The most salient fact from Thursday’s action at The Barclays was that Tiger Woods completed his first round. A close second was that it took him 11 hours to do it. And that didn’t count getting up at 4:00 am for his 8:16 tee time.
Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey, was drenched by two rain delays. The first tee time was 7:10 and the first delay for lightning was at 8:33. They resumed play at 11:05, only to be delayed again at 12:47. That one lasted until 4:15 and they played until it got too dark at 7:43. Big chunks of sitting around doing nothing.
Most of the players talked about all of the full meals they ate each time they went back in to the clubhouse. Part of a round’s routine is eating before the round, so many of the players just re-started the routine from the beginning. Matt Kuchar said he spent a lot of time just “socializing” with other players. You can see him doing that with his easy Southern way. Kevin Stadler said that he spent most of the first delay looking for his car in the hotel parking lot; the hotel had “misplaced” it.
In both of the delays, Kuchar and Tiger drifted to the fitness trailer for treatment before they warmed up again, Tiger for his bad-hotel-bed back. So they were in close contact with the officials trying to get the timing just right. They didn’t want to get all loosened up only to find out that it was going to be another hour and a half. The Tour kept telling them, be ready in 30 minutes:
It’s hard to get the timing right, because you want to get the timing right so you get the treatment and you’re out there on the course.
But then again, you don’t want to get treated and sit down and have what you just worked on get all messed up again. So it’s trying to get the timing right and trying to communicate with our rules staff and see what’s going on.
So they only got 30 minutes to warmup and be back in place on the first delay, but they got an hour on the second one.
The golf course was tamed considerably by the rain. There were some mud balls in the fairways, but the quid pro quo was that the greens were like dartboards. Henrik Stenson had 9 birdies in shooting 6-under 65. That got him a T2 along with Camilo Villegas and Ryan Palmer.
Improbably, they were all chasing Kevin Stadler at 7-under which he accomplished with a spotless card, not one bogey. (I don’t know if he found his car though.)
At 5-under and T5 sit Kuchar and Jason Day who always seems to be a factor in the biggest tournaments:
I think I really enjoy playing tough golf courses and I just enjoy playing against the best players in the world. I think at the end of the day, I’m still trying to get No. 2 win and I’m trying my best as possibly I can out there to try and achieve that.
I’ve had a really good season with the majors, and hopefully I can still carry that into the Playoffs.
Joining Tiger Woods at 4-under and T7 are six other players, the highest ranked at No. 19, Harris English, through just six holes. No. 34, Canada’s Graham DeLaet was the next highest ranked and in the clubhouse.
Phil Mickelson got a very late start at 6:26 pm and promptly looped his fairway wood tee shot into the right water hazard. But he managed to limit the damage to a bogey. With his two subsequent birdies, he managed to get six holes in and finished in the dark at 1-under.
So the afternoon wave needs to finish their rounds beginning at 7:00 am so that Friday’s afternoon wave, including Tiger, can get in as many holes as possible. That group will have to finish up Saturday morning, so we won’t really know where the tournament stands until everything stops moving Saturday.
But with all that talent there, it will be worth the wait.