Last year, Tiger said that no amateur could break 100 on a US Open Course. That led to a Golf Digest contest, in which one guy was chosen out of 57,000 entries to represent the insulted masses.
Thirty nine year old John Atkinson, who plays to an 8 handicap, managed to shoot a 114. His three playing partners, Tony Romo, Matt Lauer and Justin Timberlake all broke 100. Romo broke it easily with an 84; Timberlake shot a 98; Lauer, a 100 with a putt for par at the last.
Atkinson’s game fell apart when he got into a bunker and took a nine on the fifth. He apparently also had trouble when he landed in the rough and had to take a shot when he couldn’t even see his ball.
If I was in a bunker and had any doubts about getting out and onto the green, I would have either declared it unplayable, or turned around and blasted it back into the fairway.
For me, the experiment doesn’t settle the matter. Just because one eight handicapper couldn’t pull it off on a given day, playing with three celebrities, with celebrity caddies, and in front of tv cameras, doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. In fact, I’d say he was doomed to fail.
I’d also guess that it was the first time Atkinson had played at Torrey. My own experience at Torrey is that the hardest thing about the course is getting used to the weed they use for grass. It’s wiry, spongy stuff that takes a midwesterner some getting used to.
Tiger gets a private practice round or two before each Open.
How about letting a couple of ten handicappers onto the course, without the spectacle? And let them play twice. It’s not likely to happen, but it would be a better test.