" />
Players Get Bittersweet Taste


By Dave Shedloski
July 28, 2007
 

Kohler, Wis. - At the site of yet another major championship socked by heavy rain and the threat of lightning, you could only anticipate that the word "patience" would be forming quickly on the lips of the championship's protagonists. But players didn't wait until the inclement weather raked Whistling Straits late Thursday afternoon before interjecting comments of that very nature.

Friday could be a long day for many of the over-50 set; at least half of the field (78 players) had not completed their opening round of the 28 thU.S. Senior Open when dangerous weather halted play at 5:05 p.m. CDT. They must turn right around later in the day for another tour of the difficult Pete Dye-designed layout that is as mesmerizing to the eyes as it is mystifying to the mind.

Good players appreciate a difficult golf course and Whistling Straits is receiving its share of grudging kudos. But no one yet has volunteered to set up a summer home nearby. This is a U.S. Open-style championship on a British Open-type layout, so the outlook for Friday and beyond is to monitor who best handles the test of nerve, verve and swerve.

"On a lot of courses, how you play is how you score, but that is not true here," said two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange after he opened with an even-par 72. "Good ball-striking will help your percentages of getting a good result, but it's still hit it and hope. You're going to go through a lot of mental escapades here. You're going to get tattooed a couple of times (on bad bounces) and sometimes you're going to get a good bounce. Of course, we always think we're going to get a good bounce."

There seemed to be enough good bounces to keep scores from getting out of hand Thursday; 24 men were under par at various stages of their rounds. Not everyone was accomplishing that with pristine golf, either. Case in point: Ben Crenshaw, whose renowned putting touch was working magic at Whistling Straits. He stood one under par through 13 holes despite hitting five fairways and three greens in regulation. He'd only needed 15 putts, however.

Check out the fortunes of Jon Fiedler and playing partner Mike San Filippo. At the par-3 17 th, both men hit toward the back of the green. Fiedler, who carded a 69, managed to scrape out a bogey. San Filippo went a few feet farther and suffered a quintuple-bogey 8.

"It's really punitive," Fiedler said. "I think all the player agree with me; a little off, and without a little bit of luck, you can make a big number."

Several players invoked the British Open description to the examination, but that doesn't necessarily mean much if the end result is affected mostly by methods of American know-how. "You are going to have bounces out there, but this place still rewards a guy who hits it pretty straight and has a great short game," said Scott Simpson, the 1987 U.S. Open champion. "It's still the U.S. Open, as far as what you have to do."

Strategic understanding of a layout also comes in handy. Too bad it won't be in abundance this week. Guys just have to convince themselves that boring golf equals good golf. Fewer adventures should preserve scorecard sums and synapse.

"There's no way to learn everything about this place in a week," Strange said. "There's so much to it. It keeps you on edge all the time. By the end of the week, there's going to be some frazzled nerves. You basically start praying as soon as the ball is in the air."

Friday, all the boys return for some more time in church.

Dave Shedloski is a freelance writer whose work has appeared previously on www.ussenioropen.com.

 

Follow the USGA
Become a Facebook Fan of the USGAFollow us on Twitter @usopengolf
 
Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
Chevron
   

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.


Chevron image
Rolex
   

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.



Rolex image
IBM
   

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image
Lexus
   

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express
   

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment


AmEx image