Commentary

Jason Sobel's live blog

Originally Published: July 17, 2009
By Jason Sobel | ESPN.com

4:30 p.m. ET: Not sure if you've heard the news yet, but Tiger Woods missed the cut on Friday at the 138th Open Championship.

For only the second time in his professional career, Woods was left tossing the clubs in the trunk, slamming it closed and driving off with the unfamiliar smell of failure hanging in the air after the first two rounds of a major.

At least he had some company -- and I'm not just talking about caddie Steve Williams.

The three-time Open champion was just one of many big names who MC'd. Since 18 is a nice round number in golf terms, let's examine the top 18 players who won't be around for the weekend.

• Chad Campbell (73-77): Masters runner-up -- remember? -- didn't record a birdie in Round 2.
• Tim Clark (71-75): Links set-ups should be up his alley, but putting, apparently, is not.
• Ben Curtis (65-80): The 18-hole runner-up suffered a 15-shot differential between his two rounds.
• David Duval (71-76): Exactly one year ago, DD was preparing to play in the penultimate group on Saturday afternoon.
• Brian Gay (73-76): Two-time PGA Tour winner this year, but first links experience wasn't successful.
• Lucas Glover (72-77): Gotta wonder whether the U.S. Open champ should have taken a week off beforehand.
• Todd Hamilton (75-70): One of the very few who fared better in Friday's blustery conditions.
• Anthony Kim (73-73): Never quite recovered from a quintuple-bogey 9 on his second hole of the week.
• Hunter Mahan (72-79): May need to work on his chipping game around the greens.
• Colin Montgomerie (71-74): Asked if Sandy Lyle's comments distracted him, he said, "Very much so, yes."
• Greg Norman (77-75): One year after a miraculous run, the 1986 champ at Turnberry showed some rust.
• Geoff Ogilvy (75-78): Surprising result for a player who loves links golf.
• Ian Poulter (75-79): Said of his game: "There were no decent shots out there."
• Rory Sabbatini (74-73): Didn't birdie a par-3 or par-4 hole all week.
• Adam Scott (71-74): Has now MC'd in eight of his last 10 PGA Tour-sanctioned events.
• David Toms (72-75): Played holes 12-15 in 7 over par.
• Mike Weir (67-78): Had a five-shot differential on the par-5 seventh (eagle in Round 1; triple-bogey in Round 2).
• Tiger Woods (71-74): Played first-ever 7-over-par six-hole stretch from 8-13 on Friday.

That's a pretty strong lineup of players -- two dozen major championship titles between 'em -- who won't be here at Turnberry for the next two days.

Even so, there's still plenty of star-power on the leaderboard. I'll be back with the Live Blog at 2 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET) for Saturday's third round. Until then, hit 'em straight. …


4:16 p.m. ET: E-mail from Alexander in San Francisco:

Is Tom Watson the oldest man to lead a major after 36 holes?

Yes, he is. Watson is currently 59 years, 316 days old. Previously, the oldest player to lead entering Round 3 was Sam Snead, who was 54 years, 55 days old back at the 1966 PGA Championship.

And the gap is even wider when it comes to the Open. The previous oldest player to hold the 36-hole lead at this event was Dai Rees, who was 48 years, 105 days old in 1961.

The best part of this stat? Watson actually knocks himself back to third on this list, as he was also the second-round leader in 1994, at the age of 44 years, 316 days.


4:09 p.m. ET: Tweet, tweet …

MikeyBuchanan@JasonSobel: Do Tiger's performances at the majors this year put to rest the asterisks talk of last year's British and PGA?

Personally, I was never one to buy into the whole asterisk discussion; there were major championships to be won before Tiger, and there will be more after him. But, yes, if anyone still believed that Padraig Harrington's two wins last year were diminished because he "didn't beat Tiger Woods," then this year's results should negate that notion.

There's something to be said for staring down Woods in the final pairing and beating him to win a major. But this week's eventual winner will have beaten Woods and 154 others en route to the title. The fact that he was involved won't make their victory any sweeter.


3:59 p.m. ET: ESPNEWS interview. Back in a few. …


3:55 p.m. ET: Speaking of which …

E-mail from Brooke in Minnesota:

Is there a Live Blog theme song jinx? Is it a coincidence that you debut your live blog theme song with both Tiger and Lefty being mentioned in the little ditty, yet neither of them will be playing this weekend?

Wow, hadn't thought of that. Perhaps the band Far Beyond Frail should have mentioned only off-the-radar players in its lyrics so as to not Live Blog Theme Song Jinx the top guys.


3:51 p.m. ET: E-mail from Jeff in North Dakota:

Tale of the Tape:

Jason Sobel: 1. At Turnberry all weekend; 2. Awesome theme song.
Tiger Woods: 1. Home for the weekend; 2. No theme song.

Take that, TW!

But on the bright side, he'll have plenty of time this weekend to listen to this.


3:47 p.m. ET: It looks like the argument about the bigger story will continue to be debated.

Here is the question and choices from the latest SportsNation poll:

Which would be a more surprising development at the British Open?

• Tiger Woods missing the cut.
• Tom Watson winning the tournament.

Right now, the Woods story is beating the Watson one by a 2-to-1 margin, 67 percent to 33. And that's not even regarding Old Tom leading through two rounds; it's if he wins the tournament!


3:45 p.m. ET: Of course, that last post was just my opinion. Who do the oddsmakers like through 36 holes? Here are the latest odds via the Las Vegas Hilton:

Lee Westwood: 6/1
Retief Goosen: 7/1
Ross Fisher: 8/1
Sergio Garcia: 10/1
Vijay Singh: 12/1
Steve Marino: 15/1
Jim Furyk: 15/1
Miguel Angel Jimenez: 20/1
Martin Kaymer: 20/1
Stewart Cink: 25/1
Angel Cabrera: 25/1
Camilo Villegas: 25/1
J.B. Holmes: 30/1
Mark Calcavecchia: 30/1
Tom Watson: 40/1
Justin Leonard: 50/1
Ernie Els: 50/1
Henrik Stenson: 50/1
Soren Hansen: 60/1
Field (all others): 4/1

The one that stands out most? Gotta be Tom Watson, who's getting no love from the oddsmakers at an astounding 40-1 right now.


3:36 p.m. ET: I'm getting a lot of questions asking me to handicap the field as it stands now. This is dangerous stuff, so at the risk of putting the Blog Jinx on some guys, here is my revised predicted order of finish for Sunday afternoon:

10. Camilo Villegas: I'm still not convinced he can avoid the big numbers.
9. Justin Leonard: The more the wind blows, the better his chances.
8. Martin Kaymer: Hottest player in the world right now.
7. Retief Goosen: Can shoot 65 or 80 on any given day.
6. Ross Fisher: Will he really WD if he's in contention and his wife goes into labor on Sunday?
5. Boo Weekley: His see-ball, hit-ball style of golf will serve him well.
4. Lee Westwood: Played well in the Tiger/Ryo pressure cooker.
3. Tom Watson: Like Greg Norman last year, he'll be in it on the back nine on Sunday.
2. Jim Furyk: He was my original No. 2 pick, so I'm sticking with him.
1. Sergio Garcia: He was my original No. 1 pick, so I'm sticking with him.


3:31 p.m. ET: E-mail from John in St. Louis:

Doesn't Old TW's showing so far give further credence to the belief that Jack Nicklaus had tougher competition during his prime than Young TW has today?

