Happy U.S. Open Week

Words That Don't Describe Congressional's Clubhouse: Quaint.

Little late getting underway today.  Was on the old golf course myself this morning.  I birdied the first and last holes.  No other comments to be made.  Rolled in a 20 footer on 1, and then hit a 3-wood from 252 on 18 to about 12 feet and carefully lagged it up there for a 2-putt birdie.  Hopefully a positive ending will obscure the rest which is good for nothing except boosting my way too skinny handicap.

Anyway, it’s a Monday tradition here to kick off U.S. Open week with a post.  The last two years, I’ve gone back a decade to look at the 1999 and 2000 events.  One was Payne Stewart’s curtain call before his tragic plane crash.  The other was Tiger obliterating the field and making people ponder if 30 majors was a possible number for him.  Unfortunately, this year is the 10-year anniversary of a yawn fest at Southern Hills that featured the worst display of 72nd hole putting probably of all-time.  A tiny miss by Stewart Cink kept him from a playoff and admittedly threw his entire career into a fog.  The eventual winner, Retief Goosen, was a relative unknown to American audiences at the time.  There’s nothing really powerful to reflect on, so we’ll just move forward to some odds and ends for this year’s event.

The Course:

Congressional is, from what I hear, a tribute to D.C. wealth with a bit of high-brow extravagance.  Note the clubhouse.  As far as the golf course is concerned, it’s a place that most average players would walk onto and declare it the nicest course they’ve ever seen.  On top of that, it’s just undergone a 2-year overhaul to get ready for this tournament.  I expect pristine and difficult conditions.  If the weather stays dry, the scores should be pretty high.  From a picky, course critic’s view, Congressional is always criticized for not having any memorable holes outside of what is now the 18th.  It’s a bit of a monotonous death by long par-4.  More Aronimink than Merion for the locals, but the course is plenty good and with the change in finish away from what used to be a par-3, I think the course certainly merits an occasional Major, but I wouldn’t rush to put it into the USGA’s regular rotation.

Tiger News:

Tiger is not playing.  We’ve known this for a bit now, and the real Tiger story of the week has become Steve Williams on Adam Scott’s bag.  I think this deal has been blown way out of proportion.  It’s common practice for someone to pick up a bag as a favor for a week or two and Williams asked Tiger’s permission.  Adam Scott is in the process of changing his caddy, so he’s not really dropping anyone to pick up Steve.  I’m sure the speculation machine will be cranking full-blast, though. And, really, it doesn’t hurt Williams to pinch-loop.  There may come a day when he is looking to move off Tiger’s bag, but I’m thinking Eldrick has paid him enough to go into early retirement.

Phil Factor:

Mickelson has finished 2nd five times in the U.S. Open, but has never closed the deal.  It’s a pretty glaring hole on his resume.  The British Open Championship was never believed to suit his game, but the numerous chances he’s had stateside would suggest he should have picked one up by now.  He’ll enter the week as the U.S.’s best shot, whether he deserves that crown or not.  Unlike Tiger of late, Phil still looks like someone who can be dangerous on any given week.  He’s making a lot of birdies, but he’ll have to find an occasional fairway.  Coming to Congressional, it’s impossible not to think of another guy who couldn’t close out an Open.  Tom Lehman dunked his chances in ’97 on the 17th hole (the new 18th), and Ernie Els won his 2nd title.  It was Lehman’s last best chance over a stretch of years where he was contending annually. One of these years will be Phil’s last real shot.

The Euros and Featured Groups:

The Europeans are dominating the world rankings.  No American holds a major title.  Some of that is reflected in the featured groups.  The Top-3 players, all from Europe start it out: (All Tee Times)

  1. Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer (8:06 AM)
  2. Graeme McDowell, Luis Oosthuizen, US Amateur Champ Peter Uihlein (7:55 AM)
  3. Matt Kuchar, Paul Casey, K.J. Choi (7:44 AM)
  4. The Spainards: Mike Angel, Sergio and Alvaro Quiros (1:24 pm)
  5. The Italians: Molinari, Molinari and Massero (1:35 pm)
  6. Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler, Ian Poulter (1:57 pm)
  7. Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson (1:35 pm)

The Coverage:

For those who sour at the Masters holding back some coverage, even in modern times, the US Open just gladly throws itself onto the table.  It’s everywhere.  Coverage starts on ESPN at 10 AM and goes to 6 pm on Thursday and Friday.  ESPN will be streaming it live and/or possibly doing feature group coverage as well on their website.  Saturday and Sunday you can enjoy full-round coverage of the leaders on NBC.  Bask in it. All the Johnny Miller you’d ever want.  Oh, and he did shoot 63 at Oakmont once.

