9:08 p.m. Who's the last player to win a major in a cardigan? 9:07 p.m. McDowell plays it safe, lays up with an 8-iron. That'll leave him a full wedge into the green.9:06 p.m. Havret's putt? What's the opposite of formidable? Pulled from the get-go. Never had a chance. Rolls in the comebacker from 4 feet. That's a par. One-over 72 for the round. One-over 285 for the championship. If McDowell makes a 5 or better, you'll hear the cries echoing across the Atlantic. 9:03 p.m. Tiger shoots 75. Looks like that'll be good for T4, his same finish at the Masters. 9:02 p.m. Havret's bunker shot comes out soft. Stops 12 feet under the hole. He needs that putt like France needs a soccer team.9:01 p.m. McDowell hits a driver at 18. Good strike right at the trees, but finds the first cut. Still, he'll have a look at the green.8:59 p.m. Nope, he misses it to drop back to even. Ahead at 18, a good drive for Havret up the right beyond the Cypress trees followed by an approach into a popular spot today: the front bunker.8:57 p.m. McDowell blasts out at 17. Decent shot, but he'll have some 15 feet coming back for his par.8:55 p.m. Can't remember the last major when the champion hasn't at some point made a statement during his final round, a little burst that says, "Back off, fellas, this is mine." Nobody has done that today. Nobody. If McDowell pars out — no small feat — he'll have posted a 2-over 73, hardly the stuff of Open legend.8:51 p.m. Havret misses his par putt at 17, but it's not over yet. McDowell's tee shot on 17 is some 30 yards short of the stick in that gaping bunker guarding the left of the green. He's more likely to make 4 from there than 3. 8:49 p.m. With 230 to the hole at 18 and a 3-iron in his hands, Els gets up to his old, gaggy tricks. He didn't shank it per se, but a low, running block into the front-right bunker is not what he had in mind. 8:46 p.m. Bad news is, he's 144th in sand saves on the Euro Tour. The result? Solid blast, gets it to the hole, but he has a tricky 10-footer back up the slope.8:44 p.m. Havret, perhaps overwhelmed by the raucous reception at 17, pulls a Scott Norwood with is tee shot: wide right. He'll have to get up and down from a bunker to keep some serious pressure on McDowell. Good news is, he has some green to work with. 8:41 p.m. McDowell can't capitalize from the heart of the 16th fairway. He over-draws it and will have 40-plus feet all the way back across the green for his birdie. Up at 17, Els makes a bogey 4. He required 17 shots to play that par-3 this week. I think that's what they call a deal-breaker. 8:34 p.m. McDowell splits the 16th fairway with a hybrid. Smart play. McDowell winning the Open? Unexpected. Havret prevailing? Stunning. For the first time in four decades not having to hear that Tony Jacklin was the last European to win? Priceless. Up at the 16th green, Havret just misses a birdie try from 35 feet.8:31 p.m. So close! G-Mac burns the right edge of the hole from 12 feet at 15. Three holes to play. One shot lead. Here we go… 8:27 p.m. It's 1:25 a.m. in Northern Ireland. Do you know where your potential U.S. Open champion is? They do indeed, according to Irish golf reporter Sean O'Donoghue: "There is no-one asleep in Portrush! GMAC doing us proud at US Open. Portrush links upbringing serving him well….." 8:21 p.m. For the love of Christmas, will someone please step up and take this championship by the throat? Maybe the winning score will be over par, after all. 8:19 p.m. McDowell's putt hangs out to the right and he settles for bogey. His lead over Havret: un.8:17 p.m. McDowell flies the green with his third at the 14th then in homage to a shot you might play at Royal Portrush whacks a putter up the embankment. Middling effort. He'll have 20 feet back up the hill for his par. They ought to surround that green with yellow police tape.8:15 p.m. Havret cleaned up his bird at 14. He's two back.8:11 p.m. What?! Mickelson chose to hit his approach at 15 off TV cables running through the left rough. (A low wire act, I guess?) He could have taken a free drop, but Lefty didn't want it. The result: a couple of "FORES!" and a pulled approach into the junk short right of the green. Still, the magician managed to get up and down. 8:07 p.m. Ty Tyron shot 80 today, with a triple on the home hole. Still, give the kid credit for getting here. It's been a looooong, hard road for the one-time phenom. Back at 14, Havret hits the stick with his third. Le dude is just not going away. He'll have a good look at birdie. 