Nope. I'm not buying it. Nicklaus had some much better rivals -- from Arnold Palmer to Gary Player to Lee Trevino to Tom Watson -- but the depths of fields weren't what they are today.

Back in the previous era, there were very few Angel Cabrera or Lucas Glover types who could step up and win a major. Did it happen sometimes? Sure, but not as often as today.

Now, are the likes of Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Padraig Harrington and any other top players during the Tiger Era as good as the Palmer/Player/Trevino/Watson contingent was 30-40 years ago? No, I don't believe so. But there are certainly more players who can win on any given week. Even Jack himself has acknowledged that.

Besides, if I agreed with your assessment, would I have to change my opinion when a 59-year-old Mickelson contended at the 2030 U.S. Open? It's too difficult to measure a previous era against the current one when the current one isn't yet complete.


3:26 p.m. ET: E-mail from Shawn in Parts Unknown:

I'm trying to imagine the type of e-mails you would have gotten if there had been a live blog back during the 1970s. People would have been demanding that Nicklaus alter his game and get with it. Jack Nicklaus didn't win his 15th major until he was 38 years old. He only won his 13th and 14th when he was 35. So Tiger's got, what, 17 more attempts to get that 15th before he'd be behind Jack's pace. And if in four years he's still looking for that 15th major, then I will join the tweeting masses who are convinced something's wrong with Tiger.

Wait, so you're saying you missed the 1975 PGA Championship Live Blog?


3:21 p.m.: Good news if you have a member-guest at the club this weekend. The following players are available with no other plans:

Mike Weir, Ben Curtis, Colin Montgomerie, Todd Hamilton, Adam Scott, Tiger Woods, Tim Clark, Anthony Kim, David Toms, David Duval, Rory Sabbatini, Brian Gay, Lucas Glover, Chad Campbell, Hunter Mahan, Greg Norman, Geoff Ogilvy and Ian Poulter.

Here's a question for you: If the leaderboard was turned upside-down, would it be even better?

That's a joke, but other than having to trade Tom Watson for Jaco Ahlers, it's not too far off.


3:14 p.m. ET: E-mail from Gary in Parts Unknown:

I can't remember you talking so much about all of the players combined, missing or coming close to missing a cut, as you have about Tiger! Yet an almost 60-year-old man is leading the Open after 36 holes, and it's an afterthought with you.

Really? Hmm, seemed like I spent plenty of time discussing Tom Watson's round both during and afterward. That said, he's been off the course for a few hours now. We'll get to him some more, but the point of the Live Blog -- get it? live? -- is to update with news from the course and the news over the past hour or two has been that Tiger Woods is going to miss the cut.

It's funny. The same people who complain about too much Tiger coverage are probably the same ones who never watch unless he's in contention.


3:12 p.m. ET: Just wondering … since Tiger rented a house this week, you think he can get a prorated refund if he doesn't stick around for the final two days?

Also, in case you're reading this, TW, my accommodations in the nearby town of Ayr are quite nice, but I'm guessing yours were a tad better. I'd be happy to house-sit for you over the weekend. Just leave the key under the mat.


3:08 p.m. ET: Two hours and 10 minutes after I first wrote that Tiger Woods would miss the cut … he has finally (though unofficially) missed the cut.

Johan Edfors closed with a par on 18 to finish at 4-over. Meanwhile, Boo Weekley birdied the 16th to move to even-par.

And that means Tiger can slam the trunk -- or in his case, pack up the private jet and fly home to Florida. I would imagine his ETA out of Scotland is about 9 p.m. local time, if not sooner.


3:05 p.m. ET: E-mail from Phil in Albany, N.Y.:

What was Tiger's demeanor like while talking to reporters? Did he seem irritated or more matter-of-fact?

I would say matter-of-fact, with more than a twinge of disappointment. But he did answer all questions, doing interviews with multiple TV networks and the gathered media.

Give him credit for that, at least. There are other players who would have stormed off without speaking in a similar situation.


3:01 p.m. ET: As mentioned many times throughout the afternoon, Tiger Woods was 7-over from holes 8-13 today. Here's the breakdown:

• No. 8: Bogey
• No. 9: Bogey
• No. 10: Double-bogey
• No. 11: Par
• No. 12: Bogey
• No. 13: Double-bogey

That leads to this pretty remarkable stat from Elias Sports Bureau:

The only time Tiger has ever been at least 7-over through a six-hole period in a single round of any tournament was at the 1996 U.S. Open Championship, when he was still an amateur. Tiger finished the final six holes of the first round at 9-over; he had a quadruple-bogey, a double-bogey, two bogeys and a par. This is his first time as a professional.


2:56 p.m. ET: E-mail from Frank in Pittsburgh:

Do you think players are motivated by or enjoy watching Tiger go home early?

Neither one. I think they're surprised, but other than that? They couldn't care less. Really.

Tiger Woods missing the cut means as much to, say, Steve Marino as Elliot Saltman missing the cut. It just has no direct effect on his life. Now, if you asked me whether I thought players would rather have Tiger in the final pairing or at home for the weekend, the answer may be a little different. Publicly, most players say they love the challenge of having to beat the world's best player, but I wonder how many of them would rather have him out of their way if they were playing for a title.


2:49 p.m. ET: Love the dichotomy in reader interests right now. …

From Harrison in Parts Unknown:

No one will read your blog unless you keep talking about Tiger.

And from Bill in Salt Lake City:

Will you please stop talking about Tiger?? There are other players, too!

So … talk about Tiger … but don't talk about him. Right. Got it.


2:45 p.m. ET: Tiger Woods spoke with reporters a few minutes ago. Here are some of the highlights (or lowlights):

On his 7-over stretch of six holes from Nos. 8-13: "I was 1-under par there, and if I could have just played those holes well, I'd be fine, coming home downwind, could make some birdies coming home. I didn't do that. I hit some bad tee shots, a couple bad iron shots, didn't get it up and down. Kept making mistake after mistake."

On his overall second-round performance: "I just made mistakes. And obviously you can't make mistakes and expect to not only make the cut but also try and win a championship. You have to play clean rounds of golf, and I didn't. I made my share of mistakes out there today and didn't play a very clean card."

On his struggles at this year's majors: "I just haven't put together all four rounds, and you have to play clean in order to win a major championship. I haven't done that. You have to do that in order to win majors, and that's what I've done before on all my major wins. You have to play clean cards and I just didn't do it."


2:34 p.m. ET: If the cut line is to move to 5-over, someone will have to take a major tumble. And that somebody's name is Boo Weekley.

There are currently 74 players at 4-over or better. That means at least five players inside the number would need to drop to 5-over or worse.

The most likely candidates:

• Briny Baird: 4-over through 15
• Johan Edfors: 4-over through 15
• Bryce Molder: 4-over through 13
• Billy Mayfair: 3-over through 12

Very conceivable -- though not likely -- that each of them could drop to 5-over or worse. But that would only move the number of players to exactly 70. Those at 5-over, including Tiger Woods, would need one more player to drop.

And that's where the problem comes in.

No one still on the course is at 2-over. There are three players at 1-over, but two of them -- David Howell and Thongchai Jaidee -- are currently playing the final hole.

That just leaves ol' Boo, at 1-over with five holes to play as the final possibility to make a mess of things and move the number. Remember, though: Even if that happens, Woods, etc., will need Baird, Edfors, Molder and Mayfair to come back, as well.

It's possible, but highly unlikely.


2:30 p.m. ET: With quote machine Mark Calcavecchia on the leaderboard, Ladbrokes had him at even money to utter the quote of the week.

