SI's Farrell Evans will be live blogging the second round of the Tour Championship beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern. Golf Magazine's Steve Beslow will take over from 3-6 p.m. Join the conversation by leaving a question or comment below.
Leaderboard | Photos | Course Profile | TV Schedule 6:00 That's going to do it for the second day at East Lake. Moral fo the day? Fairways are overrated. Furyk and Donald will lead the way, with Geoff Ogilvy just a stroke behind and veteran K.J. Choi nipping at their heels. Thanks for the great comments, hope you enjoy the rest of the tournament. See you all come Ryder Cup time.5:59 Donald finishes off a day of spectacular putting with yet another save. For a guy who seemed to barely hit any greens in regulation, 66 is a pretty darn good day. Ogivly is right behind him with a 67, one stroke behind for the day and the tourney.5:57 Ogilvy and Donald both have no trouble getting out of the bunker. Ogilvy's is practically a tap in from an even tougher sand lie than Donald's.5:55 As the last group heads down the fairway on 18, I can't really sum up how I feel about the day. There have been a ton of lead changes/ties, a lot of great shots and some really good golf in general. Still, can't help but notice that there just seems like a general lack of energy. The players, the crowd, even the guys in the booth seem to be going through the motions. Maybe it's my imagination, but seriously, something (or maybe someone) feels like it's missing.5:52 Co-leader Luke Donald pushes his drive into the center of the greenside bunker on 18. Guys have had some trouble getting up and down from there all day, but Donald is better than most from the sand. 5:49 Paul Casey took a bit of a tumble on the back nine. He'll finish the day with a 71, -3 on the week. He can't be happy to be five back of the leader, considering he was holding steady at -6 most of the day. This course can eat you up if you're not paying attention, but the three straight bogeys he had to finish the round suggests that Casey's head just wasn't in the game.5:45 Furyk, faced with the same sweeper that Choi nailed on 18 can't quite match the crafty South Korean, but it's another great lag putt for Jim, and another easy par that will let him finish up at -8 for the tourney5:45 Good news for all you American Ryder Cup fans: Tiger's feeling confident!5:41 Huuuuuge sweeping putt from K.J. Choi which will put him in a tie for 4th. He's in the clubhouse with a 68 and has to be liking his chances. In a group of great players at the top of the leaderboard, him and Furyk are the steady eddies. We'll see how well they keep the young guns down over the weekend.5:40 He does, very impressive poise from the young Brit. He'll drop to -5 but is probably very happy with the putting he did on that hole.5:39 Casey is not going to be able to get up and down from that bunker on 17, and he's got some meat on the bone to keep it to a bogey.5:37 Furyk's a great example of that. He hasn't 3-putted all week, his lag putting has been particularly spot on, including a flawless putt he just made on the huge sloping 17th green.5:35 Luke Donald has only hit 5 fairways en route to being tied for the lead. This course just isn't that punishing if can really handle your putter on those extra-large greens.5:33 Paul Casey might want to invest in a bathing suit, because he's spending an awful lot of time on the beach. he just went from fairway bunker to greenside bunker on 17. 5:31 K.J. Choi makes par to stay at -3 on the tournament. He pretty much can't win the Cup, but a win here would certainly be a coup for Choi, who has struggled to stay relevant this year.5:27 It seems like guys are just fearlessly going after the ball around the sand. They may be afraid of the water and the deep rough, but the bunkers just don't have any bite on this course. That's not a bad thing though, since it encourages more aggressive plays into the green and even more-so out of the bunkers themselves.5:25 Ogilvy and Donald both get a birdie on the formidable 16th. Things are crowded at the top yet again.5:24 Mahan makes double-bogey after that wet drive on 17, dropping him all the way back to even par. How quickly the tide can turn.5:22 Interesting setup for the next Big Break. From what I've heard they had very good ratings for this season's collection of very attractive ladies. Next season it looks like they're going for the d-bag factor. Good luck with that.5:20 That Ogilvy drive? 