Leaderboard | Nerve Center: Blog, scores and discussion 10:04 OK folks, that's going to do it for me tonight. Thanks for all the great comments, I hope you stick with us tomorrow, when the pack is bound to loosen up and we'll see who's poised to make a run come the weekend.10:02 Reilly can't believe how well Tiger performed with the "glockenspiel" going on in his head. Yes, Rick, I also find it difficult to play when a dainty, pinging instrument is playing in my head. You know words have meanings, not just sounds, right?10:00. It took 4 hours, but ESPN finally found a way to piss me off. Is there a dumber, more self-indulgent piece of television than allowing Rick Reilly to essentially read one of his columns on the air? And now they're letting him expound live where he's absolutely brutal. Did anyone see him fill in on PTI a few months ago? It was like watching a train-wreck, followed by two ambulances crashing as they went to look for survivors.
9:57 Tiger summed up the greens: "awful." I'm guessing what he meant by that was "awfully tough," because they got more and more brutal as the day went on. If he gets a few balls to roll in on the soft greens of the early morn I think we'll see a few more smiles from El Tigre tomorrow. 9:54 Tiger finishes his day on a much more sour note. He'll card a 74 for the day, with no birdies on his card. It turned into a really frustrating day for Tiger, who really played well most of the day. That's why you've got to make at least a couple birdies on this course, because you know for a fact the bogeys are gonna come. 9:52 Ryo Ishikawa finishes with just the 10th birdie of the day on #9. This kid can play, and I think he's going to be a serious factor in this tournament. He's young and fearless, but clearly intelligent past his years.9:48 Watson will make a double to drop him to +7. Just a long day for Tom. 9:46 After a failed lay-up attempt, Tiger flies the 18th into the sunset from the sand. It was an interesting sound off the club, can't tell if he just hit it too hard or took an extra club. 9:43 Tom Watson flies one over the green on a tough blind bunker shot...I think I saw him pull out a cell phone to book his flight. 9:42 De Jonge spins one in to finish his round at 69. A really nice finish after some shaky holes in the middle of his round. 9:35 Tiger still can't buy a birdie. He'll have to settle for par. Ernie gives back more than the one stroke with a double-bogey on 17. 9:33 Reader Karen posits an interesing theory for Ryo Ishikawa's Paula Creamer impression: a sponsorship deal with Hello Kitty-maker Sanrio. I don't know about that. I mean, the guy's only 18...maybe this is just the Japanese version of that awkward "Goth" phase. 9:31 Ernie Els got caught up in the fescue on 17, so he'll immediately give back that stroke he cut on the 16th. 9:26 MA Jimenez is playing with Kenny Perry and Fred Funk. I'd keep my distance from that group--it has to smell like an ungodly combination of baby powder, vapor rub and cheap cologne.9:23 Shaun Micheel gives a stirring interview about his mom. I think he won quite a few fans with that one. Something that a few players (i.e. Tiger) could learn, sometimes when you let fans get a little better look at what's going on in your life, it makes things easier, not harder.9:20 De Jonge makes a birdie on 17 after a great tee shot, bringing him back into a tie for the lead at -2. I love it when announcers start talking about different "body types." When did "tubby guy" become a dirty phrase? It's ok guys, he knows it, you're not gonna hurt his feelings. 9:18 Tiger bogeys 16 while Els gets a desperately needed birdie. They're at +2 and Even respectably. Tiger completely blew his putt and he is visibly fading. Wonder what 17 and 18 will bring if he's not sharp.9:15 I'm getting excited about watching KJ Choi this weekend. He's such a great guy, I just want him to get that Major under his belt so he can retire in peace and saunter his way into the World Golf Hall of Fame.9:11 I don't like Watson's chances to make it to the weekend. He played at +5 today and just didn't seem to have any spark in him, which is really the only thing that keeps him going at this point. Maybe if he rattles off a couple early birdies tomorrow he can turn the engine on, but as of right now I see him making a graceful exit a couple shots past the cut line.9:08 Shaun Micheel shoots the first 69 of the tourney so far with a fantastic birdie putt on 17. Good for him, if he keeps playing like this maybe I'll remember how to spell his name again. In my defense, it's been a long time since i've had to type it. 9:04 De Jonge leaves the ball about 8 feet for his par putt...his knees will be shaking for that one. He and the amateur Swafford are the only one's left at -2 right now. The course is turning out to be a great equalizer so far today.9:02 Sergio refuses to be silenced, hitting a 4-iron on 17 to inside 5 feet. If he puts this home he'll be +2 and have some serious momentum going into 18.9:00 Johnson misses a short putt and settles for a bogey that brings him off the lead to -1. It seems like guys are doing a decent job judging speed which is keeping the long putts pretty sold, but the short putts are an absolute terror on nearly every hole. No such thing as a gimme out here.8:58 Rollins double-bogeys 18 to complete his meltdown by going +5 on 17 and 18. John Rollins-major contender, we hardly knew ye.8:56 Great note from Golf's largest editor, Editor-at-Large Connell Barrett: I just did a quick Q&A with Ty Tryon. Not only did he NOT shoot 119 today, he posted solid 4-over 75, same as Phil the Phavorite. Pretty good for a kid who was shooting in the 80s on the mini-tours a few years back. "I'll give myself a B [grade] today," said the 26-year-old former phenom, playing in his first major. "This course is playing so tough, like nothing I've ever seen. I was just trying to survive. But tomorrow, I think I'm capable of better, of shooting par. But I'm just happy to be here."8:52 If Els isn't in the mix of things late in the tourney, he might look back at some of the missed opportunities he's had today. He hasn't hit many bad shots, in fact he's hit some dandies. It just seems like he hasn't been able to put the ball in the hole when it matters, and he's not particularly fired up about it. If Tiger were having Ernie's day he'd be cursing up a storm. 8:51 Tiger can't grab a birdie from off the green, so he's going to settle (not that any rational person would call it settling) for another par. Els does the same after a poor effort from about 8 feet out. 8:50 Sergio converts on a birdie to bring him to +3. He's going to need to make some sort of charge this weekend to keep from really fading into obscurity. Not that I would ever let that happen. 8:47 Shaun Micheel drops his share of the lead with a bogey on 17. He's hoping the slaughterhouse of 18 has claimed its last victim for the day. 8:45 Golf.com's Jeff Ritter reckons that Hoffman's fellow amateur Hudson Swafford got beat up a lot as a kid. And if anyone would know about that, it's Jeff Ritter. 