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10:43 am CT
If you just want to watch the feature group of Sergio, McDowell and Furyk, you can do so here.
I found it exceedingly difficult to watch ESPN's telecast yesterday because of Chris Berman and Curtis Strange... I like to hear a little commentary, but I had to mute them. It's a shame, because I really like Scott Van Pelt, who Berman talks over. SVP worked at The Golf Channel when I worked at Links Magazine and we bumped into each other a couple of times, seemed like a great guy.
This feature group could be playing together the rest of the weekend. They are each grinders and hit some wonky shots, but they get it in the hole. Each looks to be a bonafide contender.
In other news, Lee Westwood is -1 on his round and suddenly t20. Right in the middle of this thing after being +4 thru six holes yesterday. Long way to go.
Luke is even on his round and needs to shot at least 69 to potentially make the cut, which I'm guessing is going to be +8 when all is said and done today.
The greens are already fast and they are really going to dry out this afternoon, so Tiger's going to have his work cut out for him.
The feature group is plodding along but nearing the two par-5's. Furyk and McDowell are +1 today, Sergio even. Sergio probably looks the least solid of the group so far -- not very comfortable. But he's grinding.
One to watch today: Hunter Mahan. He shot 72 yesterday starting on No. 8, and he's even par thru four holes (1-4) this morning. If he can escape 5-6 without a bogey -- meaning he would've played the most difficult opening stretch of six holes in US Open history in even par -- we could be looking at a great round. He's hit 11 of 17 fairways thru 22 holes and 72.7% of his greens. He's striping it.
... and Mahan BIRDIES No. 5. Watch out. No. 6 is brutal and he bogeyed it yesterday, but I'm sensing a special round from Hunter.
Right now there are 10 players under par for their Friday rounds. The course is playing as easy as it possibly can, so I don't see this as a great sign for the afternoon guys. Ernie Els is -2 thru six holes, but he started on No. 8 and is yet to play Nos. 1-6, where he was +2 yesterday, or No. 16, where he made a snowman on Thursday. It's a par-5, by the way.
Speaking of No. 16, they've moved the tees way up today and Sergio almost got there. Will see a few more birdies there today... it played to a stroke average of 5.51
on Thursday, the third most difficult hole on the course.
I'm off to grab lunch, settle in and get this thing rolling full-time. We do not have burger dogs
nearby, unfortunately. Those pros get all the perks.
Well, I leave for 45 minutes and Hunter Mahan drops 31 spots in the standings after a triple on No. 6. Seems no one can escape that stretch of holes.
So, it appears Rickie Fowler is having some putting issues. He's doing a Bubba Watson 'hit and walk' today. I guess that's what happens when you open with triple and are +6 thru 10. He was under par for awhile on Thursday, but he's now in serious danger of missing the cut. It's bad for the Tour if he's not around, but less nuclear colors in the gallery isn't necessarily a bad thing. There are a lot of 40-year-olds who try to wear that stuff -- it's not just kids. Trust me, if you're over 35, you shouldn't wear a flat-brimmed canary yellow hat with a slime green golf shirt and matching belt. Just step away from the closet if that's what you're thinking.
In other news, Westwood is getting beat up by holes 1-6 just like everyone else. He's now +2 on the day, +5 overall.
I hope you had your DVR running, Michael Thompson. That piece ESPN just ran is likely to be a lifetime highlight. You have about another six hours of fame in this US Open -- it's going to be a brutal afternoon. I'm rooting for him, however.
Mahan is back at it, however -- two birdies in his last three holes. If you want to, umm, see what Hunter does in his spare time, check out his wife
, Kandi, who is a former Cowboys cheerleader. Cute couple.
Now THAT was a bomb from Westwood. 50-footer. If you'd have told me on Wednesday that he'd putt like this -- 1.58 avg per green -- I would have told you he'd be winning by at least a shot or two. I mean, other than Michael Thompson, who I predicted would shoot 66 on Thursday. Let me try to find a link to that prediction... I know it's somewhere.