So, that’s about it for today.  I will jinx someone on Wednesday.  It’s impossible to pick these things (except for Tiger’s 7 of 11 run), so I might try to use a jinx on a Euro, or maybe I’ll get lucky, we’ll see.  The other day I was thinking it’d be sweet to skip summer.  Boom, football and baseball playoff season, and no more 100 degree days.  Well, I’d miss the US Open.  Love to see these guys grind every once in a while.

Quiz of the Day:  A to Z Grab Bag:  Category: Possible Re-Hash.  My Score: 25/26.  

Lord of the Rings? Ok, dorks, you win this time.

Quiz of the Day 2: US Open Venues:  Category: Golf Loser.  My Score: 81/109*

That’s two free points for their mangling of Pinehurst #2.

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19 thoughts on “Happy U.S. Open Week

  1. 79 on the US Open plus four additional points for the game not recognizing “Myopia Hunt” as a correct answer, for a total of 83*.

  2. nice

    i did not do well with ‘I”.

    no inverness or interlachen.

    i’m comfortable writing that, because I now think everyone who will take the quiz has taken it.

    did you succesfully type “the number 2 course at pinehurst” or whatever the bleep they wanted?

  3. okay. i’m sold. i put my money and heart on M n’ M’s. not hard for me to do. i like Mickelson’s heart which seems to be a genuine, masculine hybrid of loyalty…and that McIroy, I don’t care what you say 3-Putt, he’s for Haiti and I’m now convinced I’m for him.

    Q

  4. I might not have but for your comment. “Pinehurst #2” did not work, but “Pinehurst No. 2” did. I made it all the way back to Orville Moody.

    Is Merion Cricket Club a different course than Merion Golf Club? I felt like I should have gotten credit for Merion Cricket.

    I remembered to put down Philly Country and Philly Cricket.

    Bellerive was my most obvious miss.

  5. I think you probably should have gotten credit.

    Merion cricket club was first, they built a golf course. Then abandoned it to move to Merion East’s current location.

    So, at that point the golf course was part of the cricket club. So, that’s probably why you didn’t get credit, even though it was the same course.
    In the 40s or 50s the golf club separated and now they both exist as separate entities.

    The only reason I know any of that is I was wondering the same thing once and looked it up.

  6. Interesting. Did you play the Crick today? Dropping the hammer over the pond from 250 on the last hole?

    And, what do you think of all the baseball realignment talk? Jim Bowden’s proposal and the no-more-leagues proposal?

  7. I did not play the Crick. I wish I could birdie the 1st hole there.

    Played a place called Applecross. Its newish, the place where my pops had his thing last year.

    Its a short par 5. I hit 2 3-woods, and the one off the tee wasn’t especially great.

    But my deteriorating game doesn’t produce many good woods off the deck these days, so I’ll take it.

    But, in the more things change, the more they stay the same category, I missed two 3-foot birdie putts.

    So, rest easy.

    Oh, and I didn’t see Bowden’s plan. I’m totally against 1 division. Can’t think of a worse idea.

  8. Just saw Bowden’s. Don’t like that either. Not enough big market/small market balance.

    You can’t have NY/NY/Philly and Boston in the same division. This isn’t football.

    Why are we changing things again? I’m actually ok with how things are now. I could do without interleague, but that aint happening.

  9. I heard about that, I don’t think I can slog through it.

    Not a great Grantland day for me, a lot of the stuff is longer than my web attention span.

    Though, I’m excited that basketball season is over. See what they talk about.

    I may go back and read the lackey thing, but I’m still waiting for someone to really come into my wheelhouse.

  10. Only interesting part is Simmons said he doesn’t really like the name, ESPN made him to do it, and he had to “pick his battles.” Other than that, he whines about administrative responsibilities, and the rest is fluff. Lackey piece is pointless.

    • I still don’t get the name. I heard it wasnt his call, that ESPN latched onto it.

      thanks for the heads up. how about you just read everything and send me the good links.

      i’ll just keep waiting for the week-long expose on how Fred made a career out of intentionally hitting block, power-fades.

      if they can preview the razzies? certainly there is time for that.

  11. Also, Bruins were half an inch away from total horseface there early in the third period, if that shot hadn’t hit the post.

  12. Dead serious. They are all in costume. It’s gonna be on the golf channel at 6, but I can’t wait for it. I saw pieces of the video but there was no audio. They played it as they interviewed Hunter so they couldn’t have the audio goin.

  13. there’s the video.

    it’s disturbing. hunter mahan representing the skinny fat pretty well.

    only redeeming part, Bubba’s textbook club flip

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