Stephen Meeker, Olympic’s general chairman

File:Olympic club.jpg


Stephan Meeker, Olympic Club’s general chairman states that the USGA had no say in the set up and changes to the course for the 2012 U.S. Open;

” A lot of people think that the USGA asked us to make a lot of these changes to the course and in order to get another U.S. Open, but that’s totally untrue. They never even suggested that we do one thing. We decided to replace the greens. Well, if we’re ever going to make any other changes, now is the time to do it because we’re building the greens. The reason we changed eight is because the old eighth hole was a wonderful hole for many, many years, but most of the trees and all the defenses around that hole we lost. And it really became the weakest hole on the property, by far.”

Then he admits that USGA executive director Mike Davis asked them to put in a bunker on hole 17;

” There’s the USGA executive director Mike Davis bunker on 17 that he asked us to put in that actually most of our members since we have seen it sort of think it’s kind of cool and maybe we’ll keep it. We don’t know yet. We’re going to have to see how it goes when the members start playing it for two or three months. ”

So, what do you believe ?


U.S. Open @ Olympic Club. Webb Simpson Wins, but he is over par.


Simpson takes it

Webb Simpson, 2012 U.S. Open Champion/ Franklin/Getty Images

Webb Simpson won the 2012 U.S. Open Championship at Olympic Club in San Francisco on Sunday, with a total score of +1 over par for the four rounds. His last round was a -2 under par effort that was enough to wrest the title out of  Jim Furyk’s grasp. Jim had led the tournament for most of the tournament, including most of the last round. Coming down the stretch an official warned him about slow play, and from that moment on Jim went into reverse, and finished with a final round of +4 over par, tied for fourth. Webb said at the end;

”I knew it was a tough golf course, I had to go out and do as well as I could.  I probably prayed more the last three holes than I’ve ever done in my life.  It helped me stay calm and get in with 2 under.”

Congratulations to Webb, but this win will reignite the discussion about the long putter, and whether the governing bodies should ban what is known as anchoring altogether. That ruling would affect the belly and the broomstick versions of the putter.

Graeme McDowell also faltered on the way in, he finished tied for second after a last round of +3 over par 73. Best round of the day went to Michael Thompson, the first round leader, he made a charge on the day with a beautifully crafted -3 under par 67, to finish tied for second with Graeme. What G-Mac or Jim wound have given for that score. Tied in fourth place with Jim were; David Toms, Padraig Harrington, John Peterson and Jason Dufner. Jason could have won this tournament easily, if only his putter had been working. I will have to contact Jason, to see if I could interest him in one of our White Dragon Putters.

Nobody else really came close, the desk jockey’s were determined to set up this course to be be as difficult as it could be. Wether it was a real test of good golf, or just down to someone getting lucky on the day, only the people who witnessed the carnage can attest. To reduce the worlds best players, to struggle to play par golf, is it a good idea ? No one was able to finish under par.

Tournament favorite Tiger Woods finished with a very disappointing round of +3 over par and tied for 21st with a final total of +7 over par. Not the result that he, or the hypers in the media were hoping for, it seems like Tiger is still not quite right yet to win another major. He said of his tournament;

“I didn’t really miss it that badly this week, the misses were just a fraction off, which is great. That’s what we want to have happen. This golf course is just so demanding that a fraction off, you pay the price. That first six, I just didn’t play well at all. I just could never get anything going positively and I missed the ball in the wrong side a couple times and that’s all it takes. There’s a lot of positives this week, hit the ball really well. Unfortunately, I just didn’t have the speed of the greens until today.”

U.S.Open @ Olympic, third round, two at the top. Furyk and G Mac.


There are now only two competitors under par after the third round of the U.S. Open at Olympic Club, Jim Furyk is still doggedly there, he is tied at the top with Graeme McDowell. Jim and Graeme are past champions, and know how to grind out a decent score on a difficult track.

Jim Furyk had his usual workman like round of even par 70 for his tournament total of -1 under par, while G-Mac recorded a -2 under par round of 68 to equal Jim’s 54 hole total.

Graeme thinks just about anybody could still win, he said;

“It’s wide open.”

Seeking another crown

Jim & G-Mac /Getty Images

Alone in third position is  Fredrik Jacobson, of Sweden, with his third round score of -2 under par elevating him up the leaderboard, finishing at +1 over par.

One of the best rounds of the day came from Lee Westwood, he shot a three under par 67, which could easily have been better, a couple of missed putts cost him dear. Lee is only now three shots off the pace at +2 over par, he is joined on that score by a former champion Ernie Els. Another good round tomorrow and Lee Westwood could be there at the end.

