Commentary

Masters Live Blog: Round 2

Originally Published: April 11, 2008
By Jason Sobel | ESPN.com

Throughout this week, ESPN.com golf editor Jason Sobel will be live blogging from the Masters, bringing you inside information and analysis from Augusta National Golf Club. Refresh this page often to keep track of all the entries during each round.

Have a question or comment for Sobel? E-mail him at mastersblog@gmail.com.

Round 1 blog
Par 3 blog

7:30 p.m.: Five sandwiches down, one to go. But I'm going to eat it outside, far away from the glow of the computer screen, after I close out the Live Blog for the day. Thanks for all the e-mails (we definitely went into quadruple digits today) and comments. If I didn't respond, keep trying.

Round 3 of the Masters Live Blog begins Saturday at, oh, let's go with 2 p.m. ET. That work for everyone? See you then ...

7:28 p.m.: Par. Of. Life. Tiger Woods just made one of the better par saves you'll ever see on the final hole to finish with a 71 and sit at 1-under going into the weekend.

Before you ask, I'll beat you to it: Yes, Tiger still has a chance to win this thing. Weather conditions -- rain tonight, with 20-25 mph gusting winds over the weekend -- are going to make the course longer and will hinder the ability to shoot good scores, so if Woods (or anyone else 6-8 shots off the lead) can post a 68 or a 69 Saturday, I think they'll be just fine.

7:26 p.m.: Fred Couples on missing the cut:

    "To make cuts, to be honest with you, I don't consider that great of a deal. Playing well in this tournament, I think, is my goal. And even as well as I played last week, you know, I think I set my sights a little high yesterday and I went out and I struggled. ... Today my goal was certainly to make this cut. ... I'm not going to make it; I'm kind of disappointed in that. But I'm really disappointed with the way I played."

7:23 p.m.: Tiger Woods' third shot -- yes, his third shot -- on the par-4 18th hits above the hole and spins back ... and hits Stuart Appleby's ball. That one was going to be close. Now Tiger has a putt of 8-10 feet for par to remain at 1-under. That's huge.

7:17 p.m.: E-mail from Scott in Livermore, Calif.:

    So, if Arron Oberholser shoots anything 72 or better tomorrow, can we automatically give him the award for Best Golfer Not Playing the Rest of the Year?

He already has it locked up. I posted this Q and A with him Thursday, but it's worth posting again after he shot a second-round 70 to move to 3-under -- with a share of eighth place entering the weekend:

    Q: Are you completely healed from all your problems?
    A: No. This is my last tournament. I'm going to take two months off. And I've got a medical for next year. I don't know what I'm going to do, but it's no fun playing golf like this.

    Q: What is it now?
    A: The hand isn't healed up completely, the shoulder isn't right and my neck is bothering me. Other than that, I'm great.

    Q: Can you do anything surgically?
    A: No, this is -- surgery is always a last resort. This is something where I just need some rest. The doctor who did my surgery gave me some bad advice, told me that -- he didn't understand what a golfer has to do with his left hand to hold a club, and that's where the surgery was. It was right in the palm of my left hand where I hold the golf club. I came back too early, because I thought I could, and I'm just -- I can play one round of golf, I might even be able to play two decent rounds of golf, but to play three, four consecutive and then to play two, three weeks in a row for six days a week, I can't do it.

Pretty unreal what Oberholser is doing right now, considering he "might even be able to play two decent rounds of golf." If he contends on the weekend, it'll be an awesome story.

7:09 p.m.: E-mail from Neil in Ogallala, Neb.:

    I work at a 911 dispatch center. After taping on the green construction paper and declaring myself the new Masters champion, the guys I work with (who, by the way, have Tasers and handcuffs) looked at me kinda funny. So, I immediately attempted to mollify them by saying, "What a stupid I am." That didn't seem to help. I keep overhearing words like "protective" and "custody". Now I'm thinking I should've just stuck with the sandwiches.

I haven't mollified a thing all day, so at least you've got that going for you ... which is nice.

Something a little strange in that Nebraska water, wouldn't you say?

Speaking of stuff in the water, I've been remiss in not posting this quote from a piece about the Milton, Fla., players by Scott Michaux in the Augusta Chronicle the other day:

    "We've got a joke around here that it's the water," said J.J. Dunn, the pro at Milton's Tanglewood Golf and Country Club. "Either you turn out to be a good athlete or you end with some sort of sickness because there is a lot of debate around here about air and water quality."

Let's just say Boo Weekley, Heath Slocum and Bubba Watson won this little game of risk/reward. Others, not so much.

6:55 p.m.: Wait a minute -- Justin Rose just made an 8 at the 15th hole? Oh yeah, I've played with guys like that before. They take nine shots with their wedge alone, then say, "Eh, just put me down for an 8."

I just don't play 'em for cash.

6:47 p.m.: Hey, I've been looking for my wedge game, but I just found it. Justin Rose borrowed it on the 15th hole!

Tell ya what, J-Ro. You keep it. Seriously, hold onto it for awhile. I don't need it back anytime soon.

Seriously, though -- two wedge shots into the hazard and another that came close? How does a guy lose it so quickly? At least Rick Ankiel could switch positions.

6:36 p.m.: What a stupid I am. Again.

From Daniel in Parts Unknown:

    I saw where you mentioned that the field's average in GIR so far this week is 70 percent. It looks to me like you have mistaken fairways hit for GIR. On Tiger Woods' scorecard at the official Masters Web site, it says the following:

    • Greens Hit: Woods -- 63 percent; Field -- 58.95 percent
    • Fairways Hit: Woods -- 68 percent; Field -- 70.55 percent

Moral of the story: If you see any numbers in this blog, just ignore 'em.

Staying up late + Waking up early x Many hours of live blogging = Total lack of concentration.

In related news, I'm starting to understand how Roberto De Vicenzo could screw up the math.

6:32 p.m.: Fred Couples shoots 76-72 and, maybe, possibly, probably misses the cut at the Masters for the first time in 24 tries. He's doing an interview right now; I'll update with quotes if/when I get 'em.

6:24 p.m.: E-mail from Brendan in Cranford, N.J.:

    Just looking at the potential pairings for the third round and I see Phil Mickelson might be paired up with Steve Flesch. That got me thinking -- what if Steve had Mickelson's caddie? I think every announcer and golf writer would love a "Flesch and Bones" duo. Tell me people wouldn't get all excited to use that line about 800 times a round.

As a golf writer who loves easy, cheesy lines that help eat up a word count, I'd use it every day.

Meanwhile, Marc in North Carolina e-mails the following:

    At this point in the tourney, would you take any left-handed player to win versus the field?

