Stoked for the U.S. Open? Thrilled that you scored tickets? Jazzed to walk 18 holes with the super group of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson? Curb your enthusiasm, says Curtis Strange, the two-time Open champ and ESPN analyst, via San Francisco Chronicle golf writer Ron Kroichick:
"I know what I would do Thursday and Friday," Strange said. "I would TiVo that group and watch somebody else, because you're not going to see a damn thing trying to watch these three guys.”
Woods, Mickelson and Watson will tee off Thursday at 7:33 a.m. on No. 9 and Friday at 1:18 p.m. on No. 1. The USGA is sending groups off the No. 9 tee (not No. 10) because it's much closer to the clubhouse.
Strange's viewing strategy makes sense, except for this: ESPN's opening-round coverage doesn't begin until 9 a.m. So roughly the first 90 minutes of the first round for Woods, Mickelson and Watson will unfold outside the network's television window.
ESPN, SchmeeSPN. Follow the rounds on Golf.com, where we'll monitor every minute of the action on our U.S. Open Live Blog. About those pairings… The USGA has made a habit of creating buzz-worthy, humorous or whimsical U.S. Open groupings. (The standout from this year’s set: the Carl-Charl-Charles cluster; Carl Pettersson, Charl Schwartzel, Charles Howell III.) Kroichick spoke to USGA Executive Director Mike Davis about the process:
Davis and another USGA official, Jeff Hall, typically start the process at 4:30 or 5:00 on Wednesday morning the week before the Open. They spread out 156 index cards on a table, one for each player in the field, and spend six to eight hours trying to produce eye-catching groups.
One classic example: Hannigan once put three late-night carousers together and gave them a really early tee time.
"Jeff and I will get to laughing so hard sometimes," Davis said in a recent phone interview. "We think of things and we say, 'We just can't do that.' … There are a few funny ones, but more of it is related to guys playing on same Walker Cup team or three guys who all went to Oklahoma State.
"Occasionally we'll put three left-handed guys together, three short guys, three tall guys. One year we did back-to-back groups of really tall guys and then a few Ian Woosnam-sized guys."
Police say they pulled over a groom and his best man as they drove in a stolen golf cart from a western Pennsylvania country club wedding reception to a hotel.
Peters Township police Chief Harry Fruecht tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Rolling Hills Country Club opted not to press charges for the wedding day off-the-links hijinks on Saturday.
The men were pulled over when an officer saw them driving a cart without headlights in the curb lane of a busy road just before midnight.
The police chief says the men wanted to arrive at the hotel in the golf cart to surprise the other wedding guests, who took a shuttle.