- Jason Sobel, Senior Golf Writer
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(All times ET)
9 p.m.: It's all over. I mean, it's not over, but it's over. You know what I'm sayin'?
The 36-hole midway point of a major championship is akin to halftime of a professional basketball game; sure, you'd rather be leading than trailing, but the current score is hardly a determinant of the result.
Of course, with Tiger Woods holding a 4-stroke advantage entering the weekend at the PGA Championship here at Hazeltine, this one basically has the feel of the Harlem Globetrotters up 30 points over the Washington Generals at intermission.
Again, it's not over, but it's over.
And yet, in the sense of fairness and balance and, yes, grasping at straws, allow me to proffer four things that could happen over the weekend to prevent Woods' 15th career major championship title from taking place.
1. Someone else gets hot.
The fivesome in a share of second place includes three major champions and five very good players. It's not entirely inconceivable that Vijay Singh, Padraig Harrington, Lucas Glover, Ross Fisher or Brendan Jones could post a pair of 68s while TW goes 70-71 for the final two rounds.
Tiger's strategy during recent final rounds in which he's owned the lead has been conservative golf while waiting for the other contenders to make unforced errors. If one of these guys doesn't make any mistakes, it could force Woods' hand and prevent him from keeping that strategy throughout the weekend.
2. Things get ugly off the tee.
Stephen Ames once said of Tiger's game before getting waxed in the opening round of the WGC-Accenture Match Championship, "Anything can happen, especially where he's hitting the ball." Though it was construed as an insult, there was some truth to the statement. When Woods is playing from the rough, he's beatable.
By the same token, when he is able to keep the ball in the short stuff, he's almost unbeatable. So far this week Woods is hitting 75 percent of the fairways -- 12 of 14 in Round 1; 9 of 14 in Round 2 -- nearly 14 percentage points higher than his season average entering the week.
We've seen that driver get crooked at times this year, though. If it happens over the weekend, meaning Woods is forced to play more shots from the rough than in the opening two rounds, we could see a player scrambling to make pars as opposed to putting for birdie so often.
3. Another major disappointment.
At this year's Masters, Kenny Perry was primed to become the oldest player to win a major and lost to Angel Cabrera in a playoff. At the U.S. Open, sentimental stories Phil Mickelson and David Duval were in the mix but neither could climb past Lucas Glover. At the British Open, Tom Watson was writing a story for the ages until Stewart Cink flew past him in extra holes.
No offense to our current trio of major champions, but it's largely been a year filled with disappointment for the masses. If the majority of fans are rooting for Tiger to triumph here at Hazeltine, could it be a fourth consecutive letdown this season? If so, the golf gods must be angry.
4. Illness or injury.
OK, so if this entire exercise can be considered grasping at straws, then I just drew the short one in trying to explain away this one. Then again, you never know
Scratch that. This is a guy who has won tournaments while playing on a torn ACL and while vomiting because of food poisoning. He's what they'd call a "gamer" in other sports. I'll go out on a limb and say that if Tiger contracts a case of the sniffles over the weekend, he'll suck it up and play some golf.
So, there you go. Four ways -- well, three ways, really -- Tiger Woods could lose the PGA Championship after holding a 4-stroke lead with 36 holes to play. Do I think any of 'em is gonna happen? Nope. Uh-uh. No way. Then again, it's been a year of unpredictable major results.
As always, thanks for all of the questions and comments. Check out the live blog here on ESPN.com during Saturday's third round here from Hazeltine. Until then, hit 'em straight
8:21 p.m.: The 4-stroke differential ties Tiger Woods' second-largest 36-hole lead at a major. Here's the list:
• 2000 U.S. Open: 6
• 2009 PGA Championship: 4
• 2005 British Open: 4
And yes, he won each of the other two in convincing fashion, taking the '00 Open by 15 and the '05 British by 5.
8:17 p.m.: E-mail from Mike in California:
I can't believe you didn't update the Dicciani-Thomas outcome. Looks like Dicciani doubled 18 to lose by 1 stroke, and now Thomas won't have to pay for the wedding. I guess the result on 18 means that Dicciani elopes!
Speaking of the club pros, with the over/under of 2.5 making the cut ... the under wins.
Only two club pros -- Grant Sturgeon and Greg Bisconti -- will be around for the weekend.
8:15 p.m.: Tiger Woods just spoke with TNT after his round ...
On the conditions: "It was tough getting out there ... just a tough day all around."
On the putting surfaces: "It's hard, you don't want to run 'em past the hole ... but if you don't get 'em to the hole, you're doing the same thing."
On what he needs to do tomorrow: "You just plod along and see what happens. That's what I did today. Poor start and just kind of hung in there."
On whether he has major No. 15 in his sights: "Long way to go. We've got 36 more holes."
8:11 p.m.: Not saying he can beat Tiger Woods the way the current leader is playing right now, but if there's one guy who won't be intimidated by playing with him, it's Vijay Singh.
In their most notable head-to-head matchup on Labor Day at the 2004 Deutsche Bank Championship, each player shot 69, but Vijay held onto his lead to win the tournament and take over the No. 1 spot atop the OWGR.
Of course, that was a half-decade ago.
8:07 p.m.: And now Padraig Harrington to clean up his par on 18 and solidify his spot alongside Tiger Woods for a fourth straight round tomorrow ... and he misses it.
Like Tiger, Paddy finishes with a bogey.
That's a 73 for Harrington, who will enter the weekend in a tie for second place with Vijay Singh, Brendan Jones, Lucas Glover, Ross Fisher and possibly Lee Westwood, if he makes a birdie on the final hole.
Perhaps more notably, that means Vijay Singh will play in the final pairing alongside Woods on Saturday.
8:05 p.m.: Tiger Woods with the comebacker on No. 18 ... and he slides it just past to the right.
That's a third bogey today for Tiger against five birdies for a 2-under total of 70 to enter the weekend at 7-under.
8:03 p.m.: Ugly hole for Lee Westwood on 17. He makes double and drops to 2-under.
Funny, he usually waits until late on Sunday to miss those short putts.
8:01 p.m.: Tiger runs his chip right at the 18th hole ... and it zooms right by it. Woods will have about a 12-footer coming back for par.
Remember that stat from earlier: In each of his 14 career major championship wins, Woods has shot a sub-70 second-round score.
A holed putt here would mean a 3-under 69; if he misses, that will be 70.
7:58 p.m.: The ovation that Tiger Woods is receiving from the Hazeltine gallery while walking up the 18th fairway sounds very much like one offered to a player who has just won a major championship around this time of day on a Sunday.
Woods left his approach just off the green on 18, will have a little chip from there.
7:47 p.m.: You know Tiger Woods is on his game when he misses a lengthy birdie putt and starts muttering to himself in disgust as he walks after it.
