All this week, I think that NBC did a good job of showing golfers other than Tiger.
There was a real danger of getting too much Johnny Miller. I think that they managed to avoid that pitfall.
Today, NBC already has spent far too much time on puff pieces before starting coverage. its an hour and ten minutes into the coverage and I still don’t feel like I’ve seen any golf.
On the tee, Fred Funk was really having a good time with the 300 yard par 3 eighth. laughing about the crowd about his chances of reaching the green. Then he hit one that not only reached the green, but rolled off the back side. He posed a bit for the crowd. His gallery loved it.
In his pre round interview, Badds seemed remarkably loose.
Apparently, Vijay fell into a hole during the practice round and twisted his ankle. its heavily wrapped, and he’s limping a bit.
Paul Casey thinks that even par may not be good enough today.
Justin Rose is standing in the rough off the first fairway, and it looks like he’s wading in a green pond. Then he hits a miraculous shot that punched out of the rough, and just kept rolling down onto the green.
NBC is pointing out again that in 28 tries, Tiger has never come from behind to win in a Major.
HOLE 1: Tiger and Badds are about to tee off. Tiger’s opening drive is a high cut, bounding down the middle of the fairway. Badds looks very nervous. He’s hitting a three wood that heads right, just clearing the bunker, but staying in the rough. Badds’ second shot squirts right. Tiger has an easy shot to the green. Badds misses badly pitching it up and his shot rolls off the green. He’s going to lose at least a shot to Tiger here. Badds is going to chip up with a wedge, but leaves it way short. Tiger misses a long putt, but has a tap in for par. Badds needs to get this long putt in for bogey. He misses. His comeback shot is nearly as long. He then misses again. Finally, he putts out.
Badds has lost his two putt lead, and now is tied for third. Tiger is tied for first with Steven Ames.
Stricker has moved up one. There are now eleven players within three shots of the lead. Casey missed an opportunity with a putt.
Hole 2: Tiger’s hitting driver on two. It’s a 307 yard par 4. He could drive this green. The shot blasts straight at the tee, bounces off the green, and then into a deep greenside bunker. He’s thinking he should have gone with a three wood. Badds hits an iron to the fairway. Very conservative play, and entirely appropriate given his first hole disaster. Badds hits his second to the green. Its a makable putt. Tiger has no shot from his position in the bunker. He hits the ball wide and it fortunately curves a little back toward the hole. Tiger’s lag putt rolls softly to position for a par. Badds just misses the birdie putt. Maybe he’s over the nervousness.
More people crowding the top. Vijay makes a birdie putt and climbs back to six over. He has a chance on the back nine. Cabrerra has gone birdie-birdie to get back into a tie for first.
Hole 3: a 428 yard par 4. Tiger’s third tee shot is again straight down the middle. Badds hits his just to the left of Tiger. Both avoided the Church Pews. I was pulling for the Church Pews. Tiger’s approach is too long, and it rolls off the back of the green. His chip will be uphill. Badds’ approach is high and also hits the back of the green and rolls off. He may be in an even worse position than Tiger. Both can still make par.
Meanwhile, Stricker has made two birdies in three holes. He’s just one out of the lead. He’s got another birdie opportunity now. Rose has birdied to get back to +6.
Badds hits a perfect low pitch, a little bump and run. He’s got a short putt for par. Tiger has the same shot, but with more green to work with. It comes out hot, and he rolls off the front of the green. Tiger’s chip out is a weak little granny shot. It barely moves across the green. He’s headed for bogey. His longish putt is short right. Again, he’s hitting it like his weak sister. Its almost as if he’s lost some confidence.
Meanwhile, Stricker has made another birdie and is at +4.
Badds hits a par putt. Tiger finally holes his. Double bogey.
HOLE 4: A 609 Yard Par 5. Badds tees up first. His shot finds the fairway after skipping over a bunker. Tiger outdrives Badds by 20 yards, also in the fairway. Badds has 296 to the hole and makes it to the green. Tiger has 280. It heads right and ends up in the first cut off the green. Tiger’s pitch is beautiful, curving right toward the hole. Badds three putts to make a par. Tiger birdies the hole. He’s back within 1.