8:43 Hoffman sinks his 9 with a smile and tosses his ball into the water. Nice to see him go out with style, and hopefully he'll play just well enough tomorrow to stick around for the weekend. 8:43 A tragic end of the day for our lively amateur Hoffman. He's lying 8 on the 18th. They're going to be cleaning up the blood on that one all night. 8:42 For a guy in the lead, Casey has spent an awful lot of time in the rough. It finally caught up to him, as he's now gone from rough to bunker. He's going to need to continue his hot putting or he'll be out of the lead yet again. 8:40 Guy likes Mike Weir's chances and I have to agree that the course can suit him, but I have the nagging feeling that he's not going to hang around the top of the leaderboard very long. The way he finished his round today didn't leave me (or likely him) very confident in his ability to close, which is the most important skill at Pebble Beach. 8:37 After Westwood puts home his birdie putt, Tiger manages yet another par. No birdies for Tiger today, but it's a much cleaner round than Mickelson's. 8:35 Tiger putts his way up the hill on 14th in what is described by Andy North as "acceptable" and by me as "freaking brilliant." Shoshana notes that Tiger hasn't been finishing well all year. I wonder if that famous Woods conditioning has gone by the wayside compared to previous years. 8:33 Westwood's fallen to +5 but he's the only one in that group that stuck the green on 14. Would be nice to see Westwood try to crawl his way back, but so far he's had a frustrating day, just really not playing top tier golf. 8:32 Tiger's missed the last 4 greens. It almost looks like he's fading a bit. You'd have to think this round has been a little draining on his with the week he's had. He needs a birdie just to get his blood pumping a little bit. The Tiger can't be fed on pars alone. 8:30 Rollins leaves his next shot short of the green too...yikes. 8:28 John Rollins completely shanks his 2nd shot on the 17th. I mean SHANK, like Costner on the driving range in Tin Cup. Guy Gallant may have been right when predicted Rollins wouldn't be on top for long. 8:26 Swafford misses a birdie on 18 which would have given him the outright lead...he's been hot since I took that shot at Florida. 8:22 De Jonge hits the shot of the tournament, spinning back an eagle at 14 in ridiculous fashion. 14 has been famine all day, and De Jonge just absolutely feasted. 8:19 Speaking of the course playing tough, I was lucky enough to talk to Troy Aikman yesterday, and he told me that the US Open is his favorite tournament, because it lets the pros feel for one weekend how the rest of us feel all the time. I decided not to mention that Troy Aikman has no idea how I feel, on or off the golf course. 8:17 Have to agree with Ed Curry who finds Phil frustrating. Even after all these years, everything comes down to driving accuracy for him. When Phil wins he putts and scrambles almost exactly at the same rates he does when he doesn't win. When He doesn't win, however, Phil is ranked around 181st in driving accuracy. When he does, he's around 80th. That's not a coincidence. 8:15 Tiger makes another par, which brings him to 12 for the day. Nothing wrong with that, but eventually he's going to want to get back to Even, just to prove he can do it. 8:13 And on that same note, so far the USGA must be absolutely giddy over the work Mike Davis and his team did with this course. The course is playing tough and the scores aren't low, but I've heard zero pros complaining. Exactly what you're looking for in a US Open. 8:12 My poor excuse for a joke has stirred our loyal readers to action! Guy Gallant wants to know what the cut's going to be, and so do I. I'd love to say it's going to be +2, but depending on the weather tomorrow, that could easily be +3. 8:10 Ernie Els ensures himself a birdie at 13 with a picture perfect approach. Tiger follows with a bunker approach that falls just short of the green, but in an attackable position. 8:08 Swafford makes birdie on 17 to move into a tie for the lead at -2. No matter what happens after this instant, he's got a story for the grandkids. And that story is "Your grandmother went home from the bar with me when she found out I was tied for the lead at the US Open." 8:06 Vijay gets his first birdie of the day on 2. He's at +3 so nothing to scream about, but right now he just needs to not worry about embarrassing the USGA for giving him a special exemption. As long as he does that (and so far, so good), he should have no pressure. 8:04 Paul Casey's been dancing on a wire since he lost the lead. Hits another good recovery from that awful tee shot, and might have a chance to save par. 8:00 Watson drops another stroke at 2. He's missed a bunch of putts since I mentioned him before, continuing my streak of jinxing. I knew things were going bad when I complimented the President of BP on his managerial skills last year. 7:58 5 Americans in the Top-10 including two amateurs. So far I like Slocum and Choi (who's already in at -1) to stick around this weekend, but with the low score never getting past -3 it seems like even the huge group at +4 will have a chance to stay in contention for at least one more day. 7:55 That last joke was pretty terrible, but at nearly 8 PM EST I'm feeling pretty confident that I'm talking to myself right now. But that's okay, I'm an exceptional conversationalist. 7:54 Paul Casey completely loses one off the tee and sends the spectators scattering. The way people ran from that one you would have thought it was an M. Night Shyamalan musical comedy. 7:52 Ernie hits a soaring 4-iron to about 8-10 feet on the par-3 12th. He continues to put pressure on Woods on the tee behind him, and Woods is responding well most of the time. 7:48 Rocco almost sank a par chip after muffing his birdie try on the 14th. The 14th continues to eat players up. 7:46 Amateur Hudson Swafford has joined Hoffman at T4. But he's from Florida, so I'm pretty sure he's not as good. 7:43 Looking for pictures of Ryo Ishikawa's outfit today for those who didn't see it. It looked like Sheriff Joe Arpaio got to him. 7:40 After Tiger ends up short in the rough on 11, Els takes an unlucky bounce but stays under the hole, so at least he'll have an uphill putt. 7:39 Chris Berman wants you to come out and "experience" Pebble Beach...I wonder if he's buying? 7:36 Bergen County, NJ native Morgan Hoffman grabs a birdie to move to -1 and stay the low amateur and then some. 7:35 Ernie Els keeps getting the honors and keeps striping balls down the fairway...starting to think he might be the real intimidator in this pairing. Tiger matches him again though. 