Woods, Els have big hopes, galleries

Defending champ Toms out of his element, then likely tournament, with 77

PGA notebook


August 16, 2002|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

CHASKA, Minn. - They started the day with the biggest gallery and, at least for two of them, the largest expectations.

By the time they finished the opening round in the 84th PGA Championship at Hazeltine National, Tiger Woods and Ernie Els were playing catch-up, and David Toms had all but blown his chance of defending his title.

Woods and Els each got off to a hot start after a nearly three-hour delay for lightning, but struggled in their respective rounds of 1-under-par 71 and even-par 72. Toms was admittedly out of his comfort zone on the way to a 5-over-par 77.

"The guys I played with today, I am not even in their league," said Toms, who is ranked sixth in the world. "For the most part, we are just second-fiddle to those guys."

It seemed early on that Woods and Els would break away from the rest of the field. Els chipped in from 50 feet for birdie on the par-4 10th hole to start the round. Els and Woods each made birdie on the par-5 11th and Woods made another birdie on the par-4 12th.

But the rest of the afternoon was spent losing ground.

Woods, after saving par with a magnificent chip from behind the green on the par-5 15th, hit errant drives on the par-4 ninth and par-4 first to make bogey before getting back under par with a 6-footer for birdie on the par-3 fourth.

Els sandwiched bogeys around a birdie on the 15th, three-putted for bogey on the first and, after making a 40-footer for birdie on the 636-yard par-5 third hole, bogeyed the par-4 ninth.

Woods, who is trying to win his ninth major championship after winning seven of the previous 12, said he empathized with Toms. Toms, after making a birdie on the par-5 11th hole, double-bogeyed the par-4 third after skulling his second shot off a tree, and then made a bogey on the par-4 16th after finding the deep rough with his second shot from the middle of the fairway.

"He was frustrated that he could not hit the ball where he wanted to hit," Woods said. "He just had a tough day."

Had he not made some terrific recovery shots himself, Woods might have had a tougher day. "He didn't play all that great today, but he hung in there and shot 1-under par," Els said of Woods. "That's a sign of a great champion."

Daly's double

Former PGA champion John Daly turned a solid start into another difficult round with a few swings - 11 to be exact - on the par-4 16th hole.

Starting on the back nine and even-par at the time, a player who has put up double-digit single-hole scores throughout his career did it again.

"I hit a 3-wood that was just in the rough on the right," Daly said. "They said it was in the hazard. So I go back and hit a 2-iron. I hit it pretty dang good and I guess a gust came up and it went back in the water. I drop-kicked a 3-wood and barely got it over the hazard.

"I was more or less in shock. I tried to punch out and hit it left. Then I hit a lob-wedge from 75 yards. There must have been a root under the ball. It flew over the green and into the hazard. So everything that could go wrong went wrong on that hole."

Daly finished at 5-over 77.


Playing with first-round co-leader Fred Funk, Woodholme assistant pro Wayne DeFrancesco shot a 6-over par 78. ... Of those who haven't finished their rounds, two-time British Open champion Greg Norman was 2-under going to the 16th hole and former U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen was 2-under going to the sixth.

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