Rally Killers Attack! Wie Grilled Over Her New Nail Polish, Her Pomeranian's Presence In Hospitality

Some pretty special stuff at Pinehurst today as Michelle Wie graciously sat down for a Q&A with the assembled scribblers and I can safely say neither of these was asked by yours truly and the identity of the questioners is unknown:

Q. You said we could ask you anything, and I notice sitting here in the front row that you have different nail polish on your fingers. Is that to help you with your grip or is there a reason for that?

MICHELLE WIE: No. It's just --

Q. Just your whim this morning?
MICHELLE WIE: Uh-huh.

And...

Q. And was that your Pomeranian I saw up on the hospitality deck there yesterday? Did you bring, is it Lola, your little doggie?

 
MICHELLE WIE: I don't know, was she out there? Yeah, I guess so. Maybe.

It's not often you get two rally killers of that quality in one session! History was made at Pinehurst today!

If you don't believe this occurred, the video of Wie's press conference can be viewed here at GolfChannel.com.

TV Roundup: 3.3 Overnight Rating, NBC's Classy Goodbye, Joe And Greg Debut Their First Fist-Bump!

Ed Sherman reports on the U.S. Open final round's 3.3 overnight rating down 46% from last year's 6.1 at Merion when Phil Mickelson battled Justin Rose.

Austin Karp noted on Twitter that the better comparison is to 2011 when Rory McIlroy was a runaway winner. Still a steep drop.

Sherman also reviews the telecast and calls NBC's farewell "understated, classy" and says the network deserved better than a runaway winner.

As a result, NBC did an understated, classy farewell to its signature tournament. - See more at: http://www.shermanreport.com/no-tears-no-drama-but-a-lot-of-class-nbc-espn-sign-off-on-final-u-s-open/#sthash.vcaixnYf.dpuf
As a result, NBC did an understated, classy farewell to its signature tournament. - See more at: http://www.shermanreport.com/no-tears-no-drama-but-a-lot-of-class-nbc-espn-sign-off-on-final-u-s-open/#sthash.vcaixnYf.dpuf

John Strege reviews NBC's final U.S. Open telecast where other than an Inside Baseball jab at the end thanking USGAers David Fay, Mark Carlson, Sandy Tatum but not Mike Davis:

The credits rolled, after which Hicks came on one last time. He noted that NBC had broadcast 650 hours in those 20 years, “and every second of it has been a true labor of love. It has been an honor and privilege to document our national championship of golf for all of you. We’ll miss doing that, but as we bid one last U.S. Open goodbye form Pinehurst, we’ll never forget how much fun this 20-year ride has been. Good night from Pinehurst.”

To its credit, NBC tactfully had avoided any mention of its Open denouement during the golf, leaving the stage to Kaymer. Only once did it hint that the end was in sight.

Karen Crouse stopped in the NBC truck and filed a NY Times look at all that goes on in the control room, profiling the men who headed NBC's broadcasts: Tommy Roy and Tom Randolph.

“Producing 10 hours of live golf is the greatest diet in the world,” Roy said.

His workday starts before he arrives in the truck. Roy stops by the driving range to see what players are wearing, the better to identify them on the monitors. He studies their mannerisms to improve his own performance. That is why Roy doesn’t worry about cutting to a shot of Jim Furyk when he first steps up to a putt: He knows Furyk will back off it.

Roy could empathize with the Open’s 36-hole leader, Martin Kaymer, who said it was not easy playing the first two days with Keegan Bradley, whose pre-shot routine is an elaborate body tic. It’s difficult, Roy said, to perfectly time a cut to a golfer whose pre-shot routine is unpredictable.

“Go to Elvis,” Roy shouted, referring to a deck on a replay machine. For Roy, there is no such thing as a brilliant mistake.

Back to Sunday here at Pinehurst...the past...

And the future...love the overbite for added oomph!