7:33 John Rollins make me look instantly foolish by softly laying a blind approach within 5 feet on 14th. 7:31 The first hops are absolutely out of control. The greens have gotten super-firm and they're only gonna get worse. I don't envy guys going into 14 the rest of the day. 7:28 Tiger makes his best bid but settles for par, his 9th of the day. 7:27 Erik Compton absolutely sticks his approach on 16. He's got a ton of...I can't even do it. He'll likely get to +1. 7:25 I think I jinxed Watson: he didn't put enough power behind his birdie try, so he'll settle for +3. 7:24 De Jonge drops a stroke on 11, which will bring him back to a tie with Slocum. 7:23 Watson nearly knocks down the flagstick on 18. He's at +3 with a chance for birdie, but not a bad round for the old man. When they finally get a test for HGH, I'd like to see Watson in line right behind Tiger. 7:20 Tiger followed a perfect Els drive with one of his own. He was clearly not too intimidated by that bogey. It actually seems like he's getting more confident with each swing, because even when's he's missing he's not missing huge. 7:16 So much for a par-ticularly smooth round from Tiger. He bogeys 9 on a short miss to go to plus-1. Those were the kind of putts the old Tiger never seemed to miss. 7:14 Love the logjam at the top of the leaderboard. There's nothing like seeing T3 followed by T15. 7:10 To my very nervous editor Charlie Hanger, yes I mean ESPN was "killing it" in a good way and they still are. I have zero complaints so far, and more than a few nice things to say. Even Berman, who everyone complains about, is adding and not taking away--just really well done all-around. 7:07 Heath Slocum just misses a birdie try and will stay 1 back of the lead. Everyone says that Stewart Cink is the nicest guy on Tour (and trust me, he's awesome) but I think Slocum is one of the nicest human beings I've ever met in my life. he just doesn't seem to have a nasty bone in his body. On an unrelated note, he's also a big Atlanta Braves fan. 7:05 Tiger bounces a ball up the green from the rough, seemingly hiding an "I meant to do that" look. 7:04 Sergio follows an atrocious bunker shot with a fabulous approach. He'll have a chance to stay relevant at +2. 7:03 Little known fact, Brian Sullivan, Tim Allen is the ultimate aphrodisiac. 7:02 De Jonge gets to -3 for the outright lead. Berman didn't make any obnoxious nickname up, so I'm going to have to assume he did that earlier. 6:59 Tiger watched Ernie take driver on 9 (where a lot of guys have taken FW wood) and hits it directly into the rough. Hopefully this will teach Tiger a lesson he desperately needs to learn: when you're as good as he is there's no reason to take stupid risks off the tee. 6:57 Reader Aydrian Drewery wants to know if Luke Donald is underrated. I actually think that Donald was underrated when he first joined the Tour, and he actually became known us underrated to the point that he actually became overrated. Now that he's finally playing well again I think we're all nervous to say he's good, lest he make us look foolish again. 6:55 I'm not going to even try to explain the decision that went into the drop for Moore. Expect a post from Golf Magazine's Rules Guy tomorrow. 6:55 Tiger makes his 8th straight par. Nothing to see here. 6:53 From intrepid Golf.com producer Jeff Ritter: Whenever you see a guy hit an approach shot off a cliff 100 yards away from his target, you can count on that player being a member of my fantasy golf team. This of course begs the question, why are you not in my fantasy golf league? 6:49 Paul Casey whacks a 3-footer past the hole and leaves himself with twice that on the bone. He's going to drop to -1 at best. 6:48 Still trying to figure out where Moore's ball is going to end up. He needs to get relief from a fence post. He's got a drop into the water hazard (aka the ocean). I can't even explain where this ball is. There is absolutely no way a professional golfer should end up there. 6:45 Ryan Moore just took a little too much club on 17. And by a little too much I mean he rolled one practically over the tee box on 18. Good thing he doesn't have any sponsors to embarrass. 6:43 Tiger plants an approach right in the center of the green for a solid birdie chance. It was after taking his sweet time judging the distance, so he's lucky he nailed it or the crowd would have had at him. 6:40 If you're wondering why I'm not talking more about Louis Oosthuizen (who's playing very well at -1) rest assured, it's because I can't spell his name and refuse to learn it. 6:38 Obviously there's been a lot of talk this week about Tiger's dominance in 2000 and what it might mean for his chances this week. Am I the only one who thinks that a decade's a ridiculously long time? I mean, the highlights of my year in 2000 were getting my driver's license and accidently unhooking my girlfriend's bra during Galaxy Quest. Fast-forward to 2010 and I look like the "Before" picture in a Hair Club for Men commercial. My point? Things change. 6:36 I never noticed it before, but Ernie Els doesn't so much talk to his ball as he does bark at it...seems to work pretty well. 6:35 Dustin Johnson just blows a birdie putt to stay even. Everyone knows he can tame this course, now he's just got to get out of his own way. 6:33 Even on the looong par-4s guys are keeping their drivers in the bag. They're really respecting this course, and for good reason. Nobody's afraid of seeing a big "E" at the end of the day. 6:32 Hey, remember Aaron Baddeley? 6:31 Casey got up and down from that crazy lie, he's looking very dangerous. 6:30 Tiger works out another par, he's solid if not flashy so far, exactly what he needs today. 6:29 Shades of old Sergio as he nails a birdie putt on a tough 8th green. I promised myself I wasn't going to take any uncalled for swipes at Garcia today, so here's hoping he does something to make it called for. 6:28 Amateur Morgan Hoffman's going to drop a stroke to bring him back to the pack. 6:25 I love giving ESPN crap (it's like a hobby at this point) but I think they're absolutely killing the Open so far. The shots are gorgeous, the talk is lively but not distracting. Am I alone? 6:23 Reader Samye's not thrilled about the field this year. Not exactly sure there's much not to like, the only real notable thing about it is the lack of Anthony Kim (which I agree sucks) and the record number of foreign players. As far as Mickelson playing like an idiot...he's not playing like an idiot, he's playing like Phil. 6:22 Paul Casey puts the ball over the 8th green. He's going to have a hellish chip coming back, up over a small ridge and then downhill on the green. This could test his steel. 6:20 The winds are starting to really pick up, which has to make the guys in the clubhouse feel great. Without a great score in the morning rounds it's going to be very difficult for anyone to really pull away from the field today. 6:18 Tiger can't convert on a long birdie chance, so he'll stay at par through 6. Nothing wrong with that, but it's the par-5's that Tiger's going to need to make his mark on this weekend, obviously his trademark in the good old days. 6:17 Ernie Els just shorts an eagle try, but should have no problem snagging a birdie to get to -1. 