But that race is O-V-E-R. Tom Watson is your QOTW champion. And here it is, discussing his two birdies on the final three holes:

"At 59 years old, it's almost as good as having sex."

For his efforts, Watson will receive a plaque with the engraved comment, suitable for hanging in the bedroom. Congratulations, Tom.


2:22 p.m. ET: Getting a lot of pushback from folks out there who would like me to "talk about the leaders still on the course."

Considering no one out there is closer than 4 shots from the lead -- Stewart Cink and Mathew Goggin are both still playing at 1-under -- I won't feel too guilty for continuing to talk Tiger.

One more pet peeve: Those who maintain that I "haven't been talking enough" about certain players. OK, here we go with some mentions for those who have been overlooked due to a few major developing stories. …

Great start for J.B. Holmes, who is proving to be more than a basher.

James Kingston is 43. Who'd have thunk it?

Playing with Woods, Lee Westwood beat him by 7 strokes over the first two rounds.

Seeking a three-peat after two straight Euro Tour wins, Martin Kaymer is in good shape.

Don't sleep on Angel Cabrera, who could join the likes of Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington as a three-time major champion.

Jim Furyk always seems to be lurking, doesn't he?

It just may be Sergio Garcia's time.

If Camilo Villegas can keep playing steady golf, he may be right there at the end.

Despite recent injuries, Jeff Overton has looked sharp.

One year after Chris Wood made his way onto the leaderboard as an amateur, 16-year-old Matteo Manassero is doing the same.


2:19 p.m. ET: Tiger Woods does indeed tap in for par to close out his 74. That's hardly his worst round at the Open. In fact, he has had four that have been worse:

• 2002: Muirfield, Round 3 -- 81
• 1995: St. Andrews, Round 4 -- 78
• 1998: Royal Birkdale, Round 3 -- 77
• 1996: Royal Lytham & St. Anne's, Round 1: 75

This is the eighth round -- in 54 total rounds -- of 74 in his Open career.


2:15 p.m. ET: There's a good chance Tiger Woods needs to chip this in to make the cut. There's also a good chance he doesn't know that.

Here's his attempt … and it's close, but stays about 2 feet short and to the right.

Woods should be able to tap in from there, but that will be a second-round 74 that leaves him at 5-over par. Right now, he's on the outside looking in as far as the cut line.


2:12 p.m. ET: I asked a little while ago for your opinion on the day's biggest story.

Well, here's your chance to vote on SportsNation.

I'll keep an eye on the voting and post some results in a little while.


2:09 p.m. ET: Tiger Woods' tee shot found the hay on the right side of 18.

Here's his approach … it hits the back middle of the green and slides off the back.

He should be able to putt from there, but it will be about a 40-50 footer coming back down the slope. Not an easy birdie attempt by any means.


2:01 p.m. ET: "SportsCenter" interview. Back in a few. …


1:55 p.m. ET: Tiger Woods chips to about 2 feet on No. 17.

He'll tap in for birdie from there to move to 5-over with one hole to play.

Meanwhile, the cut line remains at 4-over with 74 players at that number or better. In order for the line to move, there needs to be five players who drop from 4-over or better to 5-over or worse.

And it may not happen.

Here are the most likely options …

• Briny Baird: 4-over through 13
• Ben Crane: 4-over through 9
• Robert Allenby: 3-over through 17
• Billy Mayfair: 3-over through 10
• Bryce Molder: 2-over through 11
• Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano: 2-over through 16

There aren't many players right on or near the cut line. Tiger needs some help, but a birdie on 18 would do the trick.


1:49 p.m. ET: Second shot for Tiger on the par-5 17th hole … bounces up to the green and rolls all the way through.

The ball stops safely in the rough just off the fringe. It would take a fairly miraculous shot to make eagle, but you've got to figure he can get up and down from there for birdie.

I'll keep you posted. …


1:46 p.m. ET: E-mail from Chris in Orlando:

What's the bigger story: Tom Watson co-leading after two rounds or Tiger Woods missing the cut?

It's really, really close. Tiger almost never misses the cut. Then again, Watson almost never contends for majors anymore.

I'm working on (hopefully) getting a SportsNation poll together to get your opinion on it.

By the way, Old Tom is currently in the interview room. I'll pass along some highlights when he's done.


1:42 p.m. ET: E-mail from Andrew in Boston:

I'd like to submit my humble observation that, with his knee injury layoff, Tiger hasn't played under tough, links Open Championship-style conditions in quite a long time. Despite his success this year, I feel that we may still be seeing some evidence of rust on his game.

I'll buy that. Then again, I'd like to submit my observation that nobody has played under tough links-style conditions in quite a long time. Not exactly like they have these kinds of tourneys on the PGA Tour. And even the Euro circuit plays only a handful of U.K. events -- and some of those, like last week's Scottish Open, aren't contested on links courses.

You can make excuses for Tiger if you'd like, but those excuses hold true for a lot of other players, as well.


1:39 p.m. ET: Um, yeah, so about all that "Tiger missing the cut" stuff. …

Woods rolls in a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 16 -- just his fifth birdie of the week -- and drops to 6-over.

He now comes to the par-5 17th hole needing a second straight birdie to have a chance to get inside the cut line. Still unsure whether the number will move from 4-over to 5 -- and we may not know until the very end of the round.

Of course, birdie isn't necessarily a given for Woods on the 17th. He only made par here yesterday.


1:29 p.m. ET: Running … out … of … time. …

Tiger makes a second straight par on No. 15, but he remains at 7-over.

There have been a handful of birdies on 16 today, and 17 is not only a birdie hole but a possible eagle opportunity. Then the last hole is playing very tough, not an easy one to birdie.

Again, the chance to make the cut is there, but still well on the outside looking in.

FYI: There are 75 players currently at 4-over or better. If six or more of them drop to 5-over or worse, the cut line will move.


1:20 p.m. ET: E-mail from Justin in Allentown, Pa.:

EXTRA!!! EXTRA!!! READ ALL ABOUT IT!!! TIGER WOODS IS HUMAN!!! So what if he misses the cut? He's allowed!

Um, sure, he's allowed … but when it's only happened a few times in his pro career, there's no, "So what?" about it.

For the record, the PGA Tour has for years credited Woods with an MC at the 1998 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, because he didn't return for the continuation of the tournament a few months later. Now it appears that doesn't count as a missed cut. Whichever way you look at it, he has failed to finish in the money in either four or five career starts. That's not very many. So when it does happen, it's very big news indeed.


1:15 p.m. ET: Are rumors of Tiger Woods' demise greatly exaggerated?

Par for Woods on No. 14 helps to stop the bleeding, but he's at a point where it's going to take more than pars to stick around for the weekend.

That said, he does still have a chance. The cut line has just recently moved to 4-over -- 76 players are at that number or better -- and won't go back to 3. There's a possibility it could even move to 5-over, which means Tiger would need to play the final four holes in 2-under. If he does it in 3-under, that would assure him a spot in the third round.

Easier said than done, of course. In 32 holes so far this week, he has posted only four birdies.


1:11 p.m. ET: E-mail from Mark in New Orleans:

Is there any factual basis for why so many people think Tiger doesn't mind playing in adverse conditions? He's not exactly distinguishing himself today, he was pretty average in the poor conditions at Bethpage, and at Muirfield a few years ago he shot 81 in the rain and wind. Do people think Tiger's good in the rain just because he says he is?