Its now Ames, Woods, Cabrera, Stricker, Baddeley. Ames hits a shot into a greenside bunker. He’s in trouble.
Fifth Hole: A 382 yard par 4. Tiger’s tee shot ends up in the right rough, with a bad angle to the green. Badds also has an iron, and bounds his shot down the fairway. Tiger has 157 to the hole, with the flag in front. He misses over the green, long left. Baddeley puts his approach to within a couple of feet. A definite birdie opportunity. Tiger’s going to have to flop it out to the right of the hole. He hits the upslope and it trickles down to a makable putt. Badds just misses his birdie putt. Tiger makes his up and down.
Meanwhile, Cabrera hits a birdie on the 300 yard par 3 eighth to get into a tie for first. Casey is in real trouble on the sixth, having to hit backwards out of a bunker. He then hits it right back in. Stricker on the eighth hits a three wood and ends up in the greenside bunker known as the Sahara. Ames takes a bogey, and Cabrera has the lead alone. He’s smoking as he heads up the fairway. Not a good example for the kiddies.
Sixth Hole: Par 3 , 188 yards. He hits the shot left into the rough and it rolls into a bunker. Tiger is playing with fire here. He can’t keep scrambling to get up and down. Badds hits a seven iron to within six feet of the hole. He has a birdie chance. You’ve got to give him credit; he’s been pretty steady since that opening hole disaster. Tiger’s got a shot out of a greenside bunker with steep sides. He clears the side and it rolls a good ten feet past the hole. Tiger’s away. His putt is clutch—right down the middle. Badds just misses and taps in for par.
Cabrera, Woods, Ames, Stricker, Furyk and Baddeley all are at +5. The tv is not paying much attention to Jim Furyk. Ames has made triple bogey. Once leading by one, he now trails by three.
Seventh Hole: 479 yard par 4. Tiger’s tee shot at seven finds a bunker. He’s very angry with himself. Badds goes way left into the gallery. He has a terrible lie in three foot grass. His practice shots look futile. He should take an unplayable lie. He manages to punch it out to the first cut. Wow. I’ll bet his wrists hurt. Tiger has a blind shot out of the bunker and gets to a realistic putting distance on the green. His ability to recover from trouble is astonishing. Not sure what’s happened in between. TV ha returned with Tiger and Baddeley on the green. Tiger hits a tentative putt and settles for par. Badds’ putt misses and he taps in for double bogey.
Woods, Cabrera, Stricker and Furyk all are at +5. Cabrera increasingly is looking like he could win this one. Furyk has fallen apart on this last hole, hitting a couple of poor shots. Stricker has hit a girlie man putt and is left with a long bogey. I’ve seen a lot of players leave their shots short. Are they afraid of the greens. Stricker is now +7. Cabrera takes first alone at +4.
Eighth Hole: 300 yard par 3. Tiger is hitting iron. His draw attempt is not coming back. He misses just right into the first cut. Badds has to get back in the game here. We missed Badds’ tee shot. Tiger’s chip comes close to the hole. It’s a tap in. Badds just missed a par attempt and will fall even further back.
Cabrera knifes a drive 350+ down the 12th fairway. Miller thinks its more like 390. Its looking like a three man race: Cabrera, Woods and Furyk. Cabrera has a one shot lead.
Ninth Hole: On the ninth, the fairwayi s 37 feet higher than the tee box. Tiger’s drive is right down the middle and finishes slightly to the left. Badds also hits the fairway. His second shot is just short of the green. Not bad. Tiger’s second is terrible. He drops the club on the follow through and misses to the left of Nancy Pelosi. Its going to be a long putt. Its very close. Badds has had a good chip and a good putt for par, but he’s realistically out of it.
Meanwhile, Furyk misses a par putt; Stricker makes double bogey; his second in a row.
Tenth Hole: A 435 yard par 4. Tiger with an iron. He doesn’t like the swing; the ball heads right and trickles downhill off the fairway.
