Weir, Singh, Kapalua and a guy named Tiger
Spent parts of the last couple of nights watching the Mercedes being played at Kapalua.
Several things stuck me.
First, Mike Weir looks pretty sharp after having spent a few months away, working on his swing and hanging with his family in Utah. He is also dressing in some nice colours, not quite the typically blah look he usually sports.
Anyway, he's still getting the ball pounded by him by most of his playing partners (Ian Baker Finch had to clarify at one point that Singh only hit the ball 35 yards past Weir, not 50 as someone had initially said), but he's hitting his irons nicely and tucking the ball close to pins. It could be that he is ready to make an early charge, just like he did two years ago with the win at Riviera and then the Masters.
That said, his putting looks either glorious or godawful. Yesterday he missed some remarkably short puts on Kapalua's grainy greens..... Which brings us to Singh, who couldn't buy a putt yesterday after making everything for the first two days. Vijay looks all-world for a majority of his rounds -- always in control, hitting laser-like irons and monstrous drivers. But his putter looked a bit off -- and I think this is something that is going to always be an issue with Singh. The only question is how many putters he will go through this year and whether he'll return to the long putter at some point. Interestingly, one of Vijay's few sponsors (aside from Cleveland Golf -- who plays their clubs any more?) is the investment firm led by Ted Forstmann. He's the fellow who recently purchased IMG Sports and is a long-time friend of Singh, a man who has been pegged as notoriously unfriendly.
Lastly, Kapalua looks like a lot of fun and it looks like the players enjoy it as well. Fairways that are 90-yards wide seem commonplace, contours and elevation shifts abound and Bill Coore's bunkering looks fabulous. So what if the players can't figure out the greens (which are being re-surfaced, incidently)? They are a lot of fun to watch -- especially when players like Weir have a tough time with two-footers.
The course's strange fairways and dramatic, plunging drops seem to baffle players who have teed it up at Kapalua for years. Take Tiger's problem at 17, where he hit the ball with his driver into the hazzard. He was so annoyed at the situation that once the ball was found, Tiger could be seen throwing it back into the hazzard in a fit of pique. Great stuff. Go Kapalua!