Great question. Let's not forget -- besides Mickelson and Flesch (both at 5-under), Mike Weir is 2-under and Bubba Watson is 1-over. Tough prop bet, but I'd give 2.5-to-1 odds on a southpaw.

6:20 p.m.: You may recall Matthew from Augusta, who wrote in this morning and prompted me to encourage everyone to eat six sandwiches today in honor of the Masters and his buddy Chip. Well, Matthew and Chip are down here at the course and things aren't looking too good. An update from Matthew:

    Good news: Chip downed eight sandwiches and one Mini Moon pie and almost got killed by Trip Keuhne's terrible shot at No. 16.

    Bad News: Chip may be dying. He choked on the last few more than Norman on No. 12 back in '96.

That, my friends, is dedication. But wait -- there's more. Just in case you didn't think Chip's exploits were serious, Matthew has included this photo.

Let's all keep Chip in our thoughts and prayers tonight. I have a feeling he's going to need it.

6:07 p.m.: Tiger Woods makes up for yesterday's bogey at the par-5 13th with a birdie and moves back to even-par. He's in a share of 20th place right now -- eight strokes behind Immelman -- and you know he'd love to make maybe two more birdies coming in. If he finishes at 2-under, he'd be satisfied, if not happy.

6:02 p.m.: I've only been posting reader comments that were e-mailed to me, but I saw this from J.D. in Edinburgh in the comments section, which was about 1,000 times more well-written than most things in the comment section and deserves to be shared:
    The amateur Michael Thompson showed a great deal of integrity this afternoon when he called a penalty on himself, a penalty with the potential to keep him from making the cut. At his first Masters. As the replay showed, his ball moved as if from the force of a flatulent Georgian gnat. He was the only one to see it move that imperceptible degree. One of the announcers said this was a laudatory action. We respect and revere the game of golf because sometimes one has to call a penalty stroke on oneself; something unique to golf. It is instructive -- and forgive me for being pedantic -- to remember the words of Bobby Jones, who in a similar situation called a penalty stroke on himself when his ball moved a fraction of an inch by itself. Praise was heaped on him, and to this he replied: "You might as well praise me for not breaking into banks. There is only one way to play this game." The result, if memory serves, was that he lost the tournament by one stroke.

    Yes, Thompson did the right thing. But aren't we all supposed to do the right thing? We, and I include we golfers, should be surprised only we we don't.

Well said, J.D.

And as Aaron in Kentucky e-mailed:

    Michael Thompson is a man among men for that penalty. The Golf Gods owe him an ace at 16, but not sure if they are credentialed at Augusta.

Nope, it wasn't to be. If it's any "consolation" -- and I'm guessing it's not -- Thompson bogeyed the next two holes and would have missed the cut anyway, penalty or not.

5:55 p.m.: E-mail from David in Boone, N.C.:

    You are underselling Player. Yeah, he came within six of shooting his age today -- but he was also 1-over for the last eight holes yesterday. How many people in the under-70 division were worse than 7-over for the last 26 holes? (No, I'm not looking that up. That's what former ESPN golf researchers are for.)

I'm not looking it up, either. But 12 always sounds like a nice number. He continues:

    And on a related note: In what year will you be able to say you've spent a year of your life live-blogging from Augusta?

I will be 83 years old. And still making the same bad jokes and posting limericks. Deal with it.

5:51 p.m.: E-mail from Rory Sabbatini in (where else?) Augusta:

    I still don't believe in the Curse of the Par 3 Contest.

Nice of you to e-mail from the course (Did you duck into the porta-potty for a minute?), where you're currently 6-over with four holes to play.

Sure, there's no Curse. At least Tiger looks like he might be "beatable." So you finally got that one right.

5:46 p.m.: For those who thought Gary Player might stick around for the record at 51, then stop playing ... think again. Player just announced that he will be back for Masters appearance No. 52 next year, apparently to avenge his DFL title. Good for him.

5:34 p.m.: Spy report from our man on the course and in porta-potty:

    Would you believe this is my first restroom trip since noon? Woods gallery is full of celebrities. Had nice political chat with Tom Brokaw.

I really hope it was outside of the porta-potty that he had this chat.

5:31 p.m.: Tiger Woods follows a bogey at 10 with a par save at 11. The wheels are coming off a bit. He's now 1-over. Missing the cut? "Easily within reason."

5:29 p.m.: E-mail from Joe in Greenville, S.C.:

    I wonder if Vijay will catch Trevor talking to himself in the mirror tonight.

In case you haven't seen it (and I couldn't find it on YouTube), Joe is referring to the PGA Tour commercial in which Vijay Singh walks into the players' restroom and finds Trevor Immelman talking into his hairbrush while announcing himself as FedEx Cup champion.

And so I'll ask: If Immelman dreams like that for the FedEx Cup, you've got to wonder how he announces a future Masters victory in private.

5:22 p.m.: Might as well just update this now and be done with it: Michael Thompson just walked off the 16th hole at 6-over and it appears that for the third consecutive year no amateurs will make the Masters cut.

5:14 p.m.: Seriously, though, Gary Player is 72 years old and just shot a 78 at the Masters. That's awesome.

[Polite golf clap for Mr. Player.]

5:13 p.m.: "Thanks, Jim. I'm down here at the 18th, where Gary Player's ball is nestled in the greenside bunker. Here's his third shot ... uh-oh ... it's on the green ... it's rolling ... and, no! It's not in the hole! And Gary Player takes DFL honors in his 51st career Masters Tournament! He'll take home the cubic zirconium salver! What an achievement! Back to you in the booth, Jim!"

5:07 p.m.: Ian Poulter is in the clubhouse at 5-under after a second-round 69. That prompted this e-mail from Bill in Houston:

    I know he got an ace yesterday, but Poulter is 5-under on par-3 holes this week. Given this fact, and the photo yesterday, would you care to comment on his short game?

Um, no. But thanks for the offer.

5:02 p.m.: What a stupid I am!

Projected cut now at 3-over, not 4-over.

At this point, I could predict that the world won't end tomorrow and I'd be wrong. Wait, I didn't predict that. I'm just sayin' ...

4:58 p.m.: Fun fact: Justin Rose sometimes goes by just "J-Ro."

4:51 p.m.: E-mail from Shane in Denver:

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, give a shoutout to the cart paths at Augusta. How do they look?

Shane, Ruffin from Nebraska just called. He thinks you're making fun of him and isn't happy. Can't we all just get along?

4:48 p.m.: Wearing an all white ensemble, Gary Player -- the erstwhile Black Knight -- needs birdie on 18 to force a DFL playoff with Fuzzy Zoeller.

4:41 p.m.: Tiger almost chips in on No. 9 ... but it misses by inches. Settles for par. A third straight nine-hole stretch of 36. Would have worked last year, but not this time, when scoring conditions are obviously much better.

