WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — It’s Independence Day at the Greenbrier Classic, where homes are lined with bunting and birdies of freedom are dropping like paratroopers. Here’s to those cup-rattling noises captured by boom mics as we celebrate a country crooned by Maroon 5.
Check back throughout the day for updates:
5:30 p.m. Guys who won’t make the cut and are cleared to enjoy the Greenbrier activities all weekend: Ricky Barnes (1 over), Vijay Singh (2 over), Rory Sabbatini (3 over), Stuart Appleby and Darren Clarke (4 over) and Nick Faldo (8 over).
4:45 p.m. Blixt is fading. Fast. Recorded his first birdie of the day on 12 and promptly gave it back with a bogey on No. 13—his fifth bogey of the round.
4:30 p.m. The cut line projection has shifted from 1-under to par, which could keep a few big names in the weekend mix—guys like Webb Simpson, John Daly, Patrick Rodgers. Still, I can’t find a score for Bagger Vance.
3:55 p.m. Steve Stricker just saved port-o-par on No. 11. His drive sailed deep into the trees left of the fairway and settled near the portable bathrooms. He later hit into a bunker but still managed an up-and-down for the most roundabout 4 of the day.
1:30 p.m. The John Daly Pants Watch reveals (wait for it …) the Stars & Stripes pattern from 2013, Timeless. Classic. Slimming.
1 p.m. Welcome to Blixtburg! Tee time for the first-round leader! Finally, a repeat champion! (Promptly drives into the rough.)
12:30 p.m. “Twilight Zone” moment for Troy Matteson. He set the PGA two-round scoring record with back-to-back rounds of 61 at the Frys.com Open. And he just shot a 61 here on the Old White. Paging Scully and Mulder. Matteson goes from Thursday afterthought to Friday contender.
12:20 p.m. Bubba Watson fires a 3-under 67 and guarantees the Greenbrier some star power for the weekend.
12:10 p.m. So, I couldn’t have been more wrong about Tom Watson. He’s gonna shoot 1-under and should skirt the cut. Should be knighted when he heads to Royal Liverpool in two weeks. Let’s petition the Queen or Benny Hill, whomever makes that call.
11:15 a.m. Hurley III, ranked 197th in the world, just wrapped up a 7-under 63 and climbed to 9-under for the tournament. He graduated from Annapolis with a degree in quantitative economics, so he can validate that Jim Justice is rich.
10 a.m. PGA meteorologist Stewart Williams appears on “Talkline” and predicts gorgeous weather for the Greenbrier weekend. He’s a scientist with two laptops, so I completely trust him. (Still hoping Hoppy asks about his stance on coal plants and climate change …)
9:45 a.m. What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on with Billy Hurley III? The dude has six birdies in a 10-hole stretch to zoom from Nowheresville to the top of the leaderboard. He’s a Naval Academy guy chasing pins on the Fourth of July. Our county t’is of thee … ‘Merica.
8:15 a.m. Huge debate of the morning: Can Tom Watson make cut? Second hugest debate of the morning: Was Lionel Richie better during or after The Commodores.
I guessed “no” on Tom Watson, before making an impassioned argument for Commodore Lionel. His solo stuff ranged from OK—”Hello, is it me you’re looking for?”—to downright schmaltzy—”Stuck on You” sounds destined to resurface in a Jif commercial. Gimme those mega-fro, sequined jumpsuit days of “Just to Be Close to You” and “Sail On.” Still making Tuskegee proud every time every time I hesitate three counts between the words “brick” and “house.”
7:50 a.m. Bubba Watson, child of the Redneck Riviera, pulls out his pink whipping stick and pledges to play catch-up in Round 2. The Golf Channel, CBS and Jim Justice are praying he has a good day.
7 a.m. It’s way too early for golf, yet there stand Nicholas Thompson, Kevin Chappell and Tim Wilkinson on the No. 1 tee box—focused, alert, reasonably well-stretched—ready to tackle the morning. On No. 10, you have Andres Romero, Chris Stroud and Bill Hurley III. I’m drinking the exceptionally robust clubhouse coffee wondering, “Could my driver carry 100 yards right now?”