But it's true. I went to the dentist yesterday for a normal check-up, mentioned some pain I'd been feeling in an upper-left molar, and the x-rays showed a small cavity between the teeth. Balls. It's the first of my lifetime, and I really hate to see this clean streak end. I thought I might make it all the way, and then the powers-that-be could have a special dental tribute at my funeral or something (Catholics do this, right?). Then again, I don't floss, so the cavity tragedy has been a long time coming. People warned me, telling gruesome tales of decay and rot, but I just laughed my way through an easy youth, not a care in the world. I tempted fate, and my hubris brought me down.
According to my dentist, it's pretty rare to get a first cavity this late in life. He asked me if I'd been eating more candy lately, and it seemed like a question I should be embarrassed about. "The textbooks tell us you only see this kind of thing in ten year-olds," he said, determined to feed my shame. He left no doubt in my mind that a cavity is a personal flaw.
If you'll allow me a sexual comparison, it was almost like he was asking me how many times I masturbate each day. Sort of apologetic, but he has to know in order to proceed. And I get squeamish and hem and haw for a while before standing up for my rights. "I'm not comfortable saying, sir, even if it's medically relevant." And then we stare each other down, and finally I break, collapse sobbing, and admit that yes, I'm really pigging out on candy the last month. I finally realized that my mom can't keep me from assembling a black garbage bag full of Sour Patch Kids, so I just went nuts. I've got a sugar haze in my brain like you wouldn't believe, doc. I've only been out of the house to visit the Blockbuster down the block, and I got my picture on their candy wall of fame last Tuesday.
Next week, it's novocaine-and-drill time. The old numb-and-plumb. If you have happy experiences with cavity drilling,* please share them. I need reassurance and coddling.
*Not that kind, ladies. LOL OMG TOO FUNNY BUT SERIOUSLY MAYBE I SHOULD DELETE THIS JOKE FOR NOT BEING GOOD AT ALL UMMM NAWWWWWWWW!!!!
So, the British open started this morning over at the old course in St. Andrews, and Seth Curry Saves Duke! is proud to welcome a special correspondent. His name is Nick, but he's a different human from the other Nick who posts about Duke basketball. This new Nick likes sports, will be attending UNC's J-School with me in a month, and is known in campus magazines as one of the ten coolest people in Chapel Hill. If you want to picture him, he looks kind of like a younger, hipper version of Duck Phillips from "Mad Men." I've never had the courage to tell him that in person, and I hope it doesn't make things weird between us. His last initial is W. The other Nick is Nick E. (Screw this, after today we have a fan vote, and one of the Nicks has to change his name to Nolan Smith Jr.)
Oh, also: Nick's website is called Clearing The Bench, and it has quality sports stuff updated daily. Check it out.
Nick W. is a big golf guy, and he was up at 4am this morning to watch the beginning of the British Open. This is the kind of activity you can enjoy when you have a month before school starts and are not employed. (Please notice that it took him only until 4:50am to crack the first beer.) Personally, I can't wait for this period of my life. I even got in trouble with my girlfriend for wondering aloud whether or not those first weeks in Carolina might be better enjoyed if she had a job...you know, so I could have some free daytimes, or whatever. I dug a large hole that day, my friends. Not my finest hour.
Anyway, since Scotland is in the southern hemisphere and it's winter over there and their clocks aren't magnetized the same way, the rotation and curvature of the sun means that their 'daytime' is slightly different than ours. Nick agreed to live blog his experiences. Enjoy!
4:19 Cheers Golf fans. Weather looks cold but calm as Tiger easily pars the first hole with a two putt. Heating up the course all by himself is none other than long-John Daly. The 1995 Champion won his British Open title at St. Andrews and just made the turn in -5. He has sole possession of the lead! No other players of note are in the hunt.
4:28: The flags are literally laying flat. Guys playing this morning have a big advantage on the field.
4:29: Tiger follows up a precise 2-iron tee shot with a nice mid-iron approach to 12 feet at the second. Despite his pink shirt, he looks sharp. I'll be focusing on Tiger this morning, and ESPN appears to be doing the same. We have yet to see Daly play a shot.
