Friday, May 28, 2010



Joe Dahl


Fort Worth, Texas---The land of legend, boots and tuxedos invited the best. Five of the world’s top eight came for a piece of history and the $6.2 M purse.

Phil Mickelson arrived in gangster pants; two birdies out of the box forgave the look. Camera crews followed him through the trees; wreck route after wreck route, he escaped the laws of fairways and greens until the seventh. A shaded deep grass lie, train whistles, and a gallery just off of their medication, took down his red numbers. An opening 71 hardly discouraged the world’s number two player.

Opportunity, front and center, met a weather changing stare from John Daly. Inspired by a sponsors exemption and thoughts of wasting his twelfth second chance, Big John toned down his wrap around swing and temper long enough for four birdies without a bogey. The opening 66 showed the pedigree of much lower; a case of the go-by-putts from fifteen feet or closer heard him mutter but never break.

Last week’s runner up, Jeff Overton, threatened his putter to a week in a rental bag at a low-end resort. It worked. After seven straight pars, Overton made seven birdies in eleven holes, leaving him tied for the lead at 63 with early starter John Bohn. Jet noises from nearby Carswell Air Force Base and a wondering gallery never punctured Bohn’s concentration.

Aching, puffed but determined, Brian Davis disregarded an abscessed tooth on the way to an impressive 64. A late day interviewer cut it short, pain and a dental appointment as the reason. Brian’s 7:30 tee time on Friday exposed the golf-gods sense of humor.

The truly deranged, sat by the 13th green all day. An intermediate par three until factoring in a wall of water taking all of the land right of the green, a pin spot licking the lake and a go-too-far fringe of grainy Bermuda grass offering long stretches of go-slow grass followed by please stop, please stop grass headed for the pond. Fearing reprisal, they cheered for pros escaping the dread.

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