Media: 'Will be most difficult round...of Scott's life'
The media focus on the back nine on Saturday turned to Sunday by virtue of Adam Scott's growing lead in the British Open -- four strokes over Graeme McDowell and Brandt Snedeker and five over Tiger Woods.
On Twitter, Nick Faldo asked the question that ESPN's crew had been asking: "Is it good or bad for Adam Scott not to be playing with Tiger?"
ESPN's Sean McDonough suggested that it was better that Scott would not be paired with Woods on Sunday (he'll be paired with Graeme McDowell, instead).
"Andy North," McDonough said, "would you agree with the talk that if it ends this way and Adam is not paired with Tiger Woods that that would benefit Adam tomorrow, that that's one distraction he doesn't have to worry about?"
North, a two-time U.S. Open champion, dismissed it as a media talking point. "That's a lot of talk as far as we're concerned," he said. "He'd be concerned about trying to find a way to win an Open Championship."
It does seem unlikely that the degree of difficultly of attempting to win your first major championship would decrease simply because you're not paired with Woods, unless, of course, Woods begins making birdies by the bushelful. But to do so...
...Will Woods have to alter his strategy?
After Scott birdied the 11th hole to open a five-stroke lead over Woods, Azinger said it was time for Woods to abandon his strategy of using irons off most tees.
"That tee shot that Tiger just hit that'll be the last one he hits, I think, where he keeps that conservative mentality," Azinger said. "I think it's time for Tiger to step it up and not let Adam Scott get too far out in front."
The five-shot deficit might force him to at some point on Sunday, but isn't it likely that he has not previously altered his strategy because of a lack of faith in his ability to keep the ball in play with his driver?
Azinger on Scott
"He's been a marquee player for a long time now. One of his first wins early on was the Australian Open. Beat Greg Norman when he was 19 years old, I believe. Adam Scott, he knows his way around the press room. He knows the right things to say. He's not going to say anything that is stupid. [But] he's still going to have to talk to 300 members of the media. That's part of the difficulty, all the questions, never having done it, what's it going to mean to you.
"Stevie Williams [his caddie] will help Adam Scott tomorrow a great deal, I'm sure. It's not a gimme. We've seen some big leads lost recently by a 54-hole leader.
"Tomorrow will probably be the most difficult round of golf of Adam Scott's life."
They played faster, not fast
ESPN's Mike Tirico was celebrating the fact that Adam Scott and Brandt Snedeker completed the front nine in one hour, 52 minutes. "We always complain about pace of play with guys on tour and setting poor examples...Really refreshing to watch."
That still equates to a three-hour, 46-minute round...for a twosome. In other words, refreshing only by tour standards.
Sneds' malfunctioning shock absorber
Azinger on Snedeker's first bogey of the tournament, at the fifth hole: "He's gotta make sure he gathers himself. It's a shock to the system when you make your first bogey."
He failed to gather himself. That was the first of five bogeys over the next seven holes en route to a round of 73.
Tirico was discussing Paul Lawrie's victory in the British Open at Carnoustie in 1999 and said this: "He came from way behind. The weather was awful. Jean Van de Velde had misfortune, some self-induced, some not."
Not sure what he meant by "some not," but virtually all would agree that his misfortune was entirely self-induced. Van de Velde needed only a double-bogey to win and with some horrific course management made triple-bogey, then lost in a playoff.
As this headline on the story by ESPN's Bob Harig says, "Frozen moment: Van de Velde throws it away."
Related: Regrets? They've had a few
Former PGA Tour player Bob Friend: "Bummed...thought Westwood would contend. He stinks like a fine Limburger cheese!!!"
Joe Ogilvie on Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen: "Actually, I always thought golf would be more fun to watch if there was a Wolfgang, Giacomo or a Giuseppe in contention. But Thor is fine."
-- John Strege