7:56 p.m. Thanks for reading everybody. We're shutting down for the day. The Golf.com Live Blog will be back tomorrow morning. See you then!7:48 p.m. Vijay Singh explained his switch back to the short putter today at his post-round news conference.Q. How would you describe your journey through the putting machinations you've had and on the greens? VIJAY SINGH: I could write a book on that, you know. (Laughter) It's
all about confidence. It's all about making a few putts. If you start
rolling a few putts, you get a great feeling about a putt. And one or
two good putts later on in the round it gave me confidence.
Q. How soon before Whistling Straits did you switch back? I lost
track of you going back and forth to the dark side. How close to the
turn-around was that? VIJAY SINGH: I can't tell you that. I've
been working with my short putter for a long time. I do it at home. I
putt more with a short putter at home than a long one. Not confident
enough to bring it out, but I did this week.
I like the switch. The long putter always feels like a "No Confidence" vote in yourself, and you can't win majors with no confidence. I know Angel Cabrera won the Masters with a long putter, but he uses it more like a regular putter. Plus, Cabrera's in his own category.7:43 p.m. You won't have John Daly to kick around anymore, according to the Associated Press: John Daly has withdrawn from the PGA Championship after finishing with
consecutive double bogeys for a 78. He cited a back injury. I know guys withdraw from tournaments with "injuries" after a bad round, but watching J.D. putt on the back nine today I completely believe him.7:38 p.m. Is Phil out of it at 2-over? Mathematically, no. Realistically, yes. He just looks a little too rusty to make a run at Tiger in full Terminator mode.7:35 p.m. Captain America Paul Azinger, the proverbial "Third Man" playing with Phil and 3-under David Toms, finishes a sold 2-over round. Phil makes par on 18 to finish 2-over; Toms finishes 3-under. 7:31 p.m. Mickelson (2-over) escapes what looked like absolute jail on 18 and hits a 9-iron off an upslope through four trees and a ring of fire to end up about 15 feet from the hole.Reader Hal Frye is another frustrated Phil fan: probably
was a little harsh re: Phil. I was a Phil fan early on (carried my
daughter on my shoulder for 13 holes to watch him win the US Amateur at
Cherry Hills). Sometimes I wonder if he takes a little too much risk to
please the crowds. I think he'd have 4-5 more majors if he played a
little more within himself. It would be great to see Woods engaged in
true rivalries like we saw with Nicklaus vs. Palmer, Trevino, Watson. Cubs fans have nothing on Phil fans.7:30 p.m. Angel Cabrera finishes at 4-over. It's always feast or famine with the strongman of golf.7:27 p.m. Twitter posts from Geoff Ogilvy (that didn't take long):Greens were getting quite poor by the end…….poor being the nice way to say itI am pretty happy with 1 under. Quite tough out there really.7:26 p.m. Phil Mickelson's drive on 18 headed toward the hospitality tents on the right like it was thirsty. 7:23 p.m. Ian Poulter finishes at even par after a bogey-bogey finish, but he Englishman to watch is Lee Westwood–2-under today. Westwood appears to hang around at every major now. He's a guy who watched his game fall apart and then rebuilt it. That takes real heart.7:18 p.m. Justin Leonard chips in on 16 and is now 2-over. Justin's had a great career but it's only a matter of time before people start mistaking him for Hunter Mahan, not the other way around.7:15 p.m. In his post-round interview, Vijay looks happy after shooting 3-under. I would be too.7:12 p.m. Vijay finishes at 3-under. Meanwhile Stewart Cink has turned around his round: once 5-over, he's now 1-over through 17.7:08 p.m. Vijay (3-under through 17) and David Toms (3-under through 16) look like the only afternoon guys who might finish in the top three. Woods is (5-under), Paddy is (4-under) and Hunter Mahan, Matthew Goggin, Robert Allenby and Alvaro Quiros are 3-under).7:00 p.m. Reader Billy sypathizes with Adam Scott's troubles after Scott's 10-over (!) round: Losing
your swing is tough. It has happened to me before — and I also lost my
slapshot for awhile … that's frustration. Fortunately both are back !!6:59 p.m. If there's such a thing as a disappointing 1-under round at a major, then Geoff Ogilvy just finished one. Check that, there's no such thing.6:56 p.m. Vijay is 3-under through 17. Can't say enough how Vijay's rep on Tour is almost the exact opposite of his surly rep with the public. He goes out of his way to help young players works harder. Well, Harrington might.6:53 p.m. Lucas Glover gets back under par with a birdie on 16. People who really know the game talk about how talented he is and say that the Bethpage Open was no fluke. But "2009 U.S. Open and PGA Champion Lucas Glover" doesn't sound right.6:49 p.m. Another par for Phil, but if his putter was any shakier you mix a martini with it.6:45 p.m. Phil Mickelson (2-over) hits a short pitch onto the green from a hardpan lie left of the 14th green. David Feherty: Phil can take his 64-degree sand wedge and put [the ball] up his right nostril if he wants to. 6:42 p.m. Reader Rob A writes: Currently
there are 17 club pros BEATING the golfer formerly known as Adam Scott.
