May 9, 2008

Friday's Winners and Losers

Golf World's Tim Rosaforte tells you who's up and who's down after round two of the The Players Championship

WINNERS

The Forty-Somethings

After all the buzz generated by Anthony Kim, and by five of the last six winners on the PGA Tour being in their 20s, along come the graybeards to show that with a golf course running fast on Bermuda fairways, age is only a number.

Kenny Perry

Perry went to the Bible study at Fred Funk's house on Wednesday and snuck around until he found the trophy room containing the Players Championship crystal Funk won at age 49 in 2005. Perry, 47, was inspired by that--and by the upcoming Ryder Cup at Valhalla in Louisville, 120 miles from his home in Franklin, Ky.

Bernhard Langer

Age hurts. The 50-year-old, two-time Masters champion arrived at TPC Sawgrass with pains in his back, groin, knee and shoulder. "So I'm thrilled to be here, to be talking, to be swinging, and obviously thrilled with the score as well," Langer said after shooting 67 to finish one stroke behind Perry, at five under, at the halfway point of the Players Championship. Langer's 60-foot putt for a birdie on 17 was his 24th career 2 on the island-green hole, a record. He finished second here in 1993 and '95, and has played in more Players than only one person, Fred Couples, who also is in contention at three under. "Would it be a surprise if Bernhard Langer played this well on the weekend?" Couples said. "I don't think so."

Paul Goydos

Goydos has looked 43 for 10 years. Instead of "everyman," he describes himself as the utility infielder that keeps his major-league career going by being able to grind. He has not finished better than tied for 38th in nine Players Championships, but with 25 and 27 putts, finds himself just one stroke off the lead. "I'm more of a journeyman than a veteran," Goydos said. "I'm kind of a grinder. I don't know how much value that has."

LOSERS

Charley Hoffman

After missing a tap-in of 1-foot, 7 inches on the 13th green, and then tapping in, the shaggy dog had a conniption, tossing his belly putter into the moat in an act of disgust. He played the last 10 holes without making a par and shot 83. "Guys get frustrated," said playing partner Goydos. "I'm the last person who's going to talk about that, because there are times playing with me when I need to apologize as many times as possible."

The Young Guns

Other than Kim (-4) and Sergio Garcia (-5), this was a disappointing day for last year's tragic loser, Sean O'Hair (75-73); the gallery favorite from the Masters, Brandt Snedeker (72-76); and the winner of this year's Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Andres Romero (77-79).

The British Contingent, minus Ian Poulter

Poulter (69-74) might not be the second-best player in the world, but he's the best player waving the Union Jack at The Players. Justin Rose (78-73), Lee Westwood (73-78) and Paul Casey (77-76) headed home for the weekend.

Rich Beem

One under going to the 15th tee, the 2002 PGA Champion had the proverbial train wreck coming in. Finishing double bogey (6), bogey (6), double bogey (5) and quadruple bogey (8), Beem dropped nine shots in his last four holes for a 44 on the back nine and an 80 for the day.