There's definitely something to be said about Tiger not being a mudder, but I'd take the stance that weather conditions tend to level the playing field more. In pristine conditions on a benign course, the best players will often shoot the best numbers. When other variables are thrown into the mix, more players have a chance of contending.


1:06 p.m. ET: Tom Watson has made about a mile's worth of putts today.

There was the long one on the first hole … and the bomb on 16 … and now about a 50-footer on the final hole.

That's a birdie for Old Tom on the final hole to shoot a wild even-par round of 70. He's back to 5-under-par and will likely be in the final pairing with Steve Marino in tomorrow's third round.

Great, great story. And you know what? Watson isn't shooting 79 tomorrow. He's going to be right in the thick of things through the weekend.


1:04 p.m. ET: E-mail from Charles in Ireland:

Missing a cut in a major hasn't been a bad sign for Tiger. The last time he MC'd in a major, he went out and won four and finished second three times in his next eight majors. His worst finish was tied for 12th in that stretch before his knee surgery.

Something tells me that information won't cheer him up very much after the round.


12:59 p.m, ET: Tiger Woods is going to miss the cut.

There you have it. Read those words again, because they've only been written five previous times since he turned pro in August of 1996.

Woods took two chips (the first rolled back to his feet) and needed two putts on the 13th hole, carding a double-bogey -- his second in four holes.

He's now 7-over for his last six holes and 7-over for the tournament. With five holes to play, he'll need to go 3-under just to have a chance of making the cut and 4-under to guarantee it.

There's still a chance, especially with the par-5 17th coming up, but the way Woods has played the past 90 minutes, it doesn't appear that it's going to happen.


12:55 p.m. ET: Tweet, tweet …

Palliser@JasonSobel: Does Tiger overprepare/out-think himself for majors?

I don't know what else to say but … no. Not even close. This is a guy who has won 14 of 'em by the age of 33. And you think he's going about it the wrong way? I'm not buying it. He's 13 months removed from one of the greatest performances we've ever seen. Two major losses in a row -- three if it doesn't happen this week -- is hardly reason to abandon ship.

Markdudley51@JasonSobel: Amen, brother! Woods is a victim of his own success; everyone loses more than they win.

There's this notion -- maybe just because he's the world's most famous athlete and we talk about him so much -- that when TW wins, he's the greatest ever and that when he loses, something is seriously wrong with his game. Sometimes it's just as simple as other guys playing better.


12:50 p.m. ET: The wheels have officially come off for Tiger Woods.

After a par on No. 11, he makes another bogey on the 12th hole and drops to 4-over for the round and 5-over for the tourney.

He's now definitely outside the cut line. He'll need to play the final six holes in 1-under to have a shot of playing the weekend, 2-under to assure himself of a spot.


12:46 p.m. ET: Tom Watson with a 15-footer on No. 17 for a share of the lead … and he misses.

Good opportunity there, but he remains one shot back.

If Old TW can birdie the final hole, he will likely play in the final pairing with Steve Marino tomorrow. A par probably means he'll play in the second-to-last twosome. A bogey drops him to maybe the fourth-to-last group.


12:41 p.m. ET: E-mail from Kevin in Chapel Hill, N.C.:

No sooner than you mention Steve Stricker is tied for the lead, he goes and bogeys eight of the next 12 holes.

Wow, I hadn't even noticed that until now, but Stricker has been riding the bogey train for a few hours now. He's currently 2-over playing the final hole. And that's after a 66 yesterday.

Somewhere, Ben Curtis just read that and said, "Well, that's not so bad."

Just another top-20 disappearing act here in Round 2.


12:35 p.m. ET: Getting dozens of "end of the world" e-mails and tweets regarding Tiger Woods.

You want him to fire Hank Haney and work with him more. You want him to hit driver off every tee and never hit driver again. You want him to become more focused and relax a little.

Let's slow down, folks. The guy owns three PGA Tour victories and two sixth-place finishes in majors so far this season. Obviously, those numbers aren't up to his own personal standards -- Woods himself has claimed that his entire career success is based on winning majors -- but it's not exactly reason to go making drastic changes, either.


12:31 p.m. ET: Haiku time from Wes in Chicago:

Calcavecchia
What a name and what a game
Booze keeps the back tame

Remember, golf fans: Aleve and beer. That's the secret.

Currently in a share of second place following a 1-under 69, Mark Calcavecchia came to the interview room afterward and was once again asked about "swing juice."

"I'm allowing myself four -- seems to be a nice round figure. It's just enough, but it's not too many," Calc maintained.

As for his favored choice here at Turnberry, he said, "I'm working on Saint Mungo's this week. It's pretty good stuff."


12:26 p.m. ET: Everybody is making putts on 16!

After Tom Watson drains his, the youngest player in the field, amateur Matteo Manassero, makes one, followed by Sergio Garcia.

I bet we could count on one hand the number of times an entire threesome has holed putts of 10 feet or longer on the same green so far this week.


12:21 p.m. ET: It has been a tale of two rounds for Tom Watson.

After making a birdie on the opening hole, he bogeyed five of his next six and there was some thought we may not see him back on the leaderboard at all.

Instead, Old TW has come back to play his last nine holes in 3-under, including a bomb of a putt from about 75 feet for birdie on No. 16 just seconds ago.

Great moment for Watson. Sort of reminds me of the long one he rolled home at Olympia Fields in 2003.

He's now back to 4-under for the tourney, just one shot off the lead once again.


12:19 p.m. ET: Some other Tiger-related streaks currently on the line:

• Ten consecutive cuts made in majors (finished in the top 10 in nine of them)
• Thirty-eight consecutive cuts made overall
• Finished in the top 10 in 18 consecutive stoke-play events, the longest streak since Byron Nelson in 1946-49


12:13 p.m. ET: The good news? Tiger Woods just made par. The bad news? It was on his second ball.

That's a double-bogey for Woods on No. 10, and he has now dropped 4 strokes in his last three holes.

The three-time Open champ currently sits at 4-over. There are 79 players at 3-over or better, with the top 70 and ties making the cut.

Very important final eight holes coming up here for Woods.


12:08 p.m. ET: Tiger Woods hit a provisional off the tee on No. 10. Never found the first one and will be playing his second drive from left of the fairway.

Forget getting into contention for now. Woods needs to avoid missing the cut.

Right now, the cut line is at 3-over, though I could very well see it moving to 4-over before the end of the day.

Tiger has missed the cut in only one major since turning pro -- the 2006 U.S. Open, just nine weeks after his father's death. In his professional career, he has made the cut in 222 of 227 starts.


12:01 p.m. ET: "SportsCenter" interview. Back in a few. …


11:58 a.m. ET: More issues for Tiger Woods.

Drives it way right on No. 10. Thinks he found it buried in the tall stuff … but no, that's not his ball.

Oh, and it's starting to pour again. Good times.


11:51 a.m. ET: Telling stat for Tiger Woods during his major championship appearances so far this year:

In 171 holes of majors golf this year, Tiger has made birdie or eagle 31 times. He has given the shot back the very next hole eight times, including the eighth hole today (after a birdie on No. 7).

E-mail from Miller in Houston:

What is going on with Tiger? As a huge fan, it is frustrating to watch the same stuff in majors, over and over: not being able to close the last four holes; and he has this uncanny ability to follow [the] momentum of a birdie with some incredibly horrible shots to give the birdies back. This has happened at EVERY major this year.