Woods settles for par on No. 17.
Great point was just made by the TNT announcers. There just aren't that many places where Tiger is going make a big number here at Hazeltine.
It's just the way the course is set up. There have been 151 double-bogeys for the week, but only 15 triples or worse. Chances aren't very good that TW will make a whole bunch of bogeys to come back to the pack, so other contenders may have a better chance hoping for that one big number on a single hole. That could happen on other major venues, but unless something weird takes place here, I just don't see that many places from which he can make a big number.
Of course, from where he's hitting it, he may not make anything but pars and birdies for the next 37 holes.
7:43 p.m.: Lee Westwood very nearly pitches in for birdie on 16. It rolls about 8 feet past and he makes the comebacker to save par.
If Westwood and Harrington each finish at 4-under, Harrington will play with Woods in the final pairing tomorrow due to the first-in, last-out rule.
7:29 p.m.: Umm, so ... those plans you canceled for this weekend so you could watch the PGA Championship instead? Might want to call 'em back on, because the end result may not be in doubt anymore.
Actually, check that. Keep 'em canceled. You may want to watch this.
Tiger Woods drills a 20-footer for birdie on the 16th hole to move to 8-under and take a 4-stroke advantage over Padraig Harrington and Lee Westwood.
OK, so Tiger is gonna win the Wanamaker Trophy. Is it too late for the PGA of America to scramble and make a Wannabe Trophy so the other 155 guys have something to play for?
7:20 p.m.: I mentioned earlier in the day that Tiger Woods is 8-for-8 in conversion attempts when atop the leaderboard after Round 2 of a major championship. Well, here's the full list:
• 2007 PGA Championship
• 2006 British Open
• 2005 British Open
• 2002 U.S. Open
• 2000 PGA Championship
• 2000 British Open
• 2000 U.S. Open
• 1997 Masters
Additionally, TW is 32-6 in his career when holding or sharing the second-round lead, including -- gulp! -- 12 straight victories.
Either this tournament is over or we're gonna see some serious history on the weekend.
7:13 p.m.: Padraig Harrington is hanging in there. After that great bunker shot, he lips out the 25-foot eagle attempt, but makes the birdie putt to move back to 4-under -- even for the round.
If Harrington stays at 4-under or better, he'll be paired with Tiger for a fourth straight round tomorrow, dating back to last Sunday at Firestone. If he falls to 3-under or worse, Woods will be paired with Vijay Singh.
With that in mind, I'd almost expect TW to help him read a few putts down the stretch. Almost.
7:08 p.m.: Upon second inspection, that looked like a bad break for Tiger, as he had to play the shot with one foot in the bunker. No matter, as he chips to about a foot and will make an easy birdie to move to 7-under.
For all those who chose "par or worse" in Streak for the Cash, shame on you.
7:05 p.m.: Unbelievable bunker shot by Padraig Harrington on No. 15, as he knocks his second some 300-plus yards out of the hazard to about pin-high. He'll have that left for eagle.
Meanwhile, Tiger Woods knocks his second through the green, but it hangs up in the rough just off the fringe rather than falling into the back bunker. Not sure if that was a good break or not.
7:01 p.m.: During an interview with Tiger Woods two years ago, I asked him a touchy question that he answered without hesitation:
Q: [What is] your greatest choke?
A: In 1996 at Quad Cities, when I had the lead, because I kept thinking -- and I lost to Ed Fiori there -- if I had won that event, I'd get a two-year exemption. I did not have a [PGA Tour] card and I did not want to go to Q-school. And because I didn't win, obviously, I had to keep trying to get my card and that was the most important thing, to get my card so I had a place to play the following year. So I definitely blew that event.
The reason I bring that up now is because if TW fails to win this tournament after having a 3-shot advantage late on Friday afternoon, he may need to amend that response.
6:58 p.m.: E-mail from Dale in Gilbert, Ariz.:
I can't believe you didn't give a Streak for the Cash prediction. They have a line on there for Tiger's score on the 15th: Par or worse vs. birdie or better.
Tiger on a par-5? I'll take birdie, thanks.
He's already bombed his drive down the right side of the fairway.
6:55 p.m.: Ross Fisher played the first 16 holes in 6-under, with six birdies and 10 pars. Then he followed with a bogey-bogey finish.
After driving it to the right on 18, he punched down the right side, pitched onto the right side of the green and two-putted to close out the most disappointing 68 of his life.
He'll enter the weekend at 3-under, currently tied with Vijay Singh, Brendan Jones, Lucas Glover, Padraig Harrington and Lee Westwood, with the final two of 'em still on the course.
6:47 p.m.: After driving the green, Tiger Woods for eagle on the par-4 14th ... and he misses by inches.
That's a tap-in birdie for TW to move to 6-under and take a 2-shot lead.
Just throwing it out there: Tiger could get it to 7-under by the end of the day. With Ross Fisher in trouble on 18, he could drop to 3-under, which could mean a 4-stroke lead for Woods entering the weekend, and a final pairing tee time with Vijay Singh tomorrow.
6:45 p.m.: Rory McIlroy got things to 3-under before just posting a bogey at the 15th.
How impressive would it be if McIlroy won this week? Try this for perspective: He is currently 13 months younger than Tiger Woods was when he won the 1997 Masters.
6:42 p.m.: Nothing calls for a Blog Jinx like trying to conjure up potential winning headlines for a player on Friday afternoon.
Ross Fisher makes bogey on No. 17 to drop to 4-under. Once again, Tiger Woods is in sole possession of the lead.
As for TW, he's just sort of plodding along, making a few nice par saves and letting others make the unforced errors. With five holes to play -- including a short par-4 coming up at the 14th and one more par-5 -- he'd love to pick up another 2 strokes on the field to potentially own a 3-shot lead going into the weekend.
6:27 p.m.: Speaking of making the cut, the following 15 players are the only ones to play all 72 holes at each of the year's first three major championships:
• Andres Romero
• Angel Cabrera
• Camilo Villegas
• Graeme McDowell
• Henrik Stenson
• Jim Furyk
• Kenny Perry
• Kevin Sutherland
• Lee Westwood
• Rory McIlroy
• Ross Fisher
• Sean O'Hair
• Sergio Garcia
• Steve Stricker
• Vijay Singh
Interestingly enough, that list doesn't seem like it will lose many members this week, as only Andres Romero and Steve Stricker definitely won't make the cut. Jim Furyk and Sergio Garcia are each still on the course at 3-over, so they have a shot to spare.
There could be 13 players who wind up making the cut at all four majors, which seems like a number that's a bit higher than most other years.
