So we can get down to the very serious business of watching the first round of the U.S. Open, the World Cup match between the USA and Slovenia (a must win, in case you aren't keeping up), AND the final game of the NBA Playoffs between the Lakers and Celtics. How often do you get a day with so many big events happening?
I just want to make a quick observation about the Open that I haven't heard discussed yet. Everybody's talking about how hard (as in both difficulty and macadam!) the course is; how the fairways have been moved closer to the ocean and the cliffs shaved; how some holes have been lengthened; how some of the rough now looks like they imported it from Scotland; how there isn't supposed to be any wind or rain to speak of; and how the conditions should bring all the shorter hitters into the mix AND let Tiger and Phil use their drivers as little as possible.
What I haven't heard discussed is how this is all ultimately going to make Pebble play. See, this is the first time Pebble has been set up with the idea that "the boys are hitting it a little too far." This is a short course with correspondingly smaller, sloping greens -- now, small sloping greens nearing the consistency of pavement. The question becomes... how penal can you make a small course before it becomes unplayable? The talk on Golf Central Wednesday night was how players are already trying to figure out how to play the course without actually landing the ball on the greens.
Understand, I'm not saying they ought to make it easy -- this IS the U.S. Open, after all. But we just changed the grooves to allow fliers from the rough; how far can you push the limits before good shots get no better results than poor shots? The USGA has (in effect) made a lot of changes to the U.S. Open all at once, and we don't know how they're going to work together.
I'm not being an alarmist or anything. But I'm going to be interested to see if the USGA ends up having to make changes for Friday's round after Thursday's done. Depending on how well they juggle the variables, this year's winner could end up being over par... and still just as impressive as Tiger's 15-stroke win 10 years ago.
Enjoy the coverage. I know I will.