Excitement - Vijay Singh. Proof that the putter is a mighty sword. He hit it tight on the 1st hole after Tiger missed the green, early advantage to gain a stroke and an indication that Vijay was mentally prepared for the day. Tiger chipped it to about 5 feet and Vijay left his 10-foot birdie putt 1 foot short. They both left with par and Vijay questioning whether he had chosen the right putter for this tournament, one that would hold up on the weekend of a major. The putter eventually affected his long game, leading him to a 75 and 8 shots back. He did not want to play with Tiger on Sunday.
Excitement – Padraig Harrington. Shot a spectacular round of golf on Saturday. This was the first of his last 4 rounds playing without Tiger and he took advantage of fewer crowd distractions with 4 birdies. Paddy was tied for the lead late in the round at -7 but finished with a bogey. A par would have left him in the final group again today with Tiger. He said after the round that it would be nice to play with him so he could keep an eye on him. He clearly does want to play with Tiger, you can see it in his eyes.
Surprise – Y.E. Yang. Maybe not, the 37 year-old South Korean held off Tiger in the 2006 HSBC Championship in China. He was not however, playing with Tiger and he had a substantial lead going into the back nine. This will be different, today he gets to play with Tiger, “I’ve thought about playing with Tiger recently. Surprised it came true so fast.” Reading between the lines here, I think he is trying to tell himself he is prepared. He has to. He will hang with Tiger for a while, the back nine will take a toll on Y.E.
Expectation – Ernie Els. Finished with three bogies on Saturday to end up five behind to start today. Perhaps a comfortable position for Ernie since starting all four majors in 2000 second place to Tiger. Ernie led Tiger by four shots going into the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic in 2008. Tiger shot 65, Ernie hit it in the water on 18 for a 71. Ernie said then he was on a 3-year plan to take over Tiger’s number-one ranking. Why put that kind of pressure on yourself Ernie? Just go play…Ernie did not want to play with Tiger Today.
Expectation – “I played concretively today,” Woods said, “…it was a good, solid day”
He didn’t fire at many flags, he didn’t really need to. When Paddy tied him, he put it in gear a bit with a birdie on 14 to take the lead back and gritty play to hold it. He is having fun in his element. Look for a smart round of two-three under today, an exciting finish and another major victory.
Written by Coach Dave V