Gary Van Sickle's First Round Thoughts

Gary Van Sickle’s First Round Thoughts

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.