Round one of the 2011 U.S. Open is completed. Today’s competition had many interesting story lines and I won’t be able to address all of them.
The biggest storyline is obviously Rory McIlroy, my pick to win by the way. I have the tweet to prove it. I watched Rory’s entire round today. His first swing, on hole #10, was pure and the ball flew right over the flag stick on that par-3. Despite watching the struggles of Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, McIlroy dropped a 65. The nearest two competitors are Y.E. Yang and Charl Schwartzel, both with 68’s.
“Everything felt pretty good out there today and hopefully I can just keep it going out there tomorrow.” ~Rory McIlroy on his round today
“If you keep putting yourself there, sooner or later its going to happen for you.” ~Rory McIlroy on finishing off a major championship
I’ve enjoyed watching McIlroy play the last couple of years. Today I was watching his swing closely and at this point I’d have to say that there’s no better swing in the game right now, except for mine of course. I love watching his balance.
Statistically Rory was incredible today. He missed ONE green in a U.S. Open, and that particular one he got up and down for par. No bogeys in an Open.
Phil started out on #10 with Rory as part of the featured group which also included Dustin Johnson. Phil’s tee shot ended up finding the drink short of the par-3, and he would record a double bogey on his first hole. He was spraying his 2-iron all over the course, spending a lot of time at what my buddies and I would call “the salad bar,” the deep stuff. At one point I thought Phil might shoot himself right out of the tournament as he hit a driver out of the rough with a tree in his back swing. Instead, Phil stayed in the pack turning in a round which looked like an 83 but was only a +3 74.
Dustin Johnson found TWO hazards on his 2nd hole, carding a triple bogey just like his 2nd hole last year in the final round at Pebble’s U.S. Open. Aside from that hole, Dustin’s round was solid and he only added one more stroke over par to finish at a +4 75.
Robert Rock Rocks!
Who the heck is Robert Rock? He doesn’t even have a bio photo on his profile page of the PGA Tour’s Major Championship site. This English player had issues with his visa and had been working on getting that taken care of once he’d qualified for the U.S. Open two weeks prior. In order to expedite the process and get all the legal issues taken care of to travel to the USA for the Open, he had to fork out about $16,000. Then he rolls into Newark NJ last night very late, hiring a car to take him to Bethesda, Maryland. The hired car was $1000.
Rock proceeded to play some great golf having never seen Congressional Country Club in person. His fatigued and inexperienced round of -1 70 was very impressive.
My prediction on twitter this morning
I want to call it an international player. Love to see McIlroy. My top USA picks would be Nick Watney or Kuchar.
Other Story Lines
There are so many other story lines, like the condition of the course. David Feherty said in the post round TGC broadcast that the greens were bad. Paraphrasing. Keep in mind that U.S. Open greens are typically dry and hard. Casual fans who only watch majors will be wondering why the course isn’t pretty and perfectly green like Augusta and the Masters.
I’ve got to stop. So much more to talk about, and it is only the first round. Can’t wait to see what unfolds tomorrow.
The featured group for today’s first round of the U.S. Open at Congressional is Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy. The group started on the back nine about 20 minutes ago.
Phil Mickelson’s tee shot on the par-3 10th found the water hazard short, and he ended up carding a double bogey. Tough to start a U.S. Open with a double.
Dustin Johnson on the 11th hole (the featured group’s 2nd) found a creek to the right of the long par-4 off the tee. His 3rd shot found the water hazard right of the green. His putt for double slid right and he ends up making a triple.
Rory McIlroy is playing with these two, trying not get that bit of a bad vibe. He’s even par after two holes.
Mickelson made birdie on #12, bringing it back to +1. McIlroy made birdie on #12 to get to -1. Johnson had a birdie chance but make par on #12 to stay at +3.
I thought Chris Berman was funny about 25 years ago. The Berman schtick is really old, and has no place in golf. I was horrified this morning when I tuned into ESPN’s coverage of the 2011 U.S. Open when I heard his voice. I did throw up in my mouth a little bit. Dinner last night tasted much better the first time I swallowed it.
Already today we have some really lame “schtick” quotes and some other statements from Berman which really accentuate his lack of knowledge of the game and its players.