This is a player widely regarded as the world's mentally toughest golfer -- not only right now, but ever. Nothing rattles him, nothing throws him off … except, something is affecting him at times this year. Wish I knew what it was. Fact is, I don't even think Tiger knows what it is. Certainly doesn't seem like a coincidence, because it has happened so frequently.

Whatever the case, he needs to rectify it soon.


11:33 a.m. ET: Um, can I take a mulligan on that earlier post?

Here are the results so far:

Haggis Video Blog: 298 votes
Don't Eat It: 1 vote (me)

Haiku from David in Parts Unknown:

Sobel eats haggis
Posts video of it, too!
Best live blog ever.

Wow. Tough to turn down that request.


11:29 a.m. ET: What's the opposite of a bounce-back? A drop-down?

After the birdie on 7, Tiger Woods can't convert that par attempt on No. 8.

That's a bogey, which drops him back to even-par for the day and 1-over for the tourney.


11:22 a.m. ET: After a birdie for Young TW on the par-5 seventh hole, he's now in trouble on No. 8.

Woods just blasted out of the bunker and has a lengthy par attempt remaining to stay at even-par for the tournament.

Interestingly enough, Tiger owns the same stats I posted from Sergio Garcia through seven holes: 5 of 5 fairways, 5 of 7 greens in regulation and 11 total putts.


11:12 p.m. ET: Throughout yesterday's opening round -- and afterward -- the reigning theme was that previous Open champions and those with plenty of major experience were finding the most success so far.

Not so much anymore.

E-mail from James in Parts Unknown:

So much for having an experience in the course or in links golf to do well at the British Open. Steve Marino, who is playing in the Open for the first time as an alternate is leading at the moment. Another first timer from the other side of the planet, Kenichi Kuboya, is not doing too shabby, either.

Oh, boy-a, Kuboya finished with a second-round 2-over 72 to enter the weekend at 3-under. And yes, this totally flies in the face of the notion that experience is so important at this tournament. Wonder if this will hold up for two more rounds, though.


11:05 p.m. ET: Tweet, tweet …

CSchultz216@JasonSobel: Will we be receiving an in-depth bap analysis today?

Despite many readers' pleas for me to partake in some haggis for lunch, I went with a delicious hot carved salt beef baguette instead. (The bap is the same thing, just on a different type of roll.) Really good stuff. Basically, just brisket on a hero roll. Highly recommended.

As for the haggis, keep trying. Remember: It's made from the lung, liver and heart of a sheep. Yum. That said, if enough of you talk me into it, I'll give it a go.

And if you ask really nicely, maybe I'll turn it into a video blog. Maybe.

Maybe not, too.


10:58 p.m. ET: Maybe it was the live blog of the live blog that shifted the earth on its axis, but some things are totally upside-down here at Turnberry.

As mentioned, Camilo Villegas is enjoying a solid, steady tournament so far, while Tom Watson is all over the place.

Old TW finished the front nine in 3-over 38 and has just three pars in 10 holes so far. His scorecard so far: birdie-bogey-par-bogey-bogey-bogey-bogey-par-birdie-par.

Through it all, he's 2-under for the tourney, in a share of ninth place. Still very much in the mix.


10:51 a.m. ET: Ho-hum. Tiger Woods just made another ... yawn ... par.

That's six pars in six holes for Woods. No mistakes.

Don't expect the rain to faze him much. It flustered him on the greens at the U.S. Open, but if this softens 'em up here at Turnberry, he can go flag-hunting a little bit. Considering Tiger can hit a higher ball than most others in the field, he may attempt to take that approach rather than hitting low-running approach shots.


10:47 a.m. ET: Wind? Eh, that's nice here at the British Open. Sideways rain? Much better.

All of a sudden, the wet stuff just started coming down in buckets at Turnberry.

Break out your umbrellas, folks. It's starting to look like Bethpage out here.


10:42 a.m. ET: Told you this whole Colin Montgomerie/Sandy Lyle story won't go away anytime soon.

Prior to last week's Scottish Open, Monty was asked about the possibility of employing Lyle as an assistant captain at next year's Ryder Cup.

"I met with Sandy yesterday, we had a chat," he said. "And I haven't decided as to who or what, depending on who makes the team and who doesn't make the team, and we'll select that vice captain sometime during the qualification system. But I haven't made up my mind."

After a second-round 74 today, Monty was asked about it. Again.

Q: Has your mind been distracted by the comments made by Sandy Lyle?

Colin Montgomerie: Very much so, yes.

Q: What's your reaction to what he has had to say?

Colin Montgomerie: I thought it was rather amusing when he said that he hopes it doesn't jeopardize his vice-captaincy position. I thought that was very, very funny.

And I think that quote is very, very funny. Let's put it this way: One random live blog reader has a better chance of winning a contest to be Monty's assistant than Sandy Lyle does. There's zero chance he will work himself back into Monty's good graces.


10:35 a.m. ET: Speaking of Ian Poulter, we don't have to wait for his Twitter feed -- or be limited to 140 characters -- for his take on what happened:

"I hit my last good shot on the third yesterday. Seriously, there were no decent golf shots out there. If you're going to play as bad as I played for two days, it doesn't matter what golf course you're playing. It could have been the easiest municipal down the road and I would have missed the cut. It was horrible."

Why don't you tell us how you really feel?

Some more from Poulter ...

"It's just very disappointing. I'm going out there trying to win the golf tournament and I don't find the middle of the club face for two days. I was playing great golf coming into the week, feeling good and loving the golf course. I could have had a set of spades in my bag this week and I still wouldn't have found the middle of the greens. You can only but laugh."

Poulter gets a lot of attention for his clothes, and I've heard some criticisms this week that maybe he was too worried about his attire and not paying enough attention to his game. That's ridiculous. Stupid notion, really. I mean, where were these criticisms when he finished runner-up at last year's Open or this year's Players Championship? There weren't any.

Clothes might make the man, but they don't make him make or miss the cut.


10:32 a.m. ET: Tweet, tweet ...

robrosson@jasonsobel Which Trunkslam is more suprising: Mahan, Ogilvy, or Poulter?

I had each of 'em in my pre-tourney top-10 this week, but they can all share a cab to the airport right now, as they'll finish well off the cut line.

Not sure one is more surprising than either of the others, but I know a lot of people who were banking on Poulter, who was last year's runner-up, to be in contention once again this year.

Nothing surprises me anymore at majors, but this is a very disappointing result for each of these three players.


10:27 a.m. ET: Spanning the globe with Cowherd. Back in a few ...


10:23 a.m. ET: I've said it dozens of times: Camilo Villegas is not only one of the better players in the world, he's at the top of the list of the most exciting, due to his propensity for making lots of eagles and birdies and, well, some "others."

So far, though, Camilo is playing some uncharacteristically steady golf. He's made 17 pars in 24 holes and is currently 1-over for the day through six.

That leaves him in a share of fifth place at 3-under. Remember: This is a guy who shot 65 in last year's second round when Birkdale was playing tough, and he finished with birdies on four of his last five holes yesterday, so don't be surprised to see him go low coming in later this afternoon.


10:19 a.m. ET: Two years ago at the Tour Championship, Mark Calcavecchia held court in the interview room at East Lake GC and unfurled this gem:

"Tiger is tired after two weeks. I've got him by 80 pounds and 17 years. How do you think I'm doing after eight out of nine? He could run from here to downtown. I couldn't run out of a burning house."

Well, right now it's Calc who's on fire. At 4-under for the tournament, he nearly holed out for eagle on the par-4 14th hole, as the ball curled precipitously past the hole. Should be a kick-in birdie from there, which will move the 1989 Open champ into a share of the lead at 5-under.


