Associated Press
Friday, November 3

ATLANTA -- Chris Perry experienced the extremes of golf through the first two days of the Tour Championship.

 Chris Perry
Playing with Tiger Woods didn't faze Chris Perry, who matched Friday's low round with a 65.
With the field reduced to 29 by Jim Furyk's withdrawal, Perry played alone in the opening round before a gallery that included, "my wife, my caddie's wife and a few stragglers."

On Friday, Perry played with Tiger Woods, who was followed around the course by his usual throng.

"I was pretty focused on the course," Perry said. "The crowds don't bother me much."

But he said it's fun to play with Woods, who forces his competitors to raise their level of play. Perry complied, shooting a 65 to remain in a tie with Woods one shot off the lead.

"It's neat to be paired with Tiger," Perry said. "He's very supportive and he brings out your best."

Not so easy this time
Ernie Els made things look so easy in the opening round of the Tour Championship. He didn't have much time to enjoy it.

East Lake Golf Club struck back Friday against the "Big Easy," who struggled to a 2-over 72 after burning up the course for a 64 the previous day.

"I made some stupid errors," Els said. "I missed quite a few putts. Obviously, my standard of play was not what it was the first day."

Els muddled through the front nine with eight pars and a bogey. The frustration began to build after the turn.

At the 481-yard 16th, Els yanked a 9-iron and wound up with a bogey. He didn't have a birdie all day.

"I was trying to force the issue," he said. "It starts to get to you a little bit when you can't get your swing going. But that's golf."

Despite his poor day, Els was just three shots behind leader David Duval.

Feeling hip
Jesper Parnevik hardly looks like a golfer who had hip surgery six weeks ago.

Playing his first event since the arthroscopic procedure, Parnevik shot a 67 Friday in the Tour Championship.

Parnevik, who had a 72 in the opening round, was six shots behind Duval.

"I'm positively amazed," Parnevik said. "I was very, very pleased with the way I played. It was good. It was fun."

Parnevik underwent hip surgery Sept. 23. He began swinging again last week and felt good enough to play in the big-money event at East Lake Golf Club.

Parnevik, who had been troubled by a sore left hip since the U.S. Open, had the same surgery as Greg Norman and Steve Elkington. Both also made quick recoveries.

A chance meeting with Norman persuaded Parnevik to visit Dr. Mark Philippon, who has developed a special instrument to repair the labrum.

The doctor has also performed surgery on figure skater Tara Lipinski and Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Fiedler.

Recently, Parnevik, Norman and Philippon got together for dinner.

"We had a hip reunion," Parnevik said. "We talked hips over a few bottles of wine."

Ready to rest
Hal Sutton, who won the Tour Championship when it came to East Lake for the first time in 1998, hardly looked like a contender as he hobbled off the course Friday.

Sutton has been slowed by tendinitis in his left ankle for about two months, altering his swing and putting him in a prolonged slump.

"The ankle hurts, so you compensate for it," Sutton said. "When it stops hurting, your swing is all messed up."

Sutton won twice early in the year and consistently finished in the top 10. But he has missed the cut in his last two events and is 4-over midway through the Tour Championship.

Rest is the only cure for tendinitis.

"If there was a quick fix for that," Sutton said, "I'm sure the St. Louis Cardinals would have used it for Mark McGwire."

City golf
Most U.S. golf tournaments are held at sprawling complexes far away from major cities. Not the Tour Championship.

East Lake Golf Club is located just a few miles from downtown Atlanta, with a major highway running along one side of the course and a large, bustling neighborhood hemming in the rest of the course.

Duval got a taste of city golf as he prepared to tee off at No. 3. Nearby, a dog barked and a woman yelled at her neighbor, "Shut up!"

  • Through two rounds, the 469-yard 10th hole is toughest on the course. A par-5 for members, it was changed to a par-4 for the Tour Championship and has given up five birdies, 35 pars and 16 bogeys.

  • The easiest hole: the par-5 15th. There were two eagles, 30 birdies and only three bogeys the first two days.

  • Vijay Singh, who lost a playoff to Sutton at the 1998 Tour Championship, said the course is set up a little easier this time. "You're able to play out of the rough a little more than you were two years ago." Help | Advertiser Info | Contact Us | Tools | Site Map | Jobs at
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    Duval grabs lead, date with Woods

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