6:23 p.m.: Phil Mickelson, Retief Goosen, Justin Leonard, Ryo Ishikawa, Luke Donald and The Most Interesting Man in the World may want to unpack those suitcases and extend the hotel reservation in Minnesota for a few more days.
It's looking more and more likely that 4-over-par will be the cut line, meaning each of the above players will be competing for 36 more holes during the weekend.
Right now there are exactly 70 players who are 3-over or better. If at least one of them drops a stroke and no one below picks one up, the 4-over players are in. At the rate the line has been moving, this is basically a done deal.
6:20 p.m.: When Tiger Woods finished T-6 at Bethpage and MC'd at Turnberry, he just wasn't making any mid-range putts at all.
This week he's draining a very high percentage of 'em so far, as he just made a 15-footer to save par and stay at 5-under alongside Ross Fisher.
6:17 p.m.: The Fisher King! Ross is Boss! Fisher's Price!
Just working on some Ross Fisher headlines should he win this thing on Sunday afternoon.
The guy nicknamed simply "Fish" just made another birdie on No. 16 -- his sixth of the day without a blemish on the card.
He's now at 5-under, tied with Tiger Woods for the lead. If he can just par out these last two holes, he'll own a tournament-best 6-under 66 when most guys are heading in the opposite direction.
6:11 p.m.: I've barely mentioned Lee Westwood, but he just rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 11 to move to 3-under.
Westwood has been one stroke away from reaching a playoff in two of the last six majors.
When you talk about the best drivers of the golf ball right now -- both for length and accuracy -- Westwood is definitely on that list.
6:06 p.m.: A handful of e-mailers with two answers to the question about whether any players have been paired together for all four rounds of a major, so no one gets credit ... but I will share the results.
• 1980 U.S. Open: Jack Nicklaus and Isao Aoki
• 1994 Masters: Ian Woosnam and John Daly
"It's the longest relationship I've ever had," Daly quipped in John Feinstein's book, "A Good Walk Spoiled."
6:01 p.m.: Tiger Woods saves par with a 5-footer on 11. Padraig Harrington makes bogey.
Woods now owns sole possession of the lead at 5-under, with Harrington a stroke back at 4-under.
Again, I ask you: Haven't we seen this someplace before?
5:58 p.m.: As if only to reinforce my last point, here's a bit of 2009 trivia:
Who is the only player to finish inside the top-30 at all three majors so far this year?
That's right -- Ross Fisher.
5:49 p.m.: Birdie for Ross Fisher on the 14th hole. He moves to 4-under, just a stroke behind Woods and Harrington.
This is a guy who has either led or been a single shot out of the lead during the final round in each of the last two major championships.
I think a lot of people will see the big names on the leaderboard -- Woods, Harrington, Singh, Glover, Poulter, Westwood -- and glance over that of Fisher, but it's about time we started considering him among the game's better players, especially at the big tournaments.
5:45 p.m.: E-mail from Matthew in Parts Unknown:
Only two Americans in the top 18. What do you make of that?
I think it speaks less about any weakness regarding the U.S. players and says more about golf as a true global pursuit. There are a lot of really good players up there from all reaches of the globe; United States, Ireland, England, Fiji, Australia, Spain, Denmark, Korea, Northern Ireland and Sweden are each represented in that top 18.
5:38 p.m.: And we've got a tournament once again.
Padraig Harrington birdies No. 9, Tiger Woods bogeys No. 10 ... and they are the co-leaders at 5-under-par, two shots clear of Vijay Singh, Brendan Jones, Lucas Glover and Ross Fisher, with each of those in the clubhouse other than Fisher, who is through 13 holes.
As for the question I've gotten about whether two players have ever been paired together for four consecutive rounds ... no idea. I don't recall it happening, but the PGA Tour doesn't keep these statistics. I've got to believe it's been done before; if anyone remembers a specific example, I'd love to hear it.
5:28 p.m.: Alvaro Quiros just had 47 yards into the green on No. 9 ... which is playing 430 yards.
That's right. Dude just hit a 383-yard drive!
Leads to this e-mail from Brooke in Wisconsin:
Alvaro Quiros' new nickname is The Lama. "A looper, you know, a caddie, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald ... striking. So, I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one -- big hitter, the Lama -- long, into a 10,000-foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga ... gunga, gunga-lagunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, 'Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.' And he says, 'Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.' So I got that goin' for me, which is nice."
Big hitter, the Lama.
Not much of a putter, though.
Quiros couldn't get up and down for birdie, remains at 2-under with nine holes to play.
5:24 p.m.: E-mail from Nick in Dallas:
Any word on the conditions out there? Has the wind picked up like they expected?
Yup, it's definitely blowing out here. Not exactly Turnberry, but there's a good one- or two-club wind hitting these players. Strong iron play is certainly at a premium for the remainder of the afternoon, but don't overlook the affect this wind can have on putting as well. Just as tough to roll the ball in these conditions as it is to hit it.
5:20 p.m.: A pair of pars on No. 8 for Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington.
TW had a chance for birdie, but barely missed the putt.
5:07 p.m.: Minnesota Vikings?
Soren Kjeldsen and Henrik Stenson are each 1-under.
And yes, I know not all Scandinavians are Vikings. But these guys are. I think.
4:58 p.m.: Going back to that last post, if Tiger Woods shoots 69, consider it over.
In each of his 14 major championship victories, Woods has broken 70 in the second round every single time.
Dude has spent more time in the 60s than an entire van of Deadheads.
4:50 p.m.: While Harrington is 1-over on the par-5s so far, Tiger Woods is now 1-under, following the par on No. 3 with a birdie on the seventh.
He moves to 6-under for the first time this week and holds a 2-stroke advantage over the defending champ.
If he can birdie each of the remaining two par-5 holes and play the other nine in even-par, that would be a second-round 69 that would put him at 8-under entering the weekend.
4:46 p.m.: Déjà vu all over again.
Looking much like the 16th hole on Sunday at Firestone, Padraig Harrington chipped one well past the hole on No. 7, then chunked another short and rolled in a 10-footer for the par.
Good save or else that would have been bogeys on each of the front-side par-5 holes.
4:40 p.m.: Tweet, tweet ...
Ianjamespoulter The Fisher, McDowell, Poulter house seems to be doing good all are inside the top 8 so far. must be a good vibe going in the house.
That's a combined 7-under-par. The house of Tiger Woods is only 5-under.
Best part about it is that no one will be going home before the weekend. You'd hate to see one guy try to get out of his share of the last two days' rent or not help clean up so they don't lose their security deposit.
4:30 p.m.: E-mail from Panya in Bangkok:
Blog Jinx! You mentioned Thongchai Jaidee out of nowhere when he teed off on the first hole. Now he is nowhere near the leaderboard.
So what you are saying is ...
Let me see that Thong!
