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Thread: U.S. Open Golf at Winged Foot - Mamaroneck, NY

  1. #1
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    U.S. Open Golf at Winged Foot - Mamaroneck, NY

    I took today off and spent most of it at as a spectator at the US Open Golf Tournament at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, NY. I have a well connected friend and was the lucky recipient of a VIP guest pass care of this friend.

    It took me a long time to get to the Winged Foot clubhouse. It's about a good 4-5 miles from the Hutch (Hutchinson River Parkway), and to get there you have to take a bunch of smaller back roads which was confusing to say the least. Once I got there, I had to run though a literal gauntlet of New York State Troopers, one of whom was somewhat less than cooperative in helping me get to the player's parking lot which is where my pass entitled to me to go.

    After a long hassle, I finally got in to the facility and parked in the player's lot. I was expecting to see a bunch of Mercedes Benz sports cars and other luxury vehicles, but the lot was filled with SUVs. There were so many SUVs that it almost looked like an SUV dealership. As I parked I saw one of the players, a young guy in his 20s, get out of an SUV with Kentucky plates with his wife/girlfriend. I would later be able to identify him by his picture: it was J.B. Holmes.

    I went in and met some friends at a pre-arranged destination, because no cellphones are allowed on the premises. After you go through the main entrance on the left there is a very large, old clubhouse made entirely of stone masonry, quite an interesting looking building although I did not go inside.

    When I got to the course (18th hole) the threesome that was playing was Tom Lehman, Joey Sindelar and Jay Haas. After watching them for a while I saw a large gallery making its way towards the 5th hole and I knew it had to be Tiger. It was. There was a huge throng of fans following him all day, although ultimately it didn't help him. Anyway, I ran over to the 5th hole green and was able to get in a decent position to watch him hit his approach shot to the green. Tiger was in the fairway on that hole for one of the few times all day, and he hit an iron to the green, a high arcing shot that at first had everyone around me flinching because it looked like it was going long. However the shot bit as soon as it landed on the green, spin rolled maybe 6 inches at most, and came to a rest about 12 feet beyond the hole. Tiger would sink the putt for birdie, which I believe was his only birdie all day en route to a 6 over 76, and 12 over for the tourney, which was not good enough to make the cut. It was the first time as a professional that Tiger missed the cut in a major, and I was there to witness the poor guy's misery.

    In fairness to Tiger, this was a very tough course to come back on after not playing for 9 weeks. The fairways are very narrow and the rough is thick and 6 inches high in places where there is fairway on other courses. There are also nightmarishly configured sand bunkers, including a horseshoe bunker on the 8th hole green that was giving everyone fits. Tiger did not hit the ball straight today, missed the fairways, and seemed to be continually scrambling to make par.

    I spent a lot of time at the 7th hole green, the 8th hole green and the 9th hole tee. One guy who kind of amused me was Angel Jiminez. This guy does not look like a pro golfer or an athlete at all, with his ponytail, extra tire around his midsection, and somewhat awkward looking and uncomfortable swing. Some guys I watch swing, like Justin Leonard and Jim Furyk, and I just scratch my head and wonder who taught them how to play. I felt the same way watching Jiminez. He doesn't have a swing that you would teach, but he gets the job done.

    I spent lunch hour over at the Trophy Club, which is basically a large hangar-type building which has a foodcourt, a bar, numerous TV screens on the walls, and tables at which to eat and drink. They are basically serving a NY style grill and deli menu with things like hot pastrami sandwiches and waffle fries. The food was actually pretty good.

    After lunch I headed over to the enormous merchandising tent. It's almost sick how much money the USGA is making off of merchandising, including everything you can think of being sold there: T shirts, polo shirts, caps, women's clothing, you name it. What a complete madhouse inside that tent! The cash registers were going ching a ling a ling all day. They were even embroidering baseball caps with anything you wanted it to say. I could have had a cap embroidered to say "MERB", if I wanted to! However I settled for the basic $29.00 official 2006 US Open at Winged Foot T shirt.

    I left early afternoon because of some things I needed to do back home. But all in all was a very interesting day. Unfortunately I would later learn that when I saw Tiger bogey the 18th that was the last of his golf for this week. I sort of felt bad for him, after watching him struggle on that nightmarish course with narrow fairways and thick rough that harshly penalizes even slightly errant tee shots. But that is what the US Open is all about. Bring your accuracy or bring the bogeymeter!
    Last edited by EagerBeaver; 06-16-2006 at 09:08 PM.

