nice recovery, knocking his approach to 20 feet left of the stick. Glover pured his drive, has 151 to the jar. Bam! Stuck his approach to kick-in range. Hell, Glover could have a piece of the lead before these boys sign their cards. 4:20 p.m. Two opposing views from readers on Tiger's chances. First from Harlan…At what point do we say Tiger is running out of holes? Well, most of us were saying that almost two days ago.
4:13 p.m. "I'm one good round away," Mickelson tells Mark Rolfing. There are birdies out there, he says, and he feels like he's primed to go low. Lefty is rarely so forthright with his confidence. The shy, aw-shucks smirk is gone, replaced by steely eyes and resolve. Can't wait for the fourth round.4:09 p.m. Tiger misses yet another makeable birdie putt at No. 9. That'll do it for his third round. Assuming he makes his short par putt, he's looking at a 68. At breakfast, you have to believe Woods had a 64 or 65 in mind. 4:06 p.m. "I'm
telling you," says reader Bob, "if Tiger and Phil can get to red numbers today they have
a real shot—not that many experienced players in front of them. A
65-66 will be available tomorrow with the soft course conditions and
more rain on the way. It's unbelievable that as bad as Tiger has hit it today (as well as
Phil), that they may be in the hunt tomorrow. I look for -5 or -6 to be
the lead by the end of the day." My guess is that Barnes makes two bogeys coming in, pulling him back to 7-under. That'd leave a heap of players within five or six of the lead with 18 to play.
4:02 p.m. Yes! Mickelson drops a left-to-right 30-foot bomb to finish his round with a birdie at 18 — forcing Barnes to back off his tee shot at 15. That's a 69 for Lefty. He's 2-under for the week and seven behind Barnes. Hicks reminds us that Arnie came from seven back at Cherry Hill in 1960. 3:56 p.m. Correction: Tiger is 10 back. Barnes burns the edge for birdie at 14 and prepares to cross Round Swamp Round on his walk to the 15th tee. That road is like the River Styx. You go from a benign par-3 to one of the toughest par-4s in all of golf set in one of the most raucous environments in all of golf. We're about to get a good look into Ricky Barnes' soul.3:53 p.m. Tiger misses a 15-footer for birdie at the par-3 8th. Dude can't buy a putt. At what point do we say Tiger is running out of holes? At one-over, he's eight back with just 19 holes to play. Even for Woods on soft greens that seems too steep a mountain to summit.3:49 p.m. Mediocre shot for Barnes back at 14. He leaves it 30 feet short of the hole at the par-3. Lefty rips a drive up the right side of the 18th fairway. Good shape. 3:47 p.m. Lefty leaves his putt a couple turns short. "Surprised the gallery couldn't roll it in," Gary Koch quips. Wild round for Mickelson—just six pars in 17 holes. If he can par the par-4 18th, he'll shoot 70.3:42 p.m. Mickelson steps to the tee at 17. Good strike, hits the center of the green, catches the slope and rolls to within 20 feet of the cup. He'll have a good look at birdie. Does the 17th green belong in the pantheon of the greatest spectator spots—for any sport? The conversation needs to be had. No question it’s right up there with the frat party that is the par-3 16th at the FBR Open, the finish line at the Kentucky Derby and front row during the Steel Cage match at WrestleMania. Your thoughts?3:35 p.m. Duval knocked one 10 feet from the jar at the par-3 14th. Ahead at 16, Lefty rolled home a 20-footer for birdie to get back to even. You readers in Ohio probably heard the roar. 3:31 p.m. Barnes missed a shot putt at 12 for his par. He falls back to 8-under, just two ahead of Glover. Bob, you weren't the only fan to notice the Barnes' situation on 10. David Fay, the USGA exec. dir., said many viewers called in to take issue with Barnes' practice swings in the hay. Fay said they took a close look, and deemed that Barnes did not violate the Rules. His practice swings were far enough from his intended line of play, so they were completely legit. 3:25 p.m. BARNES RULES VIOLATION? Fascinating observation from reader Bob Davis: "I believe
Barnes has violated a rule. On the last hole [Nol. 10] in the high grass he moved