Thongchai has a very strange round going, with seven pars and two doubles in his first nine holes, making the turn with a 40 and 2-over for the tournament.
4:27 p.m.: After five birdies in Round 1, Tiger Woods has made his first one of the day at the sixth hole, rolling in a 15-footer that never left the center of the cup.
He's now at 5-under, with Padraig Harrington one stroke behind. Hmmm ... sounds eerily familiar.
Meanwhile, after hitting out of that hazard on 16, Graeme McDowell made bogey to fall back to 3-under.
4:14 p.m.: The Ryder Cup will be coming here to Hazeltine in 2016. Based on the current leaderboard, I like Europe's chances.
Seven of the top dozen players are from Europe - and there's a good chance that most -- if not all -- will still be in the mix seven years from now. Here is each player with current age ...
• Padraig Harrington: 37
• Graeme McDowell: 30
• Alvaro Quiros: 26
• Ian Poulter: 33
• Ross Fisher: 28
• Rory McIlroy: 20
• Martin Kaymer: 24
Toss in a few guys like Paul Casey, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Luke Donald -- each of whom is 33 or younger -- and the European side looks strong for the future.
4:12 p.m.: Luck of the Irish?
Graeme McDowell hit a wayward tee shot on No. 16 that finds the downslope guarding a creek, hops across it and lands on the other side. He's still in the hazard, but the ball isn't wet and he'll be able to play it from there. Big break for one of the co-leaders.
4:07 p.m.: The long hitters were supposed to have an advantage here at Hazeltine, but we've already lost two of the longest due to injury.
One day after John Daly pulled out with a back problem, J.B. Holmes withdrew while on the 13th green -- his fourth of the day -- with an injury to his left hand.
Disappointing week for Holmes, who played in the final threesome last year at Oakland Hills before quickly taking himself out of the mix with a triple-bogey on the opening hole.
4:04 p.m.: Alvaro Quiros fails to get up and down from the bunker on No. 4 and drops to 3-under.
In related news, he may be the most famous athlete named Alvaro in the U.S. since former shortstop Alvaro Espinoza. So he's got that going for him, which is nice.
3:57 p.m.: As always, make me laugh and you make the blog. From Dave in Framingham, Mass.:
Now that Alvaro Quiros has jumped into a tie for the lead at the PGA, what do you think Sergio Garcia's reaction would be if he ended up winning this thing to become the most recent Spaniard to win a major since Jose Maria Olazabal? Would it rival Shooter McGavin grabbing the Gold Jacket out of the Commissioners hands? Could you see El Nino taking the Wanamaker out of Jim Remy's hands while a Minnesota mob chased him into the Minnetonka?
When reached for comment, Garcia said, "Gold jacket, green jacket ... who gives a @#$%!"
3:53 p.m.: After a morning of very little leaderboard movement, things are picking up here in the afternoon. Doesn't necessarily mean guys are going lower, just that there's more drama at the top.
Padraig Harrington bounces back with a birdie, Graeme McDowell makes his second in three holes and they are each tied with Tiger Woods and Alvaro Quiros in a four-way share of the lead at 4-under.
For his part, TW made a nice par save, sinking an 8-footer on No. 4 to stay in that mix.
3:38 p.m.: Over the years, Tiger Woods has absolutely dominated par-5s. If memory serves, I believe he's never finished outside the top-10 in par-5 birdie percentage on the PGA Tour.
That was also the case yesterday, as TW birdied three of the four par-5s here at Hazeltine.
He's 0-for-1 so far today, though, as Tiger was forced to lay up short of the green on No. 3, then spun one to about 35 feet short of the hole, putted 5 feet past and just barely curled in the par effort to remain at 4-under.
Padraig Harrington, meanwhile, made bogey there. That leaves Woods and Alvaro Quiros as the co-leaders.
3:31 p.m.: So much for that two-man match play-like situation.
Alvaro Quiros has made it a trio atop the leaderboard, with a birdie on the second hole to move to 4-under.
No truth to the rumor that he drove the ball 431 yards and two-putted. It was a little more conventional than that.
3:29 p.m.: Don't sleep on Ross Fisher!
Seriously, this dude hangs around on the leaderboard at every single major. He's already 3-under for the day through six holes. And I don't believe his wife is having any more babies this week, so there's no chance he'll leave Hazeltine while in contention.
3:24 p.m.: They stopped playing the match play format here at the PGA Championship back in 1958, but even though they're only a single stroke ahead of five others, the Tiger Woods-Padraig Harrington pairing (also starring Rich Beem) is taking on that sort of feel for the time being.
No blood on No. 2 as they each make par to remain at 4-under.
3:18 p.m.: After making bogey on his final hole to shoot 73, apparently Geoff Ogilvy didn't stop to speak with reporters here on site.
At least he apologized for it. From his Twitter account ...
geoffogilvy To the journalists I walked passed, sorry. My answers would have been tainted by my grumpy attitude and may not have been appropriate
Yes, we journalists hate grumpy attitudes. It's like freakin' Glee Club in here.
3:10 p.m.: After that eagle on No. 7, Phil Mickelson finished par-par over his final two holes to finish at 4-over.
Will it be good enough to make the cut? Remains to be seen. Right now, there are 74 players at 2-over or better. I think it's a slam-dunk that those in the clubhouse at 3-over -- including Anthony Kim and Jeev Milkha Singh -- will be around for the weekend.
And those at 4-over, like Mickelson, have a chance, too.
There are currently 89 players at 3-over or better. If 20 or more of them drop to 4-over or higher, Lefty will be playing 36 more holes.
Asked if he thinks it will be enough, Mickelson said, "It will be interesting. I don't know if it will make it or not. I'm not going to beat many people putting the way I am."
3:02 p.m.: Drive in the left rough, approach well short of the greenside bunker, chip to within 8 feet, missed par putt, tap-in ... and Tiger Woods has posted his first bogey of the tournament.
The real mistake on No. 1 was his iron shot from the fairway, which came up a good two clubs short of its intended target.
Meanwhile, Padraig Harrington makes par on the same hole and we have co-leaders at 4-under.
2:53 p.m.: E-mail from Kirby in Mattoon, Ill.:
Why no love for Ernie Els' day?
From Matt in Arlington, Va.:
Ernie Els had one of the best rounds of the day so far. Are you going to give him a mention?
From Brendan in Northern Virginia:
No love for Ernie throwing up a 4-under today to get back into contention?
Sorry, here's some "love" for the Big Easy: After yesterday's 75, he shot a 68 -- tied for best round of the morning with Tim Clark -- to move into a share of 16th place, which could be top-10 by the end of the day.
