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Friday, June 13, 2008

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Tired Man

by Ken Klavon   USGA

First of all, my thoughts and prayers to the families of Tim Russert and Charlie Jones. Jones was a San Diego guy, one of my favorite broadcasters of all time.

Kevin Streelman looked a big haggard when he walked out of the scorer's area. He met his family just outside, then walked to do a brief interview. His final tally today: 6-over 77. Two holes bit him. He had a triple bogey on No. 3 after he sent his ball awry into a greenside bunker. The thing was buried. Then he took a double bogey later.

“Two terrible lies in two bunkers and it cost me,” he said. “That’s five shots right there.”

It didn’t help matters that with a late tee time Thursday, he had to turn around and play again this morning. “It was a little bit of a race,” he said.

Compounding matters was that he awoke at 2:30 a.m. and never got back to sleep.

Not once did he blame the course. I asked him how different the course was playing today versus yesterday and he said the greens are actually more receptive. Besides the two blow-up holes, he got into trouble by short-siding himself.

Sergio Garcia sauntered out immediately after. The media made a request to speak with him, so the committed assistants got him near the rail where reporters will scrum to ask questions. Only the Spanish press started asking the questions. It was quite comical trying to interpret Garcia speaking in his native tongue.

Then he walked away.

Most of the media was flabbergasted. Fortunately for me, I’ve got what we call ‘The God Pass.’ This credential allows me to go anywhere on the course. There are no restrictions. So if I feel like riding with Tiger Woods back to his place of shelter in his courtesy car, I’m there. Of course, I kid. That’s drawing the line.

Anyway, back to Sergio. He followed up a miserable day yesterday (5-over 76) with a stellar 1-under round. Difference was in his putting. While waving bye to my comrades, I stopped Garcia briefly. Now, Garcia can be a loose cannon or totally flippant. Never know what you’re going to get. A couple years ago at a tournament I stopped him after a relatively solid round. But he seemed annoyed he missed certain putts. After three questions – mid-sentence mind you – he turned around and just walked away. Interview over.

Today, he was fine.

“I didn’t make as many putts as I would have liked,” said Garcia. He went on to echo Streelman’s comments. The course is very receptive. Seems benign out there, he added.

Back to Tiger. You always know where he is on the course. Just watch the gathering swell. The putting range was packed outside the guard rails. People were squeezing in as much as they could just to catch a glimpse. That’s Tiger Power for you.


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