10 Things I Think & More…U.S. Open Style
by Jeff Skinner
2. Phil Mickelson came into Pinehurst looking for his short game and left empty handed. No putting means no U.S. Open.
3. I spent some time on the practice range all week. I saw alignment poles, umbrellas, ropes, tennis balls and a women hitting balls off a bottle. But most of all way too many people hanging around the men as they hit balls. Hogan and Nicklaus never needed an entourage.
4. Roger Maltbie’s cart driver got arrested on Saturday. These troopers don’t mess around.
5. It seemed that a certain big time writer (who will remain nameless) was following me all week. I know this because I was breathing in his stinking cigar smoke all the time. Make Pinehurst a smoke free establishment please!
6. You want to know how to get more people to play golf? Sign up Rickie Fowler for anything and everything to promote golf. The kids, that will grow into the casual golfers of tomorrow absolutely love him. There were countless kids wearing his hat and his clothes. He gets “Mickelson-like” crowds.
7. Speaking of Phil, he kept his sense of humor even though he struggled on the greens and still played to his adoring fans. His thumb must need some therapy as he was giving the thumbs up just about every second.
8. The USGA hit it out of the park this week. All the worry about burning the course out was unfounded. Sunday the greens were compared to Augusta National and many players said it was one of the best major setups they had ever played.
9. Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw certainly are committed designers. There passion about this course and their craft was so obvious during their Wednesday press conference. They absolutely love this stuff, literally.
10. My few minutes spent talking with Ben Crenshaw was thrilling. To hear the passion in his voice recalling his playing The Country Club as a teenager gave me chills.
11. Bill Coore is one knowledgeable and thorough golf course architect. He spent weeks pouring over aerial photos of the old Pinehurst to try and make the restoration accurate. He also made sure that the USGA was on board. Mike Davis told him to do what was right for Pinehurst and “we will play it.” They did just that and it was great.
12. Pinehurst No.2 played great in game one but this is a doubleheader. The women will face very similar conditions but temperatures are supposed to be well over 90 all week. The USGA will need to take great care with the biggest treasure in the Sandhills.
13. Mike Davis and the USGA sure put on a fine tournament. From my point of view things went off perfectly. Granted I had some perks like special parking and catered dinning but I spent hours out on the course and everything looked to be running smooth and under control.
14. I’ll be honest, I was hoping I would be here for the MickelSlam but watching how Martin Kaymer ruled this course on Thursday and Friday we knew the chase was over then. Kaymer is a genuine, thoughtful and polite person and the American golf fan should wake up and welcome good guys like this. He’ll be a great champion and he’ll be around for a long time.