4:34 p.m.: E-mail from Ruffin in Elkhorn, Neb.:

    PLEASE, PLEASE, give a shout out to the azaleas. You have not mentioned much at all about the course itself. Please ... how do the azaleas look?

Um ... nice?

And as far as a "shout out" to the azaleas, I'll give it my best shot:

"Hey, azaleas! You're, um, really nice. And I think you're pretty. Maybe I'll see you this weekend. OK, bye."

4:28 p.m.: After a birdie on No. 8, Tiger Woods is now back to even-par for the tournament. One stat should really get your attention: While the field average for greens in regulation is 70 percent, Woods (who leads the PGA Tour in this category almost every single year) is at 65 percent (13-for-20). Granted, one more GIR and he'd be right in there with the average, but this is a guy who's usually well above the average -- especially when it comes to this stat -- so only 65 percent has to be somewhat disappointing.

4:18 p.m.: E-mail from my buddy Casey in Austin, Texas, who made note of the recent entry on Trip Kuehne:

    Perfect timing for the blog. That's the biggest jinx ever. I'm serious. He was hitting a 9-iron, I think. Straight off the hosel. He hit about 10 feet in the air, 100 yards right of the green, 120 yards short. I mean, it was a shank. Pure and simple.

    Your blog jinx is getting downright spooky.

That's what I always wanted. A "spooky" blog. Sounds like I should dress up like a pumpkin and blog about Halloween.

Anyway, Kuehne makes double-bogey -- he's now at 6-over through 16 holes.

4:12 p.m.: In January, Ernie Els posted the following to his blog (everyone's got one of these things now, huh?):

    "The biggest single goal that I have left in this game is to win the career Grand Slam -- to win all four majors at least once -- before I'm done. It's important I do everything in my power to make that goal achievable."

Today Els shot his second straight 74, which looks like it should be enough to make the cut, but didn't make him happy. According to a spy report, Ernie stormed off the 18th hole and wouldn't stop to speak with reporters.

I'd like to think he was hurrying to the locker room to fire up his laptop and put down all of his thoughts and feelings into the blog. But maybe not ...

4:05 p.m.: Two players I haven't mentioned today, but who certainly warrant some attention are amateurs Trip Kuehne and Michael Thompson, who are each currently 4-over -- right on that supposed cut line -- through 15 and 12 holes, respectively. No amateur has made the cut here since Ryan Moore finished T-13 three years ago. Will be interesting to see if Kuehne and/or Thompson can hang around.

4:01 p.m.: E-mail from Philip in Valparaiso, Ind.:

    There once was a golfer named Zoeller
    A pudgy, cantankerous feller
    Collard greens weren't his dish
    Shooting par, just a wish
    DFL? Rather stellar

It's still too close to call, with Zoeller at 15-over with two holes to play and Player at 17-over with four to play. Steve Lowery will simply have to settle for the win in the DFL: Under 89 Division.

3:53 p.m.: E-mail from Kevin in North Carolina:

    Looks like 4-over is going to be the cut line. Cutey boy Freddie is in trouble, isn't he?

I'd say the number is still tenuous, but Couples is definitely flirting with it, at 5-over through 10 holes so far. Remember, he's trying to make the cut for a 24th straight year. And cuteness, as always, is just a matter of opinion. (I cannot stress this enough.)

3:44 p.m.: E-mail from Melanie in Berkley, Mich., who uses up all of her allotted questions at once:

    1. I know that it can't take you that long to type your entries, and there is usually at least 6 or 7 minutes in between. Sometimes it has been 10 or 12 minutes. What are you doing during the time in between?

Talking to Fred Hickman, mostly.

    2. How many sandwiches have you eaten so far today?

Only two so far, both egg salad. Pacing myself. Two more coming soon. I'll hit the dirty half-dozen, no problem.

    3. Poulter is in pink today. What is Sergio wearing?

Puke green, I believe. You know, just in case ...

3:39 p.m.: Power lip-out for Tiger Woods on the sixth hole as he makes bogey (wait, lemme double check ... yes, it's a bogey) to drop to 1-over, nine shots off the lead.

In related news, Trevor Immelman was just overheard saying he thinks the Grand Slam is "easily within reason" this year.

3:35 p.m.: OK, here's where I make a promotional plea for the Live Blog. If I were you, I'd leave work early and watch the telecast in 25 minutes. I mean, c'mon, it's Friday afternoon and it's the Masters -- like you needed more incentive? All I'm asking is that you turn on a computer and keep following the blog. It's not too much to ask. I'm trying to earn enough traffic hits to win a silver salver on Sunday.

Thank you for your time.

3:27 p.m.: Phil Mickelson birdies No. 17 to move to 5-under. If he wins, he could pull off a reverse Chris Farley-type of deal. You know, "Little Guy in Fat Coat."

Maybe not.

3:20 p.m.: Birdie for Vijay Singh at 17 to move to 1-under. Finally time for the big Singh vs. Singh match everyone has been asking about. But first, the Hansen vs. Hansen undercard:

• Anders Hansen: 6-over (through eight holes)
• Soren Hansen: 9-over (finished)

Meanwhile, Chris Hansen is hiding in their kitchen to make sure they're both 16-over.

And the Singhs:

• Vijay Singh: 1-under (through 17 holes)
• Jeev Milkha Singh: 1-under (through 14 holes)

Chris Hansen has no comment.

3:18 p.m.: Nice birdie at 13 for Paula Creamer. She moves to 4-under for the tournament.

Huh? What's that? Oh, sorry -- that wasn't Creamer in the pink pants/pink hat combo. It was Ian Poulter. My mistake.

3:12 p.m.: Birdie at the final hole for Paul Casey, who shoots a 69 to enter the weekend at 4-under. Meanwhile, Retief Goosen (in the same group) stumbles in with bogeys on two of his final five holes. He's at 2-under.

3:07 p.m.: Shane in Nashville makes a great point:

    What's the over/under on the number of people who would notice if you said Henrik Stenson just made par when he actually made bogey? I'd say 3. And those are the poor saps that drew him in an office pool.

You're right. From now on, I'll only make mistakes about other golfers, but not Tiger.

As an aside, I'd like to also thank the 137 of you who e-mailed with some form of this joke:

    Hey, don't get down. Everybody makes mistakes. You're welcome in our locker room anytime.
    -- Sincerely, Greg, Scott and Roberto

3:03 p.m.: Sweet reverse blog jinx. Steve Lowery birdies the eighth to move up to 11-over.

3:01 p.m.: Quick DFL check:

• 92. Steve Lowery +12 (through seven holes)
• 93. Fuzzy Zoeller +14 (through 12 holes)
• 94. Gary Player +15 (through 10 holes)

Locked up in a tight one!