8:01 p.m. Dead men walking? The leaders are in the midst of playing the lethal par-5 14th. Figure at least one of them will lose all hope here.7:58 p.m. Watson couldn't get up and down from the greenside bunker at 18. That's a 76 for TW, 11-over for the week. Remarkable stuff.7:56 p.m. A little local color (or is it off color?) from Ryan Ballangee's Waggle Room blog: "Tiger Woods hit a terrible drive to the left on the downhill par 4 third hole. As Woods was hitting his recovery out of deep grass with a very audible grunt, a plane passed over the third hole with a message for Tiger. It asked, "Tiger: Are You My Daddy?"7:53 p.m. Watson, fighting back tears, is making his march up 18. Poignant moment. See you at the Old Course, old man. 7:50 p.m. Oh, this is rich! BP bought an ad from NBC — you know, one of those we're-doing-our-best-to-clean-up-feel-good jobbies. It ran during the last commercial break. Oh, is Johnny going to get an earful!7:44 p.m. Davis Love III deserves a mention. Birdies at 2 and 11 and an eagle at 6 have him at 2-over (a sterling round of 68 yesterday didn't hurt either). One of the NBC guys — I missed who it was — just said: "Davis is a guy you'd expect to be there." Uh, when? In 1992? 7:39 p.m. McDowell bogeyed 9 and 10. He's at 2-under. His lead is two.7:38 p.m. Johnny Miller must be reading Jason Whitlock's Twitter feed. Miller just unleashed this zinger: "I don't know who's leaking more oil: the field or British Petroleum." Hilarious, Johnny! You do know rotting dolphins are washing up on the Florida coast, right? 7:36 p.m. If NBC flashes those time-elapse graphics that show you how dramatically the leader board has changed, I think might head might explode. 7:29 p.m. On this Father's Day, our British correspondent Paul Mahoney reminds all Open challengers: "Pa is your friend." Speaking of pa's, Johnson has rattled off three straight of them since the 8th hole. He's only four back. 7:24 p.m. Mickelson, lest we forge
t, is just four back with six holes to play. I give him a 1 in 3 chance of winning this thing. 7:22 p.m. Johnson's front-nine score: 42. His favorite artist: Lady GagGag. Meanwhile, Els knocks it to four feet at the difficult par-3 12th and makes his birdie to get to even-par. He's three back.7:18 p.m. Havret's 12-foot par putt at 10 rolls over Tiger's mark and comes up short. Hey, c'est la … no, I won't do it. I can't do it. Must … resist … easy … French … jokes. McDowell's lead is three.7:13 p.m. The fourth rounds of majors can be funny. Quite often guys seem to sneak into the Top 10 whose names you haven't heard all week. To wit: Matt Kuchar (he's 3-under today thru 17) and Brandt Snedeker (-1 thru 13). Both are currently tied for ninth at 4-over.7:09 p.m. Johnny Miller on Tiger: "He doesn't look like Tiger Woods." 7:07 p.m. Pablo Martin of Spain was in the first group out this morning. He shot a lackluster 79, but there was a far more noteworthy stat: 2 hours, 39 minutes—or the time it took him to play his round. Martin played as a single—guess his marker was hungover—and played the game as it should be played: quickly. The USGA reports Martin left the 18th green to cheers of “Pablo! Pablo!” OK, so it's hardly Ouimet being hoisted onto the gallery's shoulders at The Country Club, but still… 7 p.m. Correction: Havret is 1-under. McDowell's lead is three.6:59 p.m. Els takes a drop at 10 then knocks his third into the cliffside junk short of the green. He does well to well to hack it out of there to 15 feet, but misses the bogey putt from above the hole. McDowell's lead: four strokes. Might the championship have just been decided?6:56 p.m. Sports columnist Jason Whitlock on Twitter: "Obama is gonna get slaughtered for not sending in the coast guard to plug this leak. Where is FEMA with Dusty spewing all over Pebble Beach?"6:54 p.m. An on-course spy informs me that Ernie fueled up with a PB&J after the ninth hole. We sure it was peanut butter on that sandwich? The Big Easy promptly smacks his drive off the cliff up the right and looks like a mountain goat during his search for it. 6:51 p.m. From Golf.com's Jeff Ritter: "I think NBC should start referring to Gregory Havret as The Ultimate U.S. Open Buzzkill, or "Buzzkill" for short." Actually, Jeff, that would be Le Buzzkill.6:48 p.m. This could not be playing out any better for McDowell. The 54-hole leader self-combusts (6-over through six holes); Tiger disappoints (four bogeys through eight holes); and Phil has been making pars on a day when he needs birdies. If McDowell can find a way to shake Els (who has his own history of shaky finishes), Rory McIlroy will suddenly become the second coolest golfer from Northern Ireland. 