After last year’s scoring orgy at the U.S. Open at Congressional Mike Davis of the USGA was not going to have any more of that this year in “golf’s toughest test” at The Olympic Club. A course so angular that keeping it on the fairway is like try to land a dimpled marshmallow on a tilted snare drum treated with talcum powder, the dry and windy conditions of San Francisco have made it even harder and faster driving the players to delirium.
The three guys with the thickest paw pads are Tiger, Furyk, and Toms who have somehow managed to scratch out a one under par score through the first two rounds. Tiger has showed great control, finding a way to hit 75% of the fairways and 70% of the greens. Toms has had only 56 putts over the two days that is four less than the other leaders. Furyk has managed to hit 75% of the greens in regulation despite hitting less than half of the fairways.
The scoring carnage has been well distributed. Nick Watney and Justin Rose backed up opening 69’s with a pair of 75’s. Mickelson and Zach Johnson shot 76 and 77 on day one and just managed to squeak in under the +8 cut line to play the weekend. Significant others who will be watching the last two rounds from the comfort of their family room couches include defending champ Rory McIlroy and the world’s number one Luke Donald.
Patience and a short memory seem to be the key once again at the U.S. Open. A good recovery game around these tiny greens does not hurt either. Furyk set the bar in the morning round with a gritty 69 to post one under. Tiger had what looked to be a glorious approach into the short par five 17th that held it’s steam a nano second too long only to sneak off the back right of the green and then tumble down one of Mike Davis’s shaved banks to nestle among the Cypress trees about 50 yards below the green. He played away from the flag with a deft pitch and managed to salvage par and his momentum. Toms showed superb iron play down the back nine with two birdies and no bogies to catch the big cat.
With scores in the sixties few and far between the weekend will be about limiting fender benders and making combackers for par from 10 feet. Betting against Tiger when he has the 36 hole lead in a major is a losing proposition but, besides the two major winners who are currently tied with him, there is Graeme McDowell only two back and he has a history of grabbing the tiger by it’s tail. This demolition derby should make for some entertaining reality TV this weekend.