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Friday, November 16, 2012

When Number 1 Feels Like Number 2

For my international readers who may not be familiar with the term, we Americans sometimes jokingly use "Number 2" to refer to... how shall I put this delicately? How about excrement... or dung... or maybe manure? At any rate, I'm sure you get the picture -- if someone says "I feel like Number 2," they mean they aren't feeling very good.

Today I found myself musing about Number 2 -- the position, that is. Just how bad is it?

After Rory blamed his poor first round at the UBS Hong Kong Open on mental exhaustion -- feeling like intellectual Number 2, if you please -- he followed up with a second round that was almost as bad. Missing the cut with a +5, he'll have plenty of time to recuperate before next week. But since he was the defending champion, this is clearly a case of #1 feeling like Number 2.

Of course, scorewise it's not so bad to be Number 2... as long as you're not several shots back. At most of the events I checked there are ties for the lead so, technically, nobody is Number 2. With so many of the best players scattered around the world -- for example:
  • Adam Scott and Ian Poulter in Australia
  • Matt Kuchar and Matteo Manassero in Hong Kong
  • Charl Schwartzel and Martin Kaymer in South Africa
  • Luke Donald and Ryo Ishikawa in Japan
I'm not really surprised that so many players are tied for leads. Apparently being Number 2 isn't particularly popular.

One player who's tied for the lead but probably still feels like Number 2 is Sun Young Yoo, the 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship winner. She was -9 after 16 holes at the LPGA's CME Group Titleholders event before going double-bogey/bogey on her last two holes to finish at -6. She's tied with Suzann Pettersen and So Yeon Ryu for the lead. Cristie Kerr's in a group one shot back.

Ironically, there are two actual Number 2s in the world. These are, of course, Stacy Lewis (#2 in the Rolex Rankings) and Tiger Woods (#2 in the OWGR). Stacy had made it to a group that was two off the pace, but bogeyed 15 and 16 to finish four off the lead. She probably doesn't feel real good about that.

But Tiger's not playing this week. Ironically, he may be the only Number 2 in this post who doesn't feel like it.

I guess the only thing left to do is remind you all that today is Friday, the day when the golf world is filled with Round Number 2s. I wonder how many leaders will play like it today?

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