I think either aliens took over his body a couple years back or he
contracted "Duval Syndrome" somehow.Hard to say what's wrong with Adam. I interviewed him about his struggles on the course a couple months ago and he has no idea what the problem is. Must be frustrating.6:41 p.m. If TNT was showing people playing golf, rest assured I would be blogging it.6:39 p.m. John Daly three-putts from about 6 feet on 18 and finishes 6-over. Great pants though.6:38 p.m. Reader Golfer in Kilt clears up the whole Sweden-Denmark rivalry question: Sweden
and Denmark has a love-hate thing going. There's over a thousand years
of bloody history in the past. Swedes like Danish beer. Danes like
Swedish women. These days we're pretty copacetic (except for the time a
sleeping Norwegian got beat up on a ferry from Denmark to Sweden, and
when he came to he found a note on his chest that said "Sorry, we
thought you were Swedish")Thanks, Golfer in Kilt. Danish men aren't the only ones… 6:37 p.m. Tiger, Padraig and Rich Beem will have a late-afternoon start tomorrow–I always like when Tiger is in the Happy Hour group on Fridays.6:34 p.m. Hey Paul Azinger, the 1980s called and they want their hair back!6:32 p.m. TNT switches over to "IMG at the Turn," or as it's known at Golf.com Headquarters: "Live Blogger in the Bathroom."6:27 p.m. Reader Rob A knows the pain of rooting for Phil Mickelson: I'm a
Phil fan, but it's a tough road. His problem is that he's in love with
his "imagination" and trick shots. He likes the excitement of making
exciting shots and consequently has never learned to hit fairways or
greens. Ultimately, it's entertaining, but self-defeating. If only he
could hit fairways and greens – but I guess then he wouldn't be "Phil."Exactly, and when he's having a round like today, it's excruciating to watch. 6:25 p.m. Vijay makes the shot of the day–approach on 16 from the rough to an inch. And he had to get over a tree. He'll be 3-under after the tap-in.6:23 p.m. Better add Geoff Ogilvy and Vijay Singh (both 2-under) to the players to watch list. Ogilvy just missed birdie chances on 15 and 16 though.6:17 p.m. Hazeltine has a lot of great-looking tee shots. I've never played it so I asked Friend of the Blog Brady Riggs what he thinks of it. (Brady was here for the 2006 U.S. Amateur.)"It's a big, nasty track and you need to bang it around," Riggs said. "The greens aren't scary but you need to drive it well because it's a second-shot golf course and you need to be in the right position.The course is unbelievably fair–in other words, what you shoot is usually what you should have shot."6:12 p.m. Workmanlike par for Phil (2-over) on 13. Not enough of those today.6:10 p.m. Eagle for John Daly, the Babe Ruth of golf, on No. 16 (actually 7 since he's played the back nine first) and he's 2-over. Throws the ball into the pond afterward. David Feherty asks, "Who's to say he can't win another major?" Me.6:05 p.m. Phil (2-over) found the green on the par-3 12th. I haven't seen anyone this afternoon who looks ready to challenge Woods or Harrington.5:56 p.m. Daly is now 4-over through 15. His purple paisley pants are a tribute to Minneapolis native Prince. If you could only listen to music from one city, Minneapolis is a decent choice. You get Prince, the Replacements, the Hold Steady, and Bob Dylan (Hibbing is close enough).5:51 p.m. Phil (2-over) makes a great rescue from an uphill lie from the right rough and he's just off the green on 12.Read Hal Fry disagrees with me about how great it is to watch Phil's greenside touch shots: You
gotta be kidding. Mickelson's penchant for the absurd often turn bad
holes into tournament ending fiascos. It's why he has 3 majors and
Tiger has 14. Watching Mickelson vs. Tiger is like watching Meadowlark
Lemon's theatrics vs. Michael Jordan's skill and effectiveness in true
competitive situations.Fair enough, Hal. I just meant that the "wow" factor of Phil's short game is off the charts. Winning's still the thing.5:50 p.m. Reader Golfer in Kilt (among) caught a live-blog mistake: Dude … Soren is from Denmark. You just insulted two countries with one sentence.Sorry, I'm Scandinavially challenged. Do Danes and Swedes not get along?5:40 p.m. SoCal golf guru and Friend of the Blog Brady Riggs has a corollary to the "hot players win majors" rule. If you're having problems, you're not going to figure them out the week of a major. "You're not going to see a guy who's really struggling like Adam Scott compete here," Brady predicted earlier today. Scott is now 10-over and he's only on the 14th hole.5:35 p.m. Anthony Kim misses a short putt and makes bogey on 14, now 2-over. Last year AK was on top of the world, now he's just another struggling player trying to put four good rounds together. The lesson: Golf is hard.5:31 p.m. Vijay makes bogey on 12 after his par putts hangs on the lip, now 2-under. Soren Kjeldsen is 3-under after a birdie on 11. The Swedes sure can putt, maybe it's all the winter practice indoors. 5:28 p.m. My favorite story of the day is Alvaro Quiros, the longest pro on tour, hitting into Tiger group. Golf Magazine's Cam Morfit has a good summary:Woods himself was shaking his head at Quiros, the super-long
Spaniard, who was playing behind the marquee group and accidentally hit
into Woods, Harrington and Beem on the 606-yard, par-5 11th hole.