In yesterday's blog, I wrote about this being the final major of Ernie's supposed three-year plan to catch Tiger Woods for No. 1 in the world. Obviously, that's been a fruitless effort, as he remains 26th in the OWGR, but he looked terrific out there this morning. We'll see if he can keep it up over the weekend.
2:51 p.m.: Tweet, tweet ...
Leviaw@JasonSobel over-under for tiger's round this afternoon at 70.5???
I think that's the perfect number ... because I have absolutely no idea which way to go. Gut feeling is that TW shoots either a 70 or 71 today, which would put him at either 7- or 6-under entering the weekend.
If I really have to pick? Take the under for Tiger.
2:45 p.m.: Now on the first tee, four-time PGA champion ... Tiger Woods.
I've already mentioned that in each of the last four instances holding or sharing the 18-hole lead at a major, he's won. Well, the following could be the stat of the day if he still holds the lead some five hours from now: Woods has held or shared the lead after Round 2 at a major on eight occasions during his career. He has gone on to win every single time.
Could someone come from behind to beat Tiger this weekend? Sure, but past history says it doesn't -- and won't -- happen. If he leads through 36 holes, they may be able to start engraving the Wanamaker Trophy.
2:38 p.m.: Tweet, tweet ...
AquaBreaker@JasonSobel What's the status on uber-golfer John Merrickallinger? I've been waiting on edge for an update.
Mallinger has only played two holes so far, but Merrick posted rounds of even-par 72-72. Boring? Not exactly. He posted 10 birdies, 17 pars, eight bogeys and one double. That should definitely help the best ball score.
2:31 p.m.: On No. 9 -- his last hole of the day -- Lucas Glover just never looked comfortable over his 8-foot par attempt. Backed away once, then hit it and missed. Tapped in for bogey to close with a 70 -- at 3-under-par entering the weekend.
Of the players in the late-Thursday/early-Friday wave, Glover, Brendan Jones and Vijay Singh will post the best 36-hole scores of 3-under. Even though they're in a six-way share of third place right now, expect it to be even better when the day is over.
2:21 p.m.: Tweet, tweet ...
KevinsLife Tim Clark has hot round right now, @JasonSobel. Do you think he can overcome his putting woes under pressure & win in the US?
I've always been a big Tim Clark fan. After shooting 76 in Round 1, he is now 5-under playing the 18th hole. In the current scenario, where pars are good scores and players don't have to go very low, Clark can make some noise. He's always been a guy that can grind 'em out -- his roller-coaster opening rounds notwithstanding.
The key for Clark may be the weather. If it rains here, the course will soften up and play even longer. He may not be able to handle that. If I'm Clark, I want things as fast and firm as possible. He's a terrific ball-striker -- if the wind blows, he can control his game more than most others; if it turns into a birdie-fest, though, it may be a bit tougher.
2:15 p.m.: Don't bury Phil Mickelson just yet.
Eagle on No. 7 moves him back to 4-over. A birdie-par finish just may be enough to get him to the weekend.
He's got the eighth and ninth holes left, which are playing as the seventh and 13th most difficult holes, respectively.
2:11 p.m.: Here's Vijay on his round today:
"I had a lot of chances, missed some putts here and there. I'm happy, but a little disappointed."
Not as disappointed as each of the last three Fridays at the PGA, as the two-time champ MC'd the past three years.
2:09 p.m.: Vijay Singh finishes with a disappointing bogey on his final hole to shoot even-par 72 and go into the weekend at 3-under.
Again, the wind is really starting to howl here. Lucas Glover is still on the course at 4-under with two holes to play. Not inconceivable that Singh could wind up in the final pairing or maybe second-to-last pairing in Round 3.
1:58 p.m.: Feel-good story of the week so far is Grant Sturgeon, the assistant pro from Oakmont CC who shot 73-71 and will make the cut at even-par.
After his round, he spoke with the media ...
On his expectations: "I never played a golf course setup that's this tough, that's this challenging, and never played in front of this many people. Never played against the best in the world. But that being said, I felt if I played up to my potential and my ability that making the cut was a reasonable goal. So I tried to, as much as I thought that, stay away from thinking that way as much as possible, because if that is all that I was worried about, I had no chance of doing it."
On how Hazeltine compares to Oakmont: "Oakmont is its own beast in and of itself. And there are certain ways that Oakmont's definitely more challenging. But I've never played Oakmont anywhere close to this situation or this atmosphere."
On being a slow starter: "I was so nervous I couldn't hold the putter and I missed about a 3-footer to bogey the first out here. But other than that, you know, playing against guys this good, I have to play my absolute best to be able to compete with them, to make the cut, to shoot rounds like 73, 71. So it actually takes a little bit of the nerves out of it in one way because there's no opportunity to mess up. I mean, I've got to be at my best on every shot."
On his job as an assistant pro: "I absolutely love what I do. Teaching is something that I'm passionate about. Being a golf professional as opposed to playing professional lets me do that. Helping young kids. And I mean, just everybody is just a treat. To see them get as happy about their shots as I do over mine is pretty cool. And I just enjoy the friendships and the atmosphere of that."
1:49 p.m.: E-mail from Brooke in Wisconsin:
Lefty is feeling the ill effects of being mentioned in your "Live Blog theme song" just as Tiger did while struggling in the first two rounds of the British Open ... the Blog Jinx is strong and undeniable.
True, but the theme song mentions me a lot more than either Woods or Mickelson. If those guys miss the cut -- and Lefty is well on his way with a double on No. 5 just minutes ago -- then what's going to happen to me?
For the record, Mickelson is now 4-over for his round and 5-over for his last six holes. With four holes to play, he may need to birdie 'em all to stick around for the weekend, though three birdies and par (or possibly even two and two) should do the trick.
1:45 p.m.: Now teeing off on the 10th tee, at 2-under 70 for the tournament ... Thongchai Jaidee.
And this, my friends, is why golfers should have theme song -- hey, all the cool people are doing it -- much in the way baseball players have at-bat music ...
I like it when the beat goes da na da na
Baby make your booty go da na da na
Girl I know you wanna show da na da na
That thong th- thong thong thong
Thongchai Jaidee. "The Thong Song." Two great things that go great together.
And I guarantee you will never look at Thongchai Jaidee the same way again.
1:36 p.m.: Angel Cabrera may not cry over spilled milk ... but he may cry after checking out his scorecard.
After playing the first six holes in 4-under, the reigning Masters champ has played the last six in 4-over.
Wonder if he eats a lot when he's depressed. This is a guy who reportedly ate nine cheeseburgers after winning at Augusta National. He could polish off twice that many this afternoon -- especially if he needs to wait it out and see whether he makes the cut.
1:28 p.m.: On the surface, it appears the 78 players in the late-Thursday/early-Friday draw have underwhelmed in comparison to their early/late counterparts, but let's not be so fast to judge.
I have a feeling that with the wind gusting even more in the afternoon, we'll see guys like Vijay Singh, Brendan Jones, Soren Kjeldsen and Lucas Glover -- each at 3-under-par right now -- in very strong position at the end of the day.
Of course, the biggest X-factor is Tiger Woods. If he can go low in the afternoon -- and I'd consider anything in the 60s to be low in these conditions -- it may not be game over for the other guys, but it'll be very tough to come back. If TW shoots even-par or worse, though, it could be a very bunched leaderboard by the end of the evening.
1:21 p.m.: E-mail from Ben in Arizona:
How does a world-class golfer (and your fourth-rated pick), Steve Stricker, not have a birdie through 32 holes? Has anyone else been shut out like Stricker? Even DFL Benzel has three.
Wow. I hadn't noticed Stricker's struggles yet, but that's pretty abysmal. With four holes to play, he has posted 27 pars and five bogeys. For a guy widely regarded as one of the world's best putters, I think it's safe to say that nothing is dropping for him this week.
By the way, say the words "Stricker's struggles" ten times fast. Out loud. And make sure non-blog-reading coworkers or classmates can hear. It'll be fun. Trust me.
1:14 p.m.: In 16 career PGA Championship starts, Phil Mickelson owns top-10 finishes in half of 'em, including a win in 2005 at Baltusrol and a T-7 last year.
During that time, he has only missed the cut on one occasion, shooting 77-71 at Riviera in 1995.
He could be looking at his second PGA MC today.
Right now, Mickelson is 4-over-par for the tourney and 2-over for the day, including disappointing bogeys on the short par-4 14th and the par-5 third just a few minutes ago.
He's currently below the projected cut line, but with six holes to play -- not to mention half the field still yet to tee off -- anything can happen.
1:09 p.m.: He doesn't miss the cut, the cut misses him.
Miguel Angel Jimenez is ... THE MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD!
From Bruce in Parts Unknown:
He is immune to all jinxes, but he tried the Blog Jinx once just to see what all the fuss was about.
From Jason in "a cubicle five miles from Hazeltine":
He once had an awkward lie just to see what it feels like.
At 1-over for his round and 3-over for the tourney, he'll need to do something truly interesting over the final three holes to get back into the mix.
12:59 p.m.: Fun fact: Guys named "B. Jones" have combined to win seven career major professional championships.
In case you were wondering, the official tally is seven for Bobby Jones and zero for all the rest of 'em (though a special shoutout to Steve Jones, the only Jones to keep up with the original Jones by jonesing for a major title).
Brendan Jones is trying to change that right now, as he's 3-under-par for the tournament and just a pair of shots off the lead. He may not be all that interesting, but Jones just joined Miguel Angel Jimenez in making eagle at No. 14.
Perhaps we could be looking at a rematch this weekend. In his return from knee surgery back in February, Tiger Woods defeated Jones in the opening round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
12:48 p.m.: Tweet, tweet ...
Cullen4@JasonSobel Sturgeon? Where did he come from? Did he jump out of Lake Hazeltine?
Knew that one was coming.
I know you weren't looking for a real answer, but his listed birthplace is Cave City, Ky., which conjures some great mental imagery of a place to live.
12:40 p.m.: Five words never before written in Live Blog history ... Grant Sturgeon is on fire!
The assistant pro from a little course called Oakmont CC just birdied the seventh hole -- his 16th of the day -- and is now 2-under for the round and 1-under for the tournament, in a share of 15th place.
Of course, after playing Oakmont all the time, Hazeltine must seem like a walk in the park.
Sturgeon has a great story about getting into this event, too. At the PGA Professional National Championship, he shot an opening-round 79, but followed with a second-round 65 that included a hole-in-one and a birdie on the final hole just to make the cut on the number. From there, he shot 67-69 on the weekend to finish in the top 20 and qualify for the PGA Championship.
12:36 p.m.: Prior to today, we were told that the weather forecast called for strong winds throughout the day.
Of course, we were also told that the weather around here is entirely unpredictable.
(Non-sequitur: In what locations is the weather not unpredictable? Wait -- don't answer that. I don't really want to know.)
In any case, it's starting to whip around this course pretty good right now, proving the forecasters right. Expect it to blow even more during the afternoon. I'd be surprised if there's another 67 out there for today. In fact, Tiger's opening-round score could possibly hold up as the round of the tournament.
12:20 p.m.: I would have loved to hear his retort had you asked the legendary Dan Jenkins a few years ago if he "tweeted."
Not only does Jenkins use Twitter right now, he's still zinging 100 mph fastballs on the outside corner. His latest observation is fantastic:
danjenkinsgd Startling thought: Glover tied for third. A win and he joins Sarazan, Hogan, Jack and Tiger as only guys to win Open and PGA in same year.
That would be Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods -- four guys who make up, oh, the top seven or eight in history to ever play the game. Glover may be a very good young player, but he's obviously nowhere near that elite company.
And yet, he just birdied No. 18 -- his ninth of the day -- and moves to 3-under for the tournament. He's tied for low man of those on the course right now with Vijay Singh. Remains to be seen whether one of them can post a few more birdies and at least get to 5-under before Tiger Woods tees off a little over two hours.
12:11 p.m.: The ... rule ... when ... writing ... about ... Ben ... Crane ... is ... that ... you ... must ... type ... very ... very ... VERY ... slowly ...
Crane is so slow that Padraig Harrington just put him on the clock.
Of course, Crane is also slowly working his way up the leaderboard. He's now at 3-under for the tournament, thanks to birdies on each of his last two holes.
12:04 p.m.: He makes bogey ... but only when it means he'll be included in the Live Blog.
Miguel Angel Jimenez is ... THE MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD!
And yet, he's not immune to the Blog Jinx. After discussing that unblemished opening nine holes of his, he makes bogey on his 10th of the day.
E-mail from Brad in Parts Unknown:
"There is a time and a place for tweeting about breakfast. That time is never." --Miguel Angel Jimenez, The Most Interesting Man in the World.
What would the TMIMIW eat for breakfast? Ostrich eggs? Crocodile bacon?
No. TMIMIW eats eagles for breakfast. Clearly.
11:52 a.m.: Through 29 holes this week, Adam Scott has posted two birdies, 13 pars, 13 bogeys and one double. Yikes, that's bordering on double-digit-handicap territory.
He's obviously in a bad place with his game right now -- his best result since finishing T-2 at the Sony Open in January is comically a T-33 that came when he lost in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
E-mail from Alan in Parts Unknown:
Is Adam Scott's career done? He's like Rick Ankiel of the Cards -- great pitcher who woke up one day and couldn't find the plate anymore. I think he's toast.
