With the blossoming bromance between Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods taking center stage this week at The Barclays, it may be easy for the casual fan to forget all about the world’s second-best golfer, Luke Donald.
As Golf Channel’s primary on-air analyst, though, Nick Faldo ought to know who’s who in the Official World Golf Rankings.
“They’re No. 1 and No. 2 in the world,” Faldo said about McIlroy and Woods as Friday afternoon’s broadcast at Bethpage Black kicked off.
Sure, Donald has not done a whole lot to attract attention of late, and was tied for 48th at 1-under as he made the turn in the second round of the first FedEx Cup playoff game. But as of Friday afternoon, he was still ranked second behind McIlroy among the world’s best.
The old-school Faldo also offered a tsk-tsk about the players involved in golf’s newest rivalry breaking bread after their Wednesday press conferences.
“I never lunched with -- I guarantee Seve [Ballesteros]...Greg [Norman], we would not be sitting having lunch together,” the nine-time PGA Tour winner said, with obvious distaste.
“We would not be sitting having lunch together. We used to jostle...on the range. We did far more sparring that way,” Faldo said. “I don’t know what you make of it. Hey, if you can get on and can fight hard on the golf course, that’s good, that’s what our sport’s all about.
“But I hope we get a little feisty fire out of the pair of them.”
Don’t know about feisty, what with Woods appearing to be battling a bad back and McIlroy at 4-over through eight in his second round. At 2-over for the week, thanks to three straight bogeys on his front nine Friday, McIlroy sat one stroke on the wrong side of the 1-over projected cut line heading to the ninth hole.
Woods, by the way, got off to a horrid, bogey-bogey start. Even wincing and having obvious trouble bending over to pluck his golf ball out of the hole, however, he had bounced back with three birdies in four holes, including two in a row on the fourth and fifth. At 4-under for the week through eight, Woods was just four shots back of leader Nick Watney.