6:15 Arthur wants to write off Lee Westwood (who is 4-over on the day), but I'm not ready to do that just yet. Unless somebody goes out and puts up a crazy number (which hasn't happened so far), a good second round could put Westwood back in the hunt. 6:12 Wow, we've got a comment from who I can only imagine is Middlebury Hockey legend Tom Maldonado. It's been so far so good for Tiger out of the gate. he's been pretty conservative with his use of driver, which is about a smart a move as he can make. Way more sentences at the US Open that start with "driver" end with "bogey" than "birdie". 6:11 Our favorite amateur Hoffman birdies 10 to take a share of the lead...man, we should be so lucky for him to stick near the top for most of the weekend. 6:09 Dustin Johnson makes a birdie on 15 to make up for that huge 7 on the hole before. I love how tough 14 is playing today, it's an absolute beast of a green. You can actually see the fear in their eyes before players play their approaches. 6:07 Great to see Paul Casey atop the leaderboard. He was my pick to win the Masters after he insisted (read: lied) that his shoulder injury was fully healed. Nice to see him healthy and aggressive. 6:06 Leader Paul Casey plays a nice ball out of the bunker on 7, should be a nice straight putt for him. 6:05 Hey guys, Steve Beslow coming at you to take you to the end of Round 1. Hopefully I can live up to the awesome job done today by my colleagues Alan "Bassy" Bastable and Mike "Cupcake" Walker. 5:59 p.m. Tiger Woods (even) makes par on 5, and he's now heading for No. 6, where this course gets interesting. I'm heading out there now, so Golf Magazine's Steve Beslow will drive the Live Blog bus home today. Take it away, Steve! 5:56 p.m. A four-putt (!) from Dustin Johnson on 14 (his fifth) and double bogey drops him to 1-over and keeps the "Does success at the AT&T help you this week?" argument alive. 5:55 p.m. Your new U.S. Open leader is....Paul Casey, who makes birdie on 5 to get to 2-under. 5:54 p.m. Dustin Johnson (1-under) has a birdie chance for the outright lead but leaves it a full Mike Weir shot. 5:50 p.m. Woods, Els and Westwood on No. 5, the cool 195-yard par 3 which quietly begins the great stretch of Pebble holes. Woods hits the green, but he's a long way from the hole. Westwood in bunker. 5:46 p.m. ESPN shot of Monterey harbor seals. I spent about 20 minutes yesterday watching the rowdy, belching, barking seals. They are awesome. 5:43 p.m. Rocco Mediate makes birdie on 7 to get back to even par. I'd put Rocco third as player fans most want to see win after Mickelson and Watson. Woods leads the "player we're most ambivalent about winning" category by a wide margin. 5:40 p.m. Woods misses his birdie putt on 4, but should make par. What to make of his start so far? Hard to say. Iron play looks dialed-in, but Old Tiger makes at least one of those birdie tries. Need to see that first driver. 5:36 p.m. Remember Sergio Garcia? Birdie on No. 5 gets him to 2-over. Meanwhile, Woods is on the green in regulation again at 4, about 20 feet for birdie. 5:32 p.m. Sports Illustrated's Mark Godich checks in from the home office, where the telecast is driving him crazy.
Is ESPN really going to
torture us with Chris Berman? What did the comment about Ryo’s attire have to
do with his making that birdie putt at 11? I feel for Roger Maltbie.
I've always enjoyed Berman, whose enthusiasm for the game is sincere, but if he says, "Ground control to Major Toms," I'm out. 5:29 p.m. Dustin Johnson, winner of the last two AT&T Pebble Beach events, is off to a good start. He's 1-under through three. 5:27 p.m. Woods misses his third makeable birdie putt in as many holes. Still even. 5:25 p.m. Tom Watson is 1-over through 2. He's another guy who probably won't be buying a $34 U.S. Open hat. Sports Illustrated's Michael Bamberger profile Cypress Point caddie
Joe Solis has a good story on Tom Watson's frugal Midwestern ways.
Watson5:22 p.m. Stephanie Wei of WeiUnderPar.com checks in from 17 with another on-course report. I'm sitting in grandstands by 17 green watching the train wreck. It is
says he needs a hat. We got this thing we call the floppy hat. Good in
the rain. He says, 'How much?' I say, '$14.' Watson says, 'I'm not
paying no $14 for a hat.' So I give him the pro price, $9. He bought
quite fascinating. The guys sitting next to me have been here all day.
I just saw the fourth birdie of the day, which came from Atwal. He
drained a beautiful putt from left collar... Only guy who has gotten up and down chipping from right side of green is Retief Goosen. Oh,
and how's the wind? It is starting to pick up. Definitely blowing but
doesn't seem too brutal. Meanwhile, I can see the flag on 7 from afar
and it is much windier there. 5:19 p.m. Woods in fairway on three with short approach, and hits another dart to about 10 feet. Hmmmm. 5:17 p.m. Golf Magazine's Connell Barrett just bought a first-class ticket on the Tiger comeback train. Tiger looks good -- real good -- based on his range session, which I
watched from 12 feet away. Relaxed. Smiles with Stevie. No rehearsed
swings. No perplexed looks. Plenty of standard-issue "oohs" and
"ahhhhs" from the onlookers. He hit a lot of low, slinging hooks with
his 3-wood, seemingly right where he was aimed. Sure enough, he seems
to have brought his range game to the course, based on his club-twirl
tee shot and pin-scaring approach. My bold prediction: If he putts
well, Tiger shoots in the 60s for the first round lead. 5:14 p.m. Ryo Ishikawa makes a beautiful bending putt for birdie at 10 (his second), getting back to even and proving that you can play great golf while dressed like a Muppet. 5:11 p.m. Reader Richard Holtzcraw won't be buying a $34 U.S. Open hat either. Let's see. An
exclusive private club hosts the Masters and sells merchandise and foods
as cheap as Wal-Mart but the USGA rapes you for the same. Who is
supposed to be promoting the game? Hey, I didn't say it. It was Richard. 5:08 p.m. Woods misses another birdie chance on No. 2 -- he'll take another par. Like to hear everyone's predictions for Tiger this week. I am on record as saying Top 10 finish but no win because he didn't look all that confident during his practice round. Which is a prediction worth the paper it's printed on. Tiger doesn't even know what to expect. 5:06 p.m. In Chicago and New York you can watch the U.S. Open on a giant TV screen mounted on the back of a truck. Or you could just, you know, go to a bar. 5:04 p.m. Tiger Woods makes another great approach, this time from a fairway bunker, and he'll have another look at birdie. 5:00 p.m. Hey, Ryo Ishikawa. When Paula Creamer likes what you're wearing, it's not a good thing. Paula Creamer (via Twitter): I am in love with ryo ishikawa's outfit!!! Now that is some PINK!!! 4:55 p.m. Reader Golf Lover asks: Stricker's on the course. What sort of chances do you give him, coming off that shoulder injury?