Quiros's second shot trickled onto the green while the group in front
was still putting. "He apologized," Woods said. "I said, 'Nothing to apologize for. That's a hell of a shot.' " The tee shot plays uphill, Woods added, and 11 played into the wind Thursday. "I mean, that's just stupid long," he said. "I used to be able to move the ball. Now I just plod my way around and shoot 67." Hazeltine is a basher's course so Alvaro (3-under) might stick around.5:24 p.m. Nice par save by Toms (2-under) on No. 1 and Phil (3-over) makes a double after missing another short putt.5:21 p.m. Phil's flop shot over the greenside bunker on 10 is a true flop–catches the lips of the bunker. I still would rather watch Phil's hit shots around the green than watch any other golfer do anything.5:18 p.m. Soren Kjeldsen is 2-under through 10. Get him a nickname, stat!5:12 p.m. Something's wrong with John Daly (3-over through 12). His first putt was so off it looked like he had never played golf before. Daly is looking svelte though. Get ready for "The Daly Diet: Lose weight the Coors Light and Marlboro Way" in bookstores this Christmas.5:10 p.m. When Angel Cabrera (2-over through 9) misses a shot, I bet you hear a lot of cool Spanish curse words.5:08 p.m. Phil is 1-over after missing his par-save putt on No. 9. As the wise Lee Trevino once said: There are two things that won't last long in this world, and that's dogs chasing cars and pros putting for pars. 5:05 p.m. Tiger Woods, Padraig Harrington and Rules Official John Paramour should get together for a beer this afternoon and talk it out.5:02 p.m. Phil in the greenside bunker with his second shot on No. 9. Geoff Ogilvy gets birdie on No. 11–now 1-under.5:00 p.m. I've said it before, but why doesn't TNT get Charles Barkley involved in these golf broadcasts? What sports fan wouldn't watch that?4:55 p.m. Phil drives it into the galleries on the left on No. 9; the straight-hitting David Toms (No. 1 in driving accuracy on Tour finds the fairway. Why is Toms so straight? He has to be–he's 125th in driving distance.4:50 p.m. Mickelson makes par on the eighth. TNT's Gary McCord says he thinks Phil is "rusty" with this putter. John Senden is now 2-under through 8; David Toms is 2-under through 6.4:45 p.m. Phil Michelson ready to tee off on the par-3 eighth. Plus we have another announcer switch from TNT, from Fehery and Lundquist to Baker-Finch and Johnson and now McCord and Oosterhuis. Earlier we had "Not Bob" Kostas, who was great. Is this a broadcast or an audition?4:40 p.m. Vijay Singh, aka the most misunderstood guy on Tour, makes birdie on No. 9 and he's 2-under. Phil makes a good run at an eagle putt and takes his tap-in birdie (the best shot in golf). Back to even.4:35 p.m. Mickelson (1-over) hits the green in two on the par-5 seventh and he'll have an eagle putt. More from SoCal golf guru Brady Riggs on why Hazeltine could be good for Phil: "You can save yourself with your short game here and the guys who've won here (Rich Beem, Payne Stewart) have high, loose swings. You don't need to be Ben Hogan here so it makes sense for Phil."4:28 p.m. David Toms (2-under through 6) is a huge LSU Tigers fan. In fact, if you want to engage an American Tour player in conversation, ask him about college football, his car or an attractive woman in the galleries. For Europeans and Australians, substitute soccer or Aussie-rules football. Can't-miss topics. 4:25 p.m. The major champion threesome is off to a tough start. Stewart Cink is 5-over through six. Playing partners Angel Cabrera (3-over) and Lucas Glover (1-over) aren't doing much better. Someday they will be the answer to a very difficult trivia question.4:23 p.m. Ernie Els (remember him?) is even through No. 7. Even though his play has foundered, he remains one of the few guys on Tour with real star power. You know when Ernie's around.4:20 p.m. The leaderboard (Woods, Harrington, Allenby, Mahan) looks almost identical to the WCG Bridgestone last week. Not surprising since golf is a streaky game and the guys who play well usually have played well the week before, especially at this course, which is not all that different that the Firestone course.4:16 p.m. Reader Clint writes: So much for Feherty's prediction. Angel is already 2 over after 4 holes.Yup, predicting a golf tournament winner is a no-win game (unless you had Lucas Glover at Bethpage).4:13 p.m. Phil Mickelson's short putt on No. 5 lips out. Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs says Hazeltine is a good course for Phil because you need to be long and you can miss a little off the tee and it won't kill you, but that it's hard to take time off and then come back and face guys in game-shape like Woods and Harrington.4:10 p.m. Geoff Ogilvy makes birdie on No. 8 and is even for the day. At the start of the season, GO was everyone's "sleeper" Masters pick. Kind of a disappointing year so far, which is why it's called it Glory's Last Shot.4:07 p.m. Hey everybody. Hope you're enjoying what looks like a great final major of 2009–and after sitting through the first three we've all earned one.—————————————————————————————————————————————————4:00 It's 4pm, time for Golf Magazine's Michael Walker Jr. to take you home. Me, I'm off to the Mall of America for the World's Largest Orange Julius. Enjoy the golf. Take it, Walker! 3:55 Sports Illustrated's Dick Friedman chimes in, with a bold prediction: Feherty just noted that Cabrera is a Masters champion. Hey, he’s a U.S. Open champion, too! Above all, he has the cojones to stand up to and stare down El Tigre—which is why I fearlessly forecast the Wanamaker will be Touched by an Angel. 3:53 Lefty's even-par through 4 holes. 3:52 Correction! Mickelson started on the front nine, not the back. (Too much press-tent coffee.) 3:48 An opening 67 was just… pretty good, not great, says Tiger. "Hank and I did some good work the last three days… [I] hit a lot of good putts that just lipped out and hit the edges. It could have been a really good round today."