No way. Scott has undergone a ton of injuries in the past year and is just trying to play his way through 'em. His instructor Butch Harmon has an increasingly impressive profile now that Stewart Cink owns a major victory, so I expect Adam to start playing solid golf once he's healthy -- both physically and mentally -- once again.
That said, I don't expect him to ever be a guy who rises to No. 1 in the world and wins a lot of majors. He just doesn't have the heart for it. In an interview conducted last year, he sounded like a guy who had greater priorities in his life than golf:
Q: So tell me, when the Adam Scott biography is written 25, 30 years from now, what will it say?
A: Adam Scott, wannabe surfer. [Laughs.]
Q: No mention of golf?
A: Yeah, it'll mention golf, absolutely. But I hope there's more to my life than just golf.
11:44 a.m.: E-mail from Jeremiah in Parts Unknown:
Your prediction on Ian Poulter being ready to win big seems to have been a couple majors early. Maybe it was his enormous breakfast.
Seriously, I think we need to analyze that breakfast a little more. He had a bowl of Raisin Bran, two poached eggs, toast, a bowl of fruit, a cup of tea and a glass of orange juice. Wow. I couldn't get off that couch after that sort of morning meal, let alone play 18 holes of good golf.
That said, gotta wonder if it's catching up to him. From Conor in Kansas City:
Gotta love Poulter. He birdies to get to 3-under and immediately bogeys himself back to 2-under. Should have spilled milk.
Cereal and eggs and toast and fruit and tea and juice ... was a bad choice.
11:32 a.m.: Prior to the opening round, nearly every player asked said that Hazeltine would benefit the long, straight drivers. (Of course, the same could be said for every course ... but it especially makes sense here.) So it shouldn't come as a surprise that Lucas Glover -- ranked No. 2 on the PGA Tour in total driving -- is moving up the leaderboard.
"The golf course suits me," he said after Round 1. "It's long and you gotta drive it good. And I've been doing that this year. I played some of my best golf on some of the hardest courses on the tour. Fortunate about that."
The reigning U.S. Open champion was 2-under through his first six holes before just making a bogey on No. 16 a few minutes ago.
Asked yesterday about his round of 71 that started birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey-bogey-par-birdie, he said, "Roller coaster. But pretty solid. Just the speed of the greens, I wasn't real good. But I made some putts coming in. ... Not too upset about it."
After playing in a combined 4-over yesterday, the major champions threesome of Glover, Stewart Cink and Angel Cabrera is 6-under through seven holes today.
11:19 a.m.: He has no time for birdies, preferring to hunt for eagles instead.
He makes a 2 on a par-4, just to show it's possible.
He's currently +1, because, well, that's what the wedding invitation said.
Miguel Angel Jimenez is ... THE MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD!
Sure, the jokes were lame, but what I was getting at is that the Mechanic has posted an eagle on No. 14 -- not only the first of the week at that hole, but the first on the entire back nine -- and added eight other pars on his first nine holes to make the turn at 2-under for the day and 1-over for the tournament.
11:13 a.m.: Best scores of the morning so far belong to Angel Cabrera, who knocked over that milk jug, and Tim Clark -- each at 3-under for their rounds.
This is a copycat sport. Guy wins a major using a square driver? Two dozen other guys try it one week later.
Based on that, I can imagine an entire clubhouse dining room filled with players who are knocking over milk jugs right now in order to emulate Cabrera's success.
10:59 a.m.: Craig Thomas is the head professional at Metropolis CC in White Plains, N.Y. Keith Dicciani is the assistant pro at the same club. They are each competing in this week's PGA Championship.
That in itself is a great story, but just wait -- it gets much better. Dicciani is engaged to Thomas' stepdaughter Danielle. That relationship produced the best quote of the week, courtesy of Dicciani:
"If I beat him, he pays for the wedding. If he beats me, we elope."
Keith and Danielle may want to start working on a guest list. Dicciani beat his future father-in-law in Round 1, shooting a 72 to his 75. They each have afternoon tee times today.
10:52 a.m.: E-mail from Mathew in Traverse City, Mich.:
I count five club pros above the cut line. Over/under on the amount of club pros making the cut: 2.5. Which would you take?
There are some club pros playing very good golf right now. Grant Sturgeon just made the turn at 1-under for the day and even overall. Keith Dicciani, Scott Hebert and Michael Miles each shot even-par 72 in the first round.
But ... I'll take the under. None of the club pros currently below the cut line will make a run and a few of those playing in the afternoon draw today will shoot at least a few strokes higher than yesterday.
I say the number isn't more than two. And it may not be more than one.
10:46 a.m.: As mentioned, Phil Mickelson birdied that difficult 12th hole -- which may play a tad easier at 17 yards shorter. Hey, that equates to a one or two club swing with the approach shot into the green.
He's since followed with par on No. 13 and stands at 1-under for the day, 1-over for the tourney.
I do think Lefty can get back into this thing after his opening 74, but it will take a score of around 68 this morning to do the trick. He's certainly capable of such a performance, but the key will be hitting more fairways. In yesterday's round, he only found the short stuff on six of 14 occasions.
10:35 a.m.: Just received the official yardages from tee marker to the hole for Round 2. Here they are, with the number on the scorecard in parentheses:
• No. 1: 495 (490)
• No. 2: 431 (431)
• No. 3: 635 (633)
• No. 4: 215 (210)
• No. 5: 449 (448)
• No. 6: 418 (405)
• No. 7: 564 (572)
• No. 8: 182 (176)
• No. 9: 430 (432)
• No. 10: 455 (452)
• No. 11: 601 (606)
• No. 12: 501 (518)
• No. 13: 203 (248)
• No. 14: 299 (352)
• No. 15: 640 (642)
• No. 16: 387 (402)
• No. 17: 188 (182)
• No. 18: 482 (475)
Obviously, the biggest thing that stands out is the stretch from 12 through 14 playing a total of 115 yards shorter. We've already seen a few birdies today on that treacherous 12th hole -- including one from Phil Mickelson. The 13th has gone from a tee shot with a long iron, hybrid or even fairway wood to a mid-iron for most players. And the 14th should be driveable with a 3-wood, maybe the most fun hole to watch on the course today.
Interestingly enough, the front nine is actually playing longer than the scorecard, at 3,819 yards as opposed to 3,797. The back nine has been reduced to 3,756 yards from 3,877. And the entire course is playing at 7,575 today -- exactly 99 yards off the number on the card.
10:28 a.m.: So, you think players see the name "T.WOODS" on the leaderboard and start feeling a bit intimidated? That's nothing.
How about looking at the scores and seeing "B.JONES" currently under par?
No, sadly, it's not Bobby Jones; it's just Brendan, who earned exposure earlier this year for losing to Tiger in the opening round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
10:22 a.m.: Getting a lot of questions about the cut line. Still too early to know anything, really. I don't like to start looking at the number during any tournament until the morning group has completed play on Friday; until then, it's simply too fluid to mean anything anyway.
I can tell you that the low 70 and ties will reach the weekend. Much like the British Open, there is no 10-shot rule.
In related news, one other injury to report: It appears Adam Scott tripped over the cut line and fell down the leaderboard, suffering a bruised ego and multiple lacerations to his confidence.
10:18 a.m.: Angel Cabrera not only doesn't cry over spilled milk, it may be part of his pre-round birdie ritual.
After an opening-round 76, El Pato comes out firing, making birdie on his first hole (No. 10) and following with a par on his second.
Milk was a good choice.
10:15 a.m.: A lot of you have e-mailed for a link to yesterday's blog. Not sure if I should take that as a compliment that you want to read it or an insult that it was more entertaining than today's version.
In any case, here it is.
10:09 a.m.: Blog Jinx!
This one isn't just because I mentioned him, but because I opined that he could be leading by the time Tiger tees off later this afternoon ... Vijay Singh just made bogey on No. 12 to drop back to 3-under-par.
Then again, he's hardly alone at that hole. Ranked as the toughest on the course, so far there have been 87 combined birdies/pars and 88 bogeys/doubles.
10:05 a.m.: Woody Austin is making a little run with two birdies already this morning. But the real question I want answered is: Here in the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," did he bring his goggles?
Just in case you needed a laugh this morning, click here.
9:55 a.m.: I meant to check this yesterday. Good thing Kyle in Durham, Conn., has my back:
How good was Tiger's 67 yesterday? Even the best ball of uber-golfer John Mallingerrick could only match him at 67.
That's John Merrickallinger to you.
9:49 a.m.: The abbreviation "kj" can stand for "knee-jerk" or "kilojoule" or former NBA guard "Kevin Johnson" ... but there are no words in the English language that begin with that two-letter formation.
Soren Kjeldsen would have to perform either extremely well or unbelievably poorly to change that today and have his name serve as a verb -- as in, "Man, six birdies in a row? You're really kjeldsening it today!" So far, it's the latter, as the Denmark native found something rotten on the second hole in the form of a double-bogey, dropping him from 2-under-par to even.
9:41 a.m.: E-mail from Brooke in Wisconsin:
Kinda lame of Svelte John for WDing. If his back was so bad, he should not have taken a spot away from an alternate.
For those who weren't reading the Live Blog late in Round 1, I ripped John Daly for what appeared to be a lack of effort on the course, including a four-putt on the final hole that took a total of about 20 seconds altogether, only to find out later that he had a back injury and was forced to withdraw.
While it was a classy move by Paul Casey to pull out early enough to give an alternate (in this case, Tim Petrovic) not only a chance to play, but time to ready himself for the round, too, I don't have a problem with injured players trying to give it a go.
I mean, take last year's British Open as a prime example. Padraig Harrington was hurt and didn't think he could play. Instead of WDing, though, he gave it a try -- and won.
Had Daly withdrawn prior to the round, many would have considered him a quitter before ever even starting and giving it a try. Sort of a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situation, but I can't fault him for playing.
9:35 a.m.: Late in yesterday's Live Blog, I wrote that we shouldn't be surprised to see a player like Vijay Singh atop the leaderboard by the time Tiger Woods teed off in the afternoon.
Well, Vijay is off to a quick start so far, making birdie on No. 10 -- his first hole of the day -- to move to 4-under-par and within a stroke of the lead.
9:28 a.m.: First e-mail of the day from Brian in Boston:
Since the greens got bumpy and all spiked up around the holes yesterday afternoon, is there something the grounds crew will try to do differently in their prep of the course today to prevent that from happening again? Or since they are trying to make the conditions as similar as they can to yesterday so its fair for everyone on both sides of the draw are their hands tied?
Great question. I'm not sure there's really anything the grounds crew here can do, but you make a strong point about keeping it fair for all involved. Even if they could alleviate this problem somehow today, that would give an advantage to the players in the early Thursday-late Friday wave, and the PGA certainly doesn't want to be accused of doing that.
9:18 a.m.: Still very, very early in the round, but of the 32 players who have completed at least one hole so far, only four -- Woody Austin, Grant Sturgeon, Ryuji Imada and Charles Howell III -- are currently under par for the day.
Morning conditions seem very much like yesterday. It's warm and getting warmer every minute, with a very slight breeze coming through that is expected to pick up throughout the day.
9:13 a.m.: Say what you will about Twitter -- some people love it, some people hate it -- but you can get some pre-round perspective from players that just isn't available anywhere else.
This morning's big topic? No, not the course or Tiger or the underrated nightlife in nearby Minneapolis. It was ... breakfast!
Ianjamespoulter raisin bran, 2 poached eggs on toast, bowl of fruit, cup of tea, glass of fresh orange, happy days friday is about to begin. come on.....
geoffogilvy Having breakfast with Scotty. Fruit and some eggs. Cabrera knocked over the milk jug and it went everywhere. Looked sheepish but didn't cry
Let's keep a very close eye on the reigning Masters champion today. That milk jug accident could cause a loss in confidence with his game. Important stuff here.
9:00 a.m.: Seems like at every major championship there's some obscure player who rises to the top of the leaderboard after Round 1, leaving every reporter on site scrambling for their media guides to find out exactly who the guy is ... only to forget about him by Sunday evening when he finishes in a share of 47th place.
This week, Tiger Woods is that guy.
Uh, without the 47th-place finish, that is.
I'm not sure I'd go as far as referring to the 91st PGA Championship as Tiger's tournament to lose right now, but he's certainly in an enviable position atop the leaderboard following an opening-round 67. In each of the last four times he led or shared the lead after Day 1, he won.
Woods won't tee off until 1:45 p.m. local time (2:45 ET), though, and there are plenty of things to discuss before then. A few things to look for:
• Can the late-early wave of players take advantage of benign morning conditions? In Round 1, only five of the top 16 on the leaderboard came from the afternoon tee times. Expect things to even out a bit today.
• Will the greens cause more consternation? There was some rumbling late yesterday afternoon about the bumpy greens here at Hazeltine, especially later in the day, with lots of spike marks in the poa annua. Expect this to be a lingering plotline for the remainder of the week.
• Has the PGA of America moved up any tee boxes? I'll work on getting the yardages and pass them along when I can. Will be interesting to see if any of the 600-yard par-5s will be reachable by anyone not named Alvaro Quiros, who was called "stupid long" by none other than Woods yesterday.
As always, I'll be taking your questions and comments throughout the day. Hit me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at JasonSobel. You may now swing away ...