slightly ahead of the ball and only slightly to the left and took
numerous practice swings finally creating a large divot line clearing
out the grass ahead of the ball and in the line of flight thus
improving the lie. This was quite evident from the view above the ball." Rules mavens, a little help?3:20 p.m. Uh-oh. The skies behind the green at 17 look like a foreboding scene from Twister. Rain seems imminent. Phil made bogey at 15 after driving it into the junk; he's back to 2-over. Barnes has 207 to the hole at the par-4 12th, but it's a mudball. Finds the green but 40 feet short of the hole. Glover, on the same hole, hits it 20 feet left and long. Good shot. 3:14 p.m. I kid! I kid! This grind-apalooza has become such a test of will and patience and stamina that nutty things can and will happen. It’s what the Open is all about. No chance Barnes runs away with it. In fact, the field is fast gaining—Glover just cut the lead to three with a birdie at 11, and our leader is starting to look shaky. 3:10 p.m. Thanks, CB. Strong outing. Hope I can hold up in all-important middle relief until Michael “Wild Thing” Walker brings the gas this evening. Tough Sunday for NBC Sports. Ricky Barnes with a four-stroke lead? Phil and Tiger a mile back? Another 27 holes to play? More rain approaching? Fair warning: I will be flipping between the Open and Snakes on a Plane over on Fox HD—with equal commentary dedicated to each.3:03pm Hmm, why is NBC selling lawn gnomes? Oh, that's Costas and Roberts. Nevermind.
That's my time, folks! In a few minutes, Golf Magazine Senior Editor Alan Bastable will take over the next live-blog shift. Enjoy the rest of the action. Go Phil!
Take it, Alan… 2:56pm Barnes makes his bogey. Meanwhile, Phil sticks it close on the par-3 14th. Sergio after four Red Bulls could make that putt. The place goes nuts! 2:54pm "This shot here could change the championship," Johnny tells us as Barnes readies to hit it out of some tangled nastiness on 10, for his third shot. Barnes muscles it about 110 yards to 15 feet of the pin. He'll likely make no worse than a bogey 5, and perhaps a 4.
Test posed and passed for the unlikely leader. 2:51pm In a sweet split-screen straight outta 24, Tiger and Phil both cozy eagle putts to tap-in birdie distance. (Kiefer Sutherland: "The following golf tournament takes place between 12pm and 8:30 pm.") 2:47pm Barnes' tee shot on 10 found the bunker (yes!) but he hits the next one into the thick stuff that we thought his drive found (no!). 2:46pm Fab5 gives Lefty a smack on the mouth: The Tiger can kiss the US Open trophy good-bye; as for The Choke Choke Meister Phil Mickelson… well, he tried! 2:42pm Where's Dick Enberg when you need an "oh my!"? Barnes just Captain Hooked it into Siberia on No. 10. Johnny Miller is thinking we could see an unplayable lie. Oh my, indeed.
The Zeb, someone up there likes you! 2:38pm Hey, The Zeb — can I call you "The Zeb"? — I have to admit I enjoy watching someone play as well as Barnes, especially from out of nowhere. OK, he's not exactly Tin Cup, but it's a great story.
That said, I do agree with you that a tight leaderboard is much more fun to watch. So I wouldn't hate seeing Ricky come back to the pack a little.
And as I write those words, Ricky "Plaid Faxon" Barnes chips to 4 inches on no. 9, for an easy-as-pie up-and-down par. Hot dang. 2:31pm The Zeb is not loving the Ricky Barnes Variety Show. He writes:
2:25pm Barnes taps in for his par on no. 8, and his lead is now six. Six, I tells ya!
Meanwhile, somewhere, someone is doing terrible things to a Lucas Glover voodoo doll. He's plus-3 on his round. 2:22pm Dear, Johnny Miller. Please don't say things like "Yum yum." It weirds us all out. Thanks. 2:19pm After making his first bogey of the day on 7, Barnes leaves his tee shot on the par-3 8th at the front of the green. At any other U.S. Open, that ball is wet. But not in these soft conditions. This is Ricky's World, and we're just living in it. 2:16pm The extraterrestrial life form trying to pass itself off as Eldrick Woods tugs its drive on no. 2 into the left rough and, seemingly, into a deep, dark place. Another bogey?
