Steve Marino was in the first group out Thursday morning and even though the conditions were difficult, he said, “somebody might shoot 5, 6, 7-under.”
That somebody turned out to be John Rollins, who opened with a bogey-free 63 that gave him the early clubhouse lead. Rollins missed just two fairways and two greens and closed with four straight bogeys over his last five holes.
Unlike Marino, though, Rollins has played plenty of golf at Sea Island. His coach, Todd Anderson, is the director of golf here. And while a lot of players are jockeying for position on the money list, Rollins has two different goals this week.
First, he’d like to win, obviously. “That’s our goal every week you play,” he said.
Second, he’d like to start playing his way onto next year’s Presidents Cup team.
“When I missed the BMW and had the four weeks off, my wife and I had a chance to sit down and talk about some things,” Rollins said. “She told me to make the team. Just practice harder, work harder. I expect a lot out of myself but sometimes don’t put the necessary effort in there to get it out of there.”
Those are pretty incriminating words but ones Rollins felt were needed.
“I don’t want it to sound like she was chewing me out, but it was sort of a little wake-up call,” Rollins said. “If you want to play good and make these teams, put the work in and get it done.”
By his own admission, and judging by his results, Rollins hasn’t exactly done that this year. While he was a winner on the PGA TOUR in 2009, he’s had just two top-10s this season. In his last start, at the Deutsche Bank Championship, Rollins was in contention until he imploded with a final-round 79.
That meant four weeks off for Rollins, during which time he watched the Ryder Cup.
“I think any time you watch those events, you always tell yourself when you’re not in it you want to be on it,” said Rollins, who twice in his career has finished just outside the top 10 in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup standings. “You want to be on the team and you want to be able to represent your country.” -- Brian Wacker