2:51 p.m.: I'd like to thank all 349 of you who just e-mailed at once to tell me that Tiger Woods actually bogeyed the second hole. I knew that.

All together now ...

What a stupid I am!

If you had the over on Live Blog errors, it's coming dangerously close to payday.

2:44 p.m.: Spy report from the course, but it's not a happy one. ESPN.com's Gene Wojciechowski spoke with Drew Weaver after he finished his 76-80 performance in his first Masters.

Drew obviously had the April 16 shooting at Virginia Tech still in his mind, as he welled up with tears while speaking with Gene:

    " I'm exhausted. That was the toughest event I've ever played. A lot of frustration, embarrassment. It's unlike anything I've ever played and then next week will be tough. Wednesday will be a tough anniversary. Everybody you can imagine [has been calling and texting], people I don't even know. It's been a pretty stressful week. I want to get some rest, kind of decompress."

As I mentioned yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking with Drew and his father, John, for a while on the practice green on Sunday and they're both extremely nice people. Let's hope Drew isn't too hard on himself after performing on golf's greatest stage against the world's greatest players.

2:38 p.m.: Tiger Woods calls the par-4 first hole at Augusta National "the toughest opening hole in golf" and it shows on his career scorecard, as he's played the hole well above par. Not today. Woods makes birdie on No. 1 -- his first birdie of the tournament after an eagle, 15 pars and two bogeys yesterday -- to get into red numbers, then follows with a par on the second.

2:30 p.m.: E-mail from Woz in Milwaukee:

    Off the top of your head, can you think of any Masters tournament where the runner-up had more heartbreak than Chris DiMarco in 2005?

Off the top of my head, I can tell you that if there was an opposite to the Champions Locker Room here at Augusta National, DiMarco would have a smaller locker than Roberto De Vicenzo, Greg Norman and Scott Hoch.

Come to the think of it, the Runner-Up Room is a hell of an idea. Just a bunch of dudes sitting around shaking their heads. In opposition of the Champions Dinner, there could even be a Runner-Up Roast. And every so often, a guy like Tiger Woods -- who has finished both first and second here -- could come in and tell them all about how wonderful the Champions Locker Room and Dinner really are. Then he'd put on his green jacket and walk out with a big smile on his face.

Oh, and just because I can, here's this and this.

2:17 p.m.: Here's Trevor Immelman speaking after his round:

    "Obviously, it feels great to go out there and break 70 both rounds. You know, my play today probably wasn't as sharp as yesterday, but I really did hole some unbelievable putts out there. You know, so that was really satisfying to see some long ones drop. You know, that always helps the scorecard. I guess I've just got to go out there and try to keep it going on the weekend."

You know, he's playing really well. You know, he could still be leading at day's end. You know, he could have a chance to win.

Sorry.

So far, Immelman has hit 25 of 28 fairways (89 percent), 26 of 36 greens in regulation (72 percent) and is averaging just 1.5 putts per hole. As Dave the ex-golf researcher (who's eerily starting to resemble Dave the still-working golf researcher), writes:

    Going through box scores for the Masters (back to 1980), I don't see any player at those levels in all three categories.

I know I've made a lot of wrong predictions so far, but here's one I'm sure of: If Immelman shoots 68-68 twice more, he's the next Masters champ. OK, I'll go out on more of a limb: If he shoots 72-72, he's still very much in the picture.

(And yes, that's me carefully tip-toeing away from my guess that even-par would win this tournament. What a stupid I am!)

2:11 p.m.: I'm glad I didn't post this e-mail from Ron in Boston 10 minutes ago for reasons you'll see in a second:

    Retief Goosen just made an eagle on 13th and now is tied for fourth. Do you think this could finally be his year for the Masters after finishing runner-up twice?

Um, retroactive blog jinx? Goosen follows with a bogey at 14, but it's totally not my fault, so I feel pretty good about that.

As for his chances over the weekend? I like 'em. If he shoots 70-69 like he did last year, he could finally win this thing.

2:07 p.m.: Only took 20 hours of live-blogging this week for our first Sergio Garcia reference, but he has just posted back-to-back birdies to move to 2-over for the tourney.

And that's it.

Nothing else.

(Wow, that was pretty good. A Sergio reference and we didn't even mention the seven different putters he's used this year or how he likes to blame the Golf Gods for poor performances. I'm becoming so mature.)

2:01 p.m.: E-mail from Tom in Rhode Island:

    Enough already! It's either Fred Hickman or us. You need to make a choice.

OK, it's you guys. I promise. It's just that Fred asks such good questions. And he has his own TV show. But I swear -- I won't stray from the Live Blog for the rest of the day.

1:55 p.m.: There have been a lot of questions about the prizes awarded for eagles and other things here at Augusta, with many folks wondering what the players would actually do with such things. Well, after earning two crystal goblets for his eagle at 13, Steve Flesch was asked about it:

    Q: How many times have you won crystal and where is the stuff that you've already won?
    A: I think the only other crystal I won was my eagle on 15 last time I played here. So it's all right there in the house in the trophy case next to all the others.

    Q: Do you ever actually use it for anything?
    A: I haven't toasted anything with it yet, no. You know, it's funny, because that's the first thing [Craig Stadler] said after he made the eagle, "A little more crystal." It's not, "Hey I made eagle." It's, "Hey, I got some more crystal."

If you know Steve Flesch and ever happen to be invited to his house, drink a toast to his eagle. Help him break in those goblets.

1:43 p.m.: Gotta run for an ESPNEWS interview with Fred Hickman, which is really codespeak for ... an ESPNEWS interview with Fred Hickman. Back in a few ...

1:38 p.m.: E-mail from my buddy Aaron, who is actually in the Bristol office producing the highlight package of the Masters for SportsCenter:

    Did you see Calc rip his pants on the 12th green while trying to pull a ball marker out of his pocket? It was hilarious and now his pants are ripped on the right side.

I missed it, Aaron. But I want to see it. And you, as the producer of the Masters highlight for tonight's SportsCenter, have the power to show this to the world. Make it happen.

1:31 p.m.: Former ESPN golf researcher Dave checks in with a follow-up to yesterday's stat. Here's an updated version of Masters first-round leaders who were able to match or better their score in the second round:

• 2008: Trevor Immelman (68-68)

• 2005: Chris DiMarco (67-67)

• 1999: Scott McCarron (69-68)
• 1964: Arnold Palmer (69-68)

• 1946: Herman Keiser (69-68)
• 1936: Harry Cooper (70-69)

He also reminds us that Harry Cooper was nicknamed "Lighthorse." It's even on his tombstone.