4:30: While John Daly is in the lead, another British Open Champ is on last place. At +2 David Duval is one of only a few players over par in the benign conditions. Again, if the wind starts to blow any players not making a bunch of birdies this morning are going to kick themselves hard.
4:33: Daly nearly drives the short 10th hole and then sticks his pitch shot to a foot. ESPN found a spare camera to show Daly. The best part of watching him hit the pitch shot was the Diet Coke can that he placed right on the ground next to his ball. He is wearing his trademark LoudMouth pants, that look like those old Zebra sweats NFL teams used to sell to fans in the early 90s. His salmon shirt and gray sweater vest are rather tame. It looks like JD is about to go to -6.
4:41: Woods drained his birdie with ease on #2 and split the fairway at #3. He looks sharp and calm. The crowd is sparse this morning, and clearly Woods is in a very comfortable place. If I had a bookie- ok, if my bookie was awake- I’d call him and lay as much as he’d let me on Woods to win.
4:42: John Daly follows up his birdie at 10 by sticking it to 6 feet for another birdie on the par 3 11th. This is awesome.
4:45: Paul Azinger is drooling over Tiger’s “rhythm” right now. With good reason. Woods’ loopy Hank-Haney designed swing is syrup today. He puts it to 10 feet from 105 yards and has another good look at bird at 3.
4:49: The BS meter on ESPN is getting even higher than it was last night during the ESPYs. Azinger and Rocco Mediate are acting like they saw this surge by Daly coming. Apparently while watching his reality show or seeing him barely crack the top 10 in a Nationwide Tour event in Arkansas three weeks ago they saw something Daly himself did not.
4:50: Daly makes his fourth birdie in a row to go to -7 thru 11. I’m cracking a beer.
5:14: My trip to the kitchen for breakfast derailed Daly’s birdie binge. He nearly drove the 12th, but then missed a chance for his 5th straight birdie when his 4 footer lipped out. He recovers nicely by knocking a pitching wedge to 15 feet on 13. Announcers just informed us Daly has not missed a fairway or a green.
5:20: I'm worried about Daly. He just missed his 15 footer. After it slid by he went to mark it, and clearly had trouble placing the mark behind the ball and then dropped the ball while he was trying to put it in his pocket. No, folks, I don’t think JD has a case of the shakes, I think he’s just nervous as well. That combined with the chilly weather is not a good combo for Daly has he approaches the hardest holes on the golf course – 14-17.
5:22: Daly is allowing ESPN to forget Tiger for a moment. Woods hit a bomb off the par 5 fifth, and followed it with a great 3-iron from 222 to setup a 30-footer off the fringe for eagle. His swing is smooth, he looks like he is in a good place. Maybe he met a waitress at breakfast this morning.
5:25: The course is pretty wet. Not splashy like American courses get, but we’re also not seeing 100 yards of run on tee shots like we did last year. Tom Watson is feeling the effects of the lengthened course and chilly weather, as he is +3 thru 4.
5:31: Cue commentary on Woods’ new Nike putter, as he 3 jacks his eagle chance. Tiger is -1 thru 5, but the Woods we’ve seen so far this year usually is not patient when his birdies don’t come in bunches. If he can just avoid bogeys and turn in under par I'd consider that a good sign for Tiger.
5:34: Watson heard me talking smack. He just knocked it to 25 feet for eagle on 5 by hitting a driver off the deck.
5:35: Right on cue (see post at 5:31) Tiger is screaming at himself. He mishit an iron shot on the short par 4 sixth. He’s still got a wedge into the green from the fairway, but he took a huge divot and probably chunked it.
5:40: That’s 2 club slams in one hole for Tiger. He had 155 in on a 353 yard hole that many players will attempt to drive this week. His ball is 50 feet and he’ll have 2 putts to save his par, but clearly the smooth swing and calm demeanor are gone. His red numbers are likely to follow.
