Live Blog: Round 1 of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

Live Blog: Round 1 of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

5:54 p.m. Am I the only one excited for the FedEx Cup? Seriously, I've become a fan of the format. 5:49 p.m. Graeme McDowell finishes with four-straight birdies and is T2 at 4-under. G-Mac for Player of the Year? He's in the mix. 5:44 p.m. Reader Brandon Johnson says that if Tiger misses the Ryder Cup, it's his own fault: Any other player in Tiger's position would play extra tournaments to get more points for the Ryder Cup team. If he doesn't make the team on points, its his own fault. He could have played more to guarantee his spot on the team. I don't think he will accept a captain's pick. Yup. Too many events with weak fields is the biggest problem on Tour. Woods and Mickelson need to play more. Imagine Derek Jeter saying, "I don't feel like going to Seattle for our series this weekend. It's far from home and it's not my kind of ballpark." Heck, Bernhard Langer won back-to-back senior majors in two weeks on two different continents. The PGA Tour's new motto should be: "These Guys Are Lazy." 5:42 p.m. Surprise! Tiger Woods declined to speak with the Golf Channel following his 4-over first round. 5:40 p.m. Reader Jlink TX writes: Why does everyone think just because Tiger has done great things in the past that he will automatically do them again? Golf is hard enough to play well two days or two weeks in a row. Until Tiger actually does put it together and win, he's just another tour player right now. Is Tiger capable of winning this week? Yes. Are any of the top 50 capable of winning this week? Yes. Hard to argue with this logic, but considering Tiger's 70 percent (!) success rate at Bridgestone, it seemed safe to think he'd be in the mix this weekend. 5:37 p.m. Three straight birdies from Graeme McDowell, who had to flag himself for excessive celebration after his U.S. Open win. Now 3-under through 17. 5:33 p.m. Thumbs down on Phil Mickelson's new Barclays ads. Of course, he was never going to top those Crowne Plaza ads from a couple years ago. "Straighter? No, that's good." 5:31 p.m. Tiger Woods' round is mercifully over. He finishes with a par on 18 for a 74 and T70. 5:29 p.m. Zach Johnson (remember him?) chips in on 6 to get to 1-under. 5:25 p.m. Reader Jordan Hughes is another vote against Tiger Woods getting a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup: Say what you will about Mrs. Van Pelt down there, but Tiger does have a pretty bad track record in the Ryder Cup. He never plays well in it (even when he's playing good), and honestly, other then pick up tv ratings, he doesn't typically do much to help the team (go figure). Also, as a long time tiger hater, this is fun to watch. Good point on TV ratings. I would love to hear the call from the PGA of America to NBC explaining why they left Tiger Woods off the Ryder Cup team.

5:23 p.m. You won't believe this, but Tiger hit a good drive on No. 18. A 3-over round wouldn't be that bad considering… 5:20 p.m. Tiger actually made a birdie on 17, now 4-over.
Friend of the Blog Stephanie Wei emails: Well, at least Tiger has a sense of humor for his poor play. His sarcastic reaction to his birdie on 17 was kinda funny. 5:19 p.m. "Not much energy out here," Golf Channel analyst Peter Kostis says. "These guys are having a tough time out here." 5:15 p.m. Reader Toby Baird writes: Do they re-pair before the weekend in the no-cut format? Nope. But the tee times are flopped so tomorrow afternoon you'll see The Phil Show on the Golf Channel. 5:13 p.m. Reader James writes: It wouldn't surprise me to see Tiger shoot a 67 tomorrow morning…. That would make two of us.