340 yards. That's about 2 yards per pound.5:19 Mickelson flies the ball out of the bunker on 17 but can't get over the huge ridge in front of the today's hole location. How HIGH a ridge, I could not tell.5:17 Casey lips out on 16 to drop back to -5. Feels like he's been struggling all day, but he's only three shots off the lead. 5:15 Mickelson can't do much with that "good miss," outting it in the greenside bunker. Still, the sand traps at East Lake are extremely forgiving, I don't think I've seen a bad lie in one of them all day.5:13 Ogilvy goes Happy Gilmore on 16, absolutely crushing a drive down the middle of one of the hardest fairways on the course to hit. And if I'm not mistaken I think I actually saw a hint of a smile creep across his face. 5:12 Lefty pulls the mirror-image of Mahan's drive, banking a drive way right off the hospitality tent. That's the good miss on this hole.5:11 Hunter Mahan finds water on 17, which will keep him on the tee for another shot. It's always amazing to see pros hit into the one place you know they're trying to avoid on a hole. It's one of the only times you can watch a telecast and think "Hey, I can do that too!"5:08 Donald chips up on 15 and has no problem putting him a birdie putt on the course's easiest hole. That closes the gap with Furyk to just one stroke.5:06 Luke Donald has been great with his irons all year, and he's been pretty good with them today, with the exception of leaving quite a few balls short of the green. To be honest, I'm not sure he's not doing it on purpose at this point, choosing to play shot chips up onto the green rather than playing from some of the thick rough that can grab you if you go over the putting surface.5:02 Furyk plays it safe with an eagle putt on 15, leaving him with an easy birdie and extending his lead to two shots. The way he's putting he's unlikely to drop many strokes, someone's going to have to come up and take it from him.4:59 I can't help but feel there's a lack of excitement for this tournament, whether it's the lack of Tiger's presence or just a little bit of burnout from what seems like an incredibly long season. I just hope that whatever lack of excitement seems to be surrounding this tournament is gone by the end of the weekend, because if people can't get excited for the Ryder Cup, professional golf is in serious trouble.4:54 Goose shoots par on 18 to finish a round of 66. He's at -3 just four off the lead and poised to make some noise before all's said and done.4:51 I've been sounding people out about my "golf as a mainstream sport" question, and I've yet to find someone who honestly believes that it is. Still, if Sidney Crosby and Phil Mickelson are walking down the street, Phil gets recognized more. Anthony Kim and Martin Brodeur? Same. Sergio Garcia and Ilya Koveachuck? Well, you get the idea. Although maybe
that just begs the question: is hockey a mainstream sport?4:49 Ogilvy and Donald both play alllll over the 15th, but they each will have an easy par. Unless you end up with a tree right in front of you, this course usually gives you a chance to save par with a couple good shots.4:46 Remember Phil? He makes an easy birdie at the 15th to move to even for the week. You really need to make your bones on those 2 par 5s, and most of the players seem to be having little trouble doing just that.4:44 East Lake looks pretty good for a course that hasn't seen rain in over a month. There are even a bunch of spots that are ground under repair for being too soggy. I wouldn't want to see that water bill.4:42 Jim Furyk makes that tie short-lived. He birdies 14 to move to -7. Can't help but wonder what the Cup leaderboard would look like if he knew how to ask for a wakeup call.4:39 Ogilvy just misses a 50-footer for birdie, but he'll still get himself a share of the lead as Luke Donald bogeys 13 to drop him back into a fourway tie at -6. 4:37 I'm not sure I understand those new Callaway commercials with all of their Tour players. It feels like those old Head On commercials, like saying Callaway over and over again is going to make me want to buy an FT-i. 4:34 I'm really becoming a big Matt Kuchar fan. He's a great player and always has a smile on his face. Plus we have so much in common: we both play our best golf in Paramus New Jersey and we both have a hairline retreating faster than the French army from a fireworks display.4:32 Typo.4:31 I've just been informed that Golf.com's homepage is referring to me as "SI's Steve Beslow." Typo or premonition? 4:29 If you're killing time (and considering you're reading this blog I think it's safe to say that you are), check out this article on Tom Lehman winning the Payne Stewart award. Lehman's a no-brainer for any award for sportsmanship, and it's no surprise that he says all the right things about the honor. I hope they continue to name as many things as possible after Stewart–it won't be long until the next generation is too young to have seen him play, but his contributions to the game (and the contributions he never got to make) shouldn't be forgotten.4:27 Luke Donald gets up and down from a bunker on 12 to remain in the lead at -7. His game has always been top tier, but if he is as unflappable for the rest of his career as he has been this year, he could very well be the multiple major winner we all thought he'd be when he first came up.4:25 K.J. Choi leaves one on the lip from the front bunker on 17. About an inch away from a stunning birdie. 