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Golf may actually produce some drama without Tiger

Can a major golf championship absent the presence of Tiger Woods be possessed of drama?

That was the question heading into the Open Championship being played at Royal Birkdale and as the field trudges into the cool and windy weekend, the answer -- quite surprisingly -- seems to be, "Yes."

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And it is for the only reason that anything can be possessed of drama -- the personalties.

Atop the leaderboard at the moment is the slightly aging 53-year-old Greg Norman, who has played in just three PGA tournaments this year and missed all three cuts; Colombian Camilo Villegas, less than half Norman's age at 26 who is capable of both horrible and electric performances, and our old friend, Rocco Mediate, the just-glad-to-be-here neighbor who gallantly battled Tiger in a playoff loss at the U.S. Open.

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Norman has put together back-to-back 70s but needed long putts on the finishing holes at Royal Birkdale today to preserve his par round and keep the clubhouse lead.  Villegas shot 76 on yesterday but 65 today -- with birdies on the last five holes -- putting him at plus-1 and in second place behind Norman at the moment. Mediate is 69-73 and in a large pack tied for third at 2-over.

Of the three pre-tournament favorites who were listed on the betting boards at less than 10-1 odds, only Sergio Garcia has any chance at 5-over.  Last time I checked Phil Mickelson was 9-over and Ernie Els 10-over. Both were struggling to make the cut.

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