Torrey Pines is on fire this year.
I’m watching the end of yesterday’s second-round coverage (love DVR) and it is such a thrill. Tiger and Phil are paired together with Adam Scott (who is being ignored, more on that later) and they are going shot for shot down the stretch. The USGA really did a great thing putting the number one and number two (and number three) players together for the first two rounds.
Tiger started off the first round with a double-bogey – after all the speculation about his knee (just coming off surgery 8 weeks ago) it was hoped not to be a harbinger of disaster in the offing. Tons of coverage means cute little features about things like Phil Mickelson growing up nearby in Rancho Santa Fe, where his well-off parents had a real green and sand trap in their backyard. The evidence of how many hours he spent out there chipping has been his amazing recovery shots from all over the place – including what looked like certain doom when he flew the 3rd green Friday and went downhill into the hazard. His flop shot was great but left him a long putt of at least 30 feet – which he drained with authority.
That was just a few holes after he’d flew another green and gone under the grandstands, taken a drop in the deep deep rough and plopped it out masterfully to about 2 inches. Nearly bloody drained it!
The crowds have been amazing – only getting bigger as times goes on. Just now (on my viewing schedule, at least) at the third, Tiger had to read his putt while a phalanx of photographers looked on from directly behind the hole. It underscores how good these guys are, Tiger more than anyone – that they not only pull off amazing feats of golf but they do it while being totally distracted by monstrous crowds. Especially at the US Open, there is not one shot hit without someone, immediately after ball contact, screaming “Get in the hole!!!” This is not Augusta National. This is America’s National Championship – the people’s championship.
That brings me back to Adam Scott, an Australian who has become more popular on tour in the last few years, winner of this year’s Byron Nelson Championship in Texas. He also happens to be the third-best golfer in the world, but you wouldn’t know it from the treatment he’s getting from the coverage. There have been more than one instance where they show Tiger and Phil hit, and then move on to some other hole, neglecting to show Scott’s approach or drive. He’s a few shots back, but so is Phil, and I feel like they could be giving him more respect. Then again, Tiger just made 5 threes in a row – including four birdies – so Scott’s repeated missed putts aren’t really providing any excitement in comparison.
I’m off to Kent now for my ten-year reunion, and then tomorrow golf with Dad and the boys for Father’s Day – after which we’ll retire to Dad’s to barbeque and was the finish – it promises to be an exciting weekend at Torrey Pines and here on the East coast…
One more note – it’s nice to see quite a few amateurs who are going to be sticking around for the weekend. This Fathauer kid is really deadly around the greens and there’s some 19-year-old college freshman who qualified as an alternate and was lucky enough to have some other player drop out.
UPDATE: As if he were reacting to my words, Adam Scott just hit the flagpole on the 8th hole and nearly had an ace. Nice kick-in birdie and let’s see him continue the momentum into the weekend. I really like this guy – his swing is beautiful. And something else that draws me to him is that he’s almost exactly my age. He makes me wonder if I ever could have been that good…