Sorry, I have to change the channel to something less annoying than Berman and Strange, like Jersey Shore. Somebody tell me when they're gone.
For those just joining, yes, indeed, Graeme McDowell is wearing bright pink pants. Do not adjust your sets.
Here's my theory on this stuff: either these guys' wives negotiate their clothing deals and pick out the clothes for them, or they are trying to show the women who actually watch golf that they are sensitive dudes who have some style. Either way, the rest of us lose. We'll get that stuff as a gift and have to look at it on tv. Pink pants? C'mon. I can at least deal with the neon stuff, and some of it looks ok on the younger guys.
In other news, Johnny Miller just told us that hitting a putt 4-5 feet by the hole is 'not what you want to do.' (getting out my notepad here, hold on.)
Got to love Casey Martin. Good attitude, no excuses, can tell he's a competitor. And he's evidently available for Monday scrambles.
I'd say this would be a great recruiting tool for him -- he's wearing all of that Oregon golf stuff -- but most people will realize it rains for about eight months out of the year in Eugene. Seattle-esque.
Let's do a quick leaderboard update: there are three people under par for the tourney, and none of them have teed off yet today. The USGA crew is smiling.
The big names:
Donald: +2 on the day / +11 overall
Westwood: +1 / +4, t37
Justin Rose: +4 / +3, t26
McDowell: +1 / E, t4
Fowler: +2000 / borderline MC
Stricker: +1 / +7
Dufner: +1 / +3, t26
Rory misses a couple of putts on the final two holes that would have gotten him within (what appears to be) the cutline. He finishes at +10 thru 36... the cut will probably come around +8 or +9. Disappointing result, but not completely unexpected. I had him 10th in my 10-Fer rankings, and didn't feel great about that. He's missed four of his last five cuts now, which is one better than what Mike Weir has done.
You know who just teed off? Michael Thompson. You know how I know? Because Dan Hicks told me. He's evidently leading the tournament.
You know it's going to be a hole-out when they come straight back from commercial to a guy hitting an approach shot. Stricker just jarred one on No. 16 to climb back into this thing. He's got the short par-5 17th coming up -- another birdie and he'll be at +4, which is currently t36.
Scratch that, Strick's hole out was on 17. But 18 is birdieable. Whatever, he was +7 a minute ago.
Lots of people pointing out on Twitter that the 10-shot rule is now gone from the Open, which would leave guys at +9 out from the weekend when Furyk finished at -1. Casey Martin is the most prominent of those.
Key point being it's top-60 and ties, too -- so if a lot of these afternoon guys blow up the cutline could move. But it's not looking good for the +9 guys right now -- that's t110. Let's look at it again in an hour, I bet they'll have moved up 10 spots.
Glad to see my fashion commentary got someone's attention: my wife. It even made her Tweet for just the third time this year.
I'm hoping she and a bunch of her women friends are huddled around a computer screen, hanging on my every word. That's what I think is happening.
Stricker birdies 18 to finish -2 on the day, +4 overall. I don't mean to be Debbie Downer, but he's hitting 50% of his fairways. Not good. Would be surprised if he finishes in the top 30.
The Big 3 are off, and it appears Lefty will be able to find his first tee shot today.
Peter Jacobsen with the unintentional comedy moment of the day so far, talking about amateur Bo Hossler: "He likes it hard and fast." Thanks, Pete. Sounds like you two have become close.
Lefty makes a bad bogey on No. 1, Tiger with a par. Thompson makes his first bogey of the day a couple of holes ahead. I think we have about 45 minutes until Furyk is the solo leader -- Tiger won't make it thru 1-6 today without some blood.
Miller with another gem: "The kryptonite of Tiger is allergies." Or strippers. Or three-foot putts. Or Hank Haney.
Almost wish the telecast/USGA would just give everyone a +2 and skip the first six holes. They're brutal. Easiest hole is No. 4, the par-4 that's only playing at a stroke average of 4.23. That stretch has the Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 and 9th hardest holes.