Speaking of fresh and innovative, Buck and Norman appeared live doing a third round recap. Unfortunately, a reader says that version is not the one that made it online. A reader caught it and backed up the DVR and transcribed the scrubbed intro from the studio host to Joe Buck.

It's certainly fresh! Not sure about innovative.

The guy threw it to Buck with this:

"Okay okay we get it.  Struggling to find time for the US Open,  well with the World Cup, and no Tiger, and a massive lead by a great player, who I am sorry – doesn’t exactly scream excitement.

But what if I told you the leader Martin Kaymer slipped a little, would that get you excited?"

12 years.

2014 U.S. Open: Your Kneejerk Reactions

I'm going to be hunkering down filing some things for Golf World, but before we get into some deeper questions about the week, I'm curious what the overall impression was of the U.S. Open?

Yes, it was not an interesting finish because of Martin Kaymer's dominance and the inability of players to score on a day that the USGA intended to make scoreable. I still contend you can't beat players up for three days and expect them to put on a birdie barrage, and despite the claims of a compromised setup Sunday, the course held its own. Maybe too much.

On-site the week was a home-run, with only a water truck as a USGA oversight for the dusty paths. Otherwise the course, operations and facilities ran beautifully. Kudos to all who put in long days.

Anyway, overall thoughts on Pinehurst welcomed!

Guide: 2014 U.S. Open Final Round This And That

Seems 76% of you think Martin Kaymer will win, and why not, he's looked unbeatable and has bounced back after hiccups.

I've just taken a quick tour of the course and sweated off today's swell breakfast. The course is "setup for scoring," according to Mike Davis though after so much defensive golf for three days, it'll be interesting to see if players bite at the two tempting driveable par-4s. That's right, two!

The third and 13th are the ones, with the 13th possibly only requiring a 3-wood. So think the par-3 6th at Merion, only easier.

Weather is perfect, forecast is sublime and there are some nice stories on the leaderboard should Martin Kaymer struggle. But it's hard to see that happening.

Your final round starting times are here. Leader Martin Kaymer goes at, gulp, 3:35.

TV and Radio times here and don't forget the feature group and other digital options online.

Leaderboard.

Hole locations.

Erik Compton: "Somebody Who Could Win This Thing."

Dave Kindred on two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton, teeing off in the second to last group Sunday at Pinehurst and trailing Martin Kaymer by five.

From Kindred's column:

Erik Compton had made five birdies in seven holes and, suddenly, surprisingly, he had introduced himself as More Than Just a Good Story.

"I'd been flying under the radar," he said, "and I was laughing at my caddie because I heard some guys cheering my name."

On the game's biggest stage, Compton had become Somebody Who Could Win This Thing.

For some background reading and viewing on Compton, here was Jim Moriarty's superb Compton profile from 2008 and Gene Wojciechowski's 2010 profile.

And a YouTube tease from the Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel feature on Compton from two years ago.

Course Setup: “The USGA listened, unfortunately.”

That was Martin Kaymer's assessment of the course setup Saturday at Pinehurst where players felt the hole locations were pretty consistently as difficult as they could possibly be.

Ryan Lavner reports for GolfChannel.com.

But on Saturday, “I think they used the hardest pins they could possibly use on almost every hole,” Jordan Spieth (72) said. 

Said Matt Kuchar (71): “In practice rounds you guess where you think the pins will be and you kind of say, ‘Well, that’s too severe; they won’t put them there.’ And sure enough, that’s where the pin is. It seems to be year after year, and you should know better by now.”

Jim Achenbach has more extensive comments from Kuchar, who many times said he felt the course was teetering on the edge of going over the top.

Kuchar on Sunday's final round: "It (the course) teeters on unplayable … They've got it at the edge, and I'm sure they'll push the edge. I'm hoping a few pin placements are a little kinder tomorrow after they saw what went on today, but I'm not sure I'll get my wish."

Roger's Cart Driver Arrested For Brushing Highway Patrolman!?

