US Open Postscript

Sunday’s 6-11a shift was my favorite. Left the house at 4:52a and walked onto the grounds at 5:51a. The sunrise was spectacular and it was nice watching the course slowly come to life under overcast skies and cool temps in the mid 50’s.

A lot of disabled spectators had either tired and turned to their televisions or simply slept in so I ate my annual donut, shot the breeze with fellow volunteers, walked a bit of the course, and made occasional runs around the course.

The Cowboy will be pleased to know there was a brief Holly Saunders sighting. She sped by in the passenger seat of another cart. On a related note, her post round interviews were goofy. Sane people know Fox isn’t fair or balanced, but we have to acknowledge that they are consistent when it comes to their television “talent”. Their coverage more generally was flawed relative to the much more experienced network teams. Norman’s bromance for Day was over the top, the lack of yardage, Pavin awkwardly overreacting to a Faxon dig, “What do we want to go here, best career?”, etc. However, the microphone in the hole was genius and almost compensated for all the other shortcomings.

The highlight of the day was my penultimate trip, from Central Meadows to the top of the 18th hole grandstand. A man flagged me down and said, “I had a hip replacement, and it hurts, and I need to get up to the 18th grandstand for a picture, can you take me?” I looked at his tournament pass everyone wears around their neck and it said, “Robert Trent Jones, Jr.” The course architect and his wife hopped on and we we’re off.

“I heard you interviewed on the radio a few days ago. It was a nice interview.” Phone call with someone involved with the picture and then, “The pros are really savaging the greens aren’t they?” What do you say to that? “Yeah, but everyone has to putt the same greens.” Weak I know, but I was working with 5 hours sleep. Then I said, “You should be proud of the fact that this is a spectacular event.” He shook my hand appreciatively. And told me he had an article in the Sunday Seattle Times about his dad for whom “I wouldn’t be here personally or professionally.”

The locals are too damn defensive about all the criticism of the greens, Jones’s design, noisy trains, and the spectators’ many challenges. I don’t understand why people take it so personally. Given the leaderboard and dramatic ending*, the early word from Tim Rosaforte is that all the greens will be completely redone (much less undulation, much more consistent grass) and the “footprint” will be altered to be more fan-friendly and the USGA will return in 10+ years.

How many majors will Spieth have by then?

After finishing work at 11a, I picked up a Thai Chicken Wrap, banana, and water**, and headed to the practice range. It was strange that more people weren’t there because it was the best place to see the most players up close putting, chipping, hitting balls. I watched Rose, Kopeka, Poults, HMarayauma, Mcllroy, Na, Senden, the Duf who wins the “best shoes” and “most weight lost since divorcing” competitions. At 11:45a, Spieth walked onto the practice range a few feet in front of me and headed to the putting green, exactly three hours before teeing off.

Having gotten too much sun, I headed home at noon, tired from a long week. I’m lucky my vagabond daughters are both home. The Girls Club was wanting to hike Mount Rainier sometime this week before the Eldest returns to the shadows of Wrigley Field. I suggested we take advantage of the Summer Solstice and head to Rainier and the fam proved spontaneous enough.

A glorious hike on the Deadhorse Creek trail was cappped with a picnic dinner a mile above the Paradise Visitor’s Center. After returning home, I watched the tournament which I had recorded.

A full and fun day. I’m appreciative of my health and my daughters who gave me cards with touching messages. I’m also grateful for nature, in particular the Sound that frames Chambers Bay and Mount Rainier which frames large swaths of Western Washington.

Postscript: To the golf averse, I have one more golf post in me and then it will be on to new subjects.

* One take-away from tournament week. America is seriously overweight. One culprit has to be beer. Everyone began drinking beer at around 10a and didn’t stop.

** Would have been even more dramatic if the tournament had been decided by a made putt.

12th hole. Driveable par 4. For them, not us.

12th hole. Driveable par 4. For them, not us.

This is why they're better than me. They warmup with the same balls they play.

This is why they’re better than me. They warmup with the same balls they play.

The wildflowers are in full bloom a month earlier than normal.

The wildflowers are in full bloom a month earlier than normal.

One thought on “US Open Postscript

  1. Happy Father’s Day, Rook, a day late. Good review of what must have been a truly grand golfing experience without actually playing. Agreed on most points except your usual mistaken slam on Fox News. But I’ll let that one slide.

    It is nice to know that the South, Midwest, Southwest, and New England don’t have all the golf spectator “Chowderheads” with those post impact inane comments. Relieved to know now that the Far West has its fair share of golfing idiots. The beer concession explains most of it.

    I knew Joe Buck and the Shark were not the best choices as soon as I read of their selection as host and chief commentator. Yes, mic in the hole was great. But so was the surface inhancement of greens, but they only used a few times. They also only used a very visible halo around the hole one time! Great feature because balls were impossible to ID on greens as they were moving. Tracer technology would have been great with short shots in addition to the tee shots. Guess that’s not ready yet. Rookie crews of both off and on air personnel not up to par of other golfing networks. But that was to be expected and imagine that will improve. I actually missed Roger Maultbie and McCord. (But not Johnny Miller).

    The course was the star and that’s probably good and bad. At least everyone, viewers and pros alike, had an opinion. One puzzling thing for me, CB has known for 8 years that they were hosting the Open. Isn’t that enough time to redo the greens and take out a few of those goofy hills and valleys in the greens? Be interested in your opinion. Most disappointing, Rook, was that you blew your chance to replace Holly at next year’s tourney by not asking more penetrating questions of Mr. Jones. Oh well, Holly is a little easier on the eye, no offense, Rookster.

    Which brings us to our winner, Mr. Spieth. This might be the part you will wish to share with your golfing buddies. Jordan wanted to concentrate on golf at 12. His parents said emphatically NO! So he played baseball (pitcher), basketball, and football (QB) through middle and high school and some golf when it didn’t conflict with the other sports, which wasn’t that much.

    The interesting part in my area of limited expertise (fitness and sports performance) is that he was a lefty thrower. As a left-handed thrower, he turned his body the opposite way of his golf swing. This gave and still does give him a tremendous advantage over his fellow competitors. (Similar to Phil M. a natural righty but left handed swinger). By turning his body the opposite way he gained valuable balance of body flexibility and strength. This helped him then and now to avoid overuse injuries. Of course, he will probably experience some as he gets older. (Ever hear of Tiger Woods?) If you train your body to move in both directions, you improve your body’s ability to develop speed. Big mistake most athletes make is they train in only the direction of their sport movements. This creates injury producing imbalances in the body and limits performance potential. All TPI speed training is done equally on BOTH sides. So practice swinging left-handed, Rook. Takes a few months but will pay off huge. Then tee it up from the tips at #12 and let it rip.

    Another little sports tidbit to dazzle your buds: of Urban Meyer’s top 50 recruits, over 40 played more than one sport in HS. Urban is one smart cookie. And let’s hope DJ recovers from this major disappointment. Although they never said, that I heard, anyway, his drive on 18 Sunday must have gone at least 350 or more?? Then the 5 iron, unbelievable as was JS’s two shots. Great stuff.

    Our best to your girls. Allison is at UChicago?? And J is attending?? Lynn teaching??

    Coach Wood PS. Are you on to St Andrews next?

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