1:23 p.m.: Birdie at the final hole for Immelman, who's now in the clubhouse at 8-under, following a pair of 68s. He's done it in a very un-Zach-like way, too:

• Par-3 holes: 1-over (no birdies, seven pars, one bogey)
• Par-4 holes: 8-under (eight birdies, 12 pars, no bogeys)
• Par-5 holes: 1-under (one birdie, seven pars, no bogeys

As we all remember, when Zach Johnson won last year, he played the par-5s in 11-under and everything else in 12-over. If Immelman can remain hot on the par-4s, I've got to think the birdies will start to come on the par-5 holes at some point, too.

1:21 p.m.: Mike in Denver notes the similarities between Prayad Marksaeng and Phil Mickelson. Namely, this one.

1:17 p.m.: E-mail from Matt in Iowa:

    Seven-under and Tiger left to tee off yet this afternoon. What are your thoughts on him making a run at the leaderboard?

How about a mini-run? I'll play it safe and say that while Tiger Woods' name won't be atop this leaderboard at the end of the day (if Immelman pars 18, he'd need to shoot at least 65), but he won't have another even-par performance, either. I'd guess a 68 or 69 for Woods, maybe 10th or 12th place, something like that, very much in the mix entering the weekend.

1:12 p.m.: Brandt Snedeker hits his ball on 15 ... it's rolling toward the water ... and it stays up! And now Snedeker is running down the fairway! Seems like a good time for ...

    Dynamite, dynamite, when Vandy starts to fight!
    V-A-N-D-Y! Vandy, Vandy, Go, Go, Go!

1:05 p.m.: Trevor Immelman birdies the 17th and regains sole possession of the lead at 7-under.

Does that mean if players try to join him on the leaderboard, that he'd just be contracting more parasites in Augusta? Yuck.

12:58 p.m.: With a birdie on No. 8, Phil Mickelson is now 3-under for the day and 4-under for the tournament. As anyone with a working set of eyes can see, Mickelson looks, well, a lot slimmer and in better shape than in recent years. Which is great -- except for the fact that before he lost the weight and started bulking up, he was winning majors every year (2004 Masters, 2005 PGA, 2006 Masters).

So I guess my question is: Why make the change? I mean, he was hardly overweight to a point where it was unhealthy; he's still an athlete. In any case, now he looks better and he's playing well, so it's the best of both worlds for Phil.

Me? I'd keep eating a lot and winning green jackets.

12:52 p.m.: E-mail from Jamie in Potomac, Md.:

    Has Prayad left the building? Very ungracious as a special invite. He really didn't want to finish behind Gary Player. Unless I have a broken bone, I'd play the 36.

Breaking news into ESPN.com's Masters headquarters: It's sad, but true. Prayad Marksaeng has withdrawn from the Masters. Haven't received official word on the reason yet, but it may have had something to do with him playing worse than everybody else. Just a hunch.

By the way, it's nice to see the 1980s have finally made their way over to Thailand. That's a rad look.

12:39 p.m.: Stephen Ames makes birdie on 16. The most memorable story about Ames and this tournament comes from his news conference after winning the 2006 Players Championship:

    Q: Is there a possibility you won't play the Masters?

    A: I have no plans of playing at Augusta. My kids have just come out for their spring break, and we had plans to go somewhere else. My priorities have always been my family first. If it comes down to that, it's probably going to be a two week vacation, yes.

    Q: Is it possible your wife might talk you into Augusta?

    A: I don't know. I'm not sure about it yet.

    Q: What will determine whether you go to Augusta? Would your wife and children have to say go, pop?
    A: No, I'd rather go on vacation to be truthful.

    Q: So are you telling us you will not play the Masters?
    A: I don't know yet. We'll see.

The next question:

Q: Wait, no, really, seriously, come on, dude, you gotta be kiddin' me, for real, would you actually skip the Masters?

Somebody's a reporter!

Ames did play in the Masters and finished in a share of 11th place.

12:32 p.m.: Once again, TheBigLead.com is live-blogging my live-blog. And once again, I'm pointing it out.

This is sort of like noticing the guy at the next urinal is sneaking a peek, then reaching out and shaking his hand.

12:25 p.m.: E-mail from Richard in Wausau, Wisc.:

    So, in the hour-and-a- half since you told us Bateman had that 25-footer for birdie on 12 to go to 3-under, he's gone par-par-bogey-double-par, shooting a 76 to fall to 1-over. Dream killer.

If I had to give him a pep talk right now, I'd say, "In your first Masters, Bateman, you were playing well. Even looked like you could win the Masters, Bateman. But now you finished with a rough second round of the Masters, Bateman. But, hey, just come back tomorrow and maybe you can still get back on the leaderboard at the Masters, Bateman."

12:13 p.m.: ESPNEWS interview with Fred Hickman. Back in a few ...

12:08 p.m.: E-mail from Justin in East Brunswick, N.J.:

    With Steve Flesch about to post 5-under in the clubhouse (or not if he gets the Blog Jinx), is the cut definitely 5-over or is it like other majors with top-70 plus ties and also anyone within 10 strokes of the leader(s)?

At the end of 36 holes, the low 44 players (and ties) and all those within 10 shots of the lead make the cut. In recent years, it's been a lot more than 44 players finish within 10 shots of the leader(s).

12:01 p.m.: E-mail from Ty in Madison, Wisc.:

    What is going on with Tim Clark? Wasn't he supposed to be a semi-sleeper pick? He's killing my Masters pool.

Clark is currently 8-over through 27 holes. I had the following conversation with him on Monday, as he sat on a bench near the player parking lot (all paraphrased):

Me: So, how you feeling?
Clark: Eh, not that great.
Me: Not the neck again, is it?
Clark: No, it's the putter.

I'm guessing he'd rather it was the neck.

11:57 a.m.: Three of the last five Masters champs have been lefties -- Phil Mickelson (twice) and Mike Weir. With only six in the field this week, Steve Flesch must have liked his chances at low lefty. He birdied the 15th hole and is now at 5-under, just one shot in back of the leaders.

11:48 a.m.: I'm more than happy to welcome Boo Weekley into the blogging fraternity this week (he's our Bluto Blutarsky). Here's an interesting note from his latest entry in the Augusta Chronicle:

    "[Just missing an eagle putt at par-5 No. 15] didn't frustrate me. I actually just pushed that putt a little bit. I thought it was a par-4, to tell you the truth. I didn't know it was a par-5.

Yes, it's a par-5, Boo. And if you win, they give you this nice green jacket.

Now for his thoughts on Amen Corner:

    "What's Amen Corner? Why is that a corner? It should be 12, 13 and 14, shouldn't it? There you go. You got me."
Take that, Herbert Warren Wind!

