PARAMUS, N.J. - For Morgan Hoffmann, the concept of feeling at home in The Barclays is more than a figure of speech. He is staying in the house he grew up in, sleeping in his old room beneath the junior golf posters and his Walker Cup photos, which are right where he left them.
Plus, he rides to Ridgewood Country Club every day with his mom. "I'm just kind of listening to music, and she's being positive, like she always is. I'm like 'Mom, let me listen to music,'" the 25-year-old PGA Tour pro from Wyckoff, N.J. said. "But she's so positive. You can't ask for anything more."
Hoffmann gave her and his local fans something about which to be really positive. He made three consecutive birdies on the front nine, shot 5-under-par 66 and put himself in contention at 7 under, tied for fourth. That was huge for a guy who came in ranked 124th in the FedEx Cup and needs a high finish to move up and advance in the playoffs.
It sure went over well with the gallery, which included guys with whom he went out to dinner Friday night -- some he had not seen since high school. "Pretty much everybody in the crowd, I recognized, which is a really cool sight," he said. "Actually, it's been really hard to not look into the crowd because I want to go say hi to everybody, but I've got to stay focused."
Rory McIlroy, fresh off his visit to Madison Square Garden for the U.S. National Team's exhibition game Friday night, at which J.R. Smith of the Knicks sprinted down the sidelines to give him a hug, didn't make a run. He shot 1 under for the day and finished 4 under, tied for 23rd. "I felt like I actually played well. I just didn't get a putt to drop," he said . . . As usual in a tour event, the players are using members' lockers. Here at Ridgewood, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano was assigned the one that belongs to Phil Simms.