|Some of the winners from the first two rounds of the 2012 British Open. (AP)|
We're heading to the weekend at the 2012 British Open. Some of us are, anyway. Here are the winners after 36 holes at Royal Lytham. (You can check out the losers here.)
Sneds! The gangly, Southern-frat-star-looking golfer out of Vanderbilt originally burst on the major scene in literal fashion, when his emotions got the best of him during the 2008 Masters. He's since become a fan favorite and that'll only increase if he plays the weekend like he played Friday: Snedeker torched Lytham for a 6-under 64 that tied Nick Faldo for the lowest 36-hole total in Open Championship history. He's an engaging, honest and entertaining golfer, and regardless of who he's squaring off against, he'll draw plenty of support. A fun leader for the weekend, with the added bonus (for him) that he isn't paired with Tiger ... yet.
Tiger Woods (Bonus: Ratings)
The old narrative is that if Tiger's hanging around on the weekend, everyone else is in big, big trouble. That hasn't held true this year, but the ridiculousness "Is Tiger Back?!?!?" has clouded the important reality: Tiger is involved in majors. It's difficult to pick a "signature major" for Woods, but you could easily argue that his game, right now, sets up best for the British. His final shot on Friday -- a stupendous hole-out for birdie from a green-side bunker -- shouldn't be directly indicative of what Woods has planned for the weekend. He's 10-over on the weekend in majors this year (versus 4-under on the first two days cumulatively), but he's well within striking range of Snedeker and Scott. And Woods doesn't have to come out and fire 6-under to get himself in range for a win Sunday. He simply has to keep pace and hope that the two guys ahead of him fall back a little, which is an entirely reasonable scenario. Regardless, Woods is heavily involved in a major leaderboard, and that, as it always does, will make television executives quite happy. The British is must-watch TV this weekend.
Hey look, another leader! But this actually makes more sense than simply "Scott's in second place." When he teed off, Snedeker was already gutting the course and had moved past Scott. There were others (ahem, Eldrick) creeping up boards and making moves. The weather was getting worse and it looked like Scott might be facing a situation where he needed to not fall apart after holding his first end-of-round lead in a major. Scott looked OK at the get-go, finishing the first nine at even par. Most impressive was his ability to bear down and finish three under on the much-more difficult back nine, giving him a 67 on the day and keeping him well within range of Snedeker.
The Cut Line
My CBSSports.com colleague
Ever since Tiger won his third Open Championship in 2006, the British Open's been dominated by non-Americans, save for Stewart Cink's victory at Turnberry in 2009. It's not surprising that Euros would be scoring well across the pond given that, you know, this is a Euro tournament. But this year the Americans are showing up quite well: four of the top 10 players on the leaderboard are USA-born. Snedeker and Tiger are in the top three heading into the weekend, with Matt Kuchar and Jason Dufner both posting 4-under scores on Friday to move within striking distance.