The bad news for the field: If he remains only "pretty good," Tiger wins by 5 or so shots. 3:43 Mickelson is even-par through 3 holes. He just found the back-center portion of the green on the brutal par-3 13th (his 4th). 3:38 Mike Z's onto something. If Harrington outduels Woods this week, it will be in part because he's utterly comfortable in the white-hot spotlight of a Tiger pairing (well, unless he's on the clock).
As Paddy said minutes ago in his post round comments: "If you're playing with Tiger Woods, you're doing well. If you're playing with him the first two days, then you're a marquee draw. If you're with him the last two days, you're in contention. If you don't want that, you shouldn't be playing golf."
How many Tour pros truly want the responsibility of playing with Tiger? Very few. Harrington wants it. 3:33 Back to the action momentarily, but Mike Z wants to play a game of What If? What If… we're watching golf's new rivalry unfold this week?
What if Paddy's resurgence is no fluke, and his controversial swing changes have "worked"? What if Paddy is now an even better golfer than he was when he won three of five majors, and has the skills and confidence to consistently play with (and beat) Tiger without wilting? What if the two of them pull away from the field this weekend and are paired together all four rounds in an epic battle for all-time that officially launches the "Tiger vs. Paddy" era? What if Tiger's the guy who blinks on the 70th hole this week, and he's never quite the same again, confidence-wise? What if Paddy is the guy who makes it really, really hard for Tiger to finally get over the hump and pass Jack on the all-time majors list? What if this weekend becomes the very beginning of an historic rivalry for the ages? That'd be so cool. 3:27 Them's fightin' words, Zeb. He fumes:
Did they suspend play for Tiger's press conference in deference to the media? This is not a golf blog, it is a Tiger blog. golf.com has been espnized. 3:21 Phil looks solid early, starting with back-to-back pars.
I don't know if Phil will win or not. I only ask that he not crush our spirits. Again. If you get close, Phil, win the thing! Otherwise, shoot a couple 74s and stop dragging our hearts around. After Bethpage, not to mention Watson at Turnberry, we can't take it. 3:16 Tiger just ducked into the press room here at Hazeltine. He was asked what he thought about today's news that golf and rugby will be recommended to the IOC for entry in the 2016 Olympics. Woods said, "Yeah, that'd be great. I'd love to play for the rugby team."
Nothing loosens you up like shooting 67. 3:12 Pardon the shameless self-promotion, but here's a cracklin' good interview from earlier this year with Paul Goydos, the Tour's resident barstool philosopher, and currently tied for 7th. I dare you to read this and not like the guy. Can't be done. 3:07 Though you can scatch Daly off the list. Not As Long John is 3-over through 4 holes. 3:05 Cabrera? Lefty? A player to be named later? Call it a gut instinct, but there's a lot of talent out on the course right now, and something tells me that Tiger may not be the sole leader by day's end. I think there's another 67 out there. 3:01 Pheel-good Phil makes par on his first hole. 2:58 Earlier today, Rory McIlroy was asked what Olympic sports he most likes to watch. "Gymnastics," he said. But he only reads Playboy for the articles… 2:54 On Tuesday, I asked Tiger who would win if he went out tomorrow and played his Year 2000 self (three majors) in match-play. "I would win now," he said. "I know how to manage my game a hell of a lot better than I did back then… I have so many more golf shots to get me around the golf course now." 2:49 A telling stat, courtesy of TNT. Today was Tiger's third bogey-free round in a major. His other two: during the 2000 U.S. Open and 2000 British Open, respectively.
Both wins. 2:46 Maybe everyone's at the Mall of America, which has its own gravitational pull.
We have Lefty Liftoff! Phil Mickelson's PGA is underway. 2:44 Bob T asks: Hey Connell – just wondering how large and loud the galleries out there today? Not as huge as you might have thought. My colleague Cameron Morfit, senior writer for Golf Magazine, just came in from the course: "I followed Tiger, and I was surprised. You could actually walk around out there. The only holes that were really choked off with people were the par-3s. It seems as though some Minnesotans still have jobs. A good sign for the economy." 2:40 No final-hole heroics for Tiger. He misses his birdie putt on no. 9 (his 18th) and taps in for par and an opening-round 67. Playing parter Paddy also makes par, to card a 68, 1 shot off the lead. 2:35 Tiger shmyger, writes Rob A: Sure, Tiger's playing well but let's not forget that Pavin hasn't even teed off yet! 2:33 Tiger takes a 9-iron from 160 yards on no. 9 and sticks it to about 18 feet. He'll have that for birdie.