Steve Stricker is 1-under through 2. Nice guy, nice player. I feel like if he was going to win a major, he'd have done it already, but he's always someone to pay attention to. 4:52 p.m. Woods takes a good run at his birdie putt and makes a tap-in par. Westwood and Els make bogey. Of the three, Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs likes Westwood's chances the best. It's a good golf course for Ernie Els. He's good enough in the wind and he's won two U.S. Opens, but Westwood was my pick in the Masters and he's my pick here. He'll probably be my pick at every major until Tiger is Tiger again. 4:47 p.m. My favorite U.S. group, Ryo Ishikawa, Rory McIlroy and Tom Watson are teeing off now. They're starting on 10; the Woods-Els-Lee Westwood group is starting on 1. Got to keep Watson and Woods as far away from each other as possible. 4:44 p.m. Reader David Deally catches yours truly in an error: Harrington bogeys 3
of his last 4 holes? Way to read a scorecard! He actually birdied 2 of
his last four, since he started on the back nine. Yup, the scorecards always trips me up on those guys who start on 10. We used to give prizes for spotting errors in the Live Blog but it got too expensive. Thanks for the note, David! 4:43 p.m. Slick approach shot from Woods that ends up spinning away from the hole. That ball thought about going in. He'll have about 20 feet for birdie. 4:39 p.m. Tiger Woods opens his 2010 U.S. Open with a long-iron smack in the middle of the fairway. Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs says keeping the driver in the bag is a plus for Tiger. It's open off the tee here, but it's not super open. If he hits a lot of long-irons off the tee, he'll be OK, but then he won't be able to take advantage of short par 4s with his driver. Still, you can't imagine him to contending on this course. 4:38 p.m. I love Pebble but that first hole is the opposite of high drama. Nothing like watching Ernie Els step up to the tee box with a 4-iron in his hand. 4:36 p.m. Whoa! Poulter nails a bending 15-footer for the par save and finishes his round with a 1-under 70, tied for the lead. 4:33 p.m. Ian Poulter (1-under) in trouble on 18, where U.S. Open leads go to die. 4:29 p.m. T-minus six minutes unti Tiger Woods tees off. We've got another Tiger report from fellow Live Blogger Connell Barrett. Steve Williams did shush a little kid on the range who was annoying TW with incessant cries of "Hey Tiger!" But to his credit, SW didn't toss the tyke's toy camera into a pond. 4:27 p.m. Friend of the Blog Stephanie Wei of WeiUnderPar.com checks in from behind the 18th green, where she's camped out for the day. I've watched four groups hit up starting with E Molinari to the all
Aussie one and including the Choi and Weir group. Pin is tucked on front
right with bunker in front. Haven't seen a single player shoot at it,
closest guys were Weir and Choi and they were about 15 feet above the
hole...assuming just where they wanted to be. All 12 guys I've seen
looked beaten down by the course. And I thought Ogilvy was going to
jump in the Pacific -- he was walking dangerously close to edge after
putting out for a smooth 8 over. Stephanie's been posting great stuff from Pebble on her blog all week, definitely check it out. You know, after the Golf.com Live Blog's over. 4:24 p.m. Phil Mickelson tells NBC: "I thought it was set-up very fair. I don't believe I should have shot over par. I putted horrifically." 4:22 p.m. Reader Jeff Remson writes: "Clark is both
underrated and still not all that great, kind of like Sting's solo
career." Brilliant. How long have you been waiting to use that line?
Thanks, Jeff. I, uh, just thought of it. 4:18 p.m. Golf Magazine editor at large Connell Barrett says to look out for Tiger this afternoon. I'm 12 feet from Tiger on the range. He looks dialed in, hitting low, boring 3-wood draws on command, and the coolest driver stinger. He looks relaxed and so does Steve, who yawned a lot. It's the best I've seen him look since he came back. Look for him to hit a LOT of fairways today. BTW, if you're wondering what "editor at large" means, it's magazine-speak for "I have no responsibilities here whatsoever." 4:15 p.m. There are many reasons to envy Phil Mickelson. His otherworldly talent, his loving family and his vast wealth, but don't forget he also has the best excuse for being late for anything. Sorry, I know I was supposed to meet you at the mall a half-hour ago, honey, but I was signing autographs 4:11 p.m. Padraig Harrington finishes with a 2-over 73 after bogeys on three of his last four holes, same with Y.E. Yang. Phil and those guys will make for a fascinating group to watch tomorrow. 4:08 p.m. Mickelson finishes with a 4-over 75, his first birdie-free round at the U.S. Open since his first round at Oakmont in 2007. Mickelson missed the cut at the 2007 Open. 4:06 p.m. Some press room grumblings about the high scores so far. Do you like to see the pros struggle or does the USGA's penal setup take away the fun of the game? Personally, I'm fine with a Monterey Death March this week. 4:04 p.m. KJ Choi finishes 1-under, making some Las Vegas gamblers happy. 4:01 p.m. The wind is starting to get up on the course, one of the reasons Golf Mag Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs isn't crazy about Mickelson's chances this week. The wind affects Mickelson more than any top player, he's not a top 5 pick for me this week. Before you kill Brady for jumping off the Phil bandwagon, he sent me that note last night. 3:56 p.m. This year's Players Champion Tim Clark was a popular dark-horse pick this week. He finished the day 1-over. Clark is both underrated and still not all that great, kind of like Sting's solo career. 3:54 p.m. "At this rate, it looks like over par will win the tournament," Johnny Miller says. 3:53 p.m. Weir finishes his round bogey-bogey, even for the day. I talked to Weir last year about how important he is to Canadian sports. If you and Tiger walk down a street in downtown Toronto, who gets more autograph requests?I think he does.What about you and Phil?Me. 3:51 p.m. Ricky Barnes is tearing up the front nine (his back), going birdie, birdie, eagle in last three holes. He's now even through 15. 3:49 p.m. Jim Furyk finishes at 1-over. I keep forgetting he's won twice this year. In 15 minutes, I will probably forget it again. 3:47 p.m. NBC gives us a minute of Woods, dressed in all gray, hitting balls at the range as Stevie Williams watches silently. Compelling stuff 3:46 p.m. Mickelson (4-over) hits a nice approach on 8, his 17th, that just misses the flag but rolls out to the back of the green. 3:44 p.m. Our leader Mike Weir is having trouble on 18. There's a reason Bob Hope called this course "Alcatraz with grass." 3:39 p.m. David Toms at 1-under through 13, he's hanging around like that kitten in the poster. 3:34 p.m. Walked through the Merchandise Tent at Pebble Beach this morning. I'm going to pass on the $230 nylon windbreaker and the $34 baseball cap. To steal an old joke, "Buying U.S. Open merchandise is God's way of telling you that you make too much money." 3:30 p.m. Bogey on 17 for Weir, who falls to 2-under but stays alone in the lead when Choi makes bogey as well. 3:28 p.m. Johnny Miller calls the par-3 seventh "a 106 yards of fun." Y.E. Yang (2-over) agrees, he hits a wedge to inside 10 feet. Yang is playing with Mickelson and Harrington, who both also found the green. Harrington is close to Yang -- Mickelson farther away. 3:24 p.m. Mickelson pushes his short birdie putt past the hole on No. 6. That was a big one. Still 4-over. 3:19 p.m. Ian Poulter is 2-under through 13. Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs says he expects players who play well in the British Open to play well at Pebble this week. This is really like a British Open this week. It's a seaside course, wind's a factor, and the greens won't be superfast. You don't have to be the greatest on the greens but you have to have a lot of shot. 3:17 p.m. Sports Illustrated's Alan Shipnuck needs to see more from his U.S. Open pick Phil Mickelson, via Twitter. Phil
misses a short bird on 3 and follows with a very soft bogey on 4. He's
gonna have to play harder if he wants to finish 2nd again. 3:11 p.m. Longtime reader Jim emails: Chris Berman just said "Choi to the world." Did he have to? Of course he did. Jim Nantz raised the bar so high by reciting the lyrics to The Rose when Justin Rose won the Memorial that nothing Berman says this week should surprise us. 3:10 p.m. Mickelson (4-over) tees of on the par-5 sixth -- one of my favorite holes here -- with a 4-iron! And he'll be going for it. 3:06 p.m. Mike Weir birdies 16 and now is alone in the lead at 3-under. Choi dropped one at 15, and is 2-under. Crowd definitely getting behind the Little Big Man, Weir. 3:03 p.m. ESPN hands over coverage to NBC and Johnny Miller who says the reason the course is holding up is that "no one is playing great." 2:57 p.m. Sports Illustrated writer and live blog legend John Garrity checks in with his take on the Molinari brothers, whom he's covered in SI.
