Some thoughts and notes after the first round of the 2011 US Open:
- Rory McIlroy is back playing brilliant golf. Perhaps he now has the experience to avoid the meltdowns he suffered at the Masters and at the British Open Championship earlier. Remember that he went 63-80 at that Open Championship.
- For Mickelson, starting off on the 10th was a terrible draw. His first shot was into the water, and he never got on track after that. He ended up shooting a 74, but it could have been much, much worse. I honestly don’t know how he managed a 74, spraying it all over the place as he did.
- Louis Oosthuizen, on the other hand started bogey-bogey, but recovered to finish at -2. Maybe his Open Championship victory wasn’t a fluke.
- Charl Schwartzel also is trying to prove that his Major wasn’t a fluke. He’s at -3. Ditto Graeme McDowell and Stewart Cink. YE Yang must have similar thoughts—but in my mind he already has a double major—he gets an extra one for breaking Tiger.
- Sergio Garcia was not exempt and had to qualify at the last minute. He wasn’t even sure he wanted to try. I’m sure at this point that he’s glad he did. Rocco Mediate made a similar good decision at Torrey Pines.
- There are the usual crew of first round stars who are likely to fade in the second, including Jyung-te Kim, Scott Hend, Alexandre Rocha and Robert Rock. On the other hand, there are a few in the top ten who could stay in it for the duration: YE Yang, Charl Schwartzel, Ryan Palmer, Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink, Davis Love, Brand Snedeker, Grame McDowell, Henrick Stenson, Alvaro Quiros and perhaps Robert Garrigus.
- Former champion Ernie Els, whom I thought might have a chance was one under until he put a ball in the drink at 11. He then struggled to finish two over.
- The Top Three In The World grouping—Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer—basically were a wash out. Donald and Kaymer shot 74, while Westwood walked off with a 75.
- Ryan Palmer apparently played a practice “round” at Congressional last week that consisted entirely of six tee shots off each of the 18 holes. It looks like that paid off. Mickelson should have hit about twenty off ten.
- Fluff Cowan—Jim Furyk’s caddie is a MEMBER at Congressional. I should give up teaching to become a caddie. I like to walk. I like golf. If Fluff can do it, I can.
- It apparently cost Robert Rock $24,000 in legal fees to get an expedited visa so he could play in the US Open. After his round is over, he should take up a job as a caddy.
- Bubba Watson’s pseudo military garb is hysterical.