On 12, Cabrera second has gotten him to the fringe. He pitches it to realistic putting range. He just barely misses the putt, and taps in for par. A missed opportunity.
Tiger, still in the hunt on the tenth, is hitting out of four inch rough. he catches the right edge of the green and the ball rolls to about ten feet. Tiger misses his putt for birdie; makes par.
On thirteen, Cabrera take an eight iron into the 180 yard par 3. It comes in right and rolls to ten feet of the pin. A beautiful shot. Cabrera misses his birdie put and makes par. Another missed opportunity.
11th Hole: Tiger takes an iron up the right side and lands in the fairway, just on the edge. His second shot misses right and ends up in a steep sided bunker. Bunker shot to ten feet or so. He’s needs to make another great putt to save par. Tiger misses. Bogey. The second shot cost him dearly.
On 14, Cabrera hits an iron that goes left into a bunker. At 313 yards, it was a birdie hole. Another missed opportunity, most likely. he hits a great shot from the fairway bunker, landing on the green. His birdie putt is too long to be realistic. He just misses. Another par. But he has a two shot lead. I don’t think its going to be enough.
Furyk makes a birdie putt following back to back bogeys. He’s now just three back with five to go.
On 15, Cabrera smashes it down the fairway. This guy is amazingly consistent and long. It’s what Tiger used to be. Then he hits the flagpole on his second. Cabrera can’t believe it. He’s holding onto his head. The ball lands just a foot or two from the hole. He makes the birdie putt and takes a three shot lead. He’s three under for the day with three holes left.
12th Hole: Tiger hits a monster 300 yard drive, but the ball rolls into the first cut. Badds continues to falter. He’s now ten over. Tiger’s second is from 274. He hits a very aggressive shot that bounces off the fairway to the right and just short of the green into the rough. His chip is exceedingly difficult, as a straight path to the flag has a bunker in the way. He plays the hill, but its way short. He’s going to lose another shot to Cabrera here. His putt is short again. Very tentative. he makes his second for par.
Furyk has just hit another birdie. He’s still in it. On the fifteenth, he hits a shot from the fairway that gets into putting range.
On 16, a 244 yard par 4, Cabrera just barely reaches the green. He’s left himself with a very long putt. But he has three to play with.
13th Hole: a 180 yard par 3. Tiger’s watching the shot intently. It lands in putting range. Birdie opportunity. Cabrera doesn’t know it, but he has to make par. Tiger is stalking the putt. He’s uncertain about this one. He has left so many short today. Tiger is taking a LONG time with this one. Looking at the face of the putter on tv, it seems as though he’s going to miss left. He does. Opportunity missed.
Meanwhile, Furyk on 15 is preparing to make his third birdie in a row. He’s not sure about the putt. He makes it for his third birdie in a row.
Cabrera’s first putt on 16 isn’t close enough. He ends up with a bogey. Good news for Furyk and Woods.
Furyk on the fifteenth has an opportunity here. He’s on a roll. 244 yards to the hole. He has a four iron. The shot is left, a long way from the hole. No birdie here. The tv guys are talking about Larry Nelson’s 63 foot putt here in 1983. Won’t happen this year. The putt comes up just an inch left. Tap in. Par.
On 14, Tiger gets it down the left of the 313 yard par 4. I’m surprised he didn’t try to drive the green. In the final group, he knows that this is a birdie opportunity. His second shot is 87 yards to the green. His pitch is long. A bad shot with a terrible putt coming up. Tiger is angry; you can see it in his body language. They need to be sure there isn’t a mike anywhere near him. Tiger has something in his eye. He seems to get a lot of stuff in his eyes. Is contacts? I thought he had lasik. His birdie putt misses. Tap in for par.
On 17, Cabrera has an iron. He’s playing very conservatively on the 306 yard par 4. He gets it into position. A good play. Come in with a couple of pars and make the others catch you. No need for heroics here. Hitting from the fringe after his second, he hits a weak chip. You have to get it to the hole to get it in. A little too far is better than a little short. Cabrera is completely wound up. He’s walking around like a teacher giving a lecture after his sixteenth cup of coffee. He misses the putt, makes the comeback and is now tied with Furyk, with Tiger one behind.
