5:52 p.m. As if they didn't have enough to smile about at Nike Golf headquarters today, Michelle Wie had an ace on the 11th hole of the Canadian Women's Open and is leading the tournament. 5:50 p.m. The future-of-the-game pair of McIlroy (3-under) and Fowler (even) both finish with pars on 18. 5:45 p.m. Reader David Su writes: Mike – love to get your take on this. what is the most important putting stats?
putts per round is bogus – it's not a putting stats, it depends on many other things: approach, chipping, and etc. IMO, the most important INDEPENDENT putting stats is % of putts made from 5-15 ft. why that range?
1) < 5 ft, everyone is > 95%, you can look that up, it's a wash 2) > 15 ft, crap shoot, nobody makes them all day 3) 5-15 ft, Tiger: 42%, Phil: 41%, they both suck. but just last year: Tiger:49%, Phil: 47%
no wonder neither is dominating this year. they both SUCK at putting. Thanks for writing, David. You're exactly right. We shouldn't act like golf is some great mystery. When Woods and Mickelson start putting better, they'll start winning again. 5:43 p.m. Mickelson (1-over) hits a flop to about 5 feet on 17 and he'll have a great birdie chance. 5:37 p.m. Rory McIlroy now 3-under after a birdie on 8, his 17th. Playing partner Rickie Fowler going the wrong way, even par after a double on 8. 5:33 p.m. While we're waiting for Mickelson's next shot, how about some words of wisdom from Miguel Angel Jiminez. He had to skip his nephew's wedding this week to play the Johnny Walker Championship at Gleneagles to ensure his Ryder Cup spot. So a reporter asked Jiminez if he bought his nephew a gift. His response: "I haven't bought it yet. But I'm going to send a Maserati just in case he decides not to get married and run."
5:28 p.m. Adam Scott's par-save attempt lips out on 9, his 18th, and Scott will finished in T2 at 5-under. 5:25 p.m. Reader Byron Neufeld writes: Remember how everyone made that fuss about Jack Nicklaus not going to the 4 hole exhibition at the British Open this year? Turns out the even got rained out. Looks like Jack knows best. Kind of a random comment, Byron, but I like it. 5:24 p.m. Zach Johnson is 2-under after a birdie on 17. 5:22 p.m. Mickelson (1-over) misses a 20-footer for birdie, tap-in par. 5:20 p.m. Nick Faldo and the Golf Channel crew are making Pink Floyd jokes. It's 2010, guys. 5:16 p.m. Reader Byron Neufeld on why he gives Tiger the edge over Phil: We could argue all day about what separates Tiger and Phil, but I think the single most telling statistic is the number of second place finishes in majors. Tiger has about 4 seconds and 14 wins, whereas Phil has 5 second place finishes in the US Open alone. Tiger is able to keep his focus when he is in contention, whereas Phil isn't as good at that. That's the primary difference. If Phil turned half his second place finishes in the majors into wins, he'd be close to Tiger in total number of major titles. Case closed! I agree the career case is closed and it's Tiger by a mile. But as to who's the better player right now, I go with Phil, who admittedly has been a disappointment since the Masters. 5:14 p.m. Harrington makes bogey on 5, his 14th. Now 3-under. Let's hope Monty isn't watching. 5:12 p.m. David Duval finished with a 3-under 68 and is officially another guy to watch this week. 5:07 p.m. Mickelson (even) chunks an attempted flop shot from the rough on 15, and lands in greenside bunker. After nice sand shot, he'll have about 5 feet for bogey. 5:03 p.m. Birdie for Adam Scott on 7 (his 16th) and he's tied for the lead with Tiger Woods and Vaughn Taylor. 5:00 p.m. Good stuff on Tiger and new coach Sean Foley in Fox Sports' Robert Lusetich's column today:
Last week, Foley, who got the SOS call after Woods finished next-to-last at the Bridgestone Invitational earlier this month, had the world's No. 1 player hitting balls for two hours in his bare feet as part of a training regimen he's designed to wean Woods out of his bad swing habits.
"If you're hitting in bare feet, when you get to the top, you can't have a violent change of direction. You just can't or you'll fall over. So instead of having me say that, why not have him feel it?" Foley told me.
Foley's tried to make three major changes in Woods' swing: not letting his head sway off the ball in the backswing, turning his shoulders steeper, more toward the ball, and not tilting backward on the downswing, which causes the "stuck" feeling Woods has often complained about.
