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January 27, 2011

2011 Farmers Insurance Open: Round 1, Tiger's Debut

GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com Senior Editor Mike Walker live-blogged the first round of the 2011 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines from 12-5 today, with a special concentration on Tiger Woods's 2011 debut. Read about everything that happened below.

Leaderboard | Photos | Course Profile | TV Schedule

5:01 p.m. That's all for the Farmers Insurance Open Round 1 Live Blog today. The "Name Tiger's Next Bag Sponsor" contest entries were underwhelming to say the least, but if Kevin Barton sends an email to me via [email protected] we'll send him a hat. Special thanks to everyone who read and commented. You guys are great. Sports Illustrated's Farrell Evans will be here tomorrow at 1 p.m. EST. See you later!

4:57 p.m. Phil Mickelson makes a shortish birdie putt on 13 to get to 4-under. I'd put Mickelson at #3 on JLinkTX's wish list. I'm not sure anyone else under 50 is even on it.

4:54 p.m. Reader JLinkTX writes: JD's fans will never give up on him. Nobody creates more hope than Daly. Having him near the top on Sunday would be #2 in CBS' wish list after Tiger.

Totally agree, but there's a lot of space between #1 and #2 on that wish list. Leader Sung-Hoon Kang (7-under) on the other hand...

4:50 p.m. I was on a radio show in San Diego today and the hosts wanted to know why the U.S. Open hasn't announced plans to return to Torrey Pines. Makes no sense to me either.

4:45 p.m. Phil Mickelson's mini-birdie run ends at 12, where he makes par. Still 3-under.

4:38 p.m. Jim Gray does get the post-round interview with Tiger, which is a tough assignment because it's hard to keep your focus under the Tiger Death Stare. However, Gray manages to get a few words out of Tiger:

On his driving: "I played all right today. [With cross winds and ball rolling] Anthony and I were saying it's almost impossible to hit the fairway."

On his putting: "I didn't leave myself any putts. I never left myself below the hole."

On his swing: "It feels better, it's an evolution."

4:35 p.m. Tiger is close but he just misses his birdie putt right. 3-under for the day. Not a bad day, but no birdies on the par 5s. Somehow, I don't think that the Golf Channel will send Jim Gray to interview him after the round.

4:34 p.m. Tiger leaves his chip short and has about 10 feet left for birdie

4:30 p.m. Just heard Davis Love's voice, unfortunately it was a pre-recorded interview with Jim Gray. Sorry, that will be my last comment on player microphones.

4:27 p.m. Tiger's second shot on the par-5 ninth lands short and left. It was a big rip and he'll be chipping for eagle from there.

4:25 p.m. Here's the sound from the Golf Channel's microphone on Davis Love III today: ..........light breathing.........bird chirping............waves in distance....

4:24 p.m. New leader in the clubhouse: Brandt Jobe is in at 6-under. Rickie Fowler is still 6-unde through 11.

4:24 p.m. David Duval is 3-under through 16. Sorry, Guy, but I like his chances more than Daly's.

4:20 p.m. Tiger's drive rolls into the right rough on the par-5 ninth, his 18th today. On the Golf Channel Nick Faldo says he likes what he's seeing from Tiger's swing today.

4:17 p.m. Mickelson goes birdie-birdie to start his back nine, now 3-under. Somewhere a CBS Sports executive is performing an awkward high-five.

4:16 p.m. Tiger makes a huge par save on 8 (his 17th) to stay at 3-under. Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson gets to 2-under with a birdie on 10. I don't want to jinx anything, but we could have a nice leaderboard on the first football-free weekend of the year.

4:14 p.m. Paul Azinger, via Twitter, questions the all-white wardrobes of Justin Rose and others:

White on white in January? I'm not claiming to be a close horse or anything, I'm just sayen..

I hear you, Paul. I'm a big believer in season rules. I won't even drink a gin and tonic in the winter.

4:10 p.m. John Daly is your Round 1 leader in the clubhouse at 5-under. Reader Guy Gallant asks: John Daly, can he keep this going? any odds on this?

I guess you never really know, but I don't think you'll have trouble finding someone to take that bet, at any odds.

