The mood of the golfers turned as chilly as the weather during yesterday's second round of the $342,770 Wind Play Championship over tough, unyielding Sawgrass.
"They ought to make Deane Beman (PGA Tour commissioner) come out and play 10 till he pars it," Lee Trevino muttered en route to 78, and a decision to withdraw. More double-bogey 6s than birdie 3s were recorded on the 445-yard hole that requires a long drive over water.
"The guys who played 10 early had an advantage, when the temperature was 35 degrees," quipped Lou Graham. 'They were playing into a 35-mile an wind, but the lake was frozen.'"
The name of the event is the Tournament Players Championship.
Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw and Lou Graham are in three-way tie for the lead at the halfway mark, at three-under par. Larry Nelson, one under, is next, with John Mahaffey the only other member of the starting field of 144 to at least be holding his own against regulation figures.
"Everybody," moaned Johnny Miller, "likes to see us mae wrecks of ourselves . . . and they've having a field day at this one." Miller posted an 82 to go with an opening-day 77.
"This is a fine course," chipped in Australia's Dave Graham, "but it's designed for Augusta or Muirfield, to be played under ideal weather conditions, and it's located right off the ocean. It's the right course in the wrong place. It should be a links-type, a seaside course. You should be able to run the ball in, keeping it low, but you can't because bunkers guard every green. So you have to loft it up, into the wind, and the wind is vicious."
Eleven bettered par Thursday in the rain. Only four were under par yesterday, Lou Graham's 70 being the best round.
Graham and Crenshaw were in same threesome. Crenshaw hit the superior shots and was quite steady, taking but one bogey, but settled for 71. Graham, scrambling much more, sneaked in one shot lower.
"It was colder, and it made the wind heavier, and the wind was coming across the course differently than it was yesterday," Graham observed. "It seemed to always be coming out of the sun. I was just happy to get a par and go on to the next." Graham had four birdies.
Then there was Nicklaus, one of seven tied for the lead Thursday, along with Crenshaw.
Nicklaus appeared ready to take charge at one point, moving out to four under after scoring birdies on the fifth, eighth and ninth holes. He curled home a 40-foot putt on the eighth.
The Golden Bear's run to daylight ended abruptly at the 12th. His tee shot caught a trap on the 187-yarder. He blasted more than 20 feet past the pin - missed a three-foot putt and wound up with a double-bogey 5.
Nicklaus attributed his see-saw round to putting.
"I had a good day with the long putts but had trouble short," he said. "The greens (of rye grass) were growing and the grass felt a little stubby by afternoon.My putter doesn't have a lot of loft so I'll have to go back to rolling the ball, like I did at Inverrary and Doral. It's almost like to having to top a putt."
The cut was 153.Tom Watson missed by one stroke, the second straight time he failed to qualify for the last two rounds.
ABC will televise the last two rounds from Sawgrass. Today's program will be from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday's air time is 2 to 4.
"I think it's wrong. It's not fair to the people who pay to come out to see us, that they must get here early enough for us to be through by mid-afternoon," Nicklaus commented. "A golf tournament should be played at the logical time, and if they want to televise it, fine."