Edoardo used to be very streaky because he played a draw that was susceptible to a two-way miss. Last year he re-worked his swing with coach Dennis Pugh, and now he plays a fade. Only it isn't really a fade, says Pugh. Edoardo hits a straight ball which, if it moves at all, just tails off a bit at the end. So now Edoardo can play to safe targets, because he never hits a hook unless he's trying to. That's why he's no longer as streaky as he used to be. (He's coming off a T-4 finish in Wales.) His brother Francesco, of course, is the really consistent player. He almost never blows up.
Edoardo is even; Francesco is 5-over. 2:53 p.m. Mickelson misses birdie putt but has tap-in par -- now 4-over through 14. 2:52 p.m. On-course report from Golf Magazine's Dave Allen: The 16th green is proving to be a dangerous place to putt out...or
chip, as was the case with Padraig Harrington. Just as Harrington was
about to attempt a delicate chip from behind the 16th green Thursday
morning, a ball came sailing over the grandstand, landed on the green
and meandered close to the hole (to 6 feet), prompting chants of "go
in" from the gallery. The origination of the tee shot was the par-4
third hole, a sharp dogleg up the hill from the 16th green, where
players will attempt to shape their drives about 25 yards from right to
left. The culprit in this case was American Jon Curran, who wound up
taking free relief off the green and still managed to make his par.
Harrington wasn't so lucky: After the uproar over Curran's shot died
down, he wound up duffing his chip shot and made bogey.Ironically, the same thing nearly took place the group before
Harrington's, as Jason Gore's tee shot off the third tee found the
rough just behind 16. That drew some playful ribbing from Stephen Ames,
who pointed to the direction of the third fairway as Gore approached
his ball. Gore, too, wound up making par. Tough day so far for Harrington, one of the favorites going in but 4-over through 13 today.
2:50 p.m. Mickelson finds the green on the par-3 fifth (his 14th), but he has a long way for birdie. 2:47 p.m. Speaking of ESPN, it's amazing how well Chris Berman cleans up. I saw him at a
restaurant in Monterey on Tuesday night and he looked like he had slept
on the beach with a newspaper over his head, like when Fletch went
undercover on Venice Beach. 2:45 p.m. Reader Brian Sullivan writes: With the ESPN/ABC crew doing it, + the ocean views, you would swear its the Open Championship on right now Agreed, looks just like the Open, but with better TV times. 2:42 p.m. My guess is that we haven't heard the last word on Phil's bunker mishap. Any Rules gurus at home, please send us your comments. 2:41 p.m. Geoff Ogilvy is 7-over through 14. I thought they didn't start serving beer at Pebble until 11 a.m. 2:38 p.m. The issue is whether Phil kicked the sand in frustration after his bunker shot, which would be a violation since his ball stayed in the bunker. The replay shows Phil looking frustrated but maintaining his composure and smoothing the sand with his foot, which is fine. He can't get up and down though and makes another bogey. Now 4-under. Meanwhile, Choi makes birdie on 14 for the outright lead at 3-under. 2:34 p.m. From the bunker, Phil Mickelson plays out of turn on 13. Rule discussion under way. 2:32 p.m. Mike Weir rolls in a long birdie putt for a share of the lead at 2-under. 2:26 p.m. Mickelson makes par on his 12 (the third). Still 3-over. Meanwhile, the 2007 U.S. Open champ Angel Cabrera (3-over) hits in the bunker on the par-3 fifth. Cabrera's playing with fellow U.S. Open champs Retief Goosen (3-over) and Jim Furyk (even). 2:23 p.m. Reader Buck thinks I've overstated KJ Choi's skills: Choi shotmaker? His ball flights are all the same. Slight fade, He's a robot.
Good point. I was remembering how he played well in the nasty conditions at Birkdale in the 2008 British Open. He can persevere out there, which will be important this week. 2:19 p.m. Sweet little short iron from the side of the grandstand by Mickelson (3-over) on his 12th (actually the third), and he'll have a chance to get one back. 2:16 p.m. Longtime friend of the blog and Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs says guys like Weir and Choi are at an advantage this week because experience and shot-making are going to be so important, especially if the wind becomes a factor. 2:13 p.m. The Vegas sportsbooks were surprised by the early action on KJ Choi--they had to drop his odds from 65 to 1 down to 20 to 1. Now you know why: Choi just made birdie on 13 for a share of the lead at 2-under. 2:11 p.m. Back-to-back birdies for Mike Weir gets him to 1-under. If the conditions stay difficult, Weir's putting stroke will keep him in this tournament. 2:09 p.m. Thanks, Alan. Interesting morning: Phil confounding; Edoardo Molinari astounding, Tiger about 90 minutes away from the first tee. Let's get back to the course 2:04 p.m.: That's it for me. I leave you in the capable hands of Mike Walker, who is on site at chilly Pebble Beach, donning a white cable-knit sweater. Mikey, it's all yours.... 2:01 p.m.: Ryan, I'm not exactly sure what Lefty hit on 17. I know it was an iron. Both Yang and Paddy hit hybrids, so I'm guessing Phil pulled 3-iron. 1:56 p.m.: We just got our first look at Ty Tryon (+1), who dumped his lob-wedge tee shot at the 7th into the front bunker. Nice to see Tryon back on Tour for the first time since 2003. Tryon's Tour career, you might remember, got off to blazing start when he picked up his card at the tender age of 17. Since then? One heartbreak after another. Be great to see him have a nice week.1:48 p.m.: Eight international players are under par at the moment ... and just one American (David Toms, -2). 1:44 p.m.: Christopher Shade reminds us that Kjeldsen withdrew from last year's Open at Bethpage with an ear infection. Either that or Kjeldsen decided curling up in bed with a good book beat playing a beast of a golf course in torrential rain.1:37 p.m.: Kjeldsen dropped a shot at 11 to fall back to 2-under with Edoardo Molinari (who SI's John Garrity recently profiled). The Super Molinari Borthers are a great story. Always felt their win at the World Cup last year was a story that didn't get enough play. Moving stuff. 