Let's get what most sports fans care about out of the way at the beginning: Tiger Woods shot an even par 72, which puts him four shots off the top of the heap at the Masters in August, Georgia. In his previous four wins at the Masters, he's been behind by at least three shots after the first day in each of them.
Justin Rose, born in Johannesburg but raised in England, shares the lead with South African Trevor Immelman, with two other Commonwealth players, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, also in the top ten. Poulter had the shot of the day, an ace (hole-in-one) on the 16th and afterwards he said "That was a special moment. The hairs on the back of my neck were standing up. It was great". Indeed.
Justin Rose is an interesting case at this tournament. He lead after three rounds in 2004 but blew up with an 81 on the final day. Last year, he was tied for the lead after the first day but --uh oh-- faded badly again during the final round. "Eventually you've got to say, 'OK, it's time to step up'. But I'm not putting too much pressure on myself". We'll see, Mr. Rose, we'll see.
Other notables include Jim Furyk at 2 under, Retief Goosen and Phil Mickelson at one under and my boy Padraig Harrington (cousin of NFL quarterback and total hottie Joey, allegedly) at 2 strokes over. Damn, won't see much of him during the coverage then.
There's always a relative unknown who makes a splash at the majors early on and this year it's the totally adorable Brandt Snedeker of Nasville and Vanderbilt University (hey JP, sorry about your Memphis Tigers). He's at 3 under, and despite needing a haircut, is right in the thick of things. Note to people with young kids in their lives: forget investment banking or the law or any of those boring old jobs as a means to make a pile of dough. Encourage those youngsters to be a journeyman PGA tour pro.
Mr. Snedeker has won one tournament (the Wyndham Championship, aka the Greater Greensboro Open) in his career, managed to make the cut in only three of the sixteen majors he's been eligible for but has still raked in $3,521,169 in four years. Damn.
Plenty o' golf to go, tons of dorky hotties for me to gawk at, so it'll be a weekend parked in front of the teevee for me. --Jim Allen