Stat o' the day: Tiger has hit 12 of 14 fairways today, his most accurate major round ever off the tee. 2:30 While Tiger haters tend to rule the blogosphere, Jim isn't one of them. He writes: I quit watching golf in the late 70s, then didn't watch again until Tiger came on the scene. Now golf is exciting again! 2:27 Tiger finds the fairway on no. 9. Yawn. Club twirl. Harrington, trailing by 1, drives it into a fairway bunker. 2:24 But no. Tiger's putt runs out of gas, trickling just right of the hole. He'll stay at 5-under, leading by one. 2:22 Paddy will tap in for his par on no. 8. Tiger, for birdie… 2:20 Update/correction: Tiger now leads by 1, at 5-under, with Mahan and Harrington tied for second, 1 stroke behind. 2:17 Woods has looked poised, balanaced, and focused all day. He just stuck his approach shot on the 176-yard par-3 8th (his 17th) to about 10 feet. Rich Beem, at 1-under, knocked his iron just off the back edge. And Harrington found the left side of the green. 2:12 It's hardly lonely at the top at the 91st PGA, as we have a three-man logjam for the lead: Tiger, Paddy and "Big Game" Hunter Mahan, all at 4-under. 2:09 And I'm back at your blogging service. Pardon the interruption–the piece of string that they gave me for a web connection here at Hazeltine malfunctioned. (The rest of this live blog will be done by carrier pigeon, for the sake of expediency.) Back to the action! 2:03 Hello all. Charlie Hanger here, editor of Golf.com. Connell is having some computer problems so I'm jumping in. Tiger just hit the green on No. 7, his 16th hole. It's a 572-yard par 5, and he hit driver six iron. 1:47Oh, and Woods is now the sole leader, after Bradley made bogey on 12.
Will Woods win wire-to-wire? Will Harrington defend his crown? Will I ever get over my post-British, Tom Watson-related depression? Questions, questions… 1.44. Sure, the PGA is the Tito Jackson of the majors, but I love how fair the course is. Democracy in action. On the leaderboard we have major winners (Tiger, Paddy), huge hitters (Quiros, who hit into Woods' group!), journeymen (Bradley), Everymen (Goydos), and huge, majorless talents (Appleby). Great stuff. 1.39. Finally, a golfer has come along to pull the sword from the stone and challenge Tiger Woods for golf dominance. And his name? Michael Bradley. 1.35. Tiger drops a short, tricky left-to-right par putt on no. 5 (his 14th), to remain in a tie for the lead. 1.29. Dear, Everyone In the Field Who's Not Tiger:
Just a heads up. Woods has hit 8 out of 10 fairways so far, and 10 of 13 greens. So, good luck in your efforts to finish second at the 91st PGA.
Connell Barrett, Golf.com 1.23. Speaking of great storylines, there's John Daly, who hasn't teed off yet. He looks thin. Too thin. Like he'll have trouble reaching par-3's — in two.
Van Sickle made an astute observation about Big John this morning in the media center. To paraphrase: "Daly does everything to extremes, whether it's alcohol or gambling or muffins or dieting. He always goes too far." 1.18. Woods makes his par putt on no. 4. Paddy makes his par, too.
Apart from a Phil the Thrill storyline, I feel like the next best narrative we could see this weekend is Tiger vs. Harrington, Part Deux. Harrington seems to have his A-game back, Sunday's 3 Mile Island meltdown notwithstanding. And Woods hasn't looked this good all year. 1.13. After leaving his approach shot on the right collar on no. 4, Tiger rolls his longer-than-Obama's-healthcare-plan putt to about 4 feet. No way he misses that.
Beemer, meanwhile, nearly makes birdie. He should tap in for a ship-righting par. 1:07. Meanwhile, Shaun Micheel is a shot off the lead, through 12 holes. My, my, how time flies. Is it 2003 already? 1:06. And Tiger rolls in a 20-footer, for his birdie on no. 3. He grabs a share of the 4-way lead. 1:03. Beem misses a 30-footer for bogey. Double. He'll fall back to par. Tiger stalks a birdie putt… 12:59. And the Beemer Brigade weeps. Beem's fourth shot from the left rough found the front bunker on no. 3. He now has to sweat for a bogey 6, with double-bogey very possible. 12:55. After a 333-yard drive on the par-5 3rd, Tiger hits a 3-wood into trees on the right. Harrington also gave the par-5 a go in two but left his shot about 30 yards short of the green. 12:50. Tiger hits a helaciously high drive on no. 3, finding the fairway. Club twirl. (His ball was glowing from reentering the atmosphere.)
Be afraid, Tigah Hatahs. Be very afraid. 12:47. Tiger rams a 25-footer into the back of the cup for birdie on no. 2 (his 11th), to pull to within 1 shot of the lead. Harrington also makes a birdie; he's back to 2-under. Beem taps in for par. 12:42. My money's on Tiger, but my heart's with Paul Goydos, perhaps the most quotable player in golf (and currently tied for 6th.) 12.35. Back to the action in a minute, but first, a question for the round-table: Is Tiger about to reassert his dominance on golf? (Think Tiger circa 2000.)
