GolfWRX Morning 9: US Open strikes back | Pro shoots 92 | Marquee carnage

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GolfWRX Morning 9: US Open strikes back | Pro shoots 92 | Marquee carnage

Good morning, GolfWRX members. As most of you are signed up for our newsletters, you likely already know that I’ve been sending this little Morning 9 roundup of nine items of note to start your day.

In case you’ve missed it, or you prefer to read on site rather than in your email, we’re including it here. Check out today’s Morning 9 below. Feedback is always welcome–send everything from news tips to complaints (hopefully more tips than complaints)!

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GolfWRX Morning 9: US Open strikes back | Pro shoots 92 | Marquee carnage
By Ben Alberstadt (
Good Friday morning, golf fans.Yesterday, in discussing the PGA of America’s president’s DUI, I made an inappropriate remark about past president Ted Bishop based on rumor rather than established fact. it was a poor choice, and I retract my comment about his state of sobriety during the “lil girl” tweet.
GolfWRX Morning 9: US Open strikes back | Pro shoots 92 | Marquee carnage
1. Is this U.S. Open you were looking for?
Only four players broke par on a day when winds gusted as high as 32 mph, and the course dried out from the one-tenth of an inch of rain that fell on the property on Wednesday.
  • Players got around Shinnecock Hills in an average of 76.47 strokes during round one.
  • Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson, combined to shoot 25 over par.
  • The opening-round scoring average made this the toughest U.S. Open first round since the 1986 USO at Shinnecock.
  • Combined over par total for the World Top 10:.+52
2. Putting troubles continue for Tiger
One of the longest and strongest player-putter relationships has to be under some serious strain. Tiger Woods carded an opening-round 78 that saw him throwing away strokes on the green.
  • “It’s tough out there,” Woods said. “But, I mean, I shouldn’t make two doubles and a triple and a four-putt.”
  • The doubles in question can be traced directly to poor putting; obviously, so can the four-whack. Woods started his round with a triple bogey that saw him try to putt a ball from off the green that didn’t make it to the putting surface.
  • Woods: “So it was pretty evident nobody was making any birdies in the morning. Lots and lots of bogeys and higher in others. And so I — my game plan was not to make any others, and I made three of them. So didn’t do very well there.”
3. Carnage among the top class
Things didn’t exactly go well for the morning’s marquee group–which will doubtless give featured group truther, Rory McIlroy, more ammunition.
  • Kevin Van Valkenburg dug into the trio’s troubles: “McIlroy shot an 80, which at 10 over is the worst round of his career in relation to par at a major. Spieth shot a 78, a big chunk of that coming courtesy of a triple-bogey he made on his second hole of the day. Mickelson’s 77 was, improbably, the low round of their group, but it still likely means his quest to complete the career Grand Slam, barring a miracle, will have to wait another year. Together, they were a combined 25 over par.”
4. Hope lives for Mickelson
While Phil Mickelson didn’t speak with the media following his opening-round 77, Tim Rosaforte was apparently able to catch up with Lefty later…probably thanks in part to how bad the afternoon scores were.
  • “I played really well,” he said. “I hit 13 of 14 fairways. I didn’t make single double bogey, I’m going to go out tomorrow and try to do the same thing.”
  • “It was the highest score of Mickelson’s major championship career when hitting 13 fairways or more.”
  • “I’ve got no complaints,” he said. “If I play the next two rounds in par-par, I’m right back in it.”
GolfWRX Morning 9: US Open strikes back | Pro shoots 92 | Marquee carnage
5. The cruelty of No. 11
While all eyes were trained on No. 7 following 2004’s mishandled treatment of the hole, No. 11 actually merits further examination this time around (which isn’t to say it’s being mismanaged…just really hard).
  •’s Alan Bastable writes: “Give a 15-handicapper a bucket of range balls from this tee – with the same 15-20 mph crosswinds the players battled in the first round – and he or she might not stop a single shot on the putting surface.
  • “Three-quarters of the hacker’s shots would be batted down by the wind and into one of the bunkers in front of the green, a handful would come in low and hot and run through the green into a collection area that leaves a petrifying clip-it-clean-or-else pitch, while the remaining swings would result in a motley collection of nervy tops, chunks and snap-hooks.”
6. 92!
Scott Gregory turned in an opening-round 92 at Shinnecock–the first opening round in the 90s in a U.S. open in 26 years. Since World War II, there have been 43 scores of 90 or higher in the championship. John Battini’s 96 in 1955 is the highest.
  • The previous highest opening round in a U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills was an 88 by amateur John Daly.
  • E. Michael Johnson points out: “Of course, all this pales in comparison to the all-time Open record for inefficacy, set by J.D. Tucker in 1898 at Myopia Hunt Club. Tucker took 157 blows in the first round before “rebounding” with a 100 in the second round. W. Collins, in the same event, shot 154 but had the decency to withdraw before his second go-around.”
7. Notable quotable
The USGA’s official remarks on the course in round one.
“The golf course is in excellent condition. We are extremely pleased with the agronomics and presentation. Today’s setup reflects the challenging wind conditions that have been forecast.  Green Speeds – With the heavy wind forecast, putting greens have been appropriately prepared from a speed and firmness perspective. We expect putting green speeds to be in the area of 11 feet 6 inches by midday.  Firmness – Damp conditions Wednesday resulted in a more receptive golf course for Round 1.”
CHARLES HOWELL III: I was most impressed with how the golf course was set up, to be honest. I thought this morning, with as hard as the wind was blowing, the balls would start kind of oscillating and moving by the middle of our round, and they didn’t. I think a lot of credit goes to the USGA and Mike Davis for what they’ve done today. I was here in ’04, my last competitive round here. I’ve still got some scar tissue from that. But they did a heck of a job today.
8. The Unfortunate Case of Johnny McDermott
Deviating from this U.S. Open in particular to U.S. Opens in general. Or, more specifically (confused yet?) the first American-born U.S. Open winner.
  • A longform piece well worth a read, especially if you’re unaware of McDermott’s story. Steve Eubanks profiles the great and troubled  McDermott .
9. Burmester
Playing in his first major, South African Dean Burmester stood on the 18th tee at seven over par. Burmester bypassed all trouble on the 18th, obliterating his drive 411 yards at the downwind 485-yard hole-he had but a finessed wedge left to the back left pin.
  • He finessed it right into the hole for an eagle two.
  • Q. What were you thinking? DEAN BURMESTER: Well, when it went in, I was relieved. I was having a long day, you know, 7-over. Ended up 5-over, not too bad. It was a lovely way to finish.

GolfWRX Morning 9: US Open strikes back | Pro shoots 92 | Marquee carnage

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