US Open 2008 Day 2 Observations

The course still doesn’t seem to me as though it’s playing particularly tough. But maybe that’s because attention was focused on Tiger, who shot a blistering 30 on the back nine. He can make any course seem easy.

With his torrid scoring, Woods now is in second, and it’s probably a foregone conclusion that he will win. No need to watch this weekend. It’s going to be an insufferable Tiger love fest. By Sunday, television coverage will lead you to believe he’s the only guy on the course.

Knee injury? What knee injury? Tiger’s still got a little hitch in his gitalong, but the knee doesn’t seem to affect his swing. Someone should test that man for steroids. They’re not all used to build bulk, you know. They’re also commonly used to help recover from injuries.

Stuart Appleby is holding on to first all by himself. He’s got the talent, but doesn’t have as many wins as he should—some say because he folds under pressure. This time, it won’t matter. If Tiger plays another round like he did yesterday …

Robert Karlsson and Rocco Mediate have surprisingly tied for second. They won’t last. Rocco was having a really good time out there. I particularly liked his gamble on 18, when he went for the green in two. That was a “What the heck; I don’t care; I’m going to have some fun” strategy. It paid off, but could easily have backfired, and we’d be talking about the stupid play that cost him second.

All of the unknowns who made a splash on the first day have disappeared. First day leader Hicks now is tied for 49th. Still, he can say “I once led the US Open.”

Phil’s three wood strategy did not pay off. If you’re going to give up distance, you need to be in the fairway every time. He wasn’t. Tied for 35th, seven behind Tiger, he’s out of it. And that’s too bad. Not only is this the tournament he most wants to win, it’s on his “home course.” Maybe that was just too much pressure.

Hanging around at -1 are Davis Love, who had to play through a qualifier; Jiminez, Westwood and Trahan. I don’t see any of those in the final pairing with Tiger on Sunday.

On the other hand, Ernie Els is still there at even par. I’d like to see him on Sunday with Tiger.

The announcers keep taking about the cliff on four. Really, it’s not that bad. The last time I heard the cliff was mentioned, there were two USGA official standing on the cliff side of the player. You could see them from the knees up. There’s quite a bit of slope before it drops off precipitously. Take a look at this aerial photo.

My impression when I played Torrey is that the real drop off was on 14.

Eighteen is a great finishing hole. I love the “do I go for it or not” decisions forced by the water, and the shaved, Augusta style bank on the far side. It would be great to see that come into play on Sunday for the final pairing.

But it won’t. Tiger is likely to be far enough ahead that he could hit the water, take the penalty and still win.



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