by Jeff Skinner
The Stadium Course at The TPC Sawgrass was defenseless without the winds that normally attack golf shots and drive the players crazy. The players were able to score on a course that on a windy day could make them wish they had taken up tennis instead of golf. Ten golfers were at five under par or better as JB Holmes and Robert Allenby led the field at six under par. Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods were tied at two under par and right in the thick of it.
Phil hit more fairways than Tiger but Tiger hit more greens in regulation. Tiger is still searching for his swing and sprayed the ball a bit. Woods made some great recoveries from bad lies on a few wayward shots but considering what his swing looked like the last time we saw him when he missed the cut, he has to be happy he is still in contention.
Phil wasn’t too thrilled with his score, knowing that the course was there for the taking but was content with his round since he didn’t have his “A” game. “Shooting 70 today isn’t the round you want,” Mickelson said. “We came out in perfect conditions. There wasn’t much wind, the greens were receptive and there were a lot of low scores. The reason I think this was a good day for me is I just didn’t have it,” he said. “I let a lot of shots slide on the course today around the greens. I had 6-iron and a couple of par-5s that I didn’t take advantage of and made pars, and yet I was able to shoot a couple under par.”
While most everyone is focused on Phil and Tiger’s battle for the top spot in the World Rankings I’ll be watching a different battle today. I’m hoping that Jay Haas can gain a few strokes on the field and creep closer to his son Bill in the standings. Bill had a very good day and managed to come in at four under par while his dad finished at one under. Jay Haas is making his record 29th appearance at The Players and if he could manage a few more birds out there he could play the weekend and maybe be paired up with his son. That would be another special moment for the Haas’s, just like the one they shared at The Bob Hope when Bill claimed his first PGA Tour win with Dad in the gallery. Jay is probably more worried about Bill’s game than his own. This is one occasion that Jay wouldn’t mind finishing second, as long as his boy is the one holding the trophy. Jay has said that they rarely play together anymore, due to their schedules. Here’s a chance for the two of them to get in a round or two together and wouldn’t that be a special day for both dad and son.