Westy's week?

Lee Westwood /Shaw/Getty Images

They share that tied for fourth spot with Blake Adams, and Belgium’s big hitting Nicolas Colsaerts. Tiger Woods is tied 14th, after a lackluster third round of +5 over par, 75.  He will need an extraordinary round tomorrow if he is to contend the title, unless steady Jim Furyk falls over and gives him a hand. I think another par round for Jim tomorrow will see him lift the trophy. But someone could come up with a magical round, will be interesting to watch the jousting for position on Sunday. The course will be set up to be extra tough, as if it wasn’t hard enough already.

U.S. Open @ Olympic, three tied at the top after second round.


There are three players tied at the top of the leaderboard at the conclusion of the second round at  Olympic club on Friday.                                                               They are Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and David Toms, who all finished the day at -1 under par for the tournament. The smart money is still on Tiger Woods, although Jim and David will not shy away from pushing Tiger all the way, and stop him in his tracks in his pursuit of Jack’s record.

Tiger's right there

Tiger Still Prowling / Franklin/Getty Images

They know the way

Graeme McDowell / Jim Furyk                                                                          

Old Champs still plodding along / Redington/Getty Images

They are also the only players who managed to get under par for the 36 holes, the nearest challengers are at +1 over par, and there are four of them; John Peterson, Nicolas Colsaerts, Graeme McDowell and first round leader Michael Thompson.

Justin Rose slipped back with a sorry round of 75 to finish at +4, and Lee Westwood finished at + 5 over par for the tournament, along with Ian Poulter who also suffered with a 75 in his second round. Phil Mickelson had a better second round, a 71, to finish the day at +7, to make the cut. Phil said he was happy to make the weekend;

“I had a really good thing happen yesterday,I hit balls after the round, and I had this really good breakthrough. I felt much better with the ball striking and was able to work it. Just a slight thing on the setup. It wasn’t allowing me to bring the club back where I wanted to and on an inside path. I was taking it outside, and I was getting it in a bad position from the start. I played well enough today to shoot under par and I have to shoot 3 or 4 under par tomorrow to have a chance for Sunday. It’s out there, but it’s very difficult. You’ve got to strike it well, but you’ve got to make some putts and  that’s just the one part that kind of let me down today.”

Notables missing the cut beginning with those who were hopelessly out of touch; Michael Campbell +13, Vijay Singh +13, Stewart Cink +12  Spencer Levin +11, world number one Luke Donald +11, defending champion Rory McIlroy +10.

Others just missing the cut line which was set  at +8, were; Bubba Watson, Y.E. Yang, Louis Oosthuizen, who were all at +9 over par.

Young Chinese player Andy Zhang also missed the cut finishing with a tournament score of +16 over par.

U.S.Open @ Olympic Club, first round carnage.


There was carnage at the first round of the U.S. Open at Olympic Club today, with only six players out of the entire field managing to get under par. At the top of the leader board on day one is Michael Thompson whose -4 under par round of 66 was by far the best round of the day.

There are five players tied in second place with a score of -1 under par on the day, they are; Tiger Woods, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, David Toms and Nick Watney, Nick was helped by an Albatross on the par five 17th.

Tiger was really happy with the way he played the course;

“Really excited how I was able to execute my game plan. In the practice rounds, I hit more woods off the tees because the ball wasn’t chasing as much. Today, it was quicker and the tees were somewhat up from where we played our practice rounds. Consequently, that’s 20 yards. Twenty yards is a lot. And all of a sudden, we’re in the steeper part of slopes and now we’re through dog legs. I had to make the adjustment.”

Tiger's the tale

Tiger on the Prowl   How/Getty Images

Phil Mickelson was unable to make any adjustments and finished with a disappointing +6 over par and is in danger of not making the cut;

“I just let it continue, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get it stopped. That will be a good challenge for me, I’ve got to kind of wipe this round out.”

Following those guys are eight contestants who got round in par, the notables in this group include; Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar and Ian Poulter. Everybody else is over par, some are way over par, for instance Luke Donald could only muster a +9 over par round, and has probably played himself out of this tournament. Rory McIlroy was not much better at +7, and Bubba Watson crashed to +8 and must be regretting taking all that time off after his Major win, letting all his good form go rusty.

Bubba  appears to be down and out, lamenting the tough course layout;

“That golf course is too tough for me.”

