Miguel Angel Jimenez has no complaints as he breezes into lead
Wily Spaniard now has the chance to become the oldest Major champion
“I’ve got a nice run of events coming up, six events in the next eight weeks. I’m looking forward to playing golf and playing tournaments and getting into a run of events.”
McIlroy’s departure only served to affirm the fickleness of his game, and how once favoured sons can be spurned.
This weekend, over the next two days, destiny will call a new champion. Who that will be is very much up in the air, for no fewer than 84 players survived the midway cut which fell on 150, eight-over par.
Among the survivors were four Irish players, led by 2011 champion Darren Clarke (in tied-11th on 143, one over), Graeme McDowell (on 146), Pádraig Harrington (on 148) and Shane Lowry (also on 148).
“Literally anything a little under par could win at this point,” admitted McDowell, providing incentive to himself – and others – to stay patient on a course which punishes any lack of concentration.
The devilishly difficult nature of a bone-hard surface was in evidence again yesterday, as Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker each had the ignominy of four-putting – “that one got out of control,” observed Snedeker of his putting woes on the 15th – whilst the other part of the spectrum was demonstrated by Robert Garrigus launching a drive of 420 yards on the par-four 15th and rolling in an eagle putt from 100 feet.
Such idiosyncratic shots only served to underline the Jekyll and Hyde nature of the links, yet it was those who stayed patient and stuck to their game plans who fared best.
Woods, for example, kept his new Nike driver under its cover in his bag throughout the round. Jimenez, for his part, matched two birdies with two bogeys in offsetting the tennis elbow injury that has beset him since returning to play after missing the winter due to a broken leg suffered when skiing.
The tendons in his elbow became irritated and inflamed after he resumed practising on his return to golf, but there were no complaints from Jimenez who remarked of his longevity on tour: “I’ve 25 years on the tour, 19 victories on the tour and I would love to have a Major in my career. Of course. Why not this one? I would love it.”
And Tiger? “Just continue plodding along. Just continue just being patient, putting the ball in the right spots,” replied Woods, the player of the modern era who knows most about getting the job done in a Major over the weekend.