2008 US Open First Day Thoughts

The super trio of Woods, Mickelson and Adam Scott was interesting, but it didn’t produce any real fireworks. From the television coverage, I got the feeling that they were completely ignoring each other. I think the USGA was hoping the trio would go on a self-sustaining binge of pars.

They should have paired Tiger and Rory Sabbatini.

Phil Mickelson took an interesting approach by dropping his driver and picking up an extra wedge. In place of the big stick, he used a custom-designed 3 wood, bent to an 11 degree loft. That makes it a what? A two wood? A one-and-a-half wood?

Hail Michigan! A UM alumni, Justin Hicks, is in first place.

You’re going to have to Google the names of some of the guys at the top of the board: Justin Hicks, Kevin Streelman, Eric Axley, Rickie Fowler … none of these guys has a prayer of being at the top on Sunday.

Phil is at even par, and I’m sure he’s happy with that. Tiger may be less happy at one over, but you still have to consider him in control. There are a bunch of players ahead of him, but only a handful have a chance of staying there. Among them: Appleby, Ogilvy, Allenby, Mickelson, Singh and Els.

Watching Tiger walking up the fairway, it’s pretty obvious to me that the knee is bothering him. His walk is out of rhythm. His right leg takes a longer stride than his left. Pay attention the roll of his shoulders … that’ll tell the tale.

On the other hand, Els was looking pretty good. He’s had a struggle in coming back from his own surgery, but the old sweet swing is evident again. The knee surgery was in 2005, and it’s taken him nearly two years to come back fully. That might give us some indication about how long it will be before Tiger is again 100 percent. The problem with pain—however slight—is that it forces you to change your swing, however slightly.

The commentators have been talking about the cliff on four. When I played that hole, I was off the fairway on the left, but never had a sense of being in any danger of a cliff. It’d have to be very dark, and you’d have to be very drunk to fall down that slope.

I’ve been trying to explain to people about how the “grass” in the rough at Torrey Pines is different from that in the midwest. It’s called kikuyu, and is a spongy, bristly, club absorbing weed. If it were on my home course, they’d use a weed killer on it. A tv commentator described it was hitting off a brillo pad. I agree.

Davis Love is hanging in there at +1.






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