The real Open is back, Kaymer can close and Monty's right about Putter Boy, too

Erik Compton.
Al Tielemans/Sports Illustrated
Erik Compton.

Pinehurst, N.C.—The scoreboard operators probably aren’t going to need many red numbers by tomorrow. Traditional U.S. Open scoring returned here Saturday as Pinehurst’s No. 2 course was the clear winner in round three.

It’s the Open. What were you expecting, the Booz Allen Classic?

And another thing…

What’s different about the weekend in the U.S. Open? Everything. Martin Kaymer missed three fairways in the first 36 holes. Saturday, he missed three fairways in the first five holes. That’s what the U.S. Open does to you on a weekend. In six holes, he had one eagle, one unplayable lie penalty and one putt that rolled off a green. In other words, just another day at a U.S. Open…

Let’s not waste time wondering whether Kaymer can hold up to pressure. He won a PGA Championship in a playoff, sank the winning Ryder Cup putt and gutted out The Players win after a rain delay. Oh, and he’s already held the No. 1 ranking in the world and I’m pretty sure he’s going to get it again…

You know what’s fun about a course where you can hit putts off the green and down a slope? Nothing…

It’s cool that Erik Compton played his way into contention and has a chance to win a U.S. Open. His story has been told so many times that it’s almost a cliché but seriously, think about it for a minute. Can you honestly imagine having three different hearts during the course of your lifetime?...

You knew Saturday was going to be the traditionally wicked U.S. Open Saturday when Toru Taniguchi posted 88. The man has his name on his bag, he played well enough to make the U.S. Open cut and suddenly, he shoots 88 and not because of one hellacious hole, just four doubles and a triple that turned into a pair of Hank Aarons—44s. He was the tournament’s Early Warning System…

Phil Mickelson shot 72 and is at five over par through 54 holes. I’m starting to think this might not be his week…

One thing about Phil, he can be a funny guy. After the third round, Phil said, “If I hit it better and make some putts, I think I can shoot four or five under par, end around even par and finish second again.” …

The fun day at the U.S. Open is never Saturday. If somebody shot low the first two days (like Kaymer this week), the USGA makes sure it’s not going to happen again. If nobody shot low the first two days, the USGA makes sure it doesn’t start happening now. The only fun day at the Open is the day after you’re done with it, whether that’s Saturday, Monday or Tuesday…

Veteran Kenny Perry: “I tell you what, it was a golf course of 18 of the toughest pins I’ve ever seen. It was probably the hardest setup I’ve ever experienced in a major championship.” Perry shot 74 or as it was called on Saturday, 1 under par.

Two-time U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen said the same thing Perry said and he said it first, that the USGA made sure there were no low scores shot Saturday. “Every pin was pretty much in its toughest position today,” Goosen said. I bet you see Perry’s quote in a lot of stories and you don’t see Goosen’s quote in very many, if any. Some writers have it in their heads that Goosen is a dullard. He isn’t…

Rickie Fowler can play just as well in pants as he can in knickers, just in case you were wondering. His third-round 67 with five birdies was one of his most impressive rounds as a pro…

I know it’s semi-staged but I never get tired of the commercial where Tom Watson jumps out of the range-picker vehicle and surprises some hackers, then gives them lessons. In an unrelated matter, I never aim at range-picker vehicles anymore…

If the PGA Tour holds a chipping and putting contest, I’m taking Kevin Na on my fantasy team. If there’s a bunker shot contest, I’ll take Jordan Spieth if Luke Donald isn’t available…

A guy I know named Michael O’Connor sent me these tweets during Saturday’s action at Pinehurst: “All the holes look the same off the tee on TV sans the par 3s. No bueno… If I wanted to see a bogey-fest, I can go play Coronado muni rather than watch this… If women played exactly the same course, winning score +25—is that accurate?”

I think the women would do better than that. The Open is usually a bogey-fest and if you think the new Pinehurst looks boring on TV, go back and watch video of the old Pinehurst. At least now the fairways and greens are framed and have some delineation. But Mr. O’Connor has a point…

Matthew Fitzpatrick, the U.S. Amateur champ, was low amateur at the Open since he was the only amateur who made the cut. He’d tell you it’s hard to feel like low amateur after shooting a 78, though…

Give Colin Montgomerie credit for calling out Pinehurst’s storied Putter Boy character (originally known as Sundial Boy, since it was used to tell time) on Golf Channel the other evening. Monty noted that the club was far too long and Putter Boy’s stance and setup were all wrong for him to be using a putter and that Monty guessed he was actually holding a 3-wood. A kid named 3-Wood Boy isn’t going to inspire several generations of golfers or move merchandise, though. Well bowled, Monty…

When a pressroom public address announcer informed the media that Garth Mulroy was at the flash area and about to do an interview, it sounded like he said Mark Mulvoy instead. Mulvoy was an avid golfer who used to be the editor at Sports Illustrated. If it had been Mulvoy at the mike, it would’ve been considerably entertaining. Also, he might still be talking. He’s had a lifetime of adventures…

Golf styles change but the dark red shirts with a shoulder-to-shoulder black rectangles worn by Rose and Na looked strangely familiar. I’ve got it—officers’ uniforms from Star Trek: The Next Generation…

U.S. Open strategy in a nutshell, according to Rose: “The course instructs you where to hit it.” And where not to hit it, if you can help it…

There’s no easy way to prove this but I’ll bet there will be fewer 2’s at this Open than any other in modern history. These four par-3 holes are long and nasty…

USGA head Mike Davis said one huge benefit of the Pinehurst No. 2 redesign Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw is that by getting rid of the bermuda rough and replacing it with sandy native areas, the course will require only 15 million gallons of watering per year instead of 55 million gallons. Could this be the start of a new anti-rough trend? All in favor of banning rough at public golf courses everywhere, raise your hands…

The best thing Pinehurst No. 2 may have done for golf was introduce the color brown to American golfers who are used to badly over-watered courses. Brown is OK for grass, believe it or not. Gray isn’t…

Greg Norman felt pressure as a player but wait until next year when Fox Sports takes over the U.S. Open telecast and his commentary gets compared to NBC’s outspoken Johnny Miller. Well, Shark ‘em.

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