4:07 p.m. Tiger wastes his great approach on 7 and misses his 8-foot putt for birdie. Now 3-under through 16. According to Alan Shipnuck, Tiger's mother Tida remarked: "Hitting great. Can't putt." Can't say it any clearer than that. 

4:04 p.m. More from Alan Shipnuck on the course, via Twitter:

AK looks very fit and trim. Must not be a lot of calories in a magnum of Dom.

Actually, I think the Dom is just for spraying on the dance floor.

4 p.m. Update: Tiger is 3-under through 15 after the birdie on 6 (his 15th). Sorry for the scoring confusion.

3:59 p.m. Rickie Fowler is alone at the lead at 6-under, and he's wearing a bright pink shirt. What does a guy have to do to get on TV around here?

3:55 p.m. Reader jonp sides with SI's Alan Shipnuck on the honeys in the galleries issue: Don't listen to him Alan, mine eyes has seen the glory. Quail Hollow, circa 2009. Problem is, you never know if they're going to kiss you or spit in your general direction.  

Like chewing tobacco?

3:54 p.m. Tiger with his second shot from 115 yards, great shot, lands about 10 feet right of the pin.

3:51 p.m. Tiger (3-under) hits a nice fairway wood on the short par-4 7th (his 16th), but gets a bad bounce and ends up in the rough.

3:50 p.m. Reader Jimmy with some solid local knowledge: To the twitter guy who is looking for the honeys on the course, he should be at UCSD or depending on his version of honeys at Black's Beach.

3:45 p.m. Phil Mickelson at the turn at 1-under.

3:35 p.m. SI's Alan Shipnuck tweets:  

I've now been on the North Course for 15 minutes and haven't seen any honeys in the gallery. Growing despondent.

That's because honeys don't generally attend golf tournaments. I don't know who started that rumor, but it's not true.

3:34 p.m. Tiger on the 206-yard par 3. Want to guess? Yes, hit the green, about 20 feet or so left for birdie.

3:32 p.m. So far I've heard Davis Love III say, "C'mon, ball!" I'm not sure that players wearing microphones is going to be a rousing success.

3:30 p.m. Reader JD asks: Is tiger using his Old Scotty Cameron putter of the new Nike Method?

Finally, one I can answer. The Scotty Cameron. And if he starts switching again this season, that will be a huge red flag.

3:25 p.m. Tiger misses his birdie putt, another tap-in par, still 2-under and three off the lead. Meanwhile, Anthony Kim makes birdie to get to 4-under. Watch out for AK this year.

The Greenwich Mean Time experiment is over. If you're on the West Coast, please just subtract the three hours in your head. Sorry, it's not personal.

8:20 p.m. (GMT) Tiger hits the green, faces another midrange birdie putt. Yes, I cut and pasted that from a previous post.

3:16 p.m. Beautiful driver for Tiger on 5, his 14th. Meanwhile, Reader Alden Robinson asks: Where do you get the times listed in your blog Mr Walker. The last post I see is 2:50 pm and right now, west coast time is 12:05. What gives? This is the West Coast in case you thought otherwise. Is this just another example of East Coast snobbery in sports coverage?  

Good point, from now on the Live Blog will use Greenwich Mean Time. No one will complain then.

3:15 p.m. Go time! Rickie Fowler moves into a tie for first. He's 5-under through 8.

3:14 p.m. Davis Love III is wearing a microphone today for the broadcast, but it's not clear if it's working.

3:13 p.m. Tiger just misses another midrange birdie attempt on 4, his 13th. Still 2-under.

3:10 p.m. In contrast to Mickelson's Johnny Cash look, Justin Rose (2-under) is wearing all white, which means he probably wants to see ice cream after his round.

3:09 p.m. Mickelson a little short with his putt on 7. Tap-in par, 1-under.

3:08 p.m. Only about five minutes from the start of The Golf Channel broadcast and actual live golf. My apologies.

3:05 p.m. Tiger (2-under) reaches the par-4 fourth (his 13th) in regulation. He'll have another putt from about 18 feet for birdie. 

3:04 p.m. Phil Mickelson (1-under) hits a nice approach on 7 and he'll have about 15-feet for birdie. He's wearing all black, which probably means he thinks he looks a little heavy.