10:13 a.m. ET: E-mail from Joe at work:

How about Sergio Garcia? He has finished in the top-five at three of the last four Open Championships and is now 1-under for the day. Could this finally be his time?

Well, he was my pre-tournament pick, so I say yes.

After finishing birdie-double-birdie-bogey yesterday, Garcia has carded two birdies and a bogey through seven holes today.

He's hit every fairway today, 5-of-7 greens in regulation and -- most importantly -- has taken just 11 putts. In fact, the world's most maligned putter hasn't had a 3-putt yet this week.


10:02 a.m. ET: Haven't mentioned the Big Fijian much the past few days, even though he's playing some inspired golf.

Cruising along at 1-under for the day through five holes, though, Vijay Singh just gacked a 2-foot par attempt on No. 6. He's always been a suspect putter, but that was dreadful.

The double bogey drops him to 1-under overall. He'll be kicking himself over that one later tonight.


9:59 a.m. ET: "Old Tom" and "Young Mark" are heading in opposite directions.

After starting with a birdie, Tom Watson has bogeyed four of the last five holes and now sits at 2-under for the tournament. So much for wanting the tougher conditions, huh?

Meanwhile, Mark Calcavecchia -- at 49, a decade younger than Watson -- is 1-under for the day and 4-under overall, in a share of second place with Stewart Cink and Mathew Goggin.


9:55 a.m. ET: E-mail from Matt in Parts Unknown:

Michael Campbell is now 13-over through 12 holes, including a disastrous quadruple-bogey 7 on the par-3 sixth. Unbelievably, he started off with a birdie. Looks like a great Ocho Cinco candidate.

Unfortunately -- or fortunately, depending on how you look at it -- it doesn't appear that's going to happen. I spoke with reporters who talked to Cambo before the week and he reported that he's feeling good and was looking forward to this tournament, but if the rumor is right, he has just WD'd from the event.

Campbell has been battling a shoulder injury since last year.

If I hear further news, I'll let you know.


9:47 a.m. ET: Two holes, two pars for Tiger Woods so far.

As mentioned, he spoke yesterday about the need to eliminate mistakes from his round. He's done that so far. No need to try to go low today. He'd take 16 more pars and could very well be top-20 -- if not higher -- by the end of the day.


9:44 a.m. ET: Blog jinx!

I swear, just as that last entry was posted, I looked up to catch Kenichi Kuboya finishing off a double-bogey 6 on the 13th hole.

That drops him to 3-under, tied for seventh place, and leaves Steve Marino in sole possession of the lead.

Just 45 minutes ago, there was a four-way tie. Marino is probably taking a nap somewhere right now while putting distance between himself and the field.


9:39 a.m. ET: During the Masters live blog, I solicited lame Jim Nantz winning calls based on players' last names. Well, if CBS was doing this week's coverage, here's guessing this one would be in the mix:

"Kuboya? Oh, boy-a!"

Or maybe this ...

"Kenichi? Yes, he can!"

Either way, they're both awful ... and very appropriate right now, as Kuboya currently shares the lead with Steve Marino at 5-under, holding steady with an even-par round through 12 holes today.


9:28 a.m. ET: Another live blog of the live blog. Internet explodes. Planets collide. World ends.

Yawn. Been there, done that.


9:20 a.m. ET: Now on the tee ... Tiger Woods.

Here's guessing the game's No. 1-ranked player is much happier about today's conditions than another sunny, calm day. Had we had a repeat of Round 1, Woods likely would have needed to go low -- 67 or 68 maybe -- to get back into serious contention. With the tougher course, though, he may need only an even-par 70 to remain in decent shape entering the weekend. It's difficult out here, but hardly impossible.

In yesterday's post-round interview session, Tiger claimed, "I made a few mistakes" three separate times. The key to today's round will be eliminating those mistakes.

A few reader notes on Woods before we move on ...

From Shawn in Mundare, Alberta:

I did a quick bit of research looking at Tiger Woods' record in majors at par-70, -71 and -72 courses as a pro. Here is the breakdown:

• Par-70: 2-for-18 (2002 U.S. Open and 2007 PGA Championship)

• Par-71: 2-for-9 (2000 U.S. Open and 2008 U.S. Open)

• Par-72: 10-for-21 (48 percent)

In particular, all three of Tiger's British Open wins have been at par-72s (3-for-3) and he is 0-for-8 otherwise.

Great research. Of course, Turnberry is playing to a par-70 this week. Bad news for Young TW.

And just in case you want to keep things on the lighter side, here's a limerick from Craig in Parts Unknown:

Tiger has the Open in sight

But his chances don't seem too bright

How can he win?

It's always a sin

Driving 50 yards to the right

He hit three drivers in yesterday's round and missed the fairway each time. Not now, though, as Woods splits the fairway with an iron on the first hole.


9:15 a.m. ET: E-mail from Erin in Fort Worth, Texas:

Travis: Don't know the last time you tried to get pregnant. Unless you are Bristol Palin, it's not usually a one and done kind of thing (some studies show that it takes, on average, 6-9 months of trying in order to get pregnant). Sure, it would be great if they could plan the pregnancies so they didn't interfere with the golf career, but in the real world, that's just not possible. After months and months of trying, I don't think there is any way the wife of a borderline player would say, "Let's not try this month, just in case you qualify for the U.S. Open."

I do believe that Travis and Erin would make the perfect couple, don't you think? They would agree on everything, get along famously and have a terrific, lasting relationship.

Perhaps that's our new motto ...

The Live Blog: Bringing couples together through golf writing.


9:13 a.m. ET: Bogey for Old TW on the par-3 fourth hole and he drops to 4-under, one behind the leaders.

I still maintain that if Watson doesn't play well these next three days, it's not because of nerves or age, but just an overall lack of form.

After yesterday's round, he talked about shooting an upcoming instructional video that is taking up most of his free time. If he wins this week, sales will be through the roof.


9:05 a.m. ET: E-mail from Ross in Iowa:

Now here's a stat worth blogging about: There are more top 30 golfers in the bottom 20 positions than there are in the top 20 positions.

Not exactly. But it's close.

There are five top 30 guys in the current top 20, just four in the bottom 20.

Steve Stricker (No. 6), Camilo Villegas (12), Retief Goosen (23), Vijay Singh (10) and Lee Westwood (17) are each in contention.

Lucas Glover (No. 19), Hunter Mahan (26), Geoff Ogilvy (7) and Ian Poulter (18) are each near the bottom of the leaderboard.


9:01 a.m. ET: E-mail from Bob in Boston:

Well, I'm stuck here in my cubicle for the day, but I'm not worried one bit. Why? Jason's on it.

Um, have I mentioned we have a theme song?


8:58 a.m. ET: Coming off his second victory of the season at last week's John Deere Classic, Steve Stricker followed an opening three pars with a birdie on No. 4 and is now in a four-way share of the lead at 5-under.

Based on his recent win and past two performances in this tourney -- a T-7 and a T-8 -- Strick has to feel good about his chances right now.


8:55 a.m. ET: How difficult is the course playing today? Try this stat on for size ...

Jim Furyk, playing with Padraig Harrington and Geoff Ogilvy, made birdie on the 15th hole. It is the first birdie of the day for this threesome that owns a combined five major titles.


