Gary Van Sickle's First Round Thoughts

Friday June 13th, 2008

And another thing...

I know the U.S. Open isn't supposed to be fun, so I guess that's why the USGA had the adjacent hang-glider airport closed for the week. Too bad, NBC could've used a good hang-glider-cam. ...

How come I'm only a matter of miles from California's famed orange groves and I still can't get orange juice in the media dining area? ...

Two doubles in a day are good for Derek Jeter, not so good for Tiger Woods. ...

Let's see, Phil Mickelson has two drivers in the bag one week at Augusta, no driver this week, five wedges at Colonial -- is golf really that complicated or is he just showing off? ...

It must have something to do with Californians. They're either laid back or just plain complacent. When home-boy Mickelson was introduced on the first tee Thursday morning in the premier pairing with Tiger Woods, he got a nice round of applause and cheers, but in all honesty, it wasn't that loud. The reception for Woods, a six-time winner here, was nearly as good. Maybe the San Diegans are just worn out from fighting traffic and riding shuttle buses to get here. I don't get it, dude. ...

Torrey Pines is a great site for the Open, with all the extra room for corporate boxes and parking. Is the South Course a great course? I'd say no. It's good but not great. A great course has at least one great, memorable hole, and I don't see it. ...

If the USGA doesn't go back to Oakmont in 2016, it'll be a big mistake. ...

Unknown Justin Hicks had quite a finish in his first Open, making three straight birdies to shoot 68. This isn't your normal Open finish, however. If you hit the fairway at 17, you've probably got a wedge in your hands for the next shot, and the par-5 18th is reachable in two. In other words, Torrey Pines finishes with back-to-back birdie holes. If the USGA had its way, an Open course would finish with back-to-back electric chairs. ...

The San Diego forecast is for three more days of sun. By Saturday, Torrey's greens should start getting baked out and Open-firm. You'll see some more good scores Friday, since the greens are still relatively receptive, but don't be fooled. On the weekend, as usual, par is going to be a good score. ...

ESPN keeps running a piece on Mickelson featuring photos and video of him as a baby, crawling around. The guy is 37 now -- is this really necessary? ...

Nothing would be more American than an Open champion named Rocco. Don't write off Rocco Mediate as a pretender after his opening 69. He was leading the Masters a few years ago until his back froze up on the final nine, and the Open is really his strong suit. He's an excellent ballstriker and a decent lag putter. He was fourth at the '01 Open and sixth in '05, so his start Thursday was not a fluke. ...

Once Torrey Pines has the U.S. Open on its resume, city officials will probably jack up the greens fees for non-residents to $300. Hey, that's what I'd do if I was them and in a financial bind. ...

The first gas station sign I saw here in California said regular was available at $4.89 a gallon. Diesel was $5.09. I sense a sale on SUV's coming soon to a dealer near you.

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