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Notes: Weather will be a factor

9/2/2010

NORTON, Mass. -- After playing in the Deutsche Bank Championship pro-am Thursday, Tiger Woods talked about the great course conditions at TPC Boston, which could change in a hurry with Hurricane Earl making its way to the area.

"The golf course is in absolutely perfect shape," Woods said. "The greens are pure, fairways are pretty quick as of now. I don't know about obviously the weather coming in, but if we don't get any rain here, it's going to be quite a challenge come Monday with the greens getting a little bit more baked out, and I believe the humidity dropping a little bit and the temperatures cooling. It'll be pretty quick if it doesn't rain."

Hurricane Earl is expected to approach the coast of Massachusetts late Friday, bringing with it rain and high winds. While the timing is still unclear, it appears the bad weather may arrive in Norton on Friday afternoon and continue into the evening, dumping 1-2 inches of rain before tapering off Saturday morning. Most of Saturday, Sunday and Monday look clear.

Reigning champ Steve Stricker, who currently sits behind leader Matt Kuchar in the FedEx Cup standings, doesn't mind the tough conditions that come with the inclement weather.

"I think it puts more premium on getting the ball in play, short game, because it gets more difficult to hit the greens, and just the ability to grind it out," Stricker said. "I don't mind that. You know, obviously I'd like to play in 75 [degrees] and no wind every day, but it's also harder sometimes if you're not at the tip-top of your game, too, when it's pristine conditions."

First-round play is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. ET on Friday. Woods will tee off at 11:42 a.m. from the 10th tee.

Waugh: Tournament a family affair for fans

Your average golf fan might dream for a lifetime to play a round with Woods. Envy, then, Deutsche Bank Americas CEO Seth Waugh, who joined Woods for Thursday's pro-am at TPC Boston.

Waugh passed off the opportunity to play with Tiger for a few years, but was asked by Woods to join his foursome (for a sixth time) for his skills -- after all, he parred 14 holes. The first time, he says, "it's a blur, because you're sort of Disney World, don't know what to expect." Now, the two consider each other friends, which is why Waugh welcomes the fan caravan that grows with each swing by Woods.

"I don't know that I play any better, but I really do have fun with it," Waugh said. "I guess after seven or eight years, people figure out who I am a little bit, and I start talking to the crowd."

He added, with a laugh: "Although, I don't know why they want my autograph."

Minutes earlier, speaking at a news conference to announce the extension of his banking firm's sponsorship through 2012, Waugh couldn't stop talking about what a great sports town and underserved golf market Boston was.

"I rang the bell yesterday [at the New York Stock Exchange] with Steve Stricker [last year's winner], and on our way back up here this afternoon he said, 'You guys have the best fans on tour,'" said Waugh, an Ayer native who attended Amherst College. "He said that feeling he had on the last three or four holes coming in. ... And it's true, it's Labor Day weekend so we've always tried to make this a family affair, and I love walking around and seeing three, four generations of parents and children walking around.

"It's not a corporate weekend, it's a family weekend, so I said, 'Why don't we make that a strength rather than a weakness?' New England has embraced that. ... This is a town that, you've got to be local, and loves you once they love you, and if you ever violate that trust you're out, right? We get that part, too."

Kuchar enjoying the moment

Sooner or later, somebody was going to ask Kuchar the million-dollar question: Have you wrapped your head around the prospect of $10 million yet?

Kuchar, feeling good after a dramatic playoff win over Martin Laird last week at The Barclays in Paramus, N.J., could only exhale deeply -- part-smile, part belly-laugh -- and offer up a few just-glad-to-be-here sound bytes.

The Player of the Year candidate has, after all, come a long way since graduating from the Nationwide Tour in 2006.

"I recently had one of my friends call up, jokingly, 'What recession? This is the best economy ever for you,' " Kuchar laughed. "You gotta love Obama, huh? He's a fantastic president."

The Atlanta native then continued, in all seriousness, "I have to agree. This year, I'm grateful to have a job, and a job that I love, and it's paying me a ton of money. The $10 million [prize for winning the FedEx Cup] would feel like I ... fulfilled a dream to be a basketball player or baseball player or some completely other sport. It would be, just kind of, a crazy figure that I'd have no idea what to do with. Maybe I'd just tuck it away and try not to look at it."