  2. #2
    I wouldn't worry about Tiger. He's got his $$$$ and wife to go home to.

  3. #3
    ‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› Special K's Avatar
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    Great review of the US Open Beav! Sounds like a very cool, interesting experience. Will you be back there at all for the weekend or was it just for today?

  4. #4
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    SK,

    I was only there today, will not be back this weekend.

  5. #5
    I can't freakin believe Tiger missed the cut. Seems like over the past couple years he usually plays just well enough to make the cut and then has two blistering final rounds to draw close enough to win or at least finish close to the top. Looks like that tendency finally bit him in the ass although I wonder how much the passing of his Dad had to do with his performance.

    He didn't just miss the cut (3 strokes off) he almost lost sight of it. I don't think Michelle Wie played that poorly trying to qualify. Not to disrespect Tigers accomplishments but if he wants to catch the Golden Bear he needs to get back to his previous form, his consistency is not what it used to be. If you ask who the best golfer in the world is right now I have to say Mickelson. Not that Tiger couldn't break out again and pull off another slam.
    "I can picture every move that a man could make
    getting lost in her loving is your first mistake

    Sometimes I think its a sin
    When I feel like I'm winning when I'm losing again"

  6. #6
    Veteran of Misadventures
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    HA,

    If you saw the fairways on this course, you would know that if you are even so-so with your drives your score is going to be way over par. Tiger would have gotten away with mediocre rounds like he had on some other courses, but not on this one. The combination of the 2 month layoff, poor play, his head not totally being into it, and the difficult set up of this course proved to be a combination that was too much for him.

    Although Tiger has won 2 U.S. Opens and won Pebble Beach by 12 shots in 2000, I am not sure that the US Open sets up as well for him as the other majors do. He has had trouble staying in the fairways on some of these courses. Nevertheless, I would be willing to bet money that he bounces back and wins the British Open which is much better suited to his game.

    However, you are right that Mickelson is right now the best player in the world and he is my pick to win this tournament tomorrow. The crowds in NY also seem to love Phil which is going to help him should he get on one of his patented rolls. Mickelson has a tendency to get on big rolls where he has birdie blitzes and although I can't see a "birdie blitz" on this course even from him, I do think he will continue to hover around par and par will win this tournament.
    Last edited by EagerBeaver; 06-17-2006 at 12:11 PM.

  7. #7
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    Mickelson's 18th hole was brutal. It was unnecessary to hit the driver and things went downhill from there. 100% pure brutality.

  8. #8
    proud infidel
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    The ending was ''Vandevelian''...
    Last edited by femaleluver2; 06-18-2006 at 08:42 PM.

  9. #9
    Mickelson: great talent, very questionable decision maker, too much of a gambler, not enough mental strength in clutch situations - will go down in history as a very good golfer who coulda been great but wasn't because of those weaknesses

  10. #10
    Great post on your experience at the US Open EagerBeaver, OK so I have just a touch of envy! Good for you, sounds like a nice experience.

    Not only was Phils choice of using driver on 18 dumb, but I think it may have been his approach that lost him the title - I still love Phil!

    I'll take your action Daringly (Tiger vs Phil) we have 2 majors left, what are the stakes my friend? I have Lefty you get Tiger no one gets strokes, I propose the wager begins at The British with the loser having the option to press (double or nothing) on the PGA.

    You in???

    Spin
    Try everything in life at least once, except incest & maybe square dancing.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Daringly
    Spin
    What i would be more interested in is a wager on every tourney that the two are in from now to the end of the year. I am only interested if we are talking some serious coin. We could have a 3rd party that we both trust hold the money,everything up front. For me to do it i would have to consider it worth while. If you are interested pm me and we will work out the details

    OK all tourments both play in for the remainder of the year - Im in. We'll have to work out the 3rd party as I've never met anyone from this board in person.

    Spin
    Try everything in life at least once, except incest & maybe square dancing.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Daringly
    Spin i to have never met anyone on this board so i guess we would have to see if we could come to an agreement on one of the senior members that would be trust worthy. Then we would have to agree on the amount per tourney and put so much up front.
    The rules would be simple for it to be a wager they would both have to tee off, play 1 hole. If one made the cut and the other didn't the one who made the cut is the winner. If they both make the cut low man wins.
    There would be no wagers until the agreed upon person let us know he has received the money from both of us. The name that i will throw out is EB if he would agree to handle it.