The meltdown begins.
What’s with these guys and leaving everything short. Are they afraid of icelike US Open greens? By now, experience should have taught them that they’re not THAT fast.
Cabrera is on the 18th, the toughest hole of the championship. He smokes it down the middle of the fairway. Meanwhile, Furyk is in the thick rough on 17.
Good heavens. The tension is thick here. If we can now just avoid a comedy of errors on the final hole like last year. We need someone to win this championship, not back into it.
Bubba Watson just birdied and is now only seven back.
Tiger on the 15th has 171 to the green, with the ball just off the fairway. The ball is below his feet, and he’s had trouble with that today. He short sides it in the thick rough. You can’t see the ball. His bump and run slides past the hole, but the putt is realistic. He makes it.
In the rough, Furyk looks like he’s standing in a green scum filled pond. You can barely see his feet. This could be the tournament for him. Furyk flubs it, leaving it well short. He’s done. His third on 17 is long. He needed to make that shot on the swing before. A five looks possible. He just misses the par putt. Bogey and falls to +6.
Cabrera’s second on 18 is long. He’s left with a longish putt. He just has to be sure he doesn’t bogey. There’s nothing else he can do now. Cabrera is waiting for Appleby, who has butchered this hole. His putt comes very close. Par. He’s the only player with two under par rounds. The guy can play. he could be a force in the British Open, as Carnoustie is said to be harder than Oakmont.
Tiger is still in the hunt. Furyk and Woods need to play one under golf the rest of the way. Could a playoff be in the offing? I hope so.
I think that the advantage now is Tiger’s. He know exactly what score will win.
Tiger on 16 takes a four iron in the the front center of the green. It’s a VERY long putt.
Furyk on 18 smashes one down the middle of the fairway. The crowd goes wild. Furyk missed the boat by not wearing black and gold—the colors of the Steelers and Pirates.
Cabrera has got to be puking his guts out in a bathroom right now. I’m not playing and I feel ill.
Furyk’s second is too long. He’s done. No chance of a birdie now. The putt is low. he can go out with a second.
Tiger, meanwhile is stalking that long putt. If he has any miracles in him, this would be a good time for one. The TV announcers are talking about Larry Nelson’s putt again. I predict short. It is, and right. He drains his second, and stays one behind.
On 17, Watson takes himself out of it by leaving the shot short and still in the rough. His third also is weak. Furyk lost it on 17. So did Watson. I wonder what it holds for Tiger.
The pressure is on. Tiger MUST go one under on the next two holes to force a playoff. Not a situation I’d want to be in at a US Open. I’m sure he’s thinking playoff.
Furyk is devastated. You can tell from his body language. But he makes the putt. It’s good for second, most likely.
The announcers have run out of things to say. They’re putting words into Frank’s mouth (Tiger’s Tiger headcover), and giving technical specifications for the blimp.
Tiger is thinking hard on 17. He’s got a three wood, so he’s going to go for the green. Does he know what this hole did to the two groups ahead of him. Probably not. He lands in the right bunker. Miller says that’s ok, because he has a lot of green to work with.
Tiger’s body language says he’s nervous. He’s stamped his feet a couple of times.
The bunker has steep sides, but Tiger has plenty of room. It’s out and up, and rolls past the hole. In the fringe, it is sitting in a depression. His chip misses and he has a par putt. Its no gimmie. But he makes it. It all comes down to 18. he has to birdie the toughest hole on the course to force a playoff.
On 18, Tiger’s last chance. He blasts it down the right side and it nestles in a difficult spot, one the edge of the first and second cut. His second is long. He has a shot, but its going to take a miracle putt. I don’t think he has it in him.
Badds, the forgotten man, gets his putt close and putts out. He shot an 80 today.
Tiger is stalking the putt again. Steve Williams is not helping him.
No dice. Cabrera wins.
A teriffic US Open.
Tiger has yet to come from behind to win in a Major.