Tiger Woods kept his driver hidden beneath its headcover on Friday, which was reminscent, if not riveting. It brought to mind his strategy in winning the British Open at Hoylake in 2006.
"Am I the only one getting bored watching Tiger hit nothing but irons?" Steve Flesch's son Griffin asked on Twitter in the midst of the second round of the Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
Probably not. But it has been effective, though Woods, following a second consecutive 67, still is four strokes off Brandt Snedeker's lead.
"He just seems content to stick with his real conservative game plan, not really giving it much of a thought to the guys out in front," ESPN's Paul Azinger said. "Do you think it's time for Tiger maybe to push the pedal down on the right?"
"Not yet," Curtis Strange said.
Expect more of the same on Saturday.
Tiger's game face
"Commenting earlier about Tiger going into character, it's as if he's an actor almost, playing a certain role," Azinger said. "I don't know what he's doing in the car on the way to the course, but when he gets out on the course, gets into that parking lot, he gets into that mode and it's intimidating. It used to be. It's not quite as intimidating as it used to be."
Steve Flesch, via Twitter, identified a fault with Woods' new swing: "The 'fix' that Tiger has used for his long game has absolutely ruined his game inside 130 yds. Too close and too steep equates to delofting"
Azinger made a similar point after Woods' wedge shot from 123 yards at the 13th hole came up about 20 feet short.
"If he's had any struggles at all this year it's that he hasn't hit his wedges pin high very often," Azinger said. "He knows that and has worked hard to try to control his distance better with his shorter clubs."
Statistics support their contention: Woods is 83rd on the PGA Tour from 100 to 125 yards this year and 150th from 75 to 100 yards.
Royal Lytham's bunkers
When Troy Kelly was stymied by a bunker face as tall as he was at the eighth hole, Curtis Strange asked: "Tom Weiskopf, why wouldn't we build a golf course with revetted faces like this in the States?"
"Nobody would ever like us," Weiskopf replied, without skipping a beat.
Weiskopf went on to explain that these kinds of bunkers have to be rebuilt "every five to seven years" and that it is expensive to do so. "It's the style here," he said. "They're beautiful looking. They're classic. The Americans for the most part wouldn't enjoy that."
ESPN provided a nice split screen of Phil Mickelson, who was stymied against the revetted face in one bunker, and Keegan Bradley donning his rain suit and hitting from a puddle in another bunker.
Weiskopf was discussing what Tiger Woods' approach might be, staring at a seven-stroke deficit when he teed off: "There's only one other player that I've seen play this game with a plan like he has. He will approach each hole under the conditions that he's facing with that plan and never deviate. He knows how to play each hole the best he can under those percentages given to him, 10 under is not even in his mind at all."
Weiskopf never said who the other player was, though perhaps it goes without saying that the man to whom he was referring was undoubtedly Jack Nicklaus.
The Alliss files
-- As Brandt Snedeker and his caddie pondered a target on the otherwise blind second shot at 17, Peter Alliss offered this: "There used to be a house right behind this green, with bright yellow curtains. Then the silly woman went and changed the curtains and noone could play this hole."
-- Paul Azinger: "Seems like guys with the long arms have the rhythmic motion, Peter, that seems like it takes all day."
Alliss: "Better than those with short arms and deep pockets that never buy you a drink."
-- Allis on Bubba Watson: "He's almost perpetual motion, isn't he? When he hits the ball everything moves. Even his ears flap. I swear to God they move. It's wonderful."
Joe Ogilvie: "Sneds [Snedeker] plays at a clip that should be promoted at the rookie orientation on the PGA Tour...and new member orientation at every Club in US."
David Duval doesn't often work weekends any more, but he will this weekend. Unfortunately for him, he'll be working for ESPN as an analyst on ESPN3's coverage of the first and 18th holes.
Duval missed the cut at the British Open and has made just two cuts in 14 starts this year.
-- John Strege