The Thompson implosion is being televised. It's happening right now on No. 12. He has 30 feet for bogey, wouldn't be shocking to see him three-putt. Either way, Furyk is likely to be in the lead momentarily... and Thompson is making a mess of the easy holes. Could shoot 80 today.
Double bagel for Thompson, which means there's a four-way tie for first: Furyk, Woods, Toms, Thompson. The Toms group is in on the tee.
Tiger birdies the 220-yard par-3, goes to -2 and the solo lead. Well played. And now onto 5+ hours of ESPN gushing over him and Berman stumbling over himself. Sigh.
Nick Colsaerts is in great position at +1. We don't see him in the States very often, but he's been tearing up the Euro Tour and beat McDowell head-to-head in the Match Play a few weeks ago. Bombs it. And he's from Belgium... who is the most famous person from Belgium? Is it currently Nick Colsaerts?
Audrey Hepburn was born in Belgium. Then there's Kim Klijsters for you tennis fans. But the correct answer is that the most famous Belgian is Jan Claude Van Damme, aka 'the Muscles from Brussels.' You can dive deep into famous Belgians here.
Thompson down to even. He's been leaking fluids worse than Joan Rivers. He just hit one close on the par-3, however -- call it a pit stop at the plastic surgeon's.
Tiger is looking rock solid. He's navigating the toughest holes on the course in -1 so far. Not ready to give him the trophy just yet, and he just hit it in the greenside bunker on No. 5, and he had issues out of the bunkers yesterday.
David Toms has made two lengthy par putts to only drop one shot so far, but it's looking like it's only a matter of time before he plummets down the leaderboard.
One more update: The guys who at +9 on the outside of the cutline are gaining ground. They're t103 now and there are a lot of guys on the course who are +6 thru +8. I think +9 will end up being around 75-80th place by day's end. Still not good enough.
Jim Furyk gets crushed for being a 5-Hour Energy spokesman because, well... he's pretty lifeless. A couple of other golfers and products who might make odd bedfellows:
Rickie Fowler :: Jos. A. Bank
Tiger Woods :: GoDaddy.com
Chris Berman :: Hooked on Phonics
Curtis Strange :: Anything a company might want to sell
Turn it to ESPN right now. Tiger is about to try a left-handed show from a crazy lie. At least that's what I think he'll have to do. And don't forget to mute your tv to protect your ears from Bermanization.
Tiger chips one from above his waist; ball almost catches the hole but skids 20 feet past. Staring at second consecutive bogey.
Wow. Something I never thought I'd see: Kevin Na starring in a commercial. Must've been a long shoot for the Izod folks. Just kidding... I'm sure they never hesitated with that decision. Umm, I mean I know Izod is selling a lot more shirts now.
I love a driveable par-4, and No. 7 is a good one. But that green is clown-mouth crazy. Any time the ball can curve completely around the hole without touching it means there's too much slope in that spot. It's an easy par hole, most guys feel they should make birdie. But just watching Lefty's and Tiger's putts, the hole is cut on a downslope.
Meanwhile, Tiger three-putted from 10 feet on No. 7, meaning he's made three straight bogeys. The lead is at -1 and Tiger is two back. Mickelson and Bubba are 43 back.
Beau (got it right this time) Hossler, the 17-year-old amateur who likes it firm and fast according to Pete Jacobsen, is your leader. He has a short putt to take the solo lead. His swing is pure, too... and he's committed to Texas next year. So if he wins the freakin' US Open what does he do? He's exempt on Tour for five years, but the Tour's age limit for full-time members is 18 I believe (Ty Tryon issue). Somebody help me out on this hypothetical.
Thompson just made his second double bagel of the day and is +5 on the day. Too bad. Would hate to be right on a predicted score of 80.