So far we have “How about putting on a par-4 for your second one.” Ryan Palmer putted for his second shot on a short par-4. “Second one” meant second shot.
We also have “Out there in the fields. I think that was a song by The Who.” Actually, the song is Baba O’Riley and the first line of the song is “Out here in the fields.”
Thankfully we probably won’t hear these dumb Chris Berman quotes
Looking at this gig, it isn’t looking too bad. There are a few opportunities for Berman’s horrid schtick which won’t happen because the players or conditions aren’t there.
Fortunately David Duval isn’t in the field this year for Berman to pronounce his last name incorrectly.
I don’t think Roger Maltbe is working this gig. Thankfully we won’t be hearing “Roger Chocolate Maltbe.”
There aren’t any fescues at Congressional, so we aren’t going to hear “he hit a fescue club, not a rescue club.”
No Bob Tway in the field, so no “Bob curds and Tway.”
No “Kenneth Staten Island Ferrie.”
We’ll hear too many football and baseball related schtick quotes.
We’ll hear too many “wow” exclamations.
David Toms is in the field so we can be sure to hear a “ground control to David Toms.”
We’ll surely hear some names being mispronounced.
We’ll hear some oddly formed statements describing the game or the leaderboard, like “he’s three underneath par.”
I’m not alone
Apparently I’m not the only one who would rather not hear Chris Berman call golf, let alone a major championship. Here are a few recent tweets I found this morning:
Chris Berman please make it stop. Enough of the idiotic nicknames already. You are to play by play what Phyliss Diller is to hot chicks!
He’s ruining the U.S. Open right now.
It’s painful listening to Chris Berman call the US Open. #stoptalking
Is that Chris Berman talking? ESPN ruins everything. #smh #commentaryfail
Memo to @ESPN: having Chris Berman anchor your golf coverage is a surefire way to get me not to watch it.
BK Golf Guide
It’s not that I won’t watch a golf telecast with Chris Berman announcing, it’s that I can’t. Broken too many TVs that way in the past.
I could really use a lot less Chris Berman on this ESPN US Open broadcast. Like, none at all.
Chris Berman on the US Open?!?!?!?!?! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!
Another year with Chris Berman on the US Open telecast. Where is that mute button on the remote? Our pick for the winner…Steve Stricker.
My god. Chris Berman calling the US Open? It’s hard to relax and enjoy golf with all that heavy breathing going on.
For the love of God how does Chris Berman still have a job…let alone cover the U.S Open!!!??? #gettingthenooseready
Chris berman covering golf makes my ears bleed.
The US Open is a historical treasure that shouldn’t have a pompous self promoting windbag like Chris Berman working the coverage. #usopen
Chris Berman as the main anchor for the US Open?? Did ESPN have a meeting and say “Ok..how can we make 5 hours of TV almost unwatchable?”
Chris Berman is calling the US Open, so I’m going with the Boston police scanner for audio again.
Set your DVR, but turn the sound off during ESPN’s broadcast because the not funny Chris Berman and his tired schtick is in the booth. Keep your barf bags handy. Rant to come shortly about that.
Thursday: ESPN 10:00am-3:00pm | NBC 3:00pm-5:00pm | ESPN 5:00pm-7:00pm
Friday: ESPN 10:00am-3:00pm | NBC 3:00pm-5:00pm | ESPN 5:00pm-7:00pm
Saturday: NBC 2:00pm-8:00pm
Sunday: NBC 1:30-7:30pm
All times Eastern
Shinnecock Hills - click to enlarge
The United States Golf Association (USGA) announced this morning that the venue for the 2018 U.S. Open will be Shinnecock Hills. Shinnecock has hosted the U.S. Open four previous times, the last being 2004 when Retief Goosen won. That was quite a performance and back then Goosen was like golf’s version of The Terminator. Another great memory from a Shinnecock Open will always be Corey Pavin’s 4-wood shot which sealed his victory in 1995.
“We are thrilled that our national championship will return to one of our country’s most-storied venues. We are confident that Shinnecock Hills will provide a true challenge for the world’s premier players, as it has for more than a century.” ~USGA President Jim Hyler
Shinnecock has a list of awards including top 100 in the world, top 100 in the U.S., top 500 holes in the world etc.