Birdies...They're A Good Thing

I don't know about you, but I sensed that special buzz when watching Doral today. The buzz so often lacking these days on the PGA Tour with anti-birdie setups.

Yes, the golf was compelling in spite of the wild driving and widespread low scoring that has the leaderboard still bunched.  Yet the reaction to the low scoring was all too typical.

''I normally like golf courses where 10, 12 under wins tournaments,'' Rich Beem said, "because I think making par, being rewarded with par should not be a bad thing. It's a good thing. Obviously, when the wind is not up and the greens are soft around here, the golf course plays pretty easy, as you can see.''

Thankfully Armando Salguero in the Miami Herald put Beem's comments into perspective.

And that begs this question: So what?

What's wrong with a course that doesn't become the story, but instead allows the golfers to provide the drama? What is wrong with watching the world's great players post scores and make shots that reflect their status?

Phil Mickelson, among those holding Tiger by the tail in a first-place tie, was the one voice of dissent -- and reason -- when asked about the plunging scores.

''I love the way they have set this course up,'' Mickelson said. ``So what if we see birdies. I think that's great. I think it makes for some spectacular and exciting golf.''

Indeed, the Blue Monster would have more teeth if the greens had not been watered so often this week, or if the wind, which notoriously kicks up in early March, were not absent.

But even if the wind doesn't blow, this tournament is a breath of fresh air when compared to the merciless 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock, where golfers and their scores were left strewn on the course like so many divots.

''That's no fun to watch, either,'' Mickelson said.