6:43 p.m. McDowell parred the sixth then hits a solid if unspectacular tee shot to the middle of the green at the 7th. 6:41 p.m. I missed McDowell's birdie back at the par-3 5th. He's your solo leader now at 4-under, one shot ahead of Els. 6:38 p.m. Robert Henley, the amateur out of the University of Georgia, is working the crowds like a rock star. Since the fifth hole, he's made four birdies to get it to 7-over for the week. He's battling with Scott Langley (who's in the house at 8-over) for low amateur honors. 6:30 p.m. Tiger drops a 25-foot left-to-righter at the short par-3 7th. Lovely roll. He's back to 1-over, five back of McDowell. Brad Faxon, in the booth for NBC, says Woods has the most "efficient" putting stroke he has ever seen. 6:26 p.m. Havret, who birdied the first and is now just two off the lead, is ranked 391st in the world. If he can pull off the biggest Open upset since 1913, the Frenchman is a ripe subject for a biopic. Wonder if Gerard Depardieu is available?6:20 p.m. After Johnson drops another shot — this time with a bogey 5 at the fourth — Mike Walker checks in with a bold prediction: "I'm picking McDowell to win this…played a lot of links golf growing up in N. Ireland, holding up under the pressure so far. He's got the maturity to win, but not the scar tissue in majors that Mickelson, Els and Love have." Walker also says he likes the Globetrotters over the Generals. 6:16 p.m. This is turning into a cliffhanger, literally. Tiger just knocked a 3-wood up the right side of the par-5 6th. He seemed to like the look of it. Not sure why. It ran and ran before dropping off the cliff edge.6:12 p.m. Phew! Time to re-calibrate. After an Els birdie at 6, here's where we stand:
Els — 3-underMcDowell — 3-underHavret — 1-underJohnson — 1-underMickelson — EvenLove — 1-overWoods — 1-over 6:06 p.m. No, sir. Lips out. He's now 5-over through three holes. Catastrophic. Incidentally, here's what Johnson told NBC's Roger Maltbie about 45 minutes before Johnson teed off: “I’ve got to approach [this round] just like any other Tour event. If I keep hitting it like I’ve been hitting it, I’m going to be tough to beat.” 6:00 p.m. Johnson, back at 3, knocked his (second) drive into a fairway bunker. Classy play from there leaves him 12 feet for his bogey. If there's such a thing as a good bogey in the wake of a triple-bogey, this would be it. 5:57 p.m. Wonderful start for Ernie. Birdies at Nos. 2 and 4 have gotten him to 2-under, just one off the pace. Can't think of a soul who wouldn't like see the Big Easy prevail. 5:54 p.m. Yes, DJ's drive is a goner. He and his caddie are being escorted back to the third tee on a golf cart — golf's equivalent of the Walk of Shame. 5:52 p.m. Great Odin's Raven! Johnson's tee shot at the third flies over a TV tower and appears to be lost. Even if Johnson settles down and somehow wins this thing, this, given what's at stake, has to go down as one of the chokiest starts in the history of the game.5:45 p.m. Four players, including Phil (E) and Tiger (E), are within three of the lead.5:43 p.m. The cool and collected demeanor Dustin Johnson exuded through the first 54 holes? It just took the first express train out of town. DJ, after a series of duffed, fluffed and muffed chips and a missed putt from 4 feet just made a triple-bogey 7 at the second. In the blink of an eye, he and McDowell are knotted at 3-under. Disastrous start. Shades of Aaron Baddeley, Oakmont, 2007. 5:37 p.m. Not good. Tiger hooks — and I mean hooks — his tee shot at the third into the junk — and I mean junk. From there, he lets out a Monica Seles-like grunt as he whacks it up within 20 yards of the green. Hell of a recovery from where he was. 5:33 p.m. Speaking of Phil, golf blogger Geoff Shackelford just tweeted of the professional atmosphere in the Pebble press tent: "Phil birdies 1. Clapping in press center. Is that allowed?" No, but either is double-fisting the Ben & Jerry ice cream bars they provide in the media center, and that's never stopped most of my fellow scribblers. 