1:28 p.m.: Mickelson makes bogey to finish the back nine at 3-over. He has another nine holes to play, but obviously not the start he wanted. Sloppy. Notes Golf Mag's Connell Barrett: "It's well-reported that Phil and Bones have a deal. Every Tour season, Lefty's caddie can veto one -- and only one -- crazy-go-nuts shot that Phil the Thrill wants to try, and Phil MUST obey his looper. No. 18 would have been a great place for Bones to use the veto... or a filibuster... or a Taser. Something!" 1:23 p.m.: Speaking of Lefty, train-wreck finish for him. After hitting his drive just short of the two trees in the middle of the 18th fairway, he blocks a fairway wood into Stillwater Cove. Crazy play for the first round of an Open. Just punch something up there and get your par. 1:18 p.m.: A reader asks if Phil will draw bigger crowds than Tiger this week. In the first two rounds, it's a moot point. They'll both pull big numbers because they won't be on the golf course at the same time. Generally, though, I'm not sure Tiger's transgressions have detracted from the girth of his galleries. Fans may be less verbally supportive of TW, but they still love to watch him play. That, just ask John Daly, will never change. 1:09 p.m.: Kjeldsen is in the meat of the hard left-to-right sloping fairway at 10. A flawless 3-under front nine for the great Dane. Still, it's starting to blow out there, and lots of golf left to play. 1:06 p.m.: Oh, boy. Phil can't find his ball. Must have carried into the drink. He takes a drop then pitches to 6 feet. He'll drop at least one more shot here. 1:03 p.m.: Lefty, Yang and Paddy all dump their tee shots at the par-3 17th into the bunkers short left of the green. With the wind picking up, it's a nasty hole. Might be the toughest green on the course to stick in regulation. Which makes Jack's 1-iron in '72 all the more impressive. Hybrids are great and all, but 1-irons are a statement club. Wish guys still carried them.12:52 p.m.: What's this?! As Harrington sets up for a delicate pitch from behind the 16th green, a tee shot from the third hole bounds in front of him. Perhaps distracted, Paddy then leaves his chip in the rough. Odd and unfortunate turn of events there. Phil misses his par try. He's now 1-over. 12:48 p.m.: Mickelson has a lie on the par-4 16th that would leave most golfers crying for their mamas. He's buried in a grassy, sandy, dreadful spot in a fairway bunker up the right. With virtually no chance to advance it, Lefty thumps it sideways into the center of the fairway. Safe play? Mickelson? Who is this guy? After a decent approach, he'll have 20 feet uphill for his par. By the way, the ESPN feed starts in 15 minutes. 12:39 p.m.: Correction on an earlier post: the U.S. actually plays Slovenia tomorrow. Nice catch, Rafael, just wanted to make sure you all were paying attention.12:36 p.m.: Reader Bryon asks me to predict the winning score. That's a fool's game this early in the week, but I'll say 4-under. The greens won't go all Shinnecock, but they will get crusty and cruel as the week progresses. That should prevent anyone from lighting up the joint. 12:31 p.m.: U.S. Open? Not thus far. Your leaders are Kjeldsen (-3), a Dane; Tori Taniguchi of Japan; and Italy's Edoardo Moliari. Where's Ban Ki-moon when you need him? 12:25 p.m.: I'm jonesing for some coverage of the par-3 7th hole. Could watch the pros play that mighty mite all day long. There’s talk that USGA might move the tees way up tomorrow—to 88 yards. That’s half an L-wedge for most guys. Or a popped-up driver for Tiger. 12:21 p.m.: Hold the phone. Wretched stroke by Phil. He pushes his birdie try wide of the hole and has to settle for another par. Pars are the goal at any Open, but not from 5 feet.12:19 p.m.: Phil makes short work of the 15th, knocking his third to 5 feet. Paddy? After seeing just about every part of the hole, he sticks his fourth shot from 70 yards (and dense rough) to two feet. Gritty par. 12:13 p.m.: This just in from the USGA: "The strongest winds are predicted from noon
to 4 p.m. and will come from the northwest at 8-12 mph. Winds will be
slightly weaker and from the west-northwest at 6-12 mph from 4 p.m. to
7 p.m." That won't make things any easier for Tiger and the rest of Thursday's late starters. 12:09 p.m.: Kjeldsen continues to hold the lead at 2-under. Timmy Clark and Jim Furyk (who I like a lot this week) are among the seven players bunched at 1-under. 12:06 p.m.: Phil saves his par at 13 with a lovely lag putt. At the par-5 14th, he busts driver up the gut. Good thing, because the third shot there is a terror. "Like something out of a Stephen King novel," quipped Paul Goydos. 12:02 p.m.: America’s La-Z-Boys are going to get a workout in the next couple of
days. We’ve got the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach; Lakers v. Celtics in
Game 7 of the NBA finals (tonight); and Team USA’s World Cup game vs.
Algeria (tomorrow). Anybody else feeling a bout of food poisoning coming on? "Sorry, boss, must have been the catfish." 11:57 a.m.: Another miscue from Mickelson. With a wedge in hand at the par-4 13th, he flies his approach some 35-40 feet past the jar. Discouraging stuff in the early going. 11:54 a.m.: Robert Allenby, perhaps the game's finest ball-striker, continues to confound. Dude regularly blitzes everyday Tour stops, but just refuses to show up at majors. Through three holes, he's already 3-over.11:49 a.m.: Lefty made his par at the par-3 12th. He remains even-par through three holes.11:48 a.m.: Live report from Flyers czar and professional celebrity wrangler Connell Barrett: "I took a highly scientific poll of my fellow golf journalists — OK, I
asked a few guys eating free bear claws in the press tent — and NO ONE
is picking Tiger to win this week. Sure, he COULD win, we all agree.
But I haven't talked to anyone who thinks he will. Including me.
Amazing. The World No. 1, who won this thing by 15 shots a decade ago,
has become an underdog story. (As opposed to a hound-dog story.) "He's
been hitting it sideways on the range all week, really struggling with
his driver," a scribe said. "He'll be around for the weekend, probably,
but he won't win. He's just lost on the tee."
