by Jeff Skinner
It doesn’t look like Pebble Beach will be taken advantage of by anyone this week. In the 2000 US Open Tiger Woods gave Pebble his version of a golfing smack down and finished twelve under par. The “new Pebble Beach” put on a new face for the first round of The US Open and didn’t allow any player anything better than two under par. Believe it or not, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods did not have a birdie between them. The firm greens were tough to hit and tougher to putt. Tiger Woods complained about the greens on his way to a 74. He stumbled down the stretch with bogeys on 16 and 18 and a missed birdie chance at 17. “I hit the ball well enough to shoot a good score,” Woods said. “These greens are just awful. They’re moving every which way.” Tiger’s interview.
Phil Mickelson didn’t fare any better with a 75 that included 32 putts and bogeys on the last three holes. Phil was complaining too, but not about the course, just about his putting. “I thought that the golf course was set up perfectly. I thought Mike Davis did a great job. It was very playable. There was some scoring out there if you played well. I thought it was just really well done. The pin placements were great. The rough was very fair. They put some water on the greens so that shots weren’t able to hold, some greens we weren’t able to hold, we could. I just thought it was really well done.
From my own game and so forth, I thought that I played — obviously I didn’t score well, but I thought I played pretty well, other than putting, I just putted horrific. It’s very frustrating for me to miss all those opportunities. I don’t mind making a bad swing here, there, making a bogey here, there, it’s part of the U.S. Open.” Phil’s interview.
I am sure Phil would have liked to trade putters with Shaun Micheel as he only used 22 putts for an opening round 69 and a share of the lead with Paul Casey and Brendon de Jonge. A first round lead does not guarantee anything but a first round blow up can get you out of town on Friday afternoon. 2006 Open Champion, Geoff Ogilvy opened at eight over and long hitter Alvaro Quiros carded a nine over opening round. They’ll both be scrambling for a low round to make the cut.