4:22 The Golf Channel guys are astute when they note that Geoff Ogilvy, who's just two shots off the lead, consistently looks unhappy, even when he's playing great. Unfortunately they then compare him to Clint Eastwood, which is…slightly less astute.4:20 While I'm shamelessly self-promoting, let me throw up a link to Golf Magazine's #1 People Portfolio, the signature section of our October #1 issue. There are some seriously great interviews in there from some of the best actors, athletes and power brokers in the world. 4:17 Villegas makes it three in a row. He's at plus three and finally has a smile back on his face. 4:14 Reader (and possible Murray brother) Lou Loomis is rewarding my previous name dropping with a query:
Who is a better player between Buck and Aikman? Do Troy's multiple concussions make it harder for him to concentrate on those tough puts? God knows it is impacting his ability to do color on the Fox broadcasts. They claim they play about even, but it seemed like Buck was by far the better player. Aikman is still clearly an athletic marvel, so my guess is that keeps him in the matches. As a Giants' fan I would love to tell you that Aikman was a complete space cadet who's had his eggs scrambled one too many times, but he really was on the ball and a great guy. Still no Phil Simms in the booth or on the field, but I'd have a beer with him any day. 4:12 By the way, Steve Barry should get points off from that great question for his defense of Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place. For the record, "Ryan Reynolds got his start there" isn't the world's strongest argument. 4:11 Kuchar makes a really nice recovery out of the water–he kept both of his shoes on, but removed just his right sock. Textbook. 4:10 Hoffman obviously wants to stick it to me–he drops another long birdie to move to -3. 4:08 Matt Kuchar is rolling up his pants as he prepares to salvage a tee shot in the water on 17. He got some hoots and hollers, but I'm guessing they're mostly ironic: by the look of his ankles Kuchar gets less sun than Nosferatu. 4:07 Jason Day gets to 2-under on 13 with a relatively easy bidie putt. That's something that's been hard to come by, it's only the 2nd red number of the day on 13. 4:04 Great question from reader Steve Barry on the FedEx topic we've been going back and forth on all day:
if we only allow those who are playing well during the playoffs continue in the playoffs, then what weight does the regular season hold? The whole point behind this was to make the regular season count towards something. Can't tell me you should just sneak in at 129 (it's the top 130 to start, right) and then all of a sudden win $10 MILLION DOLLARS for playing well for a month. Doesn't add up to me. Has to take into account the whole year.
Your reasoning is sound, Steve, but the mistake you've made here is believing the PGA Tour. They may say that the Cup Playoffs are a way to make the regular season count, but, in reality, it's the exact opposite. The point of the Cup is to get people to watch the late season tournaments, which had gone completely ignored in the five or so years before the Playoffs. So far so good in that regard, ratings have been significantly better, even though the Playoffs themselves have lacked much drama.
4:02 Kuchar leaves a par putt short to move back to even par. He doesn't have to play perfect golf this weekend, but he can't play mediocre golf either. Time for him to start picking things up. 4:00 Camillo Villegas makes a super-long birdie putt. It's his second straight birdie, but since he's still at +4 my spidey sense isn't even close to tingling yet. 3:58 And for those of you who got nervous when my colleague Farrell Evans referred to Hoffman as probably the best player left off the Ryder Cup team, I wanted to reassure all of you that no, Anthony Kim, J.B. Holmes, Sean O'Hair, Nick Watney, Lucas Glover, Bo Van Pelt and Ryan Moore didn't all die in a tragic yachting accident. Clearly they just slipped his mind. 3:57 Birdie-fest continues as Charlie Hoffman moves into a tie for fifth at -2. 3:55 The crowd goes wild as Ben Crane sinks a relatively easy birdie putt to move back to even on the day. Wow, that's got to be the first time that "Ben Crane" and "crowd goes wild" have ever appeared in the same sentence. 3:53 Luke Donald finishes his front nine with a birdie to bring him to -7. Ogilvie stays right behind with a bird of his own. They're all alone at 1st and 2nd respectively. 3:52 Zach Johnson sinks a birdie on 17 to bring him back into contention. Well, at +6 he's really just competing to not finish 30th. 3:50 And I'd like to thank my readers for keeping my love for Caddyshack II alive. Bring me your tired, your poor, your Caddyshack II fans yearning to be accepted! 3:47 From reader Chandler Young:
The goose is loose! I wonder how he would do playing in a pro am with Tony Siragusa?