OK, ok. Tiger won't win this week. I admit it. This crow is delicious! 2:11pm David Duval sinks his second straight birdie, to end his front 9. He's 3-under. If Phil continues to leave a trail of WD-40 in his wake, the gallery will adopt D.D. as their chosen son. 2:08pm Another bogey for Phil. He's plus-1 and hasn't made a par since the late '70s. Joey Boombotz and the Budweiser Boys over at the Bing are getting antsy. When will their man get it together?! 2:01pm David Duval played more like Shelley Duvall for a stretch (two bogeys in three holes), but he cozies a short little birdie putt in on no. 8, to get it back to 2-under for the week.
D.D. is not looking svelte, which is a good thing. He's returned to the, umm, girth of his salad (with extra Bacon Bits) days. He seems to play best at his current weight.
If he wins — and I'm rooting for him — the sponsors will come-a callin'. But Hip Hops Abs won't be one of them. 1:53pm Barnes makes a 4-footer for par on no. 6. It was a ticklish little putt, but he rolled it in like he was on the practice green. 1:47pm Phil, of course, is still very much in this. There was an intriguing exchange a couple days back between NBC’s Dottie Pepper and Mickelson, after Lefty's first round. It gave an insight into how he's handling things mentally this week, in light of wife Amy's battle with cancer. I'm paraphrasing, but it went like this:
DOTTIE: Phil, how emotional was it for you with the New York fans cheering you on, and with your thoughts of Amy?
PHIL: I’m so happy to have gotten my round in with this weather, and I’m glad to be playing as much golf as possible under these conditions…
He completely sidestepped her question. It was as if she hadn't mentioned Amy or the charged-up Phil phanatics. It suggests that to play his best, he knows he must insulate himself from the emotions of the moment and focus on the next swing. He'll think about what it all means after his 72nd hole.
For those of you not watching the action, NBC flashed this factoid. This week, Barnes is 11-under. For his first 10 U.S. Open rounds? He was plus-50. 1:37pm A nice up and in for Hunter Mahan on no. 10, to stay at 3-under. Click here to get to Hunter a little better. 1:33pm After fanning his tee shot into the right rough, Tiger chips in for birdie on no. 17–and flashes that Pepsodent grin, which has been rare this week.
Still, he's 14 behind Barnes. 1:27pm On no. 5. Barnes, at 11-under, follows his heart-stopping eagle putt with a luscious draw, center-cut. Ho-hum.
He appears to be playing Golden Tee. 1:23pm Ricky Bleepin' Barnes rolls in an eagle putt from about 30 feet on no 4, to reach 11-under. Only three others have ever reached dougle-digit red numbers in an Open, Johnny Miller tells us: Gil Morgan, Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk. And now, Barnes, the former U.S. Amateur champ. Barnes looks calm, confident and utterly comfortable in the hugeness of this moment. There appears to be no sign of nerves. He's like a tight-rope walker who hasn't looked down. Yet. 1:20pm On 8, Phil bounces right back for a second-straight birdie to get back to 1-under, 8 behind Barnes. The guys watching at The Bada Bing rejoice! 1:16pm Here comes Lefty. After a birdie on no. 7, he sticks an iron to about 10 feet, hole high, on the par-3 8th. 1:12pm Mea culpa! Duval made par on no. 4, not a bogey, and followed that with a great drive on the next tee. 1:08pm Duval makes his first bogey today, to fall to 2-under. I think he's the most fascinating player to watch today. How will he handle setbacks? Will the triple-bogey demons return, as they have so often over the last 5 or so years of his slump. Or will steady his ship? 1:05pm An observation from Sports Illustrated's Dick Friedman, who knows from football. He writes: As a Patriots fan (an ORIGINAL Patriots fan–went to their first game ever), I am proud to say that Ricky Barnes is the son of Bruce Barnes, Pats punter in '73 and '74. On the other hand, for Ricky's sake, I hope he doesn't follow a Pats paternal pattern. The '74 Pats started 6-1 but went 1-6 in the season's second half. 1:02pm Barnes makes a smooth little up and down on no. 3 for par. He remains at 9-under. His pants have moved to 5-over. 12:58pm Suddenly, Phil is 9 back, with a bogey and a double bogey after making his birdie on no. 3. He drops to plus-1 for the week.