I'll say this: Hossler is impressive. But if he makes it through 1-6 and closes out his round at even par or better, it will be a real story. If that happens, I don't think Tiger will make the same mistake in the post-round press conference that Colin Montgomerie did back in 1997 when he indicated Tiger might not hold it together for the duration of The Masters.
And seriously, did the rest of the ESPN crew go home? Or did Boomer tell them to? Someone, anyone... please forcibly remove Berman and Strange from the booth.
Paddy Harrington is about to make another birdie to move to +3, t14. This thing is anyone's ballgame. Honestly, if Phil could make two birdies coming in he would be right in the middle of this tourney at +5. He's hitting the ball a lot better today, so it could happen.
I thought the winning score at this event would be -2. Still could be, but I'm thinking there's going to be such a huge pack of players at +1 or +2 after Saturday that someone will sneak out a win with a 68. Winner will be -1 or even.
Tiger with the putter raised drains a birdie on No. 10. He bombed his drive and only had 75 yards in on the 424-yard hole. He's going to be in or near the lead at the end of the day, unless Beau Hossler tattles on him and gets him sent to the principal's office.
And Hossler's mom looks like she's about 30.
Taking a break until 6:25 or so. Off to do the 102.5 segment at 6:15 CT, listen in here.
OK, obviously my radio appearance jinxed Hossler. I'm back, so expect a birdie barrage.
Meanwhile, there's one player under par for the tournament. Tiger has two par-5's looming.
The Spud Webb pairing -- Tori Taniguchi, Tim Clark and Rod Pampling -- could each make the cut. They're all about 5'6, but Hot Rod lists himself at 5'10. Clark and Tori need to make a birdie or two on their final nines, while Pampling is +5, which is t34. He hasn't had a finish that high since he finished t8 at Torrey Pines in January.
Our amateur friend, Mr. Beau, must have gotten 124 text messages from his friends, because he's imploding.
And Tiger hits it stiff on 13. About to tie Furyk for the lead.
You know who is right in the middle of the hunt? Jon Byrd. +2, t9. Of course, he's about to go on the Death March on holes 3-6. He has a lot of Payne Stewart in him, except he's not as accurate. Kind of important in US Opens. Stay tuned.
With that little stinger iron down the middle, Tiger took over the driving accuracy stat for the tourney. Hitting 72%. He can't be beat if he's doing that in this event. He's also 7th in GIR%. The 17-year-old is outdriving him by 10 yards, though.
Berman thinks Olympic member Michael Allen will contend all four days. He might be right. But hearing him say it makes me want him to get food poisoning from a burger dog.
Some of the guys who are currently on or around the current cutline (+7):
Davis Love III
Bo Van Pelt
Number could slide to +8. I don't think it'll get to +9.
Props to Michael Thompson, who just birdied No. 4 and has steadied the ship at +5 on the day. He's only +1 total and has to hope this was his bad round. He won't be on the radar tomorrow unless he comes out of the gate like a house of fire... so less pressure. Not a terrible play tomorrow. Unless he makes a 9 on No. 6.
Here's what drives real golf fans nuts when they watch broadcast coverage: There are currently four players on the course who are under par for the day (Adam Scott, Zach Johnson, KJ Choi, Bo Van Pelt). Why the heck aren't you showing them? They're the hottest players out there!
We get the Tiger group. We get showing the leaders. But Choi is threatening.
Speaking of Choi, one of my favorite golf experiences was watching him on the range at Augusta National with some friends five years ago. We watched him hit 3-irons to the 215-yard green for 15 minutes. It's a tiny little green, just short of the big net they have there so players don't hit balls out onto Washington Ave. Every single one of Choi's 3-irons left the club like a bullet, pitched at their height, and fell about five feet to the right as they dropped to the ground about two paces short of the green, where they bounced up to flag-high. It was a thing of beauty, and we all recognized how good these guys truly are. I believe that was the year Choi holed out for eagle on No. 10 and finished in the top five.