I say yes. Based on his back-to-back wins, his hitting his first 11 fairways on Sunday at Akron, his increasing comfort level with, and confidence in, his reconstructed left knee, I think the Swooshed One wins this week going away, and claims multiple majors in 2010. So says Magic 8-Ball.
Your thoughts? (Yeah, you too, Tiger haters.) 12.30. Tiger sinks his par putt, to stay at 2-under. Harrington fails to get up and down, dropping a shot, to 1-under. 12.28. Beemer, after three straight birdies, rolls his 30-foot downhill birdie putt on no. 1 to a couple inches. Tap-in par. He doesn't look like a guy ranked 160-plus on Tour in putting average. 12:25. Tiger lobs a lovely wedge some 30 yards, leaving it about 6-8 feet short. He'll have an uphill look at par, to stay at 2-under. 12:22. Beemer finds the green on no. 1 with his second shot. Paddy's approach finds the rough. And Tiger? From 201 yards, he fans a 4-iron right. His ball hits the trees, a big break.
Still, he'll have to hit a sky-scraping flop shot to get it close to the front-cut pin. 12:17. The Power Trio of Tiger, Paddy and Beem are living up to the billing, each 2-under through 9. Woods' tee shot just found sunlight on no. 1.
I'm pleasantly surprised that Beemer, the '02 PGA Champ, is hanging in. He's the Zeppo of the group, but he looks very comfortable. Good on ya, Rich. 12:14. Thanks, Gary. Hey, Golf.communists. Please pardon the delay from Van Sickle to yours truly. Baker-Finch's mellifluous tones makes me sleeeeeepy, and I dozed off. Greetings from Chaska, Minnesota. I'll be here with you for the next few hours, for Day 1 of Glory's Last Live Blog. Let's do this thing! Questions? Comments? Scornful remarks. Bring it.——————————————————————————————————————————————————– 12:00. Well, I'll leave Tiger's victory march to you and leave you in the hands of the next shift, Connell Barrett. Later. 11:48. Fujita is hanging in there at two under, tied for third. Personally, I like him better on the menu at Don Pablo's. 11:47. In other news, Robert Allenby and Dustin Johnson share the lead at three under par. Harrington and Woods are among a big group at two under. 11:45. You are correct, Hazeltine has the 2016 Ryder Cup. Funny thing is, as soon as this PGA is over, they're going to rip this place apart. I'm serious. They're going to tear down the clubhouse and build a new one and they're going to rip up the course and re-grass the whole thing. Glad I'm not a member. I wouldn't want to get that assessment. 11:42. Thanks for suggesting I walk outside and check out the action. I have suggested something similar. However, to get out to where Tiger is right now, for example, would be a 10- to 20-minute walk, and another 10 or 15 minutes to get back in, at which time I could blog about something that happened 20 minutes earlier. Our grand poobahs who run this site want me filing blogs every four or five minutes. It's just not practical to slog way out to the course and slog back. Could somebody back at the home office in New York do what I'm doing, freeing me up to roam and do original reporting? Why, yes. But they're not. So live with it. 11:38. Harrington, by the way, rapped in a birdie to join Tiger at two under. 11:37. Tiger narrowly missed his birdie try, which looked in all the way. Thankfully, Michael Breed quit yapping about how far he hits his 9-iron and wedge just before Rich Beem drained his birdie putt from the back edge. Really distracting broadcasters here. 11:34. Last time I checked, Dr. Beeper, Tiger was in only his 12th season and about to break Jack's all-time victory record already, and, oh yeah, probably hasn't reached the halfway point of his career yet. And he's already in range of Jack's 18 majors. Counting the U.S. Ams as majors, it's Jack 20, Tiger 17. Counting the Junior Ams, too, (and they may be the hardest to win of all), it's 20-20. 11:30. Tiger is in another fairway at 16. After watching Beem and Harrington hit approach shots that bounded long, Tiger was ticked when his shot spun back. Lengthy birdie putt coming up, not what Tiger had in mind. 11:20. Josh wants to know how to solve slow play on tour. It's not the difficulty of the courses, although that doesn't help. Quite simply, there is nothing in place to realistically penalize the players who are slow. The new two slowest players on tour may be Colt Knost and Casey Wittenberg. My son played with them both at the John Deere and U.S. Bank and they were brutal. Our group was a hole behind after three holes because of Colt's indecisiveness at the Deere and Wittendberg's tedious pre-shot routine. They weren't worried about playing faster until an official came by and put us on the clock. Then and only then, they speeded up. As soon as we got back into position, they went back to playing slow. It's akin to speeders slowing down only when they see a state trooper up ahead. As soon as they're past, they go right back to speeding. The answer is, there should be a shot clock or someone tracking the amount of time it takes each player in each group to play. If a group falls behind, the culprit should get watched and timed and penalized a stroke immediately. That's the only incentive that would work. But you'd need facts and figures to back up the penalty. Which means a full-time timer for each group, not practical. 