Barefoot golf? Let's call Foley's method "Eat, Pray, Swing." 4:58 p.m. Birdie for McIlroy and he's 2-under through 14. McIlroy was the favorite to win here, which tells you how all you need to know about how Woods and Mickelson have been playing lately. 4:55 p.m. Two straight birdie opportunities, two straight pars. Mickelson even through 14. 4:50 p.m. Mickelson makes par on the par-5 13th. Still even for the day. 4:47 p.m. Reader Shoshana writes: Sure that plus Tiger used to be longer then Phil, is generally straighter off the tee, a better putter and probably a better iron player Oh yes! Finally, Tiger vs. Phil Here's how I have it, circa 2009-2010:
Off the Tee: Phil
Iron Play: Tiger
Short Game: Phil
By all means, weigh in. This is still the best argument in the game. 4:43 p.m. Considering the economy these days, does anyone not think the $10 million for the FedEx Cup winner is obscene? You know, other than Ernie Els. 4:39 p.m. Jeff Overton gets to 3-under with an eagle on 13. Nice season for Overton, but as a rookie he's not a source of Ryder Cup confidence for Team USA.
BTW, made a mistake earlier on my Ryder Cup wildcard picks. Left out Anthony Kim, a slam-dunk pick along with Woods. After that I'd go Zach Johnson and Rickie Fowler. 4:35 p.m. Reader Byron Neufeld writes: Tiger Woods ability to play strategically around a golf course is one of his greatest strengths. That, plus his mental ability to focus and control his emotions are what separate him from Phil, in my opinion. Agreed. It's what separated Tiger from everyone. And this year, his inability to focus and control his emotions has hurt his game. 4:33 p.m. With his third shot on the par-5 13th, Mickelson hits a wedge to about 8 feet. Doesn't like it. 4:31 p.m. Adam Scott (5-under) leaves himself about six feet after leaving his eagle putt short on 6 (his 15th). This will be an important putt to watch since the flatstick has been the weakness in Scott's game.
*Update: This was a mistake — 6 is a par 4, Scott made par. Sorry about that. 4:27 p.m. Reader Floyd writes: Sure, Steve Politi makes good and correct points, as does Jason Whitlock in a column over on msn.com. But I do pull for Tiger to get it together. The game needs him, and I'd like to think he'd handle it better.
Yup, I think that's how most golf fans feel. I know I do. 4:25 p.m. The PGA Tour says no penalty for Rickie Folwer on the second hole (his 11th). Folwer thought his ball moved after he addressed his putt; Rules official says it didn't. So Fowler is still 2-under. 4:22 p.m. Tell me you won't click on this SI gallery of Elin photos. It's impossible not to. 4:18 p.m. Mickelson in short-side bunker on 12, ball below his feet. Of course he hits it to 6 inches. Another par keeps him at even par. 4:15 p.m. I liked how Colin Montgomerie guaranteed that injured Lee Westwood would be ready for the Ryder Cup. Doesn't sound like anyone told Westwood. 4:13 p.m. Adam Scott's gone from 116th last year in FedEx Cup standing to 32nd this year. Scott is now five under after birdies on 2 and 3 (his 11th and 12th). Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, seriously. 4:10 p.m. Reader Shoshana writes: Someone needs to show Phil Tiger's game plan. Although I'm not sure Phil hits his long irons as well as Tiger can. You mean keep the driver in the bag? Out of his cold, dead hands… 4:09 p.m. Mickelson makes bogey on 11, back to even. 4:05 p.m. Fellow Golf.com Live Blogger Steve Beslow has an interview with Mad Men star and avid golfer Jon Hamm in this week's Sports Illustrated.
I'm usually skeptical of Jons without the 'h,' but Hamm sounds like a good guy. 4:02 p.m. Rules official trying to determine if wind moved Fowler's ball after he addressed his putt. If so, he gets a 1-stroke penalty. It's been a good month for unfair golf rules. 3:59 p.m. Reader Dan Callahan writes: I love the Sopranos, but the golf scenes in Entourage are the best. Actually, it's not even close. Especially the one with Tom Brady and Mark Wahlberg. Glad you mentioned Entourage. I was at Kapalua a couple years ago when Kevin Dillon (Johnny Drama) played in the pro-am. Dillon had twice as many attractive women in his gallery than Adam Scott and Camilo Villegas combined.
3:57 p.m. Zach Johnson makes birdie on 12 to get to even par. After Tiger, Johnson is the most obvious Ryder Cup wildcard pick, right? 3:56 p.m. Rickie Fowler, still 2-under after missing a good birdie chance on 10, is wearing a dark blue hat, a mint green shirt and white plaid pants. He's getting into Willy Wonka territory now.