Seriously, are these ESPN guys complete idiots? Beau has an easy 20-foot chip for birdie and all they can say is "the wheels are coming off" as he chips it into the hole. What a shock! The kid qualified for the US Open, so I think he can play.
We really need to get this #BanBerman hashtag going on Twitter. He obviously negotiated it into his contract that he's going to do their big golf broadcasts, but ultimately he's terrible for golf. ESPN is bad for golf. I'm hoping NBC Sports Network really takes off so there are some viable options.
The cut should come at +8, but the list above is still sweating it. Mickelson and Zach especially. Lefty just missed a par putt to fall to +8, but he's got two birdie holes to play. If he can make a 4 or 3 there, he doesn't deserve to play the weekend.
I have been neglect in mentioning Toms more. He has been impressive, especially since every time they show him he's playing out of the rough. Guys who can putt that well are in every USGA tourney.
I need to clarify here: Berman and Strange aren't in the booth together. It just seems like that at points when Boomer talks over people or weighs in on holes other guys are commentating on. To be honest, it's hard to keep up because they don't have the traditional CBS setup with guys on certain holes.
I got this from ESPN a few moments ago, and thought it would be fair to post it here:
"Curtis Strange is not in the booth with Chris Berman – Roger Maltbie is with Chris. Curtis is in the tower at 17.
Here's the link. I like Duval. Let me know what you think.
"If you have access to it, maybe you could also give a listen to the ESPN3 coverage of the 8th and 18th holes (it’s also on the DIRECTV mix). That’s where David Duval is in his first work as a TV analyst."
Mickelson just hit a sick shot from between the bunkers, a flopper that left him with eight feet for birdie. Needs it. From well behind the green, Tiger answered with... a solid shot. Solid birdie chances.
KJ Choi is in this thing! Nice birdie for him on No. 13. Two birdies, one bogey on the day for Choi, who is Mr. Steady Eddie.
Mickelson missed his birdie putt on 17, and I'm guessing Tiger will bury his.
It's going to be closer than most expected, but the +9 guys don't look like they're going to get in. I thought they'd end up between 75-80, and that's right where they are now. Pretty amazing, really. They'll end up between 65-75.
If Lefty can manage a par on No. 18, he's playing the weekend. Meanwhile, Jon Byrd has blown up, +4 on holes 3-6. Not good.
We're not seeing many guys who are +3 on the telecast, but they're currently t11. That includes Mahan, Kuchar, Dufner, Charl, and golfmanna favorite Freddy Jacobsen. Again, this thing is wide open.
Lefty makes birdie, so he's safe to play Sat-Sun. Bubba makes par to finish at +9, so he's likely gone (and I think he's happy about that).
Meanwhile, Curtis Strange just said that David Toms' upcoming 30-yard bunker shot over another greenside bunker to a pin that's just on the other side of that greenside bunker "isn't that tough." Maybe in 1987 it was easy, Curtis.
I've played a lot of golf with a lot of very good players, and I've only seen the ball fly in the hole (without bouncing) two times. It happens all the time on Tour. Tim Herron just did it on No. 18.
Paraphrase of Tom Rinaldi (who I like)'s interview with Tiger: I'm hitting it better. The course is hard.
Also of note: All of the _1 guys (McDowell, Colsaerts are notable) are t4. This thing is becoming a bloodbath, no matter what the USGA tells us. Five over after 36 holes is t28!
We're keeping it here until Toms putts out.
Well, I officially hate No. 18 as a finishing hole at a major. These guys are hitting 5-irons off the tee and wedges into the green. Too easy, even if the appreach is uphill. But at least someone who is two-down on Sunday has a chance heading into No. 16.
Toms pars 18 to finish at -1. He'll play behind the Woods-Furyk twosome on Saturday. It appears the cutline will be +8... it will be interesting to see if anyone around that +6 to +8 group can come through with a 66-67 to jump up into this thing.
Thanks to everyone who checked in today, and good luck in your pools and golfmanna leagues this weekend. We'll be checking in -- follow @fantasygolfguy for any updates and news.