NORTON, Mass. – On the list of things that were bad about the afternoon at TPC Boston, the weather hardly rated, even though it consisted of persistent rain squalls.
Instead, Tiger Woods focused on his driving, his iron play and his putting, none of which made him smile.
For good reason, too, because while shooting 1-over 72 might sound reasonably sound, it leaves Woods in a tie for 87th in a field of just 99 players. His score beat just five players as mostly everyone else took advantage of a series of events to post a field average of 68.071.
So lick-chopping easy was it in the first round of the Deutsche Bank Championship that there were more than twice as many birdies and eagles (482) as bogeys (181).
Just don’t tell Woods that it was easy, because he’s in serious danger of missing the cut, which could block his advancement to next week’s BMW Championship. Presently, the cut line is at 2 under, so Woods knows what faces him in Round 2.
“I’m obviously going to have to shoot something pretty good,” he said.
He isn’t the only one, because against a backdrop of blistering red numbers, Padraig Harrington shot 74 (yes, that’s Colin Montgomerie you can hear gasping for breath), Sean O’Hair had 74 (hopefully, Corey Pavin didn’t notice) and Dustin Johnson posted 73 (he hit 10 fairways but 12 greens; go figure).
Why so easy? It’s called Mother Nature, and it’s called good sense. With forecasts calling for a possible visit from Hurricane Earl in the afternoon, heavy rain and blustery winds were on the minds of PGA Tour set-up guys. They responded with a host of generous hole locations and a number of tees were moved. What’s more, they allowed for lift, clean, and place.
OK, so the storm moved in much slower and pushed eastward to spare players horrendous conditions. The PGA Tour staff was given high marks for due diligence.
“They did a great job setting the course up,” said Steve Marino, one of those who went out in the afternoon and scored well. He started with a double bogey at No. 1, ended with an eagle at No. 18 and had six birdies in between to shoot 65.
At first glance, given that the leaders (Zach Johnson and Jason Day) at 63 and seven others at 64 all did their damage in the morning, it was easy to say the afternoon guys were going to get shafted with the draw.
But it’s not true.
The field average for the morning wave was 67.40, and for the afternoon 68.071.
“It was out there this afternoon, that’s for sure,” Marino said.
Geoff Ogilvy played in the third-from-last group and got it to 8 under through 15 before he went bogey-bogey-birdie to shoot 7 under. Luke Donald (65), John Senden (66), Kris Blanks (66), Bill Haas (66), Brandt Snedeker (66), John Rollins (66) and Jason Dufner (66) all played in the afternoon, too.
In other words, the birdiefest went on all day.
It’s just that Woods and a few others never got the memo.