3:01 p.m. Reader Dan writes: Jim Gray was awful sitting at that table at the Bob Hope and trying to do the playful banter thing. Whoever had the idea for that setup is clueless.

Didn't see that (fortunately), but "Jim Gray" and "playful" should never appear in the same sentence.

3:00 p.m. The Golf Channel's broadcast is starting now. Which means you've got about 15 minutes before they actually show a live shot.

2:58 p.m. Reader John asks: Has there been any creative air heckling like last year? Such as "Welcome Back Tiger!!! - Deja Vu Show Girls"

Nah, the F-15s flying over Torrey today would probably have frowned on that.

2:54 p.m. Tiger hits the green on the par-3 third, with a 30-foot putt for birdie. He makes a decent run at it. About four feet left for par.

2:53 p.m. Reader JD writes: Like most of us, Tiger probably can't stand Jim Gray either.

You're probably right. I like Gray's aggressive style, but there's no defense for The Decision.

2:51 p.m. Friend of the Blog Guy Gallant with a John Daly update: JD makes another birdie! -3 again, so far so good, no big numbers....remember his first round at the British last year?

I remember Daly briefly leading the British Open at St. Andrews. I also remember his not-terrible second round. No recollection of his third or fourth rounds.

2:50 p.m. Phil Mickelson follows a bogey on 5 with a birdie on six to get back to 1-under. New season, same old Mickelson.

2:47 p.m. Tiger makes his birdie tap-in, 2-under. Somewhere a CBS Sports executive is sighing with relief.

2:45 p.m. Did anyone else notice that Tiger Woods gave The Golf Channel's Jim Gray the death stare during his press conference yesterday? What's up with that? Is Tiger a big Pete Rose fan? It can't be over the Corey Pavin thing, can it? I need answers...

2:43 p.m. 7under writes: game on "FOWLER-wave"..... the "Tiger-grill" coming soon to a leader board near you...LOL

But I though Tiger was the...never mind.

2:42 p.m. Tiger Woods looks like his old self on No. 2 (his 10th), sticking his approach to about two feet. Birdie and 2-under coming soon.

2:39 p.m. Sung-Hoon Kang makes the turn at 5-under and he's alone in the lead. If you told me that one of Hank Haney's former students would be leading the field at Torrey today, well, I wouldn't have guessed Kang.

2:36 p.m. Tiger drives another one right into the deep rough on two (his 11th). Hey, it's a process.

2:35 p.m. Reader Luc from Montreal: Any chance the PGA will follow Nascar's lead and change it's ''Points'' system for the FedEx Cup ??

Nope, the PGA Tour is happy with how the FedEx Cup is working. The best idea I heard was turning the Tour Championship into a match-play events with players getting byes based on how high their ranking is. I can't see any problem with that, so it will never happen.

2:33 p.m. Tiger Woods misses another midrange birdie putt on 1 (his tenth). Anthony Kim at 3-under is leading the group. Rocco is even.

2:31 p.m. Johan Edfors, who looks like he could be Rickie Fowler's Johnny Drama, is leading the European Tour's Volvo Masters. (Via Golfweek)

2:28 p.m. After missing the fairway, Tiger was forced to lay up on No. 1 (his 10th hole). He hit his third shot to about 18 feet. Birdie attempt coming soon.

2:27 p.m. Reader Guy Gallant writes: Fowler seems to be playing some good golf, if this leaderboard holds up, we could be in for a great weekend of golf.

Agreed. Fowler, 3-under through four, became a must-watch-at-all-times player for me after the Ryder Cup. If he makes playing fast fashionable, we'll all be in his debt.

2:25 p.m. Hunter Mahan moves into a tie for first at 4-under with a birdie on 9.

2:23 p.m. Reader Scott in Philadelphia emails: When you're talking about sporting events like the Euro Tour stops in the Middle East that have more participants than spectators, don't forget Tampa Bay Rays games.

Noted.

2:20 p.m. Here's Michelle Wie, via Twitter: I feel so much better after logging in 12 hours of sleep last night. I guess I really needed it. Now its time to workout and practice :)

Stanford University, only $53,118 per year.

