I’ve been on-site at Bay Hill for the past three days, my first time seeing the golf course in person.

On-the-ground observations from this week so far:

 The PGA Tour seems to lack some serious juice right now. Big events don’t have the palpable intensity they’ve had historically. The vibes are off.

 I’m hesitant to attribute too much to a subjective, feel-based narrative, but I think the lack of intensity may be contributing to why stars aren’t showing out so far this season. Big moments produce an athlete’s best performances. NBA players bring their best efforts to primetime games. Golf might(?) now only have four primetime games per year. Some will argue that golf has only ever had four primetime games per year, but this moment in time feels different.

– Watching Scottie Scheffler from tee to green is astounding. It isn’t particularly flashy; he just picks smart targets and doesn’t miss a shot. Whether or not he can figure out the putter remains the most important skill-related story in professional men’s golf.

 A Scottie Scheffler-Sam Burns twosome would be tough to compete with in a scramble. Burns putts brilliantly. He’s on the short list of players I’d select if my life depended on making a 10 footer. His ball-striking, however, leaves a lot to be desired. Despite a strong opening round, I’d be pretty surprised if he’s in the mix on Sunday.

– Entering this week, Bay Hill ranked among my least favorite courses on the PGA Tour. I promise I went into the week with an open mind, hoping to be pleasantly surprised by the in-person experience. It’s somehow a much worse golf course in person than I even expected. The course is dead flat, and all the questions asked of players are the exact same. Every shot is launched straight up into the air or hacked out of the rough. Very little creativity is required. The golf course is truly just grass, ponds, and some trees.

 I’m not somebody who thinks that the use of thick rough ruins a golf course. My issue with Bay Hill revolves around its combination of thick rough, narrowness, boring greens, reliance on ponds, and lack of variety. Once you’ve seen one of the doglegs with rough on one side and a water hazard on the other, you’ve seen them all. Muirfield Village, host of the Memorial Tournament, has some of the thickest rough on the PGA Tour, and it is one of my favorite golf courses the pros play. The dimensions of the fairways, penalties associated with wide misses, and variety in the holes make for a robust test of professional golf. Bay Hill looks like a terribly-executed knockoff of Muirfield Village.

– Bay Hill is, however, demanding. The tournament is a massive departure from the soft, wedge-fest setups that we see most weeks on the PGA Tour. The golf course puts long irons in players’ hands on a bunch of holes, and a player who is struggling with his swing can’t hide. He’ll get exposed. Despite thinking the architecture is awful, one-dimensional, and redundant, I can appreciate that most golf fans don’t care at all about that and just want to watch players take full, athletic swings while making both birdies and bogeys. Bay Hill is a much better pro tournament theater than it is a golf course, even if I don’t particularly enjoy drawing that distinction and prefer watching great tournaments hosted at venues that don’t compromise on design.

– Rory McIlroy opened with an uninspiring 73 (+1) and sits seven shots back of the lead. He bogeyed two par fives and missed a couple short putts. I picked Rory to win this week, and I would not rule him out of this golf tournament. Expect him to bounce back over the next couple days.

This piece originally appeared in the Fried Egg Golf newsletter. Subscribe for free and receive golf news and insight every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.