I actually asked Troy Aikman and Joe Buck recently how they would fair in a heads up match with Kenny, Moose and Goose. Buck said that he wasn't sure Kenny played and that Moose has been dealing with injuries that would make him a pushover. And Goose? He literally laughed in my face. "Bring him on," he said.
3:46 P.S. after reading that joke, the chairman of Augusta National informed me that I wouldn't be allowed to live blog the Masters next year. 3:45 The fairways have been really unforgiving so far, anything that's not down the middle is likely to keep rolling all the way into the rough and beyond. This course is playing like Paris Hilton after a couple shots of Patron: firm and fast. 3:42 Casey blows another birdie chance by the hole. He just can't get anything going so far today. Still, he's right in the thick of things. 3:41 Goosen drops a shot at 13th to move to -2 for the tourney. He's a great fit for this course, so don't be surprised if he ends up with a couple scores in the mid 60s this weekend. 3:39 Phil gets up and down on 10. For most players it would have been an impressive pitch to 5 feet, but for Phil it was nothing special. Dare I say, "Mickelsonian." 3:36 Steve Stricker finally gets a break. He finishes the day with a 68 but is still +2 for the tourney. I didn't actually pick him to win this week, so I thought he'd be a shoe-in to be at the top of the leaderboard. 3:34 Luke Donald makes a stellar chip on 8 that should let him save par after a tricky approach (he took a free drop from ground under repair). 3:32 After a really rough start, Bo Van Pelt nabs himself an eagle to move to a more respectable +2. At 30th in the standings, Van Pelt didn't have too much of a chance to win the Cup anyway, but that doesn't mean he wants to throw this weekend away. 3:27 Paul Casey saves par on 8 to stay at -4. He hasn't played poorly so far, but if he doesn't start putting some birdies up on the board he's likely to get left in the dust. 3:24 Hunter Mahan moves back to -1 with a birdie from about 8 feet. A good weekend for him would be nice for the US team, as he's going to have to play at his best for them to have a shot in Wales. Without Anthony Kim, Mahan's role on that team went from complimentary player to young leader. 3:22 Luke Donald jams home a birdie on 7 for a share of the lead. He looked super confident over his midrange putt and put plenty of gusto on it. 3:20 On that note, I was watching PTI last night and took notice of something Tony Kornheiser said. He pretty much intimated that we've all convinced ourselves that golf is a mainstream sport, when, in reality, Tiger Woods is just a mainstream athlete, dragging golf along with him. What do you think? Have we been spoiled by the Tiger era into overplaying golf as a mainstream sport? (or a sport at all) 3:18 It's hard to say how bad the ratings for this tourney will be without Tiger in the field. Tim Finchem seems to think they'll be just fine, but I expect them to be just barely worse than a rerun of Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place. At 8 A.M. On BET. 3:15 Jim Furyk is making life difficult for me, wearing a bright orange shirt that it looks like he stole right out of Stewart Cink's closet. Don't these guys think of the sportswriters when they get dressed in the morning? 3:13 I don't envy the guys those greens today–half seem to be running super slow and the other half crazy fast. If anyone can find a consistent stroke with the flat stick I'll be very surprised. 3:10 Ernie makes birdie at 12 to move to -1. Easy E is looking good right now, especially over his putts (where he needs it the most). 3:09 Do you think Monty is actively rooting against Paul Casey at this point? I would be. 3:07 Reader Shoshana thinks the drop from 70 players to 30 might be too severe, and I can't say I disagree in principle. The way I understand it, the Tour wanted to avoid the complaints that NASCAR gets about it's playoff–that drivers that have no chance of winning the race to the cup are still in the last few races, increasing the potential that the winner of the last few races won't actually determine the winner of the Cup. 3:03 Jim Furyk moves to -3 on the day and -6 total, putting him in sole possession of the lead and making him the (extremely) prohibitive favorite to win the tournament and the FedEx Cup. It really does feel like baseball's wild card race, if you rechecked the odds after every hole you'd go crazy with the swings. 3:02: Howdy folks, Golf Magazine's Steve Beslow here to take you the rest of the way this afternoon. It's been a…calm day so far. Hopefully guys will start getting more aggressive as the day goes on.