5:10 p.m. Reader Scrogdog writes: Sure, I know he's won 14 majors. I'm just saying that as captain, I'd go with a hot putter that's all. Tiger has been far from great on the greens in 2010. Whiffed a five-footer today, in fact. As Ron Burgandy says, "Agree to disagee." It'll sure be interesting. 5:07 p.m. Lee Westwood makes a birdie on 16, gets to 1-over. Playing partner Tiger Woods makes par. Now 5-over and near the back of the pack. I can already see the headline: "Tiger Woods just 11 shots back at Bridgestone." 5:04 p.m. Reader "Doug Lowry" writes: You sports writing people are killing me. "You know he has won 14 majors right?" Yes I do! I also know his Ryder Cup record stinks, he ruins team chemistry because he is an arrogant ass, his consistency is crap this year, and his putting sucks. Do I need to go on? By the way how about you spend some time mentioned Bo Van Pelt's year. He sure seems to be playing some consistent golf atop the leaderboards, but unfortunately without a win. Really, Mrs. Van Pelt, we've warned you about this in the past. 5:02 p.m. The Golf Channel just announced they'll be rebroadcasting Tiger Woods' second-round 61 at Bridgestone from 2001 instead of tomorrow's coverage from the tournament. 4:59 p.m. Stephanie Wei emails: I think Rickie Fowler would be a fantastic Ryder Cup captain's pick, but the kid needs to learn how to close. Bogey-bogey finish? That's not going to win matches unless he can finish them on the 16th hole. 4:56 p.m. Disappointing bogey-bogey finish for Rickie Fowler. He'll finish at 2-under and T9. Playing partner Adam Scott finishes 4-under and T2. 4:51 p.m. Reader Toby Beard asks: I read that Phil can go to number one with a top 4 if Tiger finishes far back. How far back would Tiger need to be? Egads! That sounds like math. Here's how CNN International explains it:

While second-ranked Mickelson has failed to take advantage of Woods' struggles in recent weeks, finishing only tied for 48th at the British Open, Westwood has racked up the points after placing second at his home major last month.
The Englishman can go to No. 1 if he wins at Firestone and Woods is outside the top two — or if he is second, the defending champion is 10th or lower and Mickelson does not win.
Mickelson can finally surpass Woods if he wins, or if he finishes in the top four and his compatriot is outside the top 37.

But no matter what happens this week, I still don't think you can consider Lee Westwood the world's best player if he hasn't won a major. The PGA Championship will decide the real-world No. 1. 4:49 p.m. Reader Brian Sullivan is another vote against T-Dub for Ryder Cup team: If Tiger MC's the last 2 tourneys, he would be out of the FEDEX Cup – it would be hard to pick him, and I personally think he would let Pavin know not to pick him anyway. Tough crowd. You guys know he's won 14 majors, right? 4:46 p.m. Tiger finds the green on the par-3 15th, but as they say in Golden Tee "the hole's in another time zone." 4:45 p.m. Reader James asks: Did Tiger go right again? Are these slicing or blocking? He's blocking it. If I knew what was wrong with Tiger's swing, my job duties wouldn't include "live-blogging." But we asked Friend of the Blog Brady Riggs to explain what's wrong with Tiger in the July issue of Golf Magazine. Check it out here.

