POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jan 07, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 03:04 a.m. HST, Jan 07, 2011
KAPALUA, Maui » The loudest ovation yesterday wasn't reserved for Ernie Els or Anthony Kim. Even playing partner Jim Furyk had to defer to the roar that echoed across the Plantation Course when Scott Carroll stepped up to the first tee.
Yes, Carroll, the club pro at Kapalua, who was a last-minute replacement for two-time defending champion Geoff Ogilvy. The Australian withdrew from the $5.6 million Hyundai Tournament of Champions because of an injury.
Playing in the final pairing, Furyk could have been a one-man band, but elected to use Carroll as a "marker." The 35-year-old club pro found out about two hours before the start of the first round of the elite winners-only tournament that he would be Furyk's playing partner in the opening event on the PGA Tour.
"I had a great time," the 35-year-old Carroll said. "It was a wonderful experience. Jim couldn't have been more accommodating and Fluff (Furyk's caddie). They made me feel very comfortable in a very nervous situation. I was hovering near the 80 mark when all was said and done. Nothing spectacular, but I didn't embarrass myself."
Fortunately for Carroll, he didn't have a lot of time to think about playing 18 holes with the best golfers in the world. Tournament officials waited until early in the opening round to let Carroll know he would be swinging his sticks with the tour's 2010 player of the year.
"I didn't know until 11 o'clock this morning, so it was probably a good thing," Carroll said. "My goal, honestly on the first hole, was not to hit anybody. And hopefully hit some kind of decent shot to get off and running, and to make Jim's round a little more comfortable so he didn't have to wait around as a single all the way."
Furyk was thankful Carroll was willing to assume the role of marker, which is someone who keeps score and maintains the same pace as the rest of the field.
"It was fine," Furyk said. "I've known this guy for a little bit, see him every year. I think he was obviously probably a little nervous early on, but he actually got off to a great start; birdied 3 and birdied 5. He missed a little 3-footer for birdie on 6, so he was playing pretty good early, and I think he got over the nervousness.
"It helped me out a lot, though. I'm appreciative for him to come out. We had some big waits. On 17 tee, I think there was a ruling ahead of us. We were waiting most of the back nine anyway, so playing by myself, it would have been tough rhythm-wise. It would have been tough for me to kind of slow down enough to have to wait for every shot."
Furyk fired a 5-under 68 and is tied for fourth going into today's second round. He trails leaders Jonathan Byrd and Carl Pettersson by two shots. As for Carroll, he shot a 79. Had it been an official round, he would have been tied for last with Rocco Mediate.
How about that ovation at the opening tee?
"It made be feel good right off the bat," said Carroll, who is working on his third year as a club pro at Kapalua.
"I felt like I had the support of pretty much everybody. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Being a club pro, you really can only hope to play in a tour event, if you're lucky. It wasn't competition, but it was still a lot of fun."
|» 10 a.m.:||Rocco Mediate|
|» 10:10:||Jason Day, Justin Rose|
|» 10:20:||Matt Bettencourt, Adam Scott|
|» 10:30:||Camilo Villegas, Ernie Els|
|» 10:40:||Jason Bohn, Tim Clark|
|» 10:50:||Cameron Beckman, Derek Lamely|
|» 11:||Dustin Johnson, Arjun Atwal|
|» 11:10:||Graeme McDowell, Zach Johnson|
|» 11:20:||Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan|
|» 11:30:||Ian Poulter, Ryan Palmer|
|» 11:40:||Bill Lunde, Heath Slocum|
|» 11:50:||Steve Stricker, Matt Kuchar|
|» Noon:||Anthony Kim, Francesco Molinari|
|» 12:10 pm:||Robert Garrigus, Stuart Appleby|
|» 12:20:||Charley Hoffman, Jim Furyk|
|» 12:30:||Ben Crane, Bill Haas|
|» 12:40:||Jonathan Byrd, Carl Pettersson|