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Friday, July 21, 2006

As Predicted Right Here ....

Friday's second round set up perfectly for Tiger Woods to take a hold of the British Open. And how! Tiger's 7-under 65 helped put some serious distance between himself and most of the field. Chris DiMarco and Ernie Els are in contention, but the jam-packed leaderboard is no longer crowded -- at least for the lead.

Tiger's hole-out from more than 200 yards on No. 14 will be replayed forever and his touch around Royal Liverpool's tricky greens has the world's best golfer in position to capture major No. 11.

Woods has never lost a major when leading at the halfway mark.

Els will play with Tiger on Saturday. The only problem I see with Woods' position is his late tee time. If the weather picks up in the afternoon along the Irish Sea, the leaders could play a completely different golf course than guys that are at 4 or 5 under. Woods shot 81 when hurricane-like conditions attacked Muirfield in 2002.

With winds gusting to 30 m.p.h. and rain blowing sideways in the cold (low 50s Fahrenheit), many of the players wore sweaters and wool caps under their rain gear and hats. Woods went from two behind Els to 11 behind the eventual champion after shooting his 10-over-par 81. Colin Montgomerie followed his second-round 64 with a third-round 84.

As far as Phil Mickelson (-4, eight back) goes, it's become clear his ridiculous focus on majors may be putting too much pressure on him. He prepares for these for months in advance now. Obviously, when you've gotten a taste of victory in a major (Mickelson has three) it's natural to become obsessed with more. But the obsession may have gotten out of hand. He was all over the lot today and was lucky to come out with a 1-under round.

Go back to the free-wheeling Phil, Phil.


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