As I sit down to type this, let’s take a look at the Top-8 right now at the U.S. Open:
- Rory McIlroy (-10)
- Zach Johnson (-4)
- Y.E. Yang (-3)
- Robert Garrigus (-3)
- Sergio Garcia (-2)
- Charl Schwartzel (-2)
- Luis Oosthuizen (-2)
- Ryan Palmer (-2)
Word association? Puke. Forget what I said yesterday about the scoring conditions. Things didn’t toughen up over the course of the day, there was a ton of rain overnight and Congressional is vulnerable. Big-time, especially to Rory McIlroy who has still yet to make a bogey. For him to have a six shot lead at this juncture I imagine is almost unprecedented, and his lack of a bogey is just as remarkable. Rory’s made a habit of scorching major championship venues of late, he just hasn’t been able to put four rounds together. We’re already giving him credit for a bounce back, but the only way he could truly do that is to play well on Sunday. Although, if he goes on like this, not missing a shot, perhaps an 80 would be good enough come Father’s Day.
I look at the scores and think that a good portion of the field talked themselves out of this one before it even started. They arrive at the U.S. Open, they think it’s going to be brutal, and so they get into a mode where they almost assure themselves of shooting 74, when a much lower number is out there. It’s like going to a five-star restaurant and raving about the food even though it was mediocre just because of the price you paid. Certainly you still have to keep the ball in play, but I don’t see any reason why more players aren’t having a bit of success.
Other early movers on Friday include Phil Mickelson, who has it back to even par with a (-3) start, but he’s still lost a shot to his playing partner, McIlroy, on the day, and sits a whopping 10 shots back. Aside from Mickelson, there isn’t a lot of noise being made by the American contingent. Zach Johnson is leading the way, but only 6 of the top-16 spots are currently occupied by the home team, so to speak. Of course, right now it is kind of a one-man event and then the other 155 guys are jockeying for position and hoping for another collapse.
How low can Rory take this thing? 12-under? And, if he does get it that deep, where does the USGA go with the set-up? Keep it easy so people can run him down with birdies, or at least have the chance? Or do they shift focus, and trick it up a bit so he doesn’t end up obliterating every single scoring record. We’re only about 27 holes in, but so far, not really loving Congressional.