5:27 p.m. Phil look likes Phil again. From a dreadful lie in a fairway bunker at the third — I would have pitched out backwards — he launches one high and long and with enough spin to stick it within 8 feet of the jar. Filthy stuff.5:23 p.m. Reader Dani bemoans Johnny Miller's repetitiveness. Couldn't agree more. Johnny's candid and insightful, but he'll frequently harp and harp and harp and harp on the same point, kind of like Tiger at a press-round presser. 5:19 p.m. Mickelson misses at the second. Els, utilizing the read, makes to get to 1-under. The two-time Open champ is now five back. 5:16 p.m. At the first, Dustin Johnson catches it a little thin off the tee. (Nerves?) A kind bounce leaves him in the first cut at the inside corner of the dogleg.5:14 p.m. Ahead at the par-4 second, Phil and Ernie knock their approaches within a foot of each other, some 10 feet below the hole. You have to guess at least one of them will make bird. 5:11 p.m. Here, courtesy of the USGA, are the CliffsNotes for what you need to know about the course today: WeatherSunshine through much of the afternoon. Winds will increase to 10-15 mph between about 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. coming mainly from the northwest.Green SpeedsToday’s speeds are very consistent with what they have been for the last seven days – mid-13s in the early morning, which should settle out in the mid- to high- 12s by midday. RoughGiven the dry weather and very little growth, the rough has not been mown since Wednesday. Water ManagementToday’s golf course will be a similar firmness to yesterday. Lighter hand-watering was applied to all greens last night to replenish the moisture lost yesterday. The putting green approaches are still very firm (firmer than the greens), so the bounce-in shot will again be a significant factor in today’s play. 5:08 p.m. Phil at the first — yes! He bangs home his bending birdie try from 25 feet to get within six of the lead. Els's meek attempt comes up short. He taps in for his 4. 5:06 p.m. Here comes the other TW. Woods's opening tee shot finds the first cut on the left side of the fairway. There's something about all these guys hitting irons off the first tee that is hugely anti-climactic. 5:03 p.m. Tom Watson, thanks to a birdie at the fourth, is 1-under through five holes and 5-over for the week. Notes Mike Walker of both Golf Magazine and Golf.com: "Watson going for a Top 10 at age 60? Let's see Ryo Ishikawa pull that off in the 2052 U.S. Open. BTW, has the USGA picked the venue for that Open yet?" Meanwhile, Els hits to 12 feet under the hole at one and Phil comes up just short of the green. Still, not a bad spot. 4:56 p.m. Mickelson, with what looks to be a 4-iron off the first tee, splits the short stuff. Els, also with an iron, also finds the fairway. 4:53 p.m. Lee Westwood made a little noise earlier today with birdies on Nos. 4, 5 and 6. That got him back to 5-over for the championship, but he has since given two shots back (at 10 and 12), squashing any chance of a historic Arnie-like charge. 4:50 p.m. Three group have yet to tee off:
4:55 p.m. … Mickelson & Els
5:05 p.m. … Havret & Woods
5:15 p.m. … McDowell & Johnson 4:45 p.m. (EDT) Welcome back to the Golf.com 2010 U.S. Open blog. Big day today, with more story lines than the final episode of Lost. Will Pebble Beach whisperer Dustin Johnson protect his three-stroke lead and become to this place what Rafael Nadal is to the Roland Garros? Will Graeme McDowell, DJ’s nearest pursuer, mount a charge and keep the Portrush pubs (eight hours ahead of Monterey time) rocking into the wee, wee hours? Will Tiger Woods replicate his sizzling Saturday and win his first major as a Sunday chaser? Or will France’s Gregory Havret shock the golf world and send his countrymen skipping down to their cellars for a bottle of 1787 Chateau Lafite? Stick around. We'll know shortly. (And by shortly, I mean in the next four-and-a-half hours.)
Golf Magazine's Alan Bastable will be live-blogging the final round today starting at 4:45 p.m. Eastern time. Join the discussion by leaving a comment below.