4:42 p.m. Another adventure for Woods on 14, from the trees, to the greenside rough, to 8 feet, misses par putt, 5-over. The scary thing is it could be a lot worse. 4:40 p.m. Rickie Folwer misses a short par par on 17. Back to 3-under. 4:35 p.m. Woods drives it right again on 14. The no-cut is starting to look cruel. You mean we've got three more days of this? 4:30 p.m. Reader Scrogdog doesn't agree with me on Woods as a Ryder Cup captain's pick: I don't know about the captain's pick, Mike. I think TW would have to get a little hotter with the flatstick before the choice is made to have that happen. Woods is currently ninth in the point standings, and only the top 8 are automatic. I think he gets the nod regardless, but he might have too much pride to accept a captain's pick. Sure sounded like that yesterday.
BTW, Woods made his par on 13, still 4-over. 4:29 p.m. Stephanie Wei emails: Flashback to last year. Padraig Harrington on the clock!
With the same rules official. Ha.
4:27 p.m. Fowler makes another birdie on 16, tied with playing partner Adam Scott at 4-under. 4:25 p.m. Tiger makes another miraculous approach, finding a tiny passage between the trees to punch his approach to the greens. Something is wrong when his best shots are the wildly creative iron shots from trouble. Maybe he's getting too studied on the tee. Because when it comes to creating shots, Tiger is peerless. 4:23 p.m. Reader Brandon Johnson writes: I find it more interesting when Tiger struggles. It's boring to me when he wins all the time. Those were the days. 4:21 p.m. Another miss way right for Tiger on 13. Let's hope there's another TV tower he can bank his approach shot off like on 10. 4:20 p.m. Padraig Harrington (1-under through 10) is "really taking his time," a diplomatic Peter Kostis reports. 4:18 p.m. Tiger makes par on the par-3 12th. Still 4-over. As in, 4-over par. At the Bridgestone. Windermere, we have a problem. 4:14 p.m. Stephanie Wei notices something strange about this leaderboard: Watson 6, Perry -4, Mickelson -4, Scott -4, Campbell -3, O'Hair -3, Van Pelt -3, Fowler -3 and Watney -3 – I can't believe my eyes! All but Scott are American! We haven't seen a leaderboard like that in a while. Yeah, I'm not buying this "Euros are huge Ryder Cup favorites" argument. If Mickelson is over his mini-slump and Anthony Kim is healthy, the Americans will field a pretty good team. 4:12 p.m. Bridgestone leader Bubba Watson (6-under) checks in via Twitter: Had a great round today!! Putted great today as well! Thanks for all the great words!! Off to the gym. How did we ever live without Twitter? 4:10 p.m. Adam Scott saves par on 15 to stay at 4-under par. Scott is quietly returning to form after his nightmare 2009. Might be a good dark-horse pick at the PGA Championship next week. 4:07 p.m. Tiger is now T72, at a course where he's won seven of 10 times. I still think Tiger is no-brainer for a Ryder Cup captain's pick, even if he doesn't make another cut this year (and he will). What do you all think? 4:04 p.m. Woods (4-over) makes another bogey on the par-4 11th, one of the easiest holes on the course. Good thing there's no cut this week. 3:59 p.m. After his 59 at Greenbrier, Stuart Appleby is 4-over through 17. This is why I don't play fantasy golf anymore. 3:56 p.m. Reader Toby Baird asks: Is Tiger's bad play starting to rub off on his playing partners? Good for Phil, not so good for Westwood. We might see a new #1 yet if Phil can keep it up through the weekend. You couldn't become an elite Tour player if you were affected by what your playing partner shoots. Tiger can be tough to play with because of the large galleries moving around and the increased attention, but that's not why Westwood's stuggling today. He's got a lot of experience playing with Woods. What bothers Tour players is when a slow partner takes them out of their rhythm. 3:55 p.m. Reader Scrogdog writes: I'm rooting for Tiger to win if for no other reason that Morfit becomes Sage Morfit otherwise. Sage Morfit? Is that what Brad and Angelina are naming their next baby? 3:53 p.m. Just another routine, from-the-wrong-fairway, off-the-TV tower par for Tiger at the 10th. Still 3-over. 3:51 p.m. Stephanie Wei emails: Tiger has to be mortified, no? His ego is taking a hit with every poor shot. 3:49 p.m. OK, let me make sure I've got this right. Woods hits his approach to the 10 green from the 18th fairway, hits the TV tower and lands in the greenside rough, where he'll have a chip for birdie. Can't wait to see how the PGA Tour's ShotLink tracks this one. 3:47 p.m. Woods (3-over) has decided to play the 10th hole from the 18th fairway. Crafty. 3:43 p.m. The Golf Channel must have heard Stephanie. They show Fowler just missing a birdie try at 13. He'll stay at 3-under. Please, Nick, no more jokes about Folwer's Smurf-blue pants and oversized hat. Folwer looks cool out there. Of course, everyone looks cool when they're playing as well as Fowler. 3:41 p.m. Friend of the Blog Stephanie Wei emails: This is horrific golf they're showing.
