Anything but Classic

KEN FIDLIN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

We all know you can get too much of a good thing. Over-indulge in candy or fine wine and see if you don't get a headache.

Same goes for watching golf. Too many birdies can be bad for the entertainment value of the game. When par gets devalued so dramatically, as it does every year at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, the lustre of a low score is lost.

Is it more exciting to watch PGA touring pros rip apart a bunch of compliant desert resort courses, or to see them struggle and squirm to make par under the kind of difficult circumstances they face at a U.S. or British Open?

PRESSURE

Give me some wind and rain and rough, spiced with major pressure any day. With all due respect to Joe Ogilvie's remarkable score of 23-under-par after three rounds at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, a birdie-fest under such benign conditions can be a giant yawn.

In 54 holes to this point, Ogilvie -- who never has won a PGA Tour event -- has laid waste to three of the four courses in the Hope rotation for three eagles and 20 birdies.

And despite that amazing shot-making, he is only in the lead by two shots over Aussie Peter Lonard, who has been almost as productive.

It may be a blast for them, but not so much for the rest of us.

It's like going to a ballgame and every player who hits the ball knocks it out of the park. Home runs are normally fun to watch, but when they cease to be unique, they lose their appeal. You start to yearn for a strikeout.

These professionals have such absolute distance control when they are hitting the ball from perfect lies in the fairway that they make it look easy.

Watching them accomplish the same thing in windy conditions or out of the rough and you get a greater sense of having witnessed something unique.

Ogilvie is a stock market junkie. He lists Bill Gates and Warren Buffett as two of his heroes. He was asked about whether he's a buyer or a seller at 23-under.

"I'm not so sure I'd be buying at these levels," he said with a laugh. "(The score) is probably over-rated. There's not a whole lot left to go at 23-under. I'd be trying to buy low and sell high, not buy high and have it go low.

"I'm pretty happy with where I'm at, but there's no way you can get satisfied at this tournament because somebody will just blow by you."

Sweden's Freddie Jacobson occupies third place at 19-under, four shots behind Ogilvie and two behind Lonard. Two shots further back are Robert Damron, Jerry Kelly and Ryuji Imada.

While it has been a lot of fun for the birdie machines, like Ogilvie, it has been anything but for Canadians Mike Weir and Glen Hnatiuk.

Weir, who won this tournament two years ago at 30-under-par, once again putted poorly on his way to a round of two-under-par 70.

He is at two-under for the tournament and is a longshot to make the 72-hole cut at the end of play today. As of last night, the cut line was at eight-under-par and will probably go another shot or two lower today.

Hnatiuk, making his first tournament start in nine months, had his best score yesterday, a round of 69, but he's mired deep in the field as well and will almost certainly miss the cut.

Calgary's Stephen Ames sits right on that cut line at eight-under after 54 holes.

He had a 68 yesterday.

Crowd favourite Fred Couples was high on the leaderboard until late in his round, but made a double-bogey and a bogey coming home and, in the blink of an eye, ended the day 10 shots off the lead.

"It's just the way it is at this tournament," he said.

"You just have to keep pouring them in to stay in touch. It's not like any other golf we play. It's not strategic or anything. You just have to hit it close and make the putt."

Sounds easy. Maybe too easy.


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