That's More Like It

That’s More Like It

Paul Casey was the 2006 European Tour Player of the Year.
John Biever/SI

Last night after he shot 77, one of my students, Paul Casey, didn’t call me. I’m sure Paul was angry and disappointed because we put in a lot of work on the range so he would be ready for the U.S. Open.

After he shot a 66 on Friday at Oakmont Country Club, we had a nice chat.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how he went from tied for 104th to a few strokes off the lead.

Thursday Friday
Fairways in Reg. 7/14 13/14
Greens in Reg. 8/18 12/18
Sand Saves 3/8 2/2
Total Putts 33 26

Few people realize that Paul Casey shot the low score for the final 54 holes at Winged Foot last year, and again at Augusta National this April. Poor starts have kept him out of the mix, but he’s right there at Oakmont. Like a lot of good players, Paul’s body language speaks volumes. When he feels good and is playing well, Paul walks a little quicker, holds his head up a little higher. The shaft of his club is quieter at the top of his swing. When Paul is off, it’s often because he gets a little wristy at the top.

I don’t think there will be another 66 this week; I think the USGA will make the pin placements even harder on Saturday and Sunday. And when you consider where the holes were cut on Friday — just 12 feet from the right edge on No. 9 and behind a bunker on No.17 — that’s saying something.

Our plan for Saturday will be to continue to hit fairways and greens, and be aware of what he needs to do before hitting every shot. If he can do that, his score will take care of itself, and I know he’ll stay in contention.

Phil looks frustrated
Understandably, it’s been a tough U.S. Open for Phil Mickelson. To play at their best, great players like Phil need to feel comfortable with their preparation before an event, and Phil’s wrist simply would not allow him to practice and prepare the way he wanted.

He looked irritated at times on the course Friday, and even a little rusty. There is so much more to golf than just hitting balls. Because he wasn’t able to prepare in the way that has been successful in the past, he could not play with the confidence necessary to win.