Thursday, June 12, 2008

'08 U.S. Open, Day 1 - Hicks, Streelman Lead. Yes, Hicks, Streelman Lead.

Round 1 of the U.S. Open frequently leaves some relative unknowns in the lead. No different this year. Justin Hicks and Kevin Streelman each had 3 under 68s to share a one stroke lead over Stuart Appleby, Eric Axley, Rocco Mediate, and Geoff Ogilvy. Streelman made some noise earlier this year at the Buick Invitational when he was paired with Tiger Woods. The best info I could get on Hicks is that he finished 80th on the Nationwide Tour money list last year. Congrats to both leaders. It'll be fun to see how they handle the second round.

Dream pairing Woods, Mickelson, Scott was rather mundane. Mickelson was even par, which was pretty good after a 38 on the front. Woods was +1, 72 after a 38 on the back. Scott finished +2, 73. Woods grimaced after his tee shot on 18, leading us to believe the knee is a bother. That was an Average Golfer prediction and I can't imagine it's going to get any better over the next three days. The same three will play together tomorrow afternoon.

Rounds of note from big names include Ernie Els, -1. Could have been -3 or -4 other than some sloppy play in the end of his round. Lee Westwood, -1. Trying to disprove the "Brits stink here" theory. Luke Donald and Vijay, even par.

Notables that most likely played themselves out of the tournament on day1 include, defending champ Angel Cabrera, +8. He was eight over after his first eight holes. Justin Rose and Paul Casey, +8. Both proving the "Brits stink here" theory. Monty, +7. Oh dear! Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Ian Poulter, and previous champion Michael Campbell, all at +7.

If the weather stays dry this golf course will continue to get more difficult. I watched many seemingly perfect approach shots land on greens and bound to the back and tumble off. The greens are hard and fast. The back side of greens is not the place to be at this venue. All in all the course is in remarkable condition. Not many players were complaining. The most commonly heard comment was that it was "tough, but fair". there's a lot of tee box options and I'm anxious to see how the U.S.G.A. deals with them in the coming days.

I've mentioned it before, but now I'm convinced. ESPN should never be allowed to broadcast a golf tournament, any tournament, much less a U.S. Open. Their annoying on- screen graphics reduced the size of my visible screen by 40%. I'd rather watch a test pattern. Listening to Chris Berman as a lead golf announcer at a major is like listening to "Fred Flintstone Sings Pavarotti".

This time tomorrow will reveal the field when the real tournament starts on Saturday. It'll be fun to watch these guys scramble for position. Sometimes the high drama is on Friday.

Til' next,


  1. I am confident that the condition of the course is near perfect, and the golfers would be inclined not to comment on the USGA. I have long been unhappy with most golf courses that allow players who do not use enough club to benefit from being short, usually in the fairway. But use a little to much club and you are in jail. The penalties should not be so severe, using more club would speed up play and be more fun to play, and to watch. This is why most golfers are short, take a look at your home course the next time out. Behind the greens look like crap, and you have been conditioned not to go long. Dean

  2. Not true here in Phoenix I've only experienced good courses. My home course the Legacy is awesome but there all a lot better courses out there. Don't take my opinion for it, try out some for yourself. Heres a list of some Phoenix courses for your pleasure:

    I'm sure that after you try out some Phoenix courses, anonymous, that you will change your mind.

  3. Good comments all. aside from the lack of grooming behind the greens at Torrey, there's some steep drop offs into canyons that make that a dead play.

    For the most part at my home course the areas behind the greens aren't kept up. I suspect as a cost saving measure more than anything. It sure doesn't speed up play when someone is long on an approach. I think it's just less mowing, raking, fertilizing, etc.