Friday, September 03, 2010


Tiger Woods in danger of

missing play-offs cut

NORTON, Massachusetts (AP) — Zach Johnson and Jason Day beat up on the course and beat the weather at the Deutsche Bank Championship. For Tiger Woods, it was the other way around.
Johnson strengthened his Ryder Cup case by rolling in putts from everywhere in easy scoring conditions ahead of Hurricane Earl, giving him an 8-under 63 and a share of the lead with Day at TPC Boston.

Woods had two bogeys in four holes when the first patch of rain arrived, and it didn't get much better. He had two more bogeys and was in last place until he fought back for a 72, leaving him three shots below the projected cut but with only five players - Padraig Harrington is one of them - lower than him on the scoreboard.
If he doesn't make the cut on Saturday, Woods will not advance to defend his title next week outside Chicago.
"I'm going to have to shoot something good tomorrow, hopefully move up a little bit," Woods said. "Obviously, get off to a better start than I did today."
Scoring was so ideal that Johnson and Day had a 63 and still only had a one-shot lead - over eight players. That group included Ryder Cup hopeful Ryan Palmer, Rory McIlroy and Geoff Ogilvy, who had the best score of anyone in the afternoon.
That they finished the first round was a bonus considering the Earl forecast. More surprising was that the wind never arrived, and late starters only had to cope with the nuisance of an occasional shower.
"It had the potential to be the most lopsided draw in history," Ogilvy said, noting that gusts upward of 50 mph were expected. "It was way better than we assumed it was going to be."
The outer bands of Earl began arriving right after Johnson and Day finished. But after a 1 1/2-hour rain delay, there was little more than a breeze along with a few bursts of rain, none long enough that Woods ever put on a rain jacket.
Woods' problem was putting his tee shots into the short grass - he missed eight of 14 fairways - and not converting enough putts. He officially entered the BMW Championship next week, a formality, and now has to finish inside the top 70 in the FedEx Cup standings. Woods started the week in 65th place.
Phil Mickelson, with his 10th chance to replace Woods at No. 1 in the world, opened with a 69.
Getting to the third round of the play-offs is not an issue for Johnson. His hopes this week start with the Ryder Cup, knowing that Corey Pavin will announce his four captain's picks on Tuesday in New York.
Most players believe Johnson is in good shape to get one of the picks, and opening with a 63 certainly didn't hurt.
"It would be an honour, and I want to get on that team very, very bad," Johnson said. "But you can justify the case for a number of guys. I'm not concerned about it. I'm going to let things fall where they fall. I feel like if I keep performing decent, then I'll have a pretty good chance."
Day, the 36-hole leader last week at The Barclays, shot 30 on the back nine.
Defending champion Steve Stricker, who has an outside shot to go to No. 1 in the world this week, was in the group at 65. Matt Kuchar, who won last week at The Barclays and leads the FedEx Cup standings, was in the group at 66.
One thing was clear under a gray sky south of Boston - the early starters had an advantage. Of the 27 players who shot 66 or better, only seven of those rounds came in the afternoon. Even in conditions that were calm and dry, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway. The tour had to do that in case the first round was not completed Friday and the course became saturated.
Combine that with the forward tees and accessible pins, and birdies were easy to find.
"There's a lot of deep scores out there," Day said. "It was out there today. Hopefully, this thing can blow through and not hit us too hard. But I'll probably try and put his round behind me and just focus on the next round."
What makes Johnson so appealing as a captain's pick is his short game, and that was evident Friday.
He chipped in from behind the 10th green for birdie on his opening hole, made a 30ft birdie putt on the 11th, and his day got even better when he holed a 35ft birdie putt on the 17th over a knob on the green. He made two birdies on the par 5s with his wedge game and hit his best shot on the par-3 eighth, a 6-iron to about 6ft.
"This is probably the easiest this golf course can play," Johnson said. "So I'm not taking anything for granted right now. I'm excited about the remainder of the weekend."
Woods hit driver more times Friday than he did all last week at Ridgewood, and all but one of his missed fairways were to the left. He had to pitch out sideways on the 15th and scrambled just to make bogey.
He turned it around with consecutive birdies on the 17th and 18th, but lost three good chances on his front nine.
"I just didn't have it today," Woods said. "I wasn't really doing what I was supposed to be doing out there swing-wise, and then wasn't releasing the blade out there and was dragging it a little bit. It was a bad day all round."
Rory McIlroy's 64 featured five birdies and an eagle putt holed from 25ft. He had no bogeys.
"My swing feels a lot better than it did last week," said McIlroy. "I've got my coach out with me and we did a lot of hard work over the last couple days. It seemed to pay off today."
Martin Laird shot a five-under-par 66, which was good going, considering he ran up a double bogey 7 at the second.
The Scot, who three-putted the 72nd hole to lose The Barclays in New Jersey last Sunday, bounced back with two straight birdies and then added five more, including two in the last three holes.
Chad Campbell's play-off hopes have ended after only one round at the Deutsche Bank Championship. He was disqualified for a simple task that slipped his mind - he forgot to register for the tournament.
Much like the formality of signing a scorecard, US PGA Tour players must register at a tournament before it begins. Campbell arrived Tuesday evening and practised all week. He just never signed up.

Campbell opened with a 1-over 72 and would have needed a strong round Saturday to make the cut. At No. 83 in the FedEx Cup standings, he has no chance of making the top 70 to qualify for next week.
(Editor: Why was he allowed to tee off in the first round if he had not registered?)
This is Campbell's second administrative blunder. A year ago, he was on the plane to Hawaii for the Sony Open when he realised he never entered the tournament.

TPC of Boston, Norton Massachusetts
Par 71
63 Zach Johnson, Jason Day (Australia)
64 Brian Davis (England), Hunter Mahan, Charley Hoffman, Rory McIlroy (N Ireland), Ryan Palmer, Geoff Ogilvy (Australia), D.J. Trahan, Ryan Moore
65 Steve Stricker, Steve Marino, Fredrik Jacobson (Sweden), Luke Donald (England), Matthew Jones (Australia)
66 Kris Blanks, Jason Dufner, John Senden (Australia), Matt Kuchar, John Rollins, Vijay Singh (Fiji), J.B. Holmes, Jim Furyk, Bill Haas, Paul Casey (England), Martin Laird (Scotland), Brandt Snedeker
67 Chris Riley, David Toms, Ryuji Imada (Japan), Rickie Fowler, Y.E. Yang (S Korea), Jason Bohn, Stephen Ames (Can), Brendon De Jonge, Rory Sabbatini (S Africa), Adam Scott (Aus), Retief Goosen (S Africa), Bubba Watson, J J Henry, Ian Poulter (Eng), Tom Gillis, Camilo Villegas (Colombia)
68 Vaughn Taylor, Heath Slocum, Alex Prugh, Charles Howell III, Ben Crane, Shaun Micheel, Tim Petrovic, Boo Weekley, Michael Sim (Aus), Greg Chalmers (Aus), Stewart Cink, Charlie Wi (S Korea), Ricky Barnes, Anthony Kim, Paul Goydos, Andres Romero (Arg), Josh Teater
69 Nick Watney, Spencer Levin, Angel Cabrera (Arg), Kevin Streelman, Kevin Na, D.A. Points, Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard, Robert Allenby (Aus), Chad Collins, K J Choi (S Korea), Scott Verplank, Tim Clark (S Africa)
70 Jeff Overton, Lucas Glover, Garrett Willis, Steve Elkington (Aus), Blake Adams, Justin Rose (Eng), Ernie Els (S Africa), Bo Van Pelt, Carl Pettersson (Swe), Stuart Appleby (Aus
71 Aaron Baddeley (Aus), Marc Leishman (Aus), Davis Love III
72 Tiger Woods, Chad Campbell, Pat Perez, Brian Gay, Jimmy Walker, J.P. Hayes, Chris Couch, Troy Matteson
73 Dustin Johnson
74 Sean O'Hair, Bryce Molder, Padraig Harrington (Ireland)
75 Webb Simpson


Jim Furyk is having an alarming time

Jim Furyk made sure he had two alarms to make his tee time Friday at the Deutsche Bank Championship, his cell phone and a wake-up call from the hotel. But a power cut at the hotel he was booked into made him wonder what he should do next.
Furyk now is famous for his cell phone going dead, causing him to oversleep and miss his pro-am time last week at The Barclays, which made him ineligible to play the tournament. He dropped six spots to No. 9 in the FedEx Cup standings.
This time, there was no need to worry. He also had a third back-up, with his wife promising to call him to make sure he was up. What bothered Furyk about the power going out was being unable to watch Ohio State's football game.
"Right about kick-off time, the power went off at my hotel for about an hour," Furyk said after opening with a 66. "And I'm staring at my phone thinking ... 'Do I need to save some battery?' I can't get a wake-up call and my phone is not working, so I was going to sleep. And I opened the drapes, because if it didn't come back on, at least I'd see the sunlight.'"
The power came back on in an hour, he watched Ohio State win and he woke up on time Friday.

Then, Furyk said he had one of his best rounds striking the ball - and his experiment with the belly putter went just fine.

"I knew I was going to go with it unless something funky happened," Furyk said. "I think I've still got some particulars to work out. Overall, my speed was very good. I was a little nervous about some of the longer putts, and I was able to knock it up there close and get some good two-putts."

He said he could have done better inside 10 feet, but he's at the start of the learning curve.

"It's the first day of the tournament, and I'll get some experience with it," Furyk said.

The best news of all? He's got a late tee time Saturday afternoon.

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