The golf was fairly lackluster today thanks in part to another shift in the weather that brought heavy air. Combine that with some tough hole locations and a surprising forward tee location on 14 which made the boys think, and that probably contributed to the lack of low scoring. I've had a preview of Sunday's setup and it should let someone go low and maybe catch up, but right now it looks like a two man race between Phil Mickelson and Jeff Quinney.
I was present for Quinney's ace, which was a bit of a surprise for everyone. After he hit the shot he didn't seem too aware that it might trickle down to the hole. Because the cup was cut on the front right, the large gallery could not see it trickling down until the last moment.
Should someone go low Sunday, it will be interesting to see if the leaders actually know it. While Northern Trust has done a nice job injecting some class and much needed spending into the event, there has been one poorly planned change involving leaderboards. The longtime manual board that has been a fixture at the 18th green (as well as another between the 8th and 15th holes) has been scrapped in favor of a seating area for Riviera owner Noboru Watanabe. That seating area has gone unused so far this week, but either way there is still room for a manual scoreboard.
This board was vital for a few reasons. One, it gave leaders coming to 18 an idea where they stood. It also let the fans who traditionally gather there a way to track and react to what the leaders are doing.
Sure, there's one of the new electronic boards on 18, but while they look superb, the content is horrendous. The main leaders scoring list is rarely up long enough before player bios and group information appear. I really don't need to know that Robert Allenby enjoys fishing in his spare time.
Less visible but equally as bad was the removal of Bob Lowe's classic hand-drawn scoreboard in the press room, replaced by a new, hard to read and less informative plastic board.
The guess among the scribblers is that these changes were influenced by the PGA Tour's Championship Management division, which has a well known disdain for the old style manual scoring systems (and for all we know, renting some of this stuff to the Northern Trust Open folks).
And finally, for obsessive compulsive types, Tom Pernice's driving range divots from the week...