Lee Westwood is hanging in there after his +3 opening round of 73, and should at least make the cut. It will be interesting to see if the other notables on the plus side of the scoreboard can put together a good second round to make the cut.

Young Chinese player Andy Zhang, 14 years old, managed to get round in the same score as world number one Luke Donald, at +9.

Bubba Watson looking forward to playing alongside Tiger & Phil at Olympic

Alternate approach

Bubba Watson Redington/Getty Images

Bubba Watson is looking forward to joining up with Tiger and Phil at Olympic Club for the opening rounds of the U.S. Open. Although he admits it will be a little different;

“Two legends. One has won 70-odd time  and the other 40 times, obviously it’s going to be a little different. One is probably number one of all time and one is probably top five for sure. No intimidation, though. I’ve played with those guys before. Know them. Good friends.  I’m guessing we’re going to have big crowds, even with a tee-off time of 7.33 am that’s a given. Your mental focus, your preparation is different. Everything is heightened a little bit. Hopefully we step up our game. Hopefully I step up my game!  Obviously at the end of it, at the end of the week or the end of my couple of days of playing with them, you look back and you learn from them. ”

“You watch how they handle their situation. You wonder how they handle a bad lie. You learn from two legends of the game, seeing how they go about their business. These are the people I grew up watching in high school. Now I’m getting to play with them.  It’s going to be like Sunday at The Masters. ”

” We need to be on top of our game for 18 holes. I don’t want to come out here and shoot 80. There’s an 80 lurking. You’re going to make bogeys, not many birdies. It’s about trying to make par somehow. You know the US Open is going to challenge you in all aspects of your game. That’s the challenge for all of us this week.”

“Everybody starts asking questions and golf is the last thing. It’s been a tough road trying to get back to focusing on golf.  After missing a cut a couple of weeks ago I got mad enough and started practicing.”

16th Hole at Olympic is 670 Yards, can anyone get on in two?


Franklin/Getty Images


The 16th hole at Olympic Club is a par 5 now measuring an unbelievable 670 yards,the longest par 5 on the PGA TOUR. Not surprisingly this has caused a lot of debate among the professional players who will have to negotiate it, the press room, who can not understand the need for it, and of course the average golfer or gallery member who just thinks it’s nuts. The chances of anyone reaching the green on two are definitely remote, some say just getting there safely in three is a real challenge. At the end of the tournament I bet you will be able to count the number of birdies registered there on the fingers of one hand. The sharp dogleg left par 5 feels like a constant U-turn and of course the fairway narrows right at 300 yards from the tee box.

PGATOUR.COM Site Producer  Ryan Smithson thinks it is too much;

”  A 670-yard par 5 in that dense Bay Area air? Very few will hit the 300-yard barrier. Bubba claiming he slammed two drivers, and still had 60 yards to go? Where does it stop? Will it play 720 yards the next time a U.S. Open is held there? To me, that green isn’t meant for the Steve Stricker’s and Luke Donald’ of the world to hit 5-irons in. Two huge bunkers guard the front, and if the pin is placed anywhere near them, it will be all but impossible to get the ball close. Hello, bogey. There’s nary a quicker way to lose a U.S. Open than to put a ‘6’ on your card.”

Phil Mickelson said;

“I’ve yet to have less than 200 yards on 16. I dont know where we’re hitting wedge on that hole.”

Louis Oosthuizen had some trouble during practice on that hole, he was looking at 240 yards for his third shot, he said;

” It’s too risky, the neck there on that fairway or the green is what, 6-7 yards wide? You’re going to overrun it. If anybody is on the green in two this week, that’s something special.”

American Lucas Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion at Bethpage Black, got to play the 16th in his first practice round, and achieved about the best result anyone could hope for this week. He drove into the fairway, then absolutely hammered a 3 wood short, and with his third, floated the ball onto the green with a sand wedge and two putted for par. Lucas said of the hole;
“That hole is all you want. I don’t know that anybody, without a serious wind at their back, could get there in two. Getting there? Maybe. Getting the ball to hold? There’s no chance. It’s a three-shot hole for sure.”

The 17th hole is also a par 5, and USGA executive director Mike Davis expects both the 16th and 17th will decide who will become champion on Sunday afternoon. He said;

“Now with back-to-back par 5s, I think you will see the U.S. Open won or lost on those two holes.”

I think that is a shame, the test of golf should be over eighteen holes, not just with who gets lucky on two holes, seems like the longest hitters off the tee will prevail. Not the best golfer, the muscle man will win it. Not much chance then for world number one Luke Donald.