Everybody’s talking about the damaged greens at the usually pristine Quail Hollow Club. It’s only Wednesday and the state of the greens is the most popular topic of the tournament. Just walk out to the putting green — quite a few of the players will tell you that it’s the best one on the course. They’re half-joking, but there’s some truth to it. Which is a shame for the well-run tournament that’s a favorite among players, caddies and the media. (continue reading…)
Behind the Scenes
After the thunderstorms finally passed on Wednesday afternoon at Kiawah Island, players scrambled to practice — it’s been difficult because of the multiple weather delays Monday-Wednesday.
I walked the back nine with K.J. Choi, Charlie Wi and Aaron Baddeley (appreciate it, guys!)the best way to get to know a course. I took pictures of all the holes from the tees. I’ve done my best to upload as many as I can in the gallery below, but I’ll put the rest on Flickr and/or Facebook.
I also took a few videos, too. Here’s one of Aaron Baddeley showing Charlie Wi how to hit a wedge out of the deep rough…watch and learn, folks.
Even though I’m not finished sharing my thoughts and unloading all the tidbits from my notebook, I’m recovering from a major Open hangover, not to mention those voices chirping in my ear via talkback for about 12 hours a day. Huh? Yeah, I have a new appreciation of TV/radio people wearing an earpiece 24/7. I mean, I already have the voices in my head and then I had to separate those from the ones in my ear while I was working as a presenter/reporter for @The Open Live…GET OUT OF MY EAR. GO AWAY.
Sorry. Never mind. (continue reading…)
As promised, here are yardage books for the U.S. Open at Olympic — complete with notes and mark-ups — courtesy of two very nice caddies (a few of the holes might not be completely finished, but good enough, right?). Pretty intense to watch them chart the holes and the greens. It’s A LOT of work, especially for the guys, who are incredibly comprehensive.
Enjoy! (continue reading…)
I’m sure you’ve seen the videos by now. Right? RIGHT? Well, some of them show conversations of a player and his caddie talking course strategy and game plan. Now it’s picture time. I haven’t walked Nos. 10 through 15 yet, but I’ll try to tomorrow. I need to see why some people are fussing over No. 13. I understand it’s a difficult hole, but I’ll let you in on a *secret* that Lee Janzen, who won the U.S. Open in ’98 at Olympic, told me. (continue reading…)
On Monday afternoon at Olympic, I walked Nos. 1-8 with Charlie Wi and Alistair Presnell during their first practice round. Which, of course, was very interesting, especially to hear Charlie and his caddie Mark Urbanek talk strategy and game plan for each hole. Wi’s instructor’s Andy Plummer, one-half of the Stack and Tilt swing (along with Mike Bennett), also chimed in with his insights. So did Presnell’s caddie Tim.
I took a bunch of videos and pictures — I figured you guys would enjoy the real “behind the scenes” look of how a Tour pro prepares for a major, especially at such a tough track.
Above, Mark talks Charlie through his approach shot on the difficult par-4 No. 4. (continue reading…)
Sunday afternoon’s media outing at TPC Harding Park, hosted by Nike Golf, along with former USGA president Sandy Tatum, was a blast. As always, it’s the company that makes all the difference more often than not. I wasn’t sure what to expect and didn’t know who would be there (believe it or not, I haven’t gone to many of these media outings–have only been doing this for how long? Not very long). I was just happy to be there! (continue reading…)
This is what the U.S. Open qualifying is all about: Any professional or amateur golfer with a handicap index of 1.4 or lower can sign up for a shot at playing their way into the major championship. Not that it’s easy, but having the chance is what matters, which Dennis Miller, a 42-year-old director of golf at Mill Creek Metroparks in Boardman, Ohio, reminded us at the Columbus sectional, held at Scioto Country Club and OSU Scarlet Course.
This is also why you should stick around for the playoff at the end: Miller’s 18-footer for birdie from the fringe on the fourth hole in sudden death, the 18th at Scioto, looked like it was good as it made its way down the hill, then it turned just to the right at the last roll and sat on the lip. As Miller, with his shoulder’s slumped and head down, started walking to the hole to tap it in, the ball disappeared. (continue reading…)
There are always a bunch of leftover tidbits from talking with players about whatever topic or observing something interesting/weird/funny/sad that I wish I could have shared, but for one reason or another, I didn’t have time to post or write it, or it just didn’t fit anywhere else. Maybe I’m an ultra geek and no one else cares, but that’s too bad. I’m not forcing you to read on… (continue reading…)
Due to popular demand, “Behind the Scenes” is back — not that it really left — but it will appear on a weekly (or regular) basis going forward now…
Here now, I’m attempting the TaylorMade’s Rocketballz Launch Party Glow Ball Experience, wearing a dress and no shoes (not to mention a two glasses of wine deep). The first swing was decent and made it into the “target box,” but I should have stopped while I was ahead because it’s an understatement to say the next few attempts were embarrassing!