Of all the great headlines coming into the week and during the first two rounds,It was the third that has turned the tournament on it’s head. Players complaining, Phil pulling Shenanigans, the USGA in full on back pedal but no apology mode, “dogs and cats living together, It’s mass hysteria!” (Peter Venkman – Ghostbusters)
At 745 AM on Sunday, Phil Mickelson is still getting roasted for what should just have been just a bad judgement call on his part. His explanation is what many have struggled with. Writer Tod Leonard from the San Diego Tribune called his explanation “Bull”.
We were fairly split on our staff. We all agreed it was out of character and that was very borderline with a couple feeling he should have been DQ’d while others thought what they did was right for the situation. I don’t think there is a good answer here.
At the end of the day, the real story yesterday was how much the course dried out by afternoon.
It made for a very difficult test and many players spoke out about how difficult it was and unfair. Zack Johnson, a player that normally doesn’t say anything was asked if the Course was on it’s edge. He said “No, not at all. I thought we could be on the edge, but its gone. Unfortunately they lost it.” Many others seconded that emotion.
Brooks Koepka was asked similar questions and he said don’t ask him about certain specific holes. (Paraphrase) You could tell he was frustrated even to the point of anger. He said that if anyone would have shot a 4-under in the afternoon it would have been the best round of golf every seen.
The USGA released a Statement last night and said We are hearing everyone loud and clear and are convinced a Great Fathers Day Finish is in the cards. (Paraphrase) USGA Director Mike Davis sent out the mandate to slow the course down and ease up the pin placements.
Dustin Johnson came into round three with a 4 stroke lead, after 7 holes he had lost the lead. He made mistakes, and the golf course took advantage of him, although he played much better on the second nine.
Brooks Koepka was down 5 strokes coming into Saturday. Little did anyone know that Johnson would struggle badly on the front nine to bring Koepka back into the mix.
Tony Finau and Daniel Berger were way back in the pack to start the day yesterday. They started the day tied for 47th and both turned in rounds of 66 in the morning when the course was more manageable.
Those great rounds were rewarded by the fact that the rest of the leaderboard struggled in the afternoon and pulled the field back into contention. Both Finau and Berger start the day tied for the lead with Koepka and Johnson.
There are actually 22 players within a few strokes of the lead. That list included Masters winner Patrick Reed sitting at 6+over.
Justin Rose has been a great player on both the PGA Tour and the European Tour for years. He already has a US Open win and because he has been able to keep his game in check, he has a chance for another just a stroke back.
Jim Furyk has been one of the most consistent players in golf for a very long time. He has won this tournament before and he also finds himself at 6+over. When asked about the course, Furyk said “I am pretty sure 15 is not what they(USGA) was looking for.”
Regardless of what took place yesterday, I agree with Mike Davis that today is set up for a tremendous finish. There are 22 players within 5 of the lead and a great chance to win a US Open Championship. Sit back, relax and enjoy what could be a great or ridiculous ride.
Either way, its must see TV!