    Cool most of that works for me, I don't see the need to come up with an amount per tourney why not just 1 total amount - 1 point per tournement (low man between the 2 of them wins a point) with 1 Bonus point awarded if either wins any of the 2 remaining Majors (British & PGA) outright, as gofers are often judged on their ability to win Majors (Phil/Tiger win the British you get 2 points - 1 for being low man & 1 for winning a Major).

    The only other point I would like to add is that if either of the 2 are forced to withdraw from a Tournement due to injury or illness that tournement should not count in our wager as beating a guy who has withdrawn does nothing for the Tiger vs Lefty argument.
    Try everything in life at least once, except incest & maybe square dancing.

  13. #13
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    Daringly,

    Sorry, you guys are on your own. All Board bets are done on an honor system.

    Regarding the Tiger vs. Mickelson argument, both are immensely talented players, but I think Tiger has the edge mentally over Phil. I think both will win more majors and will battle each other for #1 world ranking, but when the smoke clears Tiger will have many more wins in majors.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by EagerBeaver
    Daringly,

    Sorry, you guys are on your own. All Board bets are done on an honor system.

    Regarding the Tiger vs. Mickelson argument, both are immensely talented players, but I think Tiger has the edge mentally over Phil. I think both will win more majors and will battle each other for #1 world ranking, but when the smoke clears Tiger will have many more wins in majors.
    Agree 100% - Don't see the need for a third party - I would take balls the size of a dump truck to welsh on bet made in front of this many people.

    As for the Tiger vs Mickelson agrument I tend to agree with EagerBeaver that Tiger may well have the mental edge. As a golfer I prefer Phil's game and prefer the way he acts and holds himself on the course.

    Tiger is too much of a prima donna for me (and his caddie is a jerk), don't like the fist pump or the Nike "T-shirts" he wears either, but alas to each their own.

    Scotty Bowman was at a Major once a few years back, I forget which one right now, but he asked if he could carry the sign showing the 2 golfers name and score for Tigers group for a round and of course his request was granted. Anyway at the end of the day they are all in the clubhouse - keeping in mind that only players, tournement officials, etc.. are permitted to be in the area they were in at the time - and in walks Tiger with his JackAss caddie who commands to all as they enter the room "NO QUESTIONS NO AUTOGRAPHS!" Mr.Bowman was not impressed.
    Try everything in life at least once, except incest & maybe square dancing.

  15. #15
    Daringly,

    I would agree with your assessment of Tiger vs. Phil over their careers thus far and furthermore would concede that it is highly unlikely Phil will ever catch Tiger in terms of victories, majors or totals over the span of their careers. I said that "RIGHT NOW" Phil is the best in the world based on his current and recent performance on the course and followed it with the fact that Tiger could go on a tear at any given time to regain his former brilliance. If or when he will do that is unknown to us.

    Betting against such a player is foolish, tantamount to betting against Jordan in the NBA finals. Do allow Lefty to have his moment in the sun though, his play over the past year has been stupendous to say the least and Tigers has not matched up for whatever reasons. Tiger no longer has a lock on the number one ranking, he has swapped 1# and 2# with Vijay Singh most recently and Phil, at this point, is consistently playing better than anyone.

    EB,

    Right on about those fairways, cost Phil another major and a chance at the Tiger slam. Too bad for a really classy, genuine, friendly guy. A good friend of mine who pilots helicopters was hanging around his craft one day a few years back when he heard a voice ask "hey do you fly that?" He turned around and saw Phil walking up behind him. Phil talked with him and some of the mechanics for about half an hour and even took them for a tour of his private jet. He OFFERED to take a photo with them seeing that they were fans of his and autographed some stationery too add to the photo when it was developed. Seldom do you hear stories like this about athletes exhibiting such class, usually its more like Patrick Ewing telling a young boy in an elevator that he doesn't sign on game days(douchebag). Phil may not be the greatest golfer of all time but he may just end up being the most beloved personality and deservingly so. A great personality can be quite lucrative when coupled with talent. Phil has both.
    "I can picture every move that a man could make
    getting lost in her loving is your first mistake

    Sometimes I think its a sin
    When I feel like I'm winning when I'm losing again"

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