Know Your Europeans: Marcel Siem and His Surprise 66
By Conor Nagle under Know Your Europeans

Rock on: Siem shot 66 on Friday at Congressional

Marcel Siem is many things: a ten-year European Tour veteran; emotionally intense, often to the detriment of his golf game; the innovator behind the Miguel Angel Jimenez afro-ponytail; the possessor of a strange, super-weak grip; very German.

Not until yesterday would I have counted shooting a joint-best-of-the-day 66 to make the cut by two shots at a US Open among them. I’m allowed to say this because Siem himself obviously felt similarly. After his opening 79 had left him in a tie for 145th place, he told his hotel he probably wouldn’t be around for the weekend and prepared to leave Bethesda on Friday evening.

“I thought if you miss the cut, then at least catch the flight tonight at 10:00 and be ready for next week. But I said in Marriott I might come back, please keep my room, it’s a nice balcony room. They said, yeah, we’ll wait for you. Hopefully you’ll come back. I will be back tonight.”

Even if he doesn’t get his balcony room back, Siem is unlikely to feel too aggrieved. Not only has he made the cut at his first US Open (only his second major), but he’s managed to do it by recovering from a thoroughly nightmarish start to the event.

“Yeah, yesterday I had a little bit of a weird start. I hit a spectator and started with a double bogey and a three-putt afterwards and lost my confidence a little bit, and I have to say it’s my first U.S. Open, so you have to build up confidence a little bit to play well here. It’s pretty frightening for me…

“I had a little misunderstanding with my coach on Tuesday because I’m more of a feeling putter and I always had the ball on my left heel. So he wanted me to have my eyes over the ball, so I went a little bit further left, so the ball position was in the middle and I lost completely the feeling. But he didn’t mean it, he just said I have to go over the ball and not my eyes on the left. So I changed that, I spoke to him yesterday, and luckily it went up. I didn’t hit one good putt yesterday. Honestly I had five three-putts yesterday.”

Traditionally, Siem’s has been one of the European Tour’s more volatile temperaments. It’s a trait that, in addition to marking him out as one of the circuit’s more rebellious figures, has hurt his chances of success on numerous occasions in the past. Often his own sternest critic, he’s set himself a lofty goal for the week, one his 66 has only set about reinforcing.

“My goal for the weekend now is: easy, easy, easy. Its nice that I know I can shoot low here, that helps.

“That is still my goal. This morning my goal was just to make the cut, but now I am in there and have a chance to finish in the top ten. That would be great, to finish in the top ten in my first US Open.”

You heard it here first: easy, easy, easy.

Conor Nagle