5:42: I was nervous about Daly, and I was right. First he was too nervous to handle his golf ball. Now he has taken an unplayable at 15 and was hitting a fairway wood for his 3rd shot into the par 5. He did not hit the green. Given that Daly has not been in contention since a Hooters wing eating contest in 2005, I don’t like where this is going.
5:55: Woods knocks it to 20 feet from 91 yards on 6. He has not made anything so I'm not liking his chances at knocking this on down with the new Nike flatstick.
5:56: Daly, by the way, got down in 2 after whacking it up near the green with his 3rd shot on the par 5 after taking his unplayable. Good sign for John.
5:58: Sean O’Hair is loving life right now. The smooth ball-striker had to be hoping it was calm today. It is, and Sean is -5 through 8 holes and in sole possession of second place.
5:59: Reverse jinx works like a charm on Tiger. Knocks in the putt after ESPN did an in-depth explanation of how the grooves on the putter make the ball roll smoother on these greens.
6:15: Woods scrapes his drive on 9 up by the green. Rory McIlroy eagled this hole after driving the green earlier.
6:19: Woods hits a terrible pitch, leaves himself 20 feet on a hole where his playing partner Villegas has 30 feet for eagle. A 2-putt is a solid front 9 for Woods, but he had to want more than that.
6:20: Daly missed a birdie putt on 16 and nearly collapses as it slides passed the lip. Clearly he is emotionally invested in his round. He sits at -7 going into the treacherous road hole, a 495 yard monster with a blind tee shot that most players would be happy to par twice and bogey twice during the week. If he gets by that one 18 is another birdie chance.
6:21: Woods POURS in his birdie putt. The patience he needed to have after some mishits and missed chances early is on display. -3 at the turn and you can bet players teeing off right now or later today are taking notice that Tiger is on the first page.
6:22: Daly hits a monster, perfect tee shot on 17. Good for him. No matter what happens he is the lead story and the fan favorite today. I’m cracking another beer!
6:24: Woods’ score of -3 is great, but there are a lot of players putting good rounds together. Besides Daly at -7 and O’Hair turning at -5, Hunter Mahan is -4 and Australian John Senden is the clubhouse leader at -65. Guys not making birdies today are going to be pissed – that includes Ernie Els at E thru 8 and Padraig Harrinton at +2 through 6 right now. You have to take advantage of the first 9 holes and then hang getting home. If it’s calm when he tees off expect Mickelson to be licking his chops. He has the mindset to go low, and he rarely is left behind when scoring drops.
6:30: A lot of friends and fellow golfers have told me they love the timing of the British Open. Watching golf or following it early in the day on the weekdays and then waking up early Saturday and Sunday is fun. Breakfast and lunch with golf is the best way to watch it, they say. I tend to agree. While the prime-time finish of the US Open weekend rounds at Pebble Beach is great, I was pretty fatigued by the time it was all said and done. Early coverage gives me an afternoon with a healthy buzz tied on to play some golf or take a quality nap.
7:07: AND WE’RE BACK. Wife is awake and alert after some coffee, questioning my sanity and wondering why I smell like booze. Latest: McIlroy is a beast. He’s bombing drives and knocking it close, and making his 5-8 footers. He’s -7 through 14 holes and in the lead alone. Sean O’Hair is -6 and tied with Daly. Woods has climbed to -4. What a great day of calm weather.
7:48: Showered and ready for my internship now (sobered up) I have kept an eye on McIlroy and Woods. These are the two players dominating this course with ease – through 15 and 17 holes respectively Rory is -8 and Woods is -6. Neither player has made a bogey. If the weather holds Rory’s lead is not safe. O’Hair is already at -7. The weather does not look to be getting any worse. Expect someone to get to -9 or maybe even -10. Maybe Goosen?
7:49: Colin Montgomerie did some commentary before he played, and he is fantastic. He made some good jokes about wishing he hit it like Rory, and also said he was glad he was watching the players shoot low on television so that he knew that he had to do. Whether he makes the cut or not I look forward to hearing Monty on ESPN Friday and over the weekend. He’ll be great.