Just in case you're hankering for a little more Boo in your life:

    "I'm not going to do anything special tonight. I'm just going to go home and cook some pork chops. I don't know if I'll do the cooking. It all depends on my brother-in-law. He cooked the hamburgers last night, so I might be stuck with the pork chops. I'm a meat-and-tater man. I ain't much on them vegetables."

I ain't, neither.

11:37 a.m.: E-mail from John in Parts Unknown:

    You still thinking even par could win it?

Um, did I say that? Is there written proof? Oh, wait ...

Maybe I was wrong. But if the wind does blow as predicted the next two days, you won't see guys climbing the leaderboard like they are now. Get your birdies while you can, because they'll be tough to come by after today.

11:33 a.m.: E-mail from Lew in Strong Island:

    Any chance that the stodgy powers-that-be at Augusta will conspire to prevent Bateman from winning the tourney?

I had no idea what he was talking about, but kept reading anyway ...

    Some fourth-grade-level nicknames come to mind when you put "Masters" and "Bateman" together.

Oh. Now I know what he was talking about.

11:29 a.m.: After posting my "vicious attack," as many of you called it, on Trevor Immelman with the blog jinx thing earlier, I'm happy to see that I not only haven't ruined his round, but he's once again in the lead after a birdie on No. 11 to move to 6-under for the tournament.

11:26 a.m.: Now we're starting to get some movers and shakers on the leaderboard. Steve Flesch eagles 13 to move to 4-under. Stephen Ames birdies the first two at Amen Corner to move to 3-under.

Meanwhile, Steve Stricker is 2-over for the day and Steve Lowery is still on the driving range, so it's not like all Steves are doing so well.

11:15 a.m.: Posted this to my U.S. Open Round 1 Live Blog last year (What? You don't remember?), but with Vanderbilt alum Brandt Snedeker in the lead, it's worth passing along again. I give you the school fight song:

    Dynamite, dynamite, when Vandy starts to fight.
    Down the field with blood to yield if need be save the shield.
    If victory's won when battle's done, then Vandy's name will rise in fame.
    Win or lose the fates will choose, but Vandy's game will be the same.
    Dynamite, dynamite, when Vandy starts to fight!
    V-A-N-D-Y! Vandy, Vandy, Go, Go, Go!

Let's break it down line by line, like your 11th grade English teacher did with classic poetry, or like I did when my Mom sent me a limerick at 6:30 this morning:

    Dynamite, dynamite, when Vandy starts to fight.

Fighting. I like it. Augusta National doesn't have much of that.

    Down the field with blood to yield if need be save the shield.
Blood??? Hey, whatever it takes to get on top of the leaderboard ...

    If victory's won when battle's done, then Vandy's name will rise in fame.
True that. True that.

    Win or lose the fates will choose, but Vandy's game will be the same.
If he plays this same game throughout the weekend, the fates will be choosing a green jacket.

    Dynamite, dynamite, when Vandy starts to fight!
More fighting? Sweet.

    V-A-N-D-Y! Vandy, Vandy, Go, Go, Go!

Fighting and spelling. I'm down with Vandy. Go, go, go, Snedeker!

11:07 a.m.: I smell a theme ...

From Greg in Washington D.C.:

    I was just fired from my job after my boss came into my office and saw me reading your blog instead of working. Do you need an assistant? I can be down there tonight, I have a cell phone that can take pictures and send texts and emails, and I like hiding out in bathrooms (although I maintain my firing was related to the blog-viewing and not the bathroom-hiding). Will work for sandwiches.

From Justin in North Carolina:

    The boss (a non-golfer) just caught me reading your blog. I promptly blurted out, "What a stupid I am!" He gave me a quizzical look. Guess I'll continue to read from the unemployment line.

From Mike, also on the unemployment line (say hi to Justin for me):

    I tried your idea of taping green cardboard and running around the office yelling, "I'm the Masters champion! Look at my green jacket!" and I was fired. The good news: I am free this weekend to be your "on-course spy." Just tell me where to meet you to pick up my credentials.

The Masters Live Blog: Helping to get more people fired than ... Enron? (Sorry, there's probably a better punchline than that one.)

10:57 a.m.: E-mail from Matt in Nashville, Tenn.:

    This may be the Duh! statement of the year, but in all this talk about lengthening of the course, are we forgetting the basic tenet that Augusta is all about the greens? Look at last year's putting ranks for some of the current leaders:

    • Brandt Snedeker: 15th
    • Zach Johnson: 22nd
    • Ian Poulter: 41st
    • Justin Rose: 48th (tied with Tiger Woods)

    I saw Snedeker (11th) and Z. Johnson (15th hole) make some big time par-saving putts yesterday. Isn't that the key?

Absolutely. And I think we lose sight of this sometimes when talking about how long the course is playing, then deducing that only big hitters will stand a chance. Augusta National has been -- and always will be -- a course where great putters can thrive and poor putters will not. Thanks for the reminder, Matt.

And on that note, Snedeker birdies No. 7 to move into the lead at 6-under. Still very early, but if he pars out, the cut line could be 4-over, at the very least.

10:50 a.m.: E-mail from Matt Kramer of Career Sports & Entertainment, which represents my former loop Roland Thatcher:

    Thought I would remind you that today is Roland's birthday!

My man Roland is 31 today. In lieu of singing "Happy Birthday," special birthday punches will suffice if you're in the Houston area. Matt continues:

    How much do you wanna bet that if he goes to the Masters next year he DEFINITELY lets you caddy the Par 3 Contest?

You heard it here first, folks. I'm holding Matt to his word, even if it's not necessarily Roland's word, too. I'm just wondering how I'm going to carry the laptop and live blog while caddying at the same time. If I only have to carry a few wedges and a putter, I should be able to make this happen.

10:46 a.m.: It wasn't a 16, but Trevor Immelman just made par on No. 8 -- a hole on which most players are carding birdies so far today. Ha!

10:39 a.m.: E-mail from Marc in Winston-Salem, N.C.:

    Is there a general consensus around the media tent (especially after yesterday) that the tourney is lacking in the excitement factor like in years past? I'm referring to the lack of roars you hear from all around the course. Other than Poulter's ace and Tiger's chip-in (fitting, both roars came for the top-two players in the world), you really didn't get that yesterday.

Absolutely. Tiger mentioned it yesterday, in fact:

    "Well, there's really no roars out there anymore because you can't -- it's hard to make the eagles and the big birdies. The golf course is playing so much more difficult now being longer, and it has dried out this week. As the week has gone on it's gotten drier and it's going to going to get more that way towards Sunday. ... The way the golf course plays now, you don't really shoot low rounds here anymore. You've just got to plod along. It's playing more [like] a U.S. Open than it is a Masters. I mean, there's really only one roar I heard all day, and that was Poultie's eagle. But other than that, it was really quiet."

