Thursday's US Open Clippings: Hail Storm

2007usopen_50.gifAP's Nancy Armour (uh, any relation to Tommy?) reports on Wednesday evening's ugly thunderstorm.

Nearly a half-inch of rain fell during a Wednesday afternoon thunderstorm that also scattered tree limbs and twigs across fairways. But crews were out as soon as the rain stopped, and officials hope the course won't play significantly different Thursday.

Speed of the greens should be the same, said Tim Moraghan, the U.S. Golf Association's agronomist, but firmness could be affected.

"It's not going to be what we planned for," Moraghan said. "Things were moving along quite well (before the storm). We thought we'd have a true, hard test for players on Thursday. The rain has altered this a little bit.

"We're going to try and do everything we can to get the golf course back to where it was before this little rain."

Lorne Rubenstein loves that Oakmont does not try to hide from its neighbors and notes eloquently that the best places in golf embrace their surroundings.

You feel it as soon as you approach the club along Hulton Road, which winds along a slight slope past modest homes and a few lavish, older homes. But nothing shouts at the visitor who approaches Oakmont, which simply emerges out of the neighborhood, adjacent to the Presbyterian Senior Care home.


This feeling should be a part of the game everywhere. The Old Course in St. Andrews is often called the mother of all courses because of the influence it's had on design. It's not even a club as we think of a club on this side of the pond. It's a course, a public course, although most people know that the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews has its clubhouse there. The R&A is private, the course is public. It's the mother of the notion that golf is a welcoming game, not an exclusionary one. asks various inkslingers who they like to win the US Open. Plenty of Furyk, Goosen and Tiger picks. Oh and one Martin Laird from John Huggan. Looks like the heat's already gone to someone's head.

E. Michael Johnson takes a fascinating look at what players were using in 1994.

Consider that Ernie Els won that major using a Callaway Big Bertha War Bird driver about half the size of the driver he uses today.

Needless to say, golf equipment was a bit different back then.

At Oakmont that year, Phil Mickelson and Wayne Levi were considered cutting edge with their all-graphite Yonex drivers, as was Hale Irwin for using a set of oversize, cavity-back King Cobra irons. Of course, with 23 players still swinging persimmon drivers, anything remotely out of the ordinary was deemed "out there."

Grant Boone previews the U.S. Open in his own unique TMI-way, but eventually drops this beauty:

Marriage counseling is a lot like a U.S. Open. It has a way of laying you uncomfortably bare but leaving you with a much better idea of who the two of you are and what needs work. Not much fun but ultimately rewarding.

Ron Green Jr. blogs:

Interesting scene on the practice tee Wednesday – Vijay Singh warming up while talking to Chi Chi Rodriguez, who was wearing a black leather jacket despite temperatures in the low 80s.

And just think, he's wearing two hats too!

After hearing Walter Driver urge writers to go check out the tents for the USGA's new presenting sponsors,'s David Shefter remembered who might tamper with his paycheck, plugging blogging an item that will surely earn him a big thank you from USGA CMO Barry Hyde, but probably not a Lexus courtesy car:

I also stopped by the U.S. Open Experience presented by American Express. A very nice set-up with displays from future U.S. Open sites replete with memorabilia from the USGA Museum and videos of past events held at those clubs. You can even test your knowledge with an interactive Rules quiz, and check out a my leaderboard handheld PDA device that keeps you up-to-date with scores during the championship. You can even sign up to become a USGA Member.

According to our USGA folks, more than 11,000 people had gone through the tent over the first two practice-round days. You can only expect those numbers to go way up over the next four days.

Right next door is the Lexus tent, where spectators can pose with a replica of the U.S. Open trophy. Hey, if you can't win the U.S. Open, at least make it look you did. Needless to say, there was a healthy line for that exhibit.

And finally, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Jerry Micco needs to remember that Google is his friend, blogging this:

What was really cool was I walked up the fairway of No. 9, the majestic front-side finishing hole here. It's fairly steep uphill for about 100 yards, then gradually inclines to the large square green. It's neat to walk up over the first hill and see the clubhouse, in its classic green and white, come into view. I can imagine what it will be like for players here tomorrow to do that. Author John Feinstein (channeling Mark Twain) called it "A Great Walk Spoiled." That's often correct.

Uh, not in this case.