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It’s an aluminum bar, 36 inches long, with a V-shaped groove from top to bottom. When a ball is placed in the groove and the bar is at a certain angle, it rolls down and the distance it travels can be measured. A fast green on a public course might measure a 10 on the eponymous stimpmeter. Major championship greens edge toward a 13 or 14.

The numbers allow can be used to reflect how fast a ball rolls on a green.

“On Tuesday they were like 12 1/2 and they’re trying to get them to 13 1/2 or 14,” Scott Piercy said after shooting a 66. “They’ve got some speed to them.”

Tiger Woods has played well all over the world on all types and speeds of greens, particularly ones that are akin to a marble table top. He recognizes that the Memorial, set up to the standards of 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus, strains to meet or exceed the pace that players will see on the greens at Merion in the U.S. Open in two weeks.

“Last year they stimped it in the morning at 14 on Sunday,” Woods said before the tournament. “And I can tell you that it wasn’t 14 when we played. It was faster than 14. Jack has it right there where he wants it now. And if we get the weather to hold up and no storms, it will be one hell of a test.”


SPEAKING OF WHICH: The weather report for the remainder of the week includes temperatures in the high 70s and mid-80s with a 50 percent chance of rain Friday and Saturday afternoons. Sunday will be cloudy with thunderstorms likely through the morning hours.


QUOTABLE: Woods bogeyed the last hole to shoot a 1-under 71, one shot worse than 53-year-old playing partner Fred Couples.

Asked how Couples played, Woods replied, “Kicked my (butt).”

When a reporter added that teen amateur Guan Tianlang was then ahead of him on the leaderboard, Woods smiled and said, “Perfect! Perfect!”

Still grinning, he waved and headed for the door while saying, “Have a good one, guys.”


CELL-PHONE PATROL: A year after Phil Mickelson was frustrated by the distractions of cell phones clicking and ringing in the galleries, the Memorial Tournament had bands of volunteers accompanying the marquee groups during the first round to prevent a recurrence.

Tournament director Dan Sullivan said eight people dressed in light-blue shirts went out with the four most popular threesomes, plus there was heightened awareness among marshals on every hole. Each of the volunteers carried paddles which said, “Please! No phones, videos or pictures!”

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