THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Against a backdrop of a bogey-free round by Tiger Woods that pushed him into a four-stroke lead at the Chevron World Challenge, there were some notes of interest:
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First up, Luke Donald and the wrestling match he had with his emotions. Wednesday night back in England, his father, Colin, 75, was rushed to the hospital with a bleeding ulcer. Contemplating whether to play in the first round or not, Donald eventually chose to tee it up, but not until he was assured that his dad was in good hands.
Donald’s brother, Christian, also went through with his duties as Paul Casey’s caddie.
The brothers learned later Thursday that emergency surgery had been performed, that “he was on the mend,” Luke said.
“It was touch and go (Wednesday). Anytime you have internal bleeding it’s serious. But (as it turns out) it could have been worse and I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think he was in good hands.”
Christian Donald did fly home Thursday, but Luke felt relieved at the news he received that he stayed and shot a second-round 66 to get into a tie for third, five behind Woods.
Meanwhile, Casey put out a call for another caddie and it was answered by Ken Norks, who lives in the area and has caddied for Rafael Cabrera-Bello on the European Tour.
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Norks thus got a front-row seat for some fireworks – Casey’s hole-in-one at the par 3 12th.
When his round of 65 was over, Casey was presented a mock bar bill for $13,402 by tournament director Greg McLaughlin. An asterisk noted that Casey did not have “hole-in-one insurance.”
Casey loved the joke, but took note of the way it had been itemized.
“You should have more in beverage and less in food,” Casey said. “There’s enough Europeans here.”
Casey took some serious kidding about his jump to exchange high-fives with playing competitor Nick Watney.
“They’re hassling me, but I had to jump, because he’s about 6-5,” Casey said.
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A wild, out-of-nowhere blog filed by someone who isn’t even on site out here at Sherwood Country Club had reporters chasing down Anthony Kim.
He had opened with a 79 that prompted an unconfirmed report that Kim’s thumb, which was surgically repaired in May, was bothering him.
“Where did that come from?” Kim asked.
Told that it was on the NBC website, but without attribution, Kim shook his head. When asked about the thumb, Kim replied, “It’s perfect. As good as ever.”
It sure seemed that way, because with a 66, Kim showed the most game he’s had in months. In fact, he said he was stunned by Thursday’s 79, because “on Wednesday I had hit it the best I ever have.”
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Kim was also involved in perhaps the strangest note of the day. He made eagle at the par 5 16th – and still lost the hole. That’s because playing competitor Bubba Watson holed a 4-wood from 283 yards for an albatross.
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Woods’ life as the No. 2 player in the world could be short-lived.
If he were to win here, Woods could jump back to No. 1, so long as Lee Westwood does not finish first or second at the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa.
Then again, that may be meaningless, because Westwood is the 36-hole leader, by three over Ross Fisher.
Even if Woods were to overtake Westwood, that return to the penthouse would be brief. Crunching the numbers, world rankings officials have determined that by the end of the year, Westwood automatically moves back to No. 1.