The lesson: If you can play like Fowler, you can wear whatever you want and look good on the course. 3:54 p.m. David Duval (!) is 3-under through 15. He's still in my top 5 most fascinating players. 3:53 p.m. Haven't we all read enough about Tiger's (overstated) quest to surpass Jack Nicklaus' 18 majors? I guess not. 3:52 p.m. Haven't we all read enough about Phil's quest for the No. 1 ranking? I guess not. 3:50 p.m. After a par on 10, Mickelson hits the fairway with his drive on 11. 1-under. 3:47 p.m. Rory McIlroy on 1 (his ninth) leaves his birdie try a few inches short. Still 1-under. 3:45 p.m. Best part of covering the Barclays for media members? Parking right outside Ikea in case you want to buy a butcher's block kitchen table on the way home. 3:40 p.m. Yup, it's a scoring day at Ridgewood Country Club, according to the PGA Tour:
Of the 59 players who teed off in the morning, 38 shot par or better. Scoring average was 70.58, about half a stroke under par.
3:36 p.m. Not everyone was happy for Tiger Woods this morning. The New Jersey Star-Ledger's Steve Politi wrote a tough-minded column in today's paper about how difficult it is to root for Woods after reading Elin Nordegren's People Magazine interview.
Just in case anyone forgot who the real sympathetic figure should be, Nordegren issued a series of powerful, poignant reminders. Just in case fans thought Woods was ready to step out of this dark hole, his now ex-wife made it clear how he got there in the first place.
This was heart-wrenching stuff, and her entire interview with the magazine hasn’t been released. The most damning revelation had to be a conversation between her and her daughter, Sam.
The little girl, seeing Nordegren crying, asked, “Mommy, where is your boo-boo?”
“Mommy’s boo-boo is in her heart, right now,” she replied. “But it will be better.”
“Can Sam kiss it and make it better?” the girl asked in return. “Or maybe popcorn will?”
Doesn’t exactly make it easy to come out and root for Woods at Ridgewood Country Club, does it?
Agree with Politi? Disagree? Leave a comment below. 3:33 p.m. Mickelson, who became an honorary Jersey guy when he won the PGA at Baltusrol in 2005, makes his first birdie of the day at 9. Now 1-under. 3:32 p.m. McIlroy (1-under) misses a birdie try on 18. Maybe Mahoney is on to something. 3:29 p.m. Golf Magazine's European correspondent Paul Mahoney is at the Barclays this week, risking his spot as Colin Montgomerie's Ryder Cup reporter since he skipped Gleneagles this week and a chance to support the European Tour. Anyway, Paul has a theory on why pre-tournament fave McIlroy might have trouble this week:
Shocking news: Rory McIlroy has had a haircut … Maybe he's lost his powers.
3:26 p.m. Playing with McIlroy, Rickie Fowler is 2-under through 8. 3:23 p.m. Everytime the Tour comes to North Jersey I remember how great the golf scenes in The Sopranos were. My favorite is the round with Tony, Silvio, Mikey Palmice and Junior in the Season One episode Boca, but I also like Furio intimidating Dr. Kennedy in the water hazard. If you've got a favorite Sopranos golf moment, post it below. That show had the best golf scenes on TV ever, outside of The Honeymooners. 3:20 p.m. McIlroy makes birdie on No. 17 (his eighth) to get to 1-under. I knew Rory had finally crossed over into mainstream American sports at the British Open, when my mom said to me, "I watched some of the golf today. The kid from Northern Ireland is cute." 3:17 p.m. Speaking of Rose, who will be one of Monty's Team Europe guys in Wales this fall, I thought Martin Kaymer had a good take on the idea that the Europeans are favorites this year in this interview with SI's Farrell Evans.
Do you believe in all the hype about the European team being the favorite? We have a good team but it's match play. When we play stroke play, you take the players that we have this year and the players that the Americans have and take the average score, I think we would score better. But it's not all about that.
Good stuff, right? The more you get to know Kaymer, the more you're going to like him.
3:16 p.m. Mickelson had a good birdie opportunity on the par-3 eighth, but he had Che Guevara putt. Needed one more revolution. Still even. 3:14 p.m. Justin Rose — two-time Tour winner this year — pulls an iron into a bunker on the par-3 eighth. 1-over. 3:12 p.m. Mickelson is even through 7. 3:10 p.m. I'm actually a fan of the FedEx Cup playoffs. However complicated the points system is, at least you have four consecutive events with a really good fields. 3:05 p.m. The Golf Channel's Nick Faldo is talking about how divorce can affect your game. He knows what he's talking about. 3 p.m. Welcome to the Golf.com Barclays Tournament Live Blog. If you thought we had already reached our excitement quota for the week with Elin's People interview, and Jim Furyk's DQ for oversleeping, think again. Playing in the first group of the morning, Tiger Woods posted a blazing 6-under 65 to lead the tournament. He's tied with Vaughn Taylor. Brian Gay and Ryan Palmer are at 5-under and Camilo Villegas, Davis Love III, Jason Day and defending Barclays champ Heath Slocum are part of a group at 4-under.
Still on the course are Phil Mickelson (even through 6) and Rory McIlroy (even through 7). We'll be here until the end of the day so join the conversation and leave a comment below