8:49 a.m. ET: E-mail from Brad in Pittsburgh:

Miguel Angel Jimenez once squandered a first-round 64 by going out the next day in 39, just to know what it was like. He is ... the most interesting man in the world.

Haha. Love it. Allow me to add a few ...

He checks the wind by letting his ponytail fly in the breeze ...

He smokes victory cigars just to intimidate his opponents ...

He stole Fred Couples' gait, just because he thought it was cool ...

Miguel Angel Jimenez is ... the most interesting man in the world.

Oh, and he also shot a second-round 73. He's now at 3-under, currently in a share of eighth place.


8:44 a.m. ET: The Ian Poulter question has been answered ... and he ain't gonna like it.

Courtesy of ESPN stats guru David Bearman:

Ian Poulter is tied for dead last. He finished runner-up last year at Royal Birkdale. At the Open Championship since World War II, no player (that did not WD) has ever gone from second one year to dead last the next. Steve Elkington withdrew in 2003 after his '02 tie for second.

Leads to this e-mail from Luke in Parts Unknown:

There's a chance Greg Norman could finish runner-up to DFL this year after being runner-up to runner-up Poulter last year.

After yesterday's 77, the Shark is currently 2-over through four holes today.


8:37 a.m. ET: E-mail from Travis in Parts Unknown:

Seriously, what's the deal with golfers not being able to plan the births of their children around major championships? I mean, come on ... it's not that hard. When your wife finally convinces you to have a child, just add nine to the current month and if that is April, June, July, or August ... don't do it. In my job, I try to plan things around my busy seasons. Why can't golfers do the same? There are eight other months to have kids. Plus, if Ross Fisher is on the back nine on Sunday with a chance to win and he gets "the call," it's going to be a difficult decision. If he chooses to stay, his wife will never forgive him.

I find it interesting that every player -- from Phil Mickelson at the 1999 U.S. Open to Tiger Woods at the 2007 U.S. Open to Ross Fisher this week -- has maintained that he would leave the major championship if his wife went into labor ... and yet, none of them have actually had to make such a decision.

Just once, I'd love to hear a player say, "You know what? My wife is pregnant, but I'm not a doctor. What am I gonna do, deliver the kid myself? This is a major. I'm gonna play, and I'm gonna try to win. I think my unborn child would appreciate that a lot more later in life than the fact that I was sitting there during the birth."

That's not necessarily what I would do, mind you; I'd just like to hear a player make that statement.


8:35 a.m. ET: Blog jinx!

Well, Old TW held the solo lead for about 30 seconds there ... until he missed his par attempt on No. 2.

Watson now drops back to 5-under, in a share of the lead once again with Kenichi Kuboya and Steve Marino.


8:29 a.m. ET: In yesterday's edition of the live blog, I raised the hypothetical possibility that Tom Watson could win this year's British Open, then still have his eligibility run out next year at age 60.

Turns out, that isn't the case.

The R&A has instituted a 10-year exemption, meaning that any player 50 or older who wins this tournament would be eligible for another decade, no matter his age.

Check out No. 4 on this page for full details.

So yes, if Old TW can win this week, he would be eligible for this event through 2019.

And he just took sole possession of the lead, as Kenichi Kuboya made bogey on the ninth hole.


8:22 a.m. ET: Old Tom is back to his old self.

Tom Watson begins his second round by holing a 30-foot double-breaker for birdie. Great putt. He is now at 6-under, in a share of the lead with Kenichi Kuboya.

What a strange pairing at the top. One of the greatest British Open players in the history of the tournament and a guy whom most of you had never heard of a few hours ago.


8:18 a.m. ET: E-mail from Brian in North Carolina:

Looks like the fearless leader Monty will miss another major cut.

Sincerely,

Sandy Lyle

I'm telling you, no story -- not Padraig Harrington's quest for a third straight title or Tom Watson's rise up the leaderboard -- has earned more attention in the U.K. this week than the spat between Monty and Lyle. The Ryder Cup drives readership over here, and the writers were salivating over the furor created by two of Scotland's most heralded pros.

Don't expect this one to end pretty, either. Prior to last week's Scottish Open, Monty spoke with Lyle about becoming an assistant captain for next year. Now they're barely on speaking terms, if at all, airing each other's dirty laundry in the press. And the local folks can't get enough of it.

Montgomerie went 71-74 and may or may not make the cut. Lyle shot 75-73 and is three shots further back.


8:10 a.m. ET: When you own five British Open titles and have played in this thing 32 times, your nerves don't get rattled too easily.

As if to express this point, Tom Watson just started his round by poking his opening tee shot directly down the center of the first fairway.

Even though the original TW played terrific golf in pristine conditions during Round 1, I think the tougher course actually favors more experienced golfers. Expect Old Tom to maneuver his way around this course on guile and intelligence. He knows Turnberry better than anyone else in the field, which should prove to be beneficial today.

And it appears Watson himself feels the same way.

"I'd take a chance in a howling gale," he said after yesterday's round. "Whether the tournament record is in jeopardy, it's anybody's guess. Obviously, it depends on the weather. And I think we're due for some wind."

That's a wise, old man right there. And one who knows what it takes to play solid golf in these conditions.


8:04 a.m. ET: Padraig Harrington came into this tournament with no expectations ... and he's getting just what he expected.

After an opening-round 69, the two-time defending champion is now 4-over for the tourney and 5-over for the day with four holes to play.

He's trying to tie the record of Peter Thomson, Robert Ferguson, Jamie Anderson and "Young" Tom Morris as the only players to win three consecutive Open titles.


7:57 a.m. ET: E-mail from David in Boone, N.C.:

You said Ben Curtis is probably on the wrong side of the cut line. But you also said you think Steve Marino will be leading at the end of the day. Is there no 10-shot rule for the Open Championship?

No, there isn't. It's strictly top-70 and ties.

By the way, getting a lot of questions already about the projected cut line. With about half of the field yet to tee off, it's still fairly impossible to even predict a number. Let's wait at least another 3-4 hours before we start guessing about the number and which players will be in or out.


7:49 a.m. ET: Has a player ever finished runner-up at a major championship one year and DFL -- dead freakin' last -- the next?

I'll have to do some research and get back to you on that, but Ian Poulter may be well on his way to reaching such notoriety. After playing so well at Royal Birkdale last year, he opened with a 75 yesterday and is currently 8-over through 14 holes today.

He came out in Round 1 wearing a Union Jack sweater vest and tartan trousers, but that was apparently the only thing he was pleased about during the day. Last night, he updated his Twitter status:

@ianjamespoulter sorry folks played absolutely shocking today never hit 1 shot that i was happy with, very strange. good job 2morrow is another day.

His wardrobe is a bit more subdued today -- royal blue sweater with lavender slacks and a white wool cap -- but the result is the same. Right now, he's tied for last with Jaco Ahlers at 13-over-par.


7:42 a.m. ET: Good stuff from ESPN stats guru David Bearman ...

Steve Marino hasn't exactly been successful at majors before. Entering this week, he had played eight rounds over three events, making one cut and never breaking 73.

Here are his best major scores:

• 2009 British Open (Round 1): 67

• 2009 British Open (Round 2): 68

• 2008 U.S. Open (Round 2): 73

• 2008 PGA Championship (Round 1): 73

Here's some of what Marino had to say after his second round:

On playing in his first British Open: "I've really enjoyed myself here, I love the golf course. I love the challenge that it presents. You have to drive it straight, and most importantly, you have to stay patient and stay positive out there, because once you start getting down on yourself and thinking negatively, it will go bad real quick."