11:11. Matt wants to know the last time a real live club pro made a run at tournament title. That would be back in the days of cavement and dinossaurs, Matt. Jack Fleck was a club pro, I believe, when he upset Ben Hogan and famously won the U.S. Open. Claude Harmon, father of Butch, was a long-time pro at Winged Foot and he won the Masters. I don't recall anyone in modern times who's made a run at the PGA. I'm going to have to rustle up a PGA guide and look it up. Good question. 11:17. Harrington had a tough long bunker shot, was annoyed to see it run out to the back edge of the green and left himself a lengthy birdie try. Tiger played a stellar bunker shot–his usual–to a foot. He can make that birdie putt blindfolded. So far, we're seeing a clinical dissection of this course by Tiger. It's exactly how he played at Firestone last weekend and I stand by my prediction that he's going to win this week and it may not be close. Of course, it's way to early to give it to him but he is on, on, on. 11:15. I appreciate the point about Tiger not being quite as consistent as Jack in majors but at the end of the day, it's about how many you win, not how many top-5 or top-10 finishes. I'd take one win over 20 top-10-s. Being consistent is commendable but history is about the W's, end of story. 11:13. That unreachable 642-yard 15th? Harrington hit his second shot in the front bunker, Tiger just rocketed a low 3-wood shot that bounced across the green and rolled over and into the back bunker. The hole is downwind today and that fairway is firm but still, pretty amazing. 11:11. Tiger has 306 yards for his second shot to the par-5 15th (642 yards) and he's got a wood out. Looks like he might go for it. 11:04. Per your question about why no Shotlink? Shotlink is a service that the PGA Tour has spent (and lost) millions to develop. This event is run by the PGA of America (the group that certifies America's club professionals). It has nothing to do with the PGA Tour and therefore doesn't have any setup for Shotlink, although I'm sure the Tour would've leased it to them for a phenomenal fee. 11:01. Bunch of angry readers out there. Haven't you had your coffee? A reader asked me to describe Tiger's wardrobe, so I did. And now you're complaining that I'm responding to your requests? Thanks for the efffort. All pars at the 14th, by the way. And FYI, I'm in the pressroom at Hazeltine. I have nothing to do with the scoreboard or how it's updating. Let's lose the attitudes and enjoy the golf. Speaking of attitudes, I thought it was good that Tiger called out the rules official who put the last group on the clock last week, disrupting the finish of the Bridgestone Invitational. Tiger shouldn't be fined for telling it like it is. Slow play is an issue that the tour hasn't successfully done anything about. No one has been fined a penalty stroke for slow play for almsot 27 years and they've got nothing better to do than put the last group of the day on the clock because they're seven minutes behind? I agree with Tiger, that was poor form and that official should've been called out. 10:58. One warning about the on-line live coverage. The two announcers couldn't be more annoying. One is the amped-up instruction guy from Golf Channel. Don't even know who the other is–Brian somebody. Details like length of putts and often club selection aren't in the picture. I'm tempted to turn the sound off. 10:56. Michael wonders why the PGA isn't being televised. I guess that's because TNT bought the rights for the mornings. You guys know you can watch live coverage on PGA.com, then click on Live Coverage, right? No? That's what I'm watching here from the pressroom at Hazeltine. 10:51. Tiger hits another fairway, used an iron off the 14th tee. He and Harrington are in the right edge of the fairway, perfect angle for this short par 4 which, if they move the tees up later this week, a few guys might take a pop at driving the green. It's 352 yards today. 10:43. Tiger had a 40-footer for birdie on the par 3, lagged it close just past the cup, a superb lag putt. Should be an easy par. 10:39. You were wondering about Tiger's wardrobe? He's got dark slacks–can't tell if they're dark gray or black, and a lilac-colored shirt. He's already drenched with sweat because it's hot today, probably cracking 90 degrees later. As for being Tiger haters, what's up with that? The guy has won 70 tour events, 100 overall, and 14 majors. If you don't like it, you might want to look for a new planet. Tiger isn't going anywhere. 10:35. Back on Golf Channel, Chevy Chase just hit an errant shot while playing at night through a window into Bill Murray's living quarters and onto a slice of old pizza. It's a nice peek into the dark edges of Carl Spackler's psyche. Also, it added five minutes to the film. 10:33. There's a backup on the tee at the par-3 13th hole, a 218-yarder. The problem is, Camilo Villegas in the group ahead rinsed one in the water hazard and had to take a drop, slowing down the proceedings. 10:30. Padraig Harrington matched Tiger's birdie on the long par-4 12th. They're both one under. Meanwhile, Paul Goydos is busting loose on the front. He's got four birdies, including three in a row at 6, 7 and 8. He's two under and tied with McIlroy for the lead. 10:28. The longest par 4 in major championship history? Tiger just drained the birdie putt, a slight left to right breaker. It might've been 18 feet, not the 12 feet I mentioned previously. Sweet stroke. Tiger is one under par. Yeah, here he comes. 10:25. Following up, remember Cam Beckman's bad start, triple-par-bogey? He parred the next four holes, nice way to stop the bleeding. 