Let's all understand something, though. When Tiger says, "It's playing more [like] a U.S. Open," he's referring to the lack of scoring and not the conditions or course setup. After last year's Masters, I heard a lot of comparisons between the two events, but in those respects I don't think it's applicable. In fact, if anything I'd say the Masters is set up more like a British Open, which is to say that the tournament officials set up the course the way they want it to be played, then allow weather conditions to determine scoring.

10:35 a.m.: Brian Bateman safely on the green at No. 12, has about a 25-foot birdie putt to get to 3-under. Yes, I can see it from here. Jealous?

10:30 a.m.: Somehow wielding his superpowers, Immelman fights the blog jinx by bouncing back from that bogey with a birdie on No. 7. OK, man, I see how it's going to be. Gotta fight fire with fire. Just for that ...

Trevor Immelman
Trevor Immelman
Trevor Immelman
Trevor Immelman
Trevor Immelman
Trevor Immelman
Trevor Immelman
Trevor Immelman
Trevor Immelman
Trevor Immelman

Apologies for that 16 you're about to make on the eighth hole. But I couldn't let you show me up like that.

10:26 a.m.: Well, we've had limericks and haikus and anagrams and now ... this e-mail from Alex in Parts Unknown:

    Jason Sobel, he's the man
    He blogs through sun and rain
    F5 I keep on pressing
    At work so I stay sane!

    *Note F5 = shortcut to refresh webpages

OK, three things wrong with this (and I'm not even going to mention the rhyming scheme):

1. If your poem needs a footnote, it's doomed right from the start.
2. Have we gotten an official decision on the sanity claim?
3. I most definitely DO NOT blog in the rain.

10:20 a.m.: E-mail from No Name in Parts Unknown (seriously, people, your modesty is annoying):

    As soon as you mention Immelman's sole lead, he bogeys the next hole. Are you aware of the awesome power you wield with the Blog Jinx?

Yes, I am. And I think I've just figured out why you decided to leave your name off this e-mail. Very clever, No Name. Very clever.

10:17 a.m.: BLOG JINX!!!

Bateman bogeys No. 10. Not fairly pleased about it.

10:11 a.m.: Brian Bateman has just made the turn in even-par 36. As I mentioned yesterday, he doesn't have any result of better than 23rd since winning the Buick Open last year, so it's not exactly like we should have expected this from him.

Here's what Bateman had to say after his opening-round 3-under 69:

    Q: First Masters today, how did you feel?
    A: I feel really good. Fairly calm out there after the 1st hole and got off to a good start, made a couple of birdies early. But I hit the ball as good as I've hit my irons in a few weeks, so I was pleased I was able to keep the ball on the right side of the greens and made a few putts. That's what it takes to have a good round.

    Q: Is the course as intimidating as you maybe anticipated?
    A: Yeah, it's as tough as ever. You know, you can hit some good shots that really make you look foolish from the fairway. I had one shot on 6, the par-3, decent 7-iron, aimed six, eight feet left of the flag and I had 60-footer over a swale. If you make some putts you can score on any golf course. Being my first Masters I'm fairly pleased.

"Fairly pleased." Understatement of the week.

10:04 a.m.: E-mail from Tom in Colorado:

    I have a bet with some friends that I can get on your blog before them. How about you help a brotha out?

Again, no.

10:03 a.m.: E-mail from Geoff in West Point, N.Y.:

    As I was diligently reading your blog yesterday, my brother decided to rub it in that he was at home watching the Masters on ESPN in HD. I'm in my room at school keeping track on the Masters Web site and with your blog (even in class -- my teachers weren't too happy; I almost skipped practice to follow the tourney, too). Any chance I could get a shout out on the blog to give me a one up one him?

No.

10:01 a.m.: Birdie for Trevor Immelman on No. 5 and he's your solo leader. So far, there's not a whole lot of moving and shaking on the leaderboard, with no players better than 1-under for the round and only four players worse than 1-over. Leaderboard Purgatory.

9:50 a.m.: E-mail from Jan in Athens, Ga.:

    Bigger blunder: Not accepting an invite from a MEMBER to go to Augusta National for the opening round and going to work instead (which a colleague of mine did yesterday to my utter dismay) or De Vicenzo's scorecard error at the '68 Masters? I think "What a stupid I am" applies to both cases.

First of all, if you get an invite -- not an offer to buy a ticket (er, badge) for a couple grand, but an invite -- you take it. Births, weddings, funerals -- they can all wait. This is important.

Secondly, in honor of the Masters and in addition to eating six sandwiches and the green construction paper thing, I'd like each one of you to say the words, "What a stupid I am" at least once today in honor of poor Roberto. Doesn't have to be a major blunder. Leave the original in the copy machine? "What a stupid I am!" Forget where you put your car keys? "What a stupid I am!"

You get the picture. I'll do it, too. And I make lots of mistakes on here, so I'll have plenty of opportunities.

9:43 a.m.: E-mail from Andrew in Parts Unknown:

    Brandt Snedeker -- can we get a little background info? PubLinks champ, 2007 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year ... anything else on this guy?

Well, he's leading the Masters after making birdie on No. 2 to move to 4-under. Other than that, check out his personal Web site, where you can find detailed skin care information, an authorized Toyota dealer and track lighting.

Brandt Snedeker. Renaissance Man.

9:30 a.m.: Spy report from Lanier, our man with a plan:

    Greetings from my first restroom visit! You almost lost a spy today. The Pinkertons almost found my cell phone! Back to being a loyal spy today.

Hey, this is great having a spy on the course and everything, but at some point, you know, maybe you could, like, tell us something about what's going out there? I mean, it's nice to have updates on your restroom regularity, but something else must be going on out there, right?

9:22 a.m.: E-mail from Matthew in Augusta:

    I respect what you're doing, but as an Augusta native who has been coming here my whole life, I know the Masters is all about gorging yourself on tasty sandwiches. My buddy Chip says he is eating at least six today. What's your record?

Don't know what my personal best is, but in honor of Matthew's buddy Chip, I'm going to put down at least a half-dozen of those green-wrappered little suckers today!

I know that many of you out there wish you could be here at Augusta National. Maybe you can't all attend the tournament, but you can certainly play the home edition. With that, I'd like to encourage everyone out there, while reading the blog, watching the coverage online and constantly shirking all work and family obligations, to celebrate this festive occasion by eating six sandwiches today! Who's with me?

(One alternative: Take several sheets of green construction paper, tape them to your body and run around the office yelling, "I'm the Masters champion! Look at my green jacket!" Or you can just eat some sandwiches. Your call.)

9:14 a.m.: Some of you are asking for a prediction on the cut line already, with only seven groups on the course for their second rounds. I could explain that it depends on how the course is playing today and how the leaders fare (everyone within 10 shots of first place reaches the weekend), then examine why it's way too early to discuss such a topic ... or I could just throw out a random number and stick with it. So in that spirit ...