On getting into the field at the last-minute: "I replaced Shingo Katayama, and I found out Sunday morning. I was at the John Deere. I found out Wednesday that I was second alternate. And then I was planning on coming over here, especially when I think Phil [Mickelson] withdrew on Thursday. I didn't have any warm clothes. I didn't have a passport. I had to fly my dad to my house in Florida so he could get [my] passport and FedEx it to me at the John Deere. I wasn't even expecting to play in this tournament. I didn't think I was going to be an alternate, let alone be playing. So when I found out I got in, I was super excited."

On making the PGA Tour through Q-school: "I felt like I pretty much belonged out here from day one. But some guys are really good players and they just can't seem to get over that hump. So that was really important for me. I know guys down there playing the mini tours in Florida who are really good golfers, and they just can't seem to get over that hump. I didn't want to be like that. I wanted to, you know, kind of fulfill my dreams and play on the PGA Tour."


7:37 a.m. ET: Tweet, tweet ...

kiagiri@JasonSobel Goosen (US Open '01,'04) has a knack for matching Els' majors (US '94,'97, #britishopen '02) 7 yrs later.

Love this stat. Call it the seven-year itch ... or hitch, in this case.

On the seventh anniversary of each of Ernie Els' first two major titles, his buddy Retief Goosen has claimed the victory. We're now at the seventh anniversary of the Big Easy's third and last major win and the Goose is faring well so far, at 2-under for the tournament and 1-over for the day through 15 holes.


7:31 a.m. ET: E-mail from Matt in Atlanta:

Don't sleep on Ross Fisher, who just shot a 68 and is 3-under for the tourney.

As we learned at the U.S. Open ... never, ever sleep on Ross Fisher.

He was right in it until the end at Bethpage and could be this week, too -- if he doesn't have to leave.

Reminiscent of Phil Mickelson at Pinehurst in '99 and Sean O'Hair last month at the U.S. Open, Fisher's wife, Jo, is expecting the couple's first child any day now. And like the other two, the guy nicknamed "Fish" has vowed to withdraw from the tournament should she go into labor before Monday.

"Hopefully, she'll hold on for three more days. I hope to be there at the birth," he said prior to the opening round. "Obviously, I'd love to play all four rounds in the Open. It is the best tournament in the world."

Fisher reportedly has a plane on standby that will deliver him to his London home should Jo go into labor over the next three days.


7:19 a.m. ET: If it wasn't for Miguel Angel Jimenez, Ben Curtis would have gotten himself Pamplinged.

Allow me to explain. By making birdie on his final hole in the opening round, Jimenez shot 64, which was a stroke better than Curtis. Had he missed, that would have meant a share of the 18-hole lead for Curtis ... and it would have meant he could have shared Rod Pampling's dubious mark today.

Ten years ago at Carnoustie, Pampling held the opening-round lead with a 71, only to miss the cut one day later after shooting 86.

Curtis suffered a nearly similar fate today. It started benignly enough, with a birdie on the first hole, but he followed with six bogeys and a double in his next eight holes en route to a 10-over 80 that will likely leave the 2003 champ on the wrong side of the cut line.

Where did it all go wrong? Check out the stats ...

Round 1:

• Driving distance: 306.5 yards

• Fairways hit: 10/14

• Greens in regulation: 16

• Total putts: 31

Round 2:

• Driving distance: 262.0 yards

• Fairways hit: 8/14

• Greens in regulation: 6

• Total putts: 32

Anytime a player hits 10 fewer greens in reg than the day before, his score is gonna severely suffer.


7:09 a.m. ET: Everybody hop on the Kenichi Kuboya bandwagon.

He's now started birdie-par-par-birdie, playing his last 10 holes going back to No. 13 yesterday in 8-under-par. That puts him at 7-under for a 2-shot lead over Steve Marino and Tom Watson.

From his bio in the tournament player guide:

"Learned the golf at his father's driving range. Under the strong influence of his father, Kuboya started playing golf at the age of 10."

Excuse me for cringing. Anytime I hear "strong influence" and "father" in the same sentence, I get flashbacks of those Marc O'Hair stories. Hope I'm wrong.

Whatever the case, Kuboya is proving to be quite good at "the golf."


7:04 a.m. ET: First tweet of the day ...

mwmiller20@JasonSobel Some homeless guy is [-5]. Oh, wait, that's Steve Marino. He looks like he's going to shovel his driveway, not play golf.

That's rough. You make the guy sound like an extra from Happy Gilmore's gallery just because he wore a wool cap.

I ran into Marino on Wednesday and we had the following exchange, which should provide plenty of insight into his performance ...

Me: What's up, dude?

Him: Hey, man. How you doing?

Me: Good. You?

Him: Good.

Being the keen journalist that I am, of course, I translated "good" to mean, "Well, I feel really confident in my game this week and believe that I have the talent and mindset to contend for this championship."

Playing in his first career Open, Marino fired a 67 on Thursday, then followed it up with a 68 today that included four birdies and an eagle on the par-5 17th. Not bad for a guy who was an alternate until this past weekend, getting into the field only when Shingo Katayama bowed out due to injury.

If I was a betting man -- and you never know, I might be -- I'd say right now that Marino will be the 36-hole leader when the round is complete. Like I wrote earlier, tougher conditions are expected to come through here this afternoon, so expect scores to soar even higher.


7 a.m. ET: Just when we thought global warming had robbed the Open Championship of its charm ... just when we thought Mother Nature might have taken a leisurely summer vacation ... just when we started to believe scoring records would fall ...

The Open is back, baby.

Here at Turnberry, it's intermittently spitting rain and the wind is finally blowing, with even gustier conditions expected to come through this afternoon. And the players are feeling it. Short-sleeve golf shirts have been covered by sweaters and heavy jackets; baseball-style caps have been replaced by wool hats.

The effect of the weather is apparent on the leaderboard, too. Some of the Round 1 contenders have seen precipitous falls from the top.

Opening-round leader Miguel Angel Jimenez is ... the most interesting man in the world ... and he's also 5-over through 10 holes.

Jim Furyk opened with a 67; he's 3-over today. Ernie Els opened with a 69; he's 3-over today. Rory McIlroy opened with a 69; he's 5-over today. Paul Casey opened with a 68; he's 6-over today. Mike Weir opened with a 67; he's 8-over today. Ben Curtis opened with a 65; he's 10-over today.

You get the picture. After a brief reprieve, this is finally starting to feel like the challenging test of golf it's supposed to be.

That doesn't mean there aren't scores to be had out here. Steve Marino climbed into a share of second place with a 2-under 68. And some guy named Daniel Gaunt has the round of the day so far, finishing one stroke better.

Meanwhile, the man at the top is none other than Kenichi Kuboya. What? You didn't pick him this week? After playing his final six holes in 6-under on Thursday, the 37-year-old Japan native opened with a birdie on his first hole today and is now the sole leader at 6-under.

With the Mechanic's Spafro ponytail blowing in the wind, it's bound to be a fun afternoon here at Turnberry. So lock yourself into the cubicle, ignore all work, crank up our theme song and follow along here on the live blog throughout the day. As always, send all questions, comments, suggestions and creative gestures to britishopenblog@gmail.com or tweet me at @JasonSobel. You may now swing away ...

Jason Sobel | email

Golf Editor, ESPN.com
Jason Sobel, who joined ESPN in 1997, earned four Sports Emmy awards as a member of ESPN's Studio Production department. He became ESPN.com's golf editor in July 2004.