I mean, it's painful. Let's just watch Fowler and Scott.
3:39 p.m. Ouch. Tiger whiffs on his five-footer for par on 9. "Total misread," Nick Faldo says. He'll finish the front at 3-over. 3:36 p.m. Tiger (2-over) just misses the green on the par-4 ninth, and hits a soft pitch to about 5 feet. 3:33 p.m. Retief Goosen is 3-under through 7. He keeps threatening this year, but can't keep it together all four rounds. 3:31 p.m. Reader Craig writes: It's amazing what a fine line there is between greatness and mediocrity.
A flock of cahdinals, baby!
Uh, exactly. 3:29 p.m. Westwood (2-over) makes a bogey 5 on No. 8. This No. 1 ranking is the honor no one wants, like the Best New Artist Grammy.
Woods makes his par on 8, a real feat after that missing that tee shot right. He's 2-over. 3:25 p.m. Glad to see so many comments in the blog today. I was worried it might be slow with Robert Allenby not playing. 3:22 p.m. Woods hits an amazing approach from the right trees and gets it to a greenside bunker. Nobody hits those shots like Woods. He's actually better when he needs to create  like that.
Reader James asks: What was Tigers reaction to the way right drive? Is a Harmon very far away? (Not sure which…) I'd call Tiger's reaction "PG-rated frustration." Drop of club, muttering, nothing you couldn't let the kids watch. 3:19 p.m. Graeme McDowell is 1-under through eight. That U.S. Open win might just be the start of something with him. 3:16 p.m. Lot of shadows covering players during this Golf Channel telecast. There are celebrity sex videos with better lighting. So I hear. 3:15 p.m. Even the Golf Channel can't find Tiger's way-right drive on 8. Might need to check Google Earth. 3:14 p.m. Tiger just misses his 10-footer for birdie on the par-3 seventh. Lot of that going on this year for T-Dub. 3:13 p.m. Is anyone else having nightmares about the PGA Championship logo? 3:09 p.m. Rickie Folwer makes another birdie on 10, now 3-under. Adam Scott, the former Rickie Fowler, makes birdie on 10 as well, gets to 4-under. 3:08 p.m. That's more like it. Tiger hits a 5-iron to inside 10 feet on the par-3 seventh. 3:05 p.m. Woods taps in for birdie on 6 and he's now 2-over. Westwood not having a great day either. Playing with Woods, Westwood takes another bogey on 6, now 1-over. 3:03 p.m. Tiger (3-over) sticks his approach and No. 6 and should get one back. 2:59 p.m. Reader Brian Williams asks: What the heck happened to Stenson ? AK has an excuse, but +9 ? Jeez, I guess that's what a front-nine 41 will do for you. Let's hope for a better result for AK (5-over) tomorrow. BTW, what's up with all these thumb injuries? Anthony Kim, Paula Creamer, Kevin Youkilis… 2:57 p.m. "Tiger Woods" makes another bogey at 5, now 3-over at a course he has owned over the past 10 years. 2:53 p.m. Your clubhouse leader Bubba Watson at 6-under tells the Golf Channel that he is just trying to make the cut this week. Told that there is no cut at the Bridgestone, the unflappable Bubba says, "Well, perfect then. I made it." 2:51 p.m. Rickie Folwer makes birdies on Nos. 7 and 8 to get to 2-under. Folwer is a fascinating case for a Ryder Cup captain's pick. He's 15th in points, and he putts really well. 2:48 p.m. "How does that wind not hit that ball?" Woods asks as he puts his tee shot onto he par-3 fifth into a greenside bunker. 
Longtime Friend of the Blog Stephanie Wei emails: I thought this was Tiger's favorite course in the world. 2:46 p.m. Woods misses his birdie try on No. 4. Analyst Peter Kostis says it's a speed issue, something which has plagued Woods all year with his putter. 2:42 p.m. Reader James asks: Any chance of putting up a picture of Tiger's hat? His hat isn't that bad. Just the normal all-white TW logoed hat, but it has a mesh back. Which I think was in style for a few months in certain Brooklyn neighborhoods in 1999. 2:41 p.m. Tiger Woods (2-over) just showed up on the golf course, sticking his approach on the fourth hole to about 12 feet. That Woods impostor was getting tough to watch. 2:36 p.m. Reader Brandon Johnson asks: A good week and Bubba may make the Ryder Cup team. He would be an intriguing member, although I don't know his match play record. How do you see the selection process playing out during the next two weeks?  Bubba's prodigious length — he does his nickname proud — would make him an asset in alternate shot. But he's 17th in the standings and there are guys with Ryder Cup experience in front of him who probably can make a better case for a captain's pick. Still, Bubba's played well enough this year to be in the mix. 2:32 p.m. Par for Woods on No. 3, still 2-over. He has a good drive on No. 4. 2:28 p.m. Reader Vinny Rock asks: What putter is tiger using? Woods went back to his trusty Scotty Cameron Newport 2 putter on Sunday at the British Open after using the Nike Method putter for the first three rounds, a brief relationship even by his standards. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) Here's what he said about the putter switch on his press conference yesterday:

…as far as my putter, I've gone back to my old one. I know all the numbers show that the method putter does roll the ball better, technology, just does. But I went back to something that I'm familiar with and had good results with.

2:27 p.m. Woods (2-over) is on in regulation at the par-4 third, but he's got a long birdie putt. 2:23 p.m. Reader Scrogdog asks: How' the wind out there today, Mike? Well, Scrogdog, it's always 72 degrees at Live Blog Headquarters, but the wind doesn't look to be much of a factor at Firestone. 2:21 p.m. Golf Channel showing highlights from earlier in the day, aka What Phil Did. 2:18 p.m. Of course Tiger Woods isn't the only guy on the course this afternoon. Rickie Folwer is 1-under through 5, Ryo Ishikawa is 1-under through 6, Adam Scott is 2-under through 5, Dustin Johnson is 1-under through 3. Nice field this week, of course it's either feast or famine when it comes to the PGA Tour. 2:17 p.m. Woods leaves himself an 8-footer for par, and he's not even close. Bogey-bogey start. Also, no one's told him that trucker hats are over. 2:14 p.m. Did you see the guitarist from Judas Priest is designing his own golf course in England? Followers of the Prince of Darkness play free on Mondays. 2:12 p.m. Some guy pretending to be Tiger Woods hits a wedge from 92 yards into the par-5 second with his third shot and leaves himself a long birdie putt from the fringe. 2:10 p.m. Good days for Chad Campbell, Mike Weir, Sean O'Hair and Bo Van Pelt, all T3 at 3-under. 2:08 p.m. Woods has a poor drive on No. 2 and has to lay up with his second shot. He's playing with Lee Westwood, another guy who's got Woods's No. 1 ranking in his sights. 2:05 p.m. Mickelson is playing with a shorter and heavier driver this week. He tells the Golf Channel that he's playing with a 44-inch shaft this week. His coach Butch Harmon recommended the switch after a poor driving performance at St. Andrews. 2:03 p.m. Tiger Woods, who coincidentally teed off just minutes before the Golf Channel broadcast began, made a bogey on the opening hole. Woods has won this event seven out of the ten times he played, which has to be one of the most amazing stats in sports. 2 p.m. Welcome to the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club Live Blog. (Try fitting all that on a baseball cap.) It's the first competitive round for Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and a host of others since the British Open. Mickelson had a great opening round, finishing 4-under and in second place with Kenny Perry. Bubba Watson has the lead at 6-under. We'll be here all day, so join the conversation by leaving a comment below.

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