10:22. Tiger just flagged it at the 12th, an iron shot right over the stick about 12 feet past the cup. Impressive. It's pretty breezy out there, by the way. The flags on the range are flapping almost straight out, so I'd estimate the winds at 15-20 mph. If that keeps up, it's not going to be a day for low scores. Par might be pretty good. 10:16. Tiger is in the fairway again. Check it out, Tiger is 3-for-3 on fairways hit. Consider that a warning to the rest of the field. He's on. 10:15. Rory McIlroy just birdied the 14th to get to two under. He's the new sole leader. We've been telling you this kid is good. He is. Plus he's got the good hair, something middle-aged golf writers look at wistfully. 10:14. We've now got an 11-way tie for first at one under par. I'd give you the names but I don't do laundry lists. Tom Lehman, Minnesota's own, is among the leaders, fyi. 10:13. Now Tiger and group is on to the 12th, a 518-yard par 4. That's right, 518. Good luck, fellas. 10:10. Tiger had 18 feet uphill for birdie, left to right. Didn't hit it hard enough. Tap-in par. Harrington shortsided himself but made a nice chip and should make par. He was disturbed, however, when Alvaro Quiros (we think) in the group behind rolled a second shot up onto the green before he putted. Caddie Steve Williams wasn't happy about it and went and stood on the front part of the green and glared back. 10:05. The big-screen TV in the press center here is tuned to the Golf Channel. Now showing? Caddyshack. Ty and Lacey Underalls are back at Ty's apartment now while he tries to mix drinks. Want to tie her up with your ties, Ty? 10:02. Oddly, Tiger hit driver on the par-5 11th hole but then laid up with his second. 9:57. Reader Brad says he doesn't see the point of golf in the Olympics. I couldn't agree more. And as I wrote earlier, the format is ill-considered but they've got seven years to fix it. 9:52. Tiger just parred the tenth, his first hole. Beem took a bogey. 9:43. Leaderboard update. We're looking at an eight-way tie for the lead at one under par. Besides Trahan and Baird, we've got Hiroyuki Fujita, Jim Furyk, Rory McIlroy, J.B. Holmes and Camilo Villegas. 9:38. Speaking of Tiger, he was scheduled to go off the tenth tee moments ago. Sorry I missed it while I was eavesdropping on the IOC press conference. Tiger has developed a habit of having some, well, exciting first-tee shots. Tiger is paired with Padraig Harrington, his final-round foil from Firestone last week, and Rich Beem, the guy who played unconscious golf and beat him here in '02 PGA. 9:35. Officially, the IOC executive board is recommending golf for the Olympics. Will Tiger Woods get an Olympic gold medal seven years from now? He'll be 40, going on 41. And will he still be playing golf (he should have broken every conceivable record by then) or will he be saving the world Gandhi-style by then? 9:30. Big news. A press conference has just been announced in the press center's interview room. It is going to be the announcement that golf has made the cut to potentially be one of the two sports added to the Olympics. Once that happens, I'm told, it's just a rubber stamp process. So golf apparently will be in the 2016 Olympics. I've been anti-Olympic golf. I just hope they're going to reconsider the format that was previously announced, which was 72 holes of stroke play (I'm fine with that) with 60-player fields made up by 25 or so of the top 100 players in the world and 30 players or so who aren't in the top 200. The fields are too weak and I don't care if the guy is from Upper Slobovia, if he's ranked 397th in the world, he shouldn't be in the Olympic final. They need qualifying to eliminate some of the chaff and get more wheat. 9:25. This might not be Cameron Beckman's week. He's off to a 7-5-5 start on the back nine. That's triple bogey, par, bogey. He's five shots behind co-leaders D.J. Trahan and Briny Baird. Cam is going to need a serious Mongolian Reversal. 9:19. Ran into Tim (Lumpy) Herron yesterday. Not literally, of course. One of us could have been seriously injured. Lumpy is a Minnesota native and a popular tour player who, unfortunately, was on the list of alternates for the PGA but didn't get into the field. So he's got the week off. I had lined up some early evening golf with my cousin, Mark Pokorney and his son, Joe, at Windsong, a Tom Lehman design. As I arrived, Lumpy was leaving, wearing a t-shirt and shorts, as if he'd just been working out. "Hey, aren't you supposed to be working?" he asked when he saw me. Yeah, I said, and I'm so efficient that I'm already done. "I see you're picking Tiger to win," he said as he slid in behind the wheel of his car. Yeah, I said, it looks like he's back on his game and you know what that means. "You're probably right," he said. There's always a first time. 9:12 a.m. Charlie Wi is tied for third after three holes. I'm pretty sure he's the guy who invented the world's most popular video game stations, although I guess I could be wrong. 9:08 a.m. 8:03 (CST) a.m. First sight upon arriving in the media parking lot this morning was a guy in the car next to me. He gets out of his car and pulls out a leather (or possibly vinyl) jacket that is a Union Jack flag and starts carrying it toward the entrance gate. Somebody asks him if he's rooting for anyone in particular. He turns and smiles and says, "If you've got a jacket like this, you've pretty much got to go with Ian Poulter." Sadly, he doesn't have matching slacks. 8:30 a.m. Paul Casey has withdrawn from the PGA Championship.