This is what you get when you booby-trap Winged Foot the way the USGA does. Unforgiving fairways, ankle-high rough and postage-stamp greens -- coupled, of course, with U.S. Open pressure -- are a recipe for disaster.
Hunter Thompson considered the Kentucky Derby "decadent and depraved." Me, I'm beginning to wonder if the U.S. Open is un-American. I'm not saying this because the last three winners have been a South African, a New Zealander and now an Australian. I'm saying this because, well, America is about risk. It's about getting on a boat in 1620 with your malnourished family and scant belongings, sailing across the Atlantic to the New World and not being entirely sure you won't fall off the edge of the Earth. It's not about dialing back on your driver, trying to punch your ball into a narrow fairway, then hitting to the middle of the green and lagging your putt -- if you're lucky -- somewhere in the vicinity of the hole.
But this, alas, is what the Open has mutated into, a four-day Carnival of Caution that too often brings out the worst -- and the wuss -- in golfers. Sorry, but America isn't about breaking even, about level par. America is about loosening your top button and going for it. If America was about breaking even, the French franc would still be legal tender in New Orleans.Andrew Gross believes Winged Foot lives up to the hype after only 12 sub-par rounds were played and quotes several players lauding the setup.
"I think the course is hard, but it's playable," said Stewart Cink, who was 2-over for the day and 15-over 295 for the tournament. "I think it's the best setup the USGA has ever put up for us, and Winged Foot is the best course."
John Huggan says that Kenneth Ferrie justified the USGA's decision to hold a European Tour qualifier, even if 24 players didn't show up. And he gets in a fun joke about Ferrie's weight loss at the end.
An Advertiser story catches up with David Graham to hear his thoughts on Ogilvy's win.
Finally, Ed Sherman writes that the next U.S. Open coming to the midwest will likely not be in Chicago, but instead at the yet-to-open Erin HIlls. David Fay says "wow" about the course and offers this:
"My crystal ball isn't that good," Fay said when asked about Olympia Fields' chances. "We might have to say, `Olympia Fields, you had a successful U.S. Open, but we only have so many years.' We have a crowded dance floor now. It's a difficult thing to say no to a club that you know can host an Open. You don't want any bruised feelings."
"We were very impressed with the course," Fay said. "It's a great piece of land. It has the potential to be a very special place."