2:17 p.m. Tiger Woods misses another fairway on the par-5 first (his 10th). Reader Hank H. in Texas writes: I'm going to check if fireseanfoley.com is available.

2:16 p.m. Sung-Hoon Kang moves into a tie for first at 4-under. No, I don't know who he is either.

2:13 p.m. Tiger misses his 8-footer for birdie left. Another par on a par 5. He makes the turn at 1-under.

2:10 p.m. Reader 7UNDER writes: my two cents: Tiger's game at his best, worked much like an oven; slow to heat up, but gets the job done. 2011 is a "microwave" field, with young springy players who drive like a blaze and putt fearlessly! The result:very low scores posted day 1&2. If Tiger starts every tourney like its day 4, he stands a high chance!

The Oven versus the Microwave. Strange metaphor, but I like it!

2:09 p.m. Tiger hits his approach from the thick stuff at 18 to about 8 feet, another birdie chance.

2:07 p.m. Phil Mickelson makes birdie on the fourth hole, now 1-under. Nice leaderboard with Daly, Duval, Rickie Fowler, Tiger, Mickelson and AK all under par. I don't think anyone is wondering where Lee Westwood is.

2:06 p.m. Reader Larry D. thinks Tiger might sniff the Grand Slam again in 2011:

Not sure how many wins Tiger will have...but because of the standard TW has sat...four wins will still look like an average year for him. I think he will win 5-6 times..but with at least 2 majors.

I think he'd take that if you offered it to him today.

2:04 p.m. Just checking Twitter to see if anybody is saying anything interesting about Torrey Pines....uh, nope.

2:02 p.m. Friend of the Blog Rory Sabbatini is 3-under through 4. Sabbatini catches a lot of flak, but I've always found him to be approachable and fun to talk with.

2:00 p.m. Reader John Smith is even more bullish on Tiger than Connell Barrett: i completely agree with connell. 2010 was the worst year he's ever had and it was better than most other players.... and i'll take the over on the 4 victories.

I've got the under, although there are only four tournaments that truly matter to Tiger. For the record, my prediction for Tiger this week is T9.

 

1:59 p.m. Reader Mark in Cold Canada writes: TW makes his par on 17

Hey, I'm the Live Blogger here.

1:55 p.m. Tiger misses another fairway on 18. Reader Scott Morgan thinks Tiger's new coach Sean Foley won't get much of a honeymoon period: Three weeks before people start criticizing new coach Sean Foley? Seriously, there are plenty who will start questioning him if Tiger doesn't win this. Maybe they'll hold off if he finishes in the top 5...maybe.

1:53 p.m. Another par from Tiger on 17 (his eighth), still 1-under, while John Daly makes bogey on 10 and drops to 2-under.

1:52 p.m. Phil Mickelson is even through 2. In many ways, I'm more curious about the state of Mickelson's game than Tiger's. You've got to think Tiger will be OK eventually, but Mickelson's age and medical issues last year raise more questions.

1:50 p.m. Tiger hits the green on the par-3 17, but rolls his midrange putt about 2 feet past the hole.

1:47 p.m. Golf Magazine's editor at large Connell Barrett predicts a big year for Tiger:

I say the over-under on Tiger’s 2011 season is one major and three more wins. Four total. No way he goes back to being just another Tour player, like last year, when he finished 68th in money earned. In a way, 2010 shows what a great player he is. Consider: He was more than 2 strokes worse per round in 2010 vs. 2009, and he slumped in every aspect of his game -- driving accuracy, short game, putting. And he still could have won the Masters and U.S. Open. Now he has “a clear mind,” as he said yesterday. Divorce lawyers aren’t blowing up his phone. I see him winning at least four times, including the Masters, where he’s way overdue.

One major, three wins...I think that would make Tiger very happy. Agree or disagree with Connell? Tell us in the comments below.

1:45 p.m. Another on-course update from Golf.com's David Dusek, via Twitter:

Tiger and AK are strong, but the thick rough at Torrey this year is stronger. Miss fairways at your own risk.

1:43 p.m. Tiger thisclose on another longish putt on 16. Another tap-in par, 1-under through 7.

1:42 p.m. Friend of the Blog Guy Gallant writes: Why are you guys so hard on JD? He did win this event in 2004, when his career was in shambles....like it is now....Think he can win?

As if on cue, Daly makes birdie on 9 to get back to 3-under and a share of the lead. As exciting as it would be to see Daly on the leaderboard Sunday, I just don't think he has the mental discipline to play well for four straight days. I'd love to be proved wrong.

1:41 p.m. David Duval joins the leaders--he's 3-under through 5.

1:40 p.m. Tiger bombs another drive on 16. His 70-yard second shot hits the green, but he'll have a long putt to a back-pin location.

1:38 p.m. Reader JD asks: What putter is Tiger using?

He's using Old Faithful, his trusty Scotty Cameron.

1:34 p.m. How many golf writers does it take to change a tire? No, that's not a bad joke, but a Twitter update from SI's Alan Shipnuck:

My arrival at Torrey has been massively delayed by a blown-out tire on my rental car...which had no spare. I suspect Finchem is behind this!

1:32 p.m. Mark in Cold Canada writes: And so it begins for JD

John Daly made bogey on 8 to fall to 2-under. I still think he posts a good round today and then disappears for the rest of the week.

1:30 p.m. Tiger makes a 3-and-a-half footer to save par on 15. Still 1-under through 6. 

1:24 p.m. From the thick stuff, Woods misses the green on 15. He'll need to get up-and-down to save par. Another early short-game test coming.

1:21 p.m. Tiger Woods hits his drive into the rough on 15. How long until people start criticizing new coach Sean Foley? I'm going to give it three weeks.

1:20 p.m. Phil Mickelson makes a par on No. 1.

1:18 p.m. Mickelson missed the fairway on one, but made a nice second shot. He'll have about 15 feet for birdie.

1:17 p.m. Hunter Mahan takes a share of the lead at 3-under.

1:15 p.m. Tiger's 10-foot putts hits the left edge but doesn't drop. We've seen a lot of that from Tiger lately, but he said yesterday that the reason he didn't putt well last year is that he didn't practice enough:

I just hadn't spent as much time on putting. I didn't focus on my short game as much as I needed to and I have in the past. It's because I was making so many swing changes, and it's hard to allot as much time as I needed to do that.

That's what was nice about this off-season is I was able to work on my putting and my stroke and go back to my old keys and old feels. Just putting in the work. It takes thousands of balls, and I was able to do that.

Still 1-under through 14, but missed a chance on a hole that should be almost an automatic birdie for him

1:13 p.m. Reader Marty writes: I have my stop watch out running to see how long before John implodes.

Not sure about a stop watch. John Daly is still capable of playing one good round, just not four in a row.

1:11 p.m. Reader Henry B. asks: Do you see any changes in Tiger's swing?

The real change appears to be Tiger's pace of play on the course. He's never been a slow-player, but today's he's playing at a quick, Rickie Fowler-like clip.

1:10 p.m. Tiger hits a nice short approach and he'll have about 10 feet for birdie.

1:07 p.m. Tiger bombed his drive but missed the fairway left and was forced to lay up on the par-5 14th.

1:05 p.m. Phil Mickelson is getting ready to tee off. Home game for Mickelson, who lives in nearby Rancho Santa Fe, which is one of those really nice little towns that rich people don't tell us about.

1:01 p.m. David Duval is 2-under through 3, John Daly in the lead. Get out your flannel shirts, kids, the 1990s are back.

12:58 p.m. Working furiously to get answers for your Tiger questions. Here's today's Live Blog contest, as usual winner gets an Imperial-brand Golf Magazine hat:

What company would be the best bag sponsor for Tiger, and why?

12:55 p.m. Tiger lags his long putt to tap-in distance on 13. He's 1-under through 4.

12:53 p.m. John Daly has three birdies through six holes. He's tied for first with Bill Haas and Brandt Jobe.

12:50 p.m. Tiger hits the green on 13, but he'll have 30-plus feet for birdie.

12:49 p.m. Reader [email protected] writes: who reading this doesn't know that a club twirl is (always a good sign)

Jeez, tough crowd today.

12:45 p.m. Loved Mickelson's practical joke on Padraig Harrington last week at Abu Dhabi. After Harrington was DQ'd when a reader spotted Harrington unwitting brushing his ball closer to the hole, Mickelson told Harrington that he had called officials about the penalty. The Scottish Daily Record has the details:

"So Phil was great going with this line, 'Oh, I was sorry I rang in.' "But that was perfect as the only way to deal with it is to laugh. Even though it is a serious enough subject it was nice when the odd jokes that were made eased the sort of distress of it all."

Just 15 minutes until Mickelson tees off.

12:42 p.m. Tiger hits it through the fairway on No. 13, not fatal here.

12:41 p.m. Tiger makes his short birdie putt on No. 12, his third hole, and he's now 1-under.

12:39 p.m. Anthony Kim chips in to save par on 12. Remember, he didn't have a slump last year, he had a surgery. I feel like we're all sleeping a little on AK. If he plays this season the same way he started the 2010, he'll be in that No. 1 conversation by the end of the year.

12:37 p.m. Hunter Mahan off to a fast start, 2-under through 2.

12:35 p.m. Reader WestonK asks: Any stream coverage of Tiger today? 

Sirius Satellite Radio is broadcasting live from Torrey Pines and The Golf Channel broadcast starts at 3 p.m. EST.

12:32 p.m. Tiger on the tee at the par-3 12th (his third hole). Twirls his club and starts walking while it's in the air (always a good sign). His ball lands inside 3 feet. I don't know if you've heard, but he plays pretty well at Torrey Pines.

12:29 p.m. Playing with Tiger, Anthony Kim makes a birdie on 11 (his second) and AK is 1-under.

12:27 p.m. Tiger almost rolls in his 30-foot birdie putt. Tap-in par. Even through 2.

12:25 p.m. Old friend David Duval birdies his first hole, riding momentum from his solid play at the Bob Hope. It's gotta be the Perky Jerky.

12:22 p.m. Can one of the most popular golfers ever bounce back from an uneven 2010 season? Yup, we're talking about Phil Mickelson, who virtually disappeared after winning the Masters. On Wednesday, Mickelson said he's tan, rested, ready and healthy:

I feel great and I've been able to manage my [arthritis] symptoms, and I haven't had any problems as far as my daily routine. I've been able to work out the same, been able to practice the same. And I don't expect to have any of that affect my play. I feel like I'm ready to start the year.

Mickelson tees off at 1 p.m.

12:21 p.m. Tiger Woods drives it to the right side fairway on 11, then hits the green with his approach. He'll have a chance for birdie.

12:18 p.m. We'll be hearing from SI's Alan Shipnuck and Golf.com's Dave Dusek through the round, but we want to hear from you. Leave your questions and comments below. And stay tuned for the Farmers Insurance Open Round 1 Live Blog contest rules.

12:17 p.m. For all the talk about the star power of the European Tour, Torrey Pines is the first real golf event of the year. The Euro Tour's Middle East stops are the only pro sporting events I've seen where the participants outnumber the spectators.

12:15 p.m. Par for Tiger on 10, his first hole.

12:13 p.m. Rocco just misses his birdie putt on 10. Something happens to Rocco when he plays with Tiger here...


12:11 p.m. Tiger chips from the cabbage to within a foot. Well, he did say he's been practicing his short game.

12:10 p.m. He's only through three holes but John Daly is tied for first at 1-under. Daly also shared his traffic-engineer side on Twitter this morning:

Why would anyone lk driving in this traffic day to day in Cali? Backed up at 6:45? At least have a coffee & soda wagon off the side median!

12:07 p.m. Tiger misses the green right with his approach on the par-4 10th. Short-sided in the deep rough. Early test.

12:04 p.m. San Diego weather report from Golf.com Deputy Editor David Dusek, via Twitter:

PERFECT scoring conditions. Very light breeze, lots of sun. Gotta think if you hit the fairways today you'll have fun.

12:01 p.m. Hello, world! Welcome to the Farmers Insurance Open Round 1 Live Blog. Tiger Woods is on the first tee at the 10th hole on the Torrey Pines North Course, playing with Rocco Mediate and Anthony Kim. Woods finds the fairway with a 3-wood.

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