The Phil brigade here in New York is in shock. Imagine 10,000 Tony Sopranos weeping. It ain't pretty. 12:53pm "Tiger Woods" saved his bogey, but he's now 13 strokes behind leader Ricky Barnes, who just made a birdie to get it to 9-under. 12:51pm E.T. Tiger with the swiiiiiiing and a miss on 14, from the fescue. Johnny Miller just made latte come out my nose when he said, "The rough has biceps too, Tiger." This alien being finally found the green and has about 5 feet to save bogey–and to save even a sliver of hope of winning this event. 12:47pm Alien Tiger got stuck on his downswing on the tee on no. 14, pushing his shot either into dense rough. 12:44pm I don't know what pod he crawled out of, but the man on the course with the Swoosh is not the real Tiger Woods. Clearly, he's some kind of lookalike from a distant planet because he just gagged on a 4-footer for birdie on no. 13. Par. 12:41pm After opening pars, Barnes and Glover lash confident drives to find the skinny fairway on no. 2. Are these guys on beta-blockers? 12:36pm Confession: I'm a little chippy about what the rain has done to my U.S. Open. Do we really want a Glover or a Barnes winning this thing at 19-under? How about the USGA brass take to the course and toughen things up a bit? Hair-dryers to the greens? Maybe blast air-horns in players' backswings? The well-timed "Noonan!" I want a U.S. Open, not a Buick Open. Bring on the pain!
Your thoughts? Would you rather see guys shooting 62 or 82? 12:31pm Phil smooths a sweet drive, down the middle, on no. 5. Shanks for the memories… No more hosel takeover. (OK, I'll stop…) 12:28pm Who are these guys? The final group of leaders Glover and Barnes both make confident rips off the tee on no. 1, finding the fairway.
Meanwhile, Mickelson makes a disappointing par on no 4. 12:25pm Tiger misses his birdie putt, to tap in for par. Opportunity lost to mount a serious title defense. Tick-tock, tick-tock… 12:23pm After a perfect 300-yard drive, Mickelson… ahhhhh, ummmm… pardon my language — shanks his long-iron approach some 50 yards left of the par-5 4th green. He could still save par, but he needs sure shank redemption — and fast. 12:19pm Hay now! After what must seem like a week-long layoff, Mike Weir drives his opening tee shot, on no. 1, into the fescue left of the fairway. A bogey beckons, depending on his lie. 12:17pm If Tiger's gonna get back in this thing, he has to start now. He has about 9 feet for birdie on no. 12, after roping a big, purty draw into the 504-yard par-4 green. 12:13pm OK, maybe second best story? Phil on 3, after a monster 8-iron, curls in a birdie putt. He's 2-under.
I just hope the New York fans will give him some moral support. They've been so quiet and subdued this week. 12:12pm He's the best story of the Open right now, and back-from-the-abyss David Duval begins his 3rd round with a perfect drive down the fairway on no. 1. A great, confidence-boosting start for the former world no. 1. 12:09pm Tiger taps in for par at no. 11, to stay 11 strokes back. I know I'll be tarred and feathered for suggesting such a thing, but I think Tiger gets back in this thing today. He's 11 strokes behind, but when two of the leaders are Glover and Barnes — no offense to either — I can see them returning to the field.
But he needs birdies starting right now. 12:05pm NBC's Johnny Miller calls today's conditions the easiest he's ever seen at an Open, and wouldn't be surprised to see someone shoot a 63 today, or even a major-record 62. 12:03pm In the immortal words of Bill O'Reilly: "We'll do it live! We'll do it LIVE!" Welcome to Golf.com's live U.S. Open blog. It's Moving Day (ish) at the U.S. Open. So many questions, so little time: Can Ricky Barnes handle the pressure of leading the Open? Will Phil shoot under par and scare the leaders? Can Tiger close an 11-shot gap? Will Al Roker mistake Bob Costas for an hors d’oeuvre? All will be revealed on Sunday at Bethpage Black!