The scene is nearly as previous because the Royal & Ancient recreation. Two buddies meet on the membership on a summer season morning for a quiet spherical of golfing. They play smartly from time to time, poorly from time to time and each assume their rankings must had been higher. And then they order a few hamburgers and take a seat down at a picnic desk to devour lunch and percentage a few laughs. On Saturday, this was once Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.
They are two of the largest names in golfing. No one has been No. 1 on this planet longer than them during the last 20 years. They draw the biggest galleries anywhere they play.
That’s what made this instance at The Northern Trust so eerie, although it’s now not unusual. There was once no person there to look at with the exception of for the ones in a running capability — digital camera staff, a half-dozen writers, photographers, Norton cops on motorcycles, a few volunteers on each and every hollow.
Imagine having the ability to stroll round with two of golfing’s highest for what felt like a informal spherical of golfing. In their case, it additionally seemed like a informal spherical.
Woods used his putter to head over a steep slope from at the back of the 18th inexperienced, and he made a 6-footer coming again to finish with a birdie. It was once this 3rd of the day, now not sufficient to account for the 5 bogeys in his 2-over 73. Most peculiar about this spherical is that he didn’t damage par regardless of hitting 12 of 14 fairways.
McIlroy two-putted for birdie at the 18th, his fourth birdie in his spherical of 74. There was once no improving from two triple bogeys on his opening six holes. McIlroy began with a quick birdie on No. 1, and he hit a attractiveness to 10 ft at the par-Three 3rd hollow with the pin tucked at the back of a bunker.
In between, he got here up simply wanting the golf green at the par-Five 2nd, the ball slightly within the danger. He attempted to chip out, however McIlroy stuck an excessive amount of grass from an ungainly stance and a dangerous lie. The ball went at the back of him into water, and as it was once a yellow danger, he had to return 110 yards to the golf green. He made triple bogey.
The scorecard learn 3-8-2.
McIlroy was once overheard pronouncing his card learn like a space code. That quantity hasn’t been assigned a space code within the United States, regardless that he may well be to realize it’s the rustic code for Montenegro.
There was once no time to percentage this pertinent knowledge. Woods and McIlroy each opted to not talk to the media after their rounds, now not peculiar this past due within the season within the 3rd spherical of a match during which they have been out of competition.
They did cross to the media middle, however best to reserve hamburgers on the kiosk — it’s been a common all week — grab a seat at a picnic desk and chat for the following 30 mins, undisturbed.
It’s a reminder of golfing on the perfect stage whilst dealing with a pandemic. No spectators had been allowed at any match because it returned two months in the past. Players are used to it by way of now, and some have talked in regards to the ease of having round with out such a lot site visitors and distraction.
But there’s no power, and that’s no a laugh, both.
Birdies or bogeys, and even the pair of triple bogeys belonging to McIlroy, all get the similar response. Everyone is taking part in in the similar setting, however some gamers — Woods and McIlroy are excellent examples — have mentioned drawing from the noise, changing the cheers of a birdie into some momentum.
The TPC Boston did have 3 spectators, one among them shouting after Woods teed off at the par-Five 7th in such a manner that some other folks don’t omit the lovers in any respect.
“YOU’RE THE MAN, TIGER!” got here the voice out of nowhere.
Three males had reduce throughout the thick woods and discovered a spot — simply within the pink danger line — some 50 yards at the back of the 7th tee, subsequent to a small pond. McIlroy hit subsequent, and then officials seemed across the trees to seek out the supply of the yell and approached the lads, all sitting in garden chairs.
It seemed to be a delightful dialog, and the lads packed up their chairs and left.
They noticed Woods and McIlroy hit drives on a par 5. Better than not anything.