5-over-par.

That means neither of the leaders (Trevor Immelman and Justin Rose) will shoot better than 71; none of the players one shot further back (Brandt Snedeker, Lee Westwood and Brian Bateman) will shoot better than 70; and none of the gaggle of players who started the day at 2-under will shoot better than 69.

And if I'm right, it means Fred Couples will "only" need to shoot a 73 in order to keep his cut streak intact. (And as we discussed yesterday, his cute streak is simply a matter of opinion.)

9:06 a.m.: E-mail from Steve in Knoxville, Tenn.:

    We always get stories before the Masters about Charles Howell III because he's an Augusta native and grew up playing at Augusta. Well, in the story you guys had on ESPN.com the other day, he said he once snuck into the Champions Locker Room. Isn't that a no-no even when its non-tournament week? Has he jinxed himself?

Great point. We know about the Curse of the Par 3 Contest and, of course, the dreaded Blog Jinx, but I wonder if CH3 tempted the fates a little too much by going in there. I mean, this is a guy who's only a few years removed from finishing DFL (remember, it's "Darn Freakin' Last") behind Charles Coody and opened with a 78 yesterday.

9:02 a.m.: The Mystery of the Silver Salver has been solved ... and it's not very exciting. I wonder how many times the runner-up finisher has used this thing as a caddie-flogger after getting a bad read on the 17th green.

8:56 a.m.: E-mail from Brandon in Parts Classified (military):

    With the wind picking up this weekend, I have a question. Besides Tiger, who among those that are projected to make the cut, do you see having the ability to beat the course in the tougher conditions? In other words, who do you believe has the ball-striking ability to stay strong over the weekend?

If -- or maybe I should say when -- the wind really starts blowing, we're going to see a leaderboard similar to that of last year, with players who keep the ball low and in the fairway methodically working their way up ... or simply treading water while everyone else slides. Of the leaders right now, I've got to think Jim Furyk, Stephen Ames and Zach Johnson are the most excited about such a prospect.

8:51 a.m.: My boy Johnson Wagner just tripled the opening hole. Bummer. I wonder if he's still smiling. Seriously, I'm telling you -- and I know I've written this already -- but after winning in Houston on Sunday, the dude got to the course at 8:30 a.m. on Monday with a perma-smile on his face. I've never seen a professional golfer so happy to be at a professional golf tournament.

In related news, Brian Bateman bogeyed the first (and has since made three pars) to fall to 2-under. If you're riding the Bateman Train into the weekend, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.

8:44 a.m.: First non-limerick e-mail of the day from Chris in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.:

    Did ESPN decide what you were wearing all four days of the Masters much like Nike did for Tiger? What happens if Tiger's mother-in-law knits a hideous sweater for him and says that she thinks it would look very nice on him at the Masters? If this happens to you or me, we are obligated to wear it ... how does Tiger deal with it? My guess is that he would send Stevie Williams to yell at her.

First of all, yes, ESPN has selected my wardrobe for all four days. This is my second-round outfit. As for Tiger, I think he puts the sweater on, waits for his mother-in-law to take a picture of him ... and then Stevie yells at her. It's proper protocol.

8:39 a.m.: I mentioned yesterday that the runner-up finisher at the Masters earns a silver salver ... but I still have no idea what it is. I'm picturing some kind of sword. If that's true, I'm hoping Heath Slocum comes in second; the salver would go well with his Tucson Open trophy.

If anyone knows what it is -- or has a picture -- let me know. Then again, if it's not a 4-foot-long sword, I don't want to know.

8:28 a.m.: Sorry, gotta get golf-y here for a minute ...

One reason so many shorter hitters are atop the leaderboard after Round 1? Many of the tees were moved up because the course was still a bit damp yesterday, including No. 7, which was moved up 50 yards. Gonna be interesting to see whether they're moved back today, which could level out the playing field and bring some of the big bombers to the forefront.

As for the weekend, we're looking at 10-15 mph winds gusting up to 20 mph tomorrow, then 10-20 mph winds gusting up to 25 mph for Sunday's final round. And as we all know, wind is the greatest determining factor when it comes to scoring. Could be highly entertaining and I'm sticking to my claim that par will be a very good score.

8:20 a.m.: You know it's going to be a good day -- wait, no, a weird day -- when you wake up in the morning with a few dozen limericks in the in-box. I'm going to post two of 'em, if only to appease the masses.

This one was written -- no joke -- by my Mom:

    There once was a golfer named Ian
    Whose photo in PINK we've been seein'
    A hole-in-one he shot
    Then, blog jinx or not
    Another bloke's got the top spot.

Mom, for all that is good in the world ... DO NOT LOOK AT THE POULTER PHOTO!

From Mike in Washington D.C.:

    There once was a man name of Rory
    Who said Tiger got too much the glory
    When told Tiger might Slam
    Said Woods is naught but a sham
    Remember once he got beat by Fiori.

If you combined Rory Sabbatini and Ed Fiori, they'd be Rory Fiori.

Um, yeah, so anyway ...

Let's just say I can't wait 'til the USGA decides to play the Open in Nantucket.

8:08 a.m.: No fog blog this morning. I could have walked the 20 yards outside to the first fairway to see that Todd Hamilton and Brian Bateman had teed off already, but instead just asked an Augusta National official, who assured me that, "Balls are in the air." That's a relief.

Looks like we might avoid the t-storms until after the round today. (Though I have yet to see a very accurate weather forecast this week.) Here's what the outlook is, according to a sheet that was sitting in the lobby of the press room:

• 9 a.m.: Patchy fog burning off, becoming partly cloudy. Temp.: 62F. Wind: S 7-12 mph.
• 12 p.m.: Partly cloudy and warm. Temp.: 75F. Wind: S 7-12 mph.
• 3 p.m.: Partly cloudy and warm. Temp.: 82F. Wind: S 10-15 mph.

8:00 a.m.: Good morning from Augusta National, where I'm back for Round 2 of the Masters Live Blog -- a tradition unlike any other. (Just thought of that. Kinda catchy, isn't it?)

Yesterday, the final grouping finished in the gloaming (I'm now 1-for-2 using that word this week), meaning all 94 players will begin their second rounds today. More pea soup in the skies right now and a chance of thunderstorms later on; if anyone has one of the Doppler radar helicopters and is in the Augusta area, I'd love to hear from you.

As always, hit the e-mail link above for questions, suggestions and snarky comments. Make me laugh, you make the blog. You may now swing away ...

Jason Sobel is ESPN.com's golf editor. He can be reached at Jason.Sobel@espn3.com

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.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

MORE GOLF HEADLINES

MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM