John Daly posted a score of 10 or higher on one hole for the 15th time at the Tampa Bay Championship on Friday. There’s no official record of this compelling stat (but there should be, hint hint!), but to the media’s knowledge, Daly probably ranks first in this category.
Anything that has to do with Sergio Garcia usually creates a healthy discussion. We saw glimpses of the “old” Sergio with his solid play in the first two rounds of last week’s Transitions Championship, but then he faltered over the weekend to finish T15. This week’s PGA Tour Confidential host, Mike Walker, posed the question, “Have we already seen the best we’re going to get from Sergio, or does he have the drive to become a top player again?” Here’s an excerpt from our lively chat:
*Update: I had to take down the photo of me and Ellie because apparently I’m violating PGA Tour media rights. Sadly, I’ve just been informed that I can’t post pictures from practice days, either! I’ve explained to the Tour that it’s a disservice to you guys, the readers, who are also PGA Tour fans.
In the spirit of my “Behind the Scenes” post, I’m starting another weekly feature that’s similar. You see, once the tournament starts, I catch some random bits and funny stuff happens that isn’t quite worthy of a standalone post, so I figure the solution is to compile them into a longer one at the end of the week. I’m still trying to think of a meme for the feature — suggestions welcome! — but “Tidbits From Inside the Ropes” will have to do for now. Enjoy!
*I forgot to include an amusing exchange from Wednesday. I was with my colleague Farrell Evans and we ran into Stephen Ames. Farrell says, “Hey Amesy, I saw your coach yesterday.” Ames looks at him with a completely straight (albeit goofy) face and deadpans, “Oh yeah, Tiger’s coach?” Then, as if on cue, we all start cracking up. Later that afternoon, I walked past Sean Foley and Ames, who were headed to the range. I jokingly said to Ames, “Ah, I see you found Tiger’s coach!” He playfully pretended he was going to push me into the practice bunker. He’s a beauty.
Gary Woodland says he’s still learning to play golf. Which many might find puzzling considering at the end of four rounds, he’s atop the Transitions Championship leaderboard — his first PGA Tour victory in 33 career starts. It’s also his first win since he took home the 2008 High Plains Pro-Am in Kansas.
Woodland, who hits the long ball (I’ve been hearing about his absurd distance since before Q-School), only needed 10 putts on the back nine and 23 total on his way to post his second consecutive 67 at Innisbrook. He sank a clutch 11-footer for par on No. 18 and watched as Webb Simpson made bogey, handing Woodland the victory by one.
Justin Rose shot 65 for the second round in a row to become the first player in Transitions Championship history to achieve such a feat at Innisbrook’s Copperhead course. Rose posted 13-under, a stroke short of tying the tournament record, to take a one-shot lead over Brendon de Jonge and Webb Simpson going into the final round.
Just when it looked like Nick Watney might finally have run out of gas, he goes on another birdie tear, making seven birdies and one bogey to shoot 65 and surge back into contention at the Transitions Championship, with a 54-hole total of 10-under, three shots behind leader Justin Rose. Coming off the biggest victory of his career last week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, Watney hit a wall on Thursday after rolling in seven birdies through 12 holes, which carried over to Friday.
In the previous ten rounds at Innisbrook’s Copperhead course, Jason Day had never broken 70. On Saturday morning he broke that streak, firing a six-under 66 to move up the leaderboard considerably at the Transitions Championship, with a 54-hole total of seven-under. Just a day earlier, he barely made the cut, draining a clutch seven-footer on his last hole, the ninth, to sneak in.
Welcome back, Sergio! I think.
Making his first start in the US since the PGA Championship last August, the Spaniard is steadily getting his groove back. He shot another bogey-free round at Innisbrook’s Copperhead course, carding five birdies on the way to a five-under 66, eight-under total, which puts him just one back of the leaders, Garrett Willis and Chris Couch, through two rounds at the Transitions Championship.
Sergio Garcia kicked off his debut on American soil this year with a bogey-free 68 at Innisbrook’s Copperhead course for the first round of the Transitions Championship. With starting times pushed back due to a 70-minute fog delay, Garcia didn’t finish until nearly seven. He seemed slightly subdued, stopped to speak to the small group of reporters waiting for him. Been here, done that for the 31-year-old. Meanwhile, 17-year-old Italian wunderkind Matteo Manassero, who carded four birdies and one bogey to match Garcia’s 68, flashed a big smile and walked off the 18th green with bounce in his step, like he was ready to play another 18.
Wearing a lime-green shirt in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Englishman Paul Casey had the luck of the Irish with him as he posted a bogey-free seven-under 64 at Innisbrook’s Copperhead course to take the early two-stroke lead at the Transitions Championship. Heavy fog delayed the start of round one for 70 minutes, but when the haze lifted, it lent perfect scoring conditions for the morning wave.