[Ed. note: Easy, CB, Tiger will forever be a hound-dog story.] 11:39 a.m.: Soren Kjeldsen birdied two of the first four holes to snatch the lead. Paddy Harrington, after a kick-in birdie at 11, is at 1-under. So are two other players you've never heard of. 11:33 a.m.: So much for that theory. Phil flies his wedge approach five yards over the green into some wicked rough. Still, a lovely chip leaves him five feet for par. 11:30 a.m.: Mickelson hits another fairway at 11. That'll be key for him this week. Drives in the short grass will mean lots of short irons into the greens -- Lefty's bread and butter.11:27 a.m.: Hey, New York City readers: there’s another Big Board in town this week -- a few of them, actually.
ESPN is sending out a fleet of "Big Screen Trucks," which will rumble through town broadcasting live
coverage of the Open. The 26’
trucks, outfitted with 14’ x 8’ video screens and 24’ putting greens,
will make select stops at sports bars,
street fests and other select locations. Don't miss it -- this might be your only chance to see a 14-foot Mike Weir. 11:22 a.m.: Mickelson, meanwhile, hit it to 20 feet, hole high, but he left his birdie try short. Three opening pars for that group. 11:19 a.m.: Some local color from Mike Walker, Golf Magazine senior editor and our resident meteorologist: "I was out at the first tee for the start of the Open. Crowd was understandably thin and subdued -- got a few "where did you get that coffee?" questions -- and the grandstands were still wet from overnight marine layer, so the greens shouldn't be too fast today. Weather is cool, damp, but no wind to speak of yet. It feels like a British Open. Sun looks like it might break through later today." 11:13 a.m.: Man, slow play already!? Lefty and Co. have been waiting five-plus minutes to hit their approach shots. Thick rough + small greens + Open pressure = a molasses-like pace. 11:09 a.m.: Mickelson is the favorite week (or at least the co-favorite), but I worry he may push too hard. Remember the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines? Everyone expected a big week from Phil that week, and he went AWOL. That's been a trend in his career: when you expect him to win, he doesn't. 11:05 a.m.: Here comes Phil, who's going off the 10th tee this morning with Harrington and Yang. The USGA is serving up a live online feed of his round, so I'll be able to give you plenty of riveting Lefty updates. He pulls driver and rips one up the left side of the fairway. Perfect. 10:59 a.m.: You have to wonder how much the World Cup meddles with players'
practice schedules. For example, with Argentina playing this morning
(they throttled South Korea 4-1), it's hard to believe Angel Cabrera
spent much time burning through buckets. Then again, El Pato has never
been big on El Practice. 10:57 a.m.: The flying Fin just crash landed, doubling the par-3 12th. 10:54 a.m.: Did a radio spot in Baltimore this morning and the host, Drew Forrester, was talking up Tim Clark. That was the first I’d heard anyone mention the little guy as a possible winner—so much for Clark’s Players win jacking his profile. Drew’s right, though. If TC can get the long stick rolling, he could easily be a factor. 10:48 a.m.: Top 5 golfers to hail from Finland? Discuss among yourselves.10:47 a.m.: The flying Fin, Mikko Ilonen, is your early leader. Ilonen has birdied 10 and 11, both par 4s, to get it to 2-under. 10:43 a.m.: Golf Mag's Dave Allen checks in with an on-course report from Laird
Small, Top 100 Teacher and director of instruction at Pebble Beach Golf
Academy: "Laird is expecting the players to throw up a lot of low
scores today. He can see several players shooting 66—maybe even a 65
out there. Laird also believes more than one player
will finish under par this week, unlike 2000. His prediction: winning
score for week will be in the 8- to 10-under range because the rough isn't very
penal and weather conditions are benign. His pick: Phil Mickelson. 10:38 a.m.: T-minus 22 minutes until Phil. 10:36 a.m.: Tiger Woods, who by most accounts has been striking the ball soundly
this week, doesn’t go off until 4:36 p.m. EDT. That will take his round
well into prime time, which is bad news for So You Think You Can Dance.
(Props to AMC, by the way, which is smartly challenging the Tiger Show head-on
with an 8-10 p.m. airing of Caddyshack.) Woods will play with Lee
Westwood and two-time U.S. Open champ Ernie Els. Wouldn’t be a shock if
the winner comes out of that trio. 10:30 a.m.: Not a g'day thus far for Paul Sheehan. The Aussie pro made a double at the par-4 first. The good news: with only 10 players on the course, he's still on the first page of the leaderboard! 10:27 a.m.: My favorite grouping might be the pint-sized cluster going off the
first tee at 10:44 a.m.: Tim Clark, K.J. Choi, and Mike Weir. Pretty
sure TLC made a reality show about those guys. 10:24 a.m.: As always at the Open, lots of fun pairings courtesy of the zany USGA
matchmakers. Here are a few of the early groupings that I'll be watching (all times are EDT)…
10:44 a.m. (10) Retief Goosen, Jim Furyk, Angel Cabrera
(1) Adam Scott, Geoff Ogilvy, Robert Allenby
10:55 a.m. (10) Stuart
Appleby, Rory Sabbatini, Stephen Ames
11:06 a.m. (10) Phil Mickelson, Padraig Harrington, Y.E. Yang 10:19 a.m.: The weather, like the golf course, should be
absolutely perfect today: Mostly sunny with temperatures in the
low-to-mid 60s. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph. Forecast calls for more of the
same for the rest of the week, which means we’re unlikely to see a
repeat of the messy final round in ’92 when Tom Kite needed wipers. 10:15 a.m.: The first groups went off about 15 minutes ago, but there's not much star power to speak of until the 10:33 a.m. (10th tee) grouping of Camilo Villegas, Zach Johnson, and Luke Donald. 10:09 a.m.: Breaking news from the Golf Channel, which just announced Hank Haney's next "project": conservative talk-radio pundit Rush Limbaugh. GC just had the big guy on the air, and yes, Limbaugh said, he tends to miss everything right. 10:05 a.m.: Our venue this week: lovely Pebble Beach Golf Links, the
greatest meeting of land and fees sea. Burning topics: Can Phil break
his 0-for-19 slump at the Open and get halfway to the slam? Can Tiger
summon any of his magic from his 2000 assault on Pebble? And which will
chew up more of the broadcast: re-runs of Watson’s famous chip-in from ’82? Or
beauty shots of sea lions frolicking in Stillwater Cove? 10 a.m. (EDT): Good morning, dimpleheads, and welcome to the
Golf.com U.S. Open live blog, where this week we pledge to bring you
some 35 hours (!) of searing analysis, crackling debate and the
occasional embarrassing typo. Please hang around and post lots of
comments and questions. Should be a hoot. Which reminds me: this blog,
like the forthcoming Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, is a vuvuzela-free zone. Seriously, put the horn down.
Golf Magazine's Alan Bastable will lead the discussion this morning as the U.S. Open kicks off at Pebble Beach. Leave a question now and come back at 10 EST to join the conversation. You can also follow round 1 in our Nerve Center, which combines the blog, our leaderboard, and reader discussion in one smaller window. See it here.