3:00: So long until the Ryder Cup. I'm turning it over to the capable hands of Steve Beslow.
2:55: From Reader Shoshana: "Not Tiger specific, but the cut from 70 to 30 seems overly severe, and 30 people is just really small for a golf tournament. Also if you're going to call something a playoff the people playing the best over the course of the playoffs should probably be in it, and over those three evens Tiger ws clearly oe of the top 30 players." 2:52: Casey just made his first bogey of the day at the 5th hole, dropping out of the lead.
2:50: There is a logjam on the top of the leader board: Paul Casey, Jim Furyk, Geoff Ogilvy, Luke Donald. This could be an exciting weekend with two Ryder Cuppers in that group and a lot of money at stake.
2:46: The Tour Championship needs one more revise in addition to adding 20 more places. I might go to a Stableford scoring system like they used at the International. Building the course to birdies and eagles would make the last day fun and give the FedEx Cup a more carnival feel.
2:39: K.J. Choi is two back. I've always thought that he would win the Masters.He hits it straight and he never seems to be nervous.
2:26: The 9th hole appears to be the only sure birdie hole on the East Lake layout. As one of only two par 5s, it's 600 yards but reachable for the longer players. The other par 5 is the 15th, a shortish 495-yard hole that is an easy birdie unless you hit right off the tee.
2:17: Charley Hoffman is 2 under for the day after a birdie at the 8th. He's probably best player not on the Ryder Cup team. I think Azinger were the captain he would have picked him.
2:08: I'm glad that Luke Donald is playing well. He was a mildly controversial pick for the Ryder Cup. He's stylish and a nice player. I guess the smartest thing he did was play more than Casey in Europe.
2:01: Jim Furyk chipped in at the 1st hole to go to 4 under. But Casey made a tap in birdie on the same hole to become the solo leader at 5 under.
1:52: Readers Steve Barry and Floyd want to know my reason for Top 50. It' s like how MLB created the playoffs. People forget the old Pennant chases . The Top 50 would ensure that we had more story lines and more golf to watch. The Top 30 is too sleepy. You notice the excitement in the National League as four teams battle for two playoff spots.
1:42: Phil missed a close one for birdie at the first hole. It looks like he's always missing a putt inside of 10-feet nowadays. But he's just three off the lead with no one on the course putting up a low number. I hope he gets his energy up for the Ryder Cup.
1:36: Last Sunday in Tour Confidential we talked about there being an exemption for Tiger into the Tour Championship field. I said then that he didn't make the top 30 and that we should leave it at that. But now after looking at this field—great players and good guys but not great for playoff buzz—I'm wondering if they should expand the field to the Top 50 players.
1:28: Bubba Watson made an easy birdie at the reachable Par 5 9th hole. He's 3 over for the tournament and just hanging out. It's not a lot of energy on the golf course right now.
1:23: Kuchar's ball is embedded in pine straw or loose impediments at the 5th hole. It has to be embedded in the ground for him to get relief. He's playing a game of semantics with the rules official and arguing over "where the ground starts."
1:17: Ernie Els got into the Hall of Fame this week. He shot 71 yesterday. I don't know why the rush to put him the Hall. He's 41 years old. I think they should be elected after they pass into the Senior Tour or stop playing full-time golf.
1:12: Matt Kuchar, my pick to win this week, struggled on Thursday with a 2 over 72. He's not playing poorly, but there simply aren't a lot of birdie holes on the course. These guys are accustomed to making 4 or 5 birdies in a round to balance a few bogeys.
1:08: Phil tees off at 1:30 after a 1 under 69 yesterday. He's played so so in the playoffs. A missed cut at the Barclays, a 25th and an eighth at the BMW. A lot of stuff has to happen for him to win the $10 million, sitting way back in 10th position.
1:04: Geoff Ogilvy, Luke Donald and Paul Casey are tied for the lead at 4 under. There is a lot of chatter about Monty leaving Casey off the European team with him playing so well. Monty might have some questions to answer if Casey wins the FedEx and the Europeans look back in Wales.
1:01: Welcome to the Live Blog at the Tour Championship. It's Tigerless but the beat goes on. The leaders tee off at 2:00 pm.