Jeff Rude with the wacky story of Roger Maltbie's cart driver possibly giving a North Carolina Highway Patrolman's foot a love tap and getting arrested for it.

The driver has been Maltbie's on-course driver at Pinehurst U.S. Opens before.

“This is a new one,” Maltbie said walking down the 11th fairway. “I’ve been to a couple of rodeos and a county fair and I’ve never had this happen.”

Police said the driver was in the Moore County Jail on Saturday night in nearby Carthage.

Maltbie said he has been friends with the man since his rookie year on Tour. The North Carolinian also drove for Maltbie at the 1999 and ’05 U.S. Opens at Pinehurst.

One witness said the cart brushed the officer. It’s clear the mistake the driver made in not stopping when ordered. But it’s uncertain whether he knew a law officer was screaming for him to stop the cart.

Guide: 2014 U.S. Open Third Round This And That

I tore my self away from the excellent media dining--a few drips of heavy cream explains the sheer brilliance of the scrambled eggs and I believe I'm the first to report based on conversations with the chef--to walk Pinehurst this morning.

The setup team of Mike Davis, Jeff Hall, John Bodenheimer and championship committee chair Dan Burton were kind enough to share a few thoughts on what figures to be a lively day. The wind has shifted to a north wind, opposite of the southeast zephyr of the first two days. The par-4 7th tee is up 48 yards with a front right hole location supported by a backstop. That means drives on the left side or those driving almost past the green can wedge back to a pretty easy location. It's a 315-yard shot to the flag from the tee. The hole yardage is 371.

The par-5 tenth tee is also up significantly and again, downwind, so look for the course to give them fits early in the round and the birdie opportunities to arise starting around the 7th. The greens have plenty of moisture to make it through the forecasted winds and overall the course looks absolutely stunning. While it may look browned out on TV, I'm confident the women will get to play a comparable course next week (with a few more divots and ballmarks than normal).

Your third round starting times are here. Leader Martin Kaymer goes at, gulp, 3:25.

Do note the extremes pairing at 3:14 as pointed out by reader Lloyd: speedster Brandt Snedeker and slowster Kevin Na.

TV and Radio times here and don't forget the feature group and other digital options online.

Leaderboard.

Hole locations. Note the 7th.

With This Absurdly Good First 36 Holes, Martin Kaymer...

...from the USGA media notes...

  • Kaymer’s 36-hole total of 130 is the lowest score for the first 36 holes in a U.S. Open. The previous record was held by Rory McIlroy, who shot 131 in 2011 at Congressional.
  • His six-stroke lead tied the largest 36-hole lead in U.S. Open history. Tiger Woods (2000, Pebble Beach) and Rory McIlroy (2011, Congressional) also had six-stroke leads.
  • He became the sixth player in U.S. Open history to reach double digits under par. He joins Gil Morgan (1992), Tiger Woods (2000), Jim Furyk (2003), Ricky Barnes (2009) and Rory McIlroy (2011).
  • Kaymer joins Rory McIlroy (2011) as the only players to be double digits under par through 36 holes at a U.S. Open.
  • He reached double digits under par in 32 holes – the second-fastest in U.S. Open history. Rory McIlroy reached double digits under par in 26 holes in 2011 at Congressional.
  • Kaymer is the first player to open a major championship with consecutive rounds of 65 or better.
  • He ranks in the top five in all three major statistical categories: Fairways Hit (T-2, 25/28), Greens in Regulation (T-5, 26/36), and Total Putts (T-4, 54).
  • Kaymer has held a 36-hole lead on seven occasions. He has gone on to win four times, including the 2014 Players Championship.

Dave Kindred wrote about Kaymer's incredible start and post round comments and surmised...

This U.S. Open is his. Three players ever have led the Open by five shots or more after 36 holes. Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Willie Anderson all won the tournament. Kaymer leads this Open by six shots.

A snippet of Kaymer's post-round comments: