Out watching a bit of Sunday’s early action, I had two interesting encounters in the trees. Firstly, walking up the side of the eighth, I looked back to see a couple of players heading to the tee, a check of the start sheet told me it was Gary Woodland and Jeff Overton.
I stopped to watch as Woodland’s drive split the fairway. Overton then stood up to the tee. Suddenly a strange fear overcame me that I was in jeopardy so I decided to stand behind the nearest significant tree. I waited, heard the sound of metal on urethane, then I heard the sound of “Fore left,” then I heard the sound, and felt the vibration of, the ball hitting the very tree I was standing behind. It rebounded back under a bush… A close shave.
I then walked up to the eighth green and turned left to watch Alvaro Quiros and Miguel Angel Jimenez play down the second. Both drove off and both balls looked to be going left. I walked down the cart-path to find Jimenez examining his ball on the edge of a stream, partly in an azalea bush. It appeared to be quite a predicament. I couldn’t really see where he could take a penalty drop to get a decent shot out sideways.
But the Spaniard displayed his intricate knowledge of the rules. He summoned a referee and asked if he could drop to the other side of the hazard? He could. He then said, “But if I drop here I’ll be on the cart-path. Will I get relief from there? He would. So that’s what he did and he was able to drop again on a section of grass, giving him a full shot back to the fairway. It was still a pretty daunting one with a pair of 90 foot pine trees, a stream and about a thousand azaleas in his way. But he blasted a nine-iron up and over and back to the fairway… A fantastic shot.
Rory’s about to tee off so I’m going to join him for his front nine. Tiger’s on an early charge and looks like a man on a mission.