Saturday, June 14, 2014

U.S. Open Day Three Wrap-Up

The best thing that happened today at the U.S. Open was that Kenny Perry holed out an amazing shot from well off the green at the 14th or 15th hole.  Other than that, it was simply a question of waiting to see whether Martin Kaymer would implode -- and he did not.  It's a good thing we have college baseball and soccer, because this tournament has not been entertaining.

On the other hand, the USGA has cranked the difficulty level at Pinehurst up to 11, which means that the U.S. Open scoring record of 268, set by Rory McIlroy at Congressional in 2011, is no longer in much danger.

One final note:  I am a pretty active fan of professional golf, and until this weekend I had literally never heard of Erik Compton, Brooks Koepka, or Chris Kirk.

1.  M. Kaymer (GER):  -8 (65+65+72=202)

T2.  R. Fowler:  -3 (70+70+67=207)
T2.  E. Compton:  -3 (72+68+67=207)

T4.  H. Stenson (SWE):  -2 (69+69+70=208)
T4.  D. Johnson:  -2 (69+69+70=208)

6.  B. Snedeker:  -1 (69+68+72=209)

T7.  M. Kuchar:  Even (69+70+71=210)
T7.  B. Koepka:  Even (70+68+72=210)
T7.  K. Na:  Even (68+69+73=210)

T10.  J. Rose (ENG):  +1  (72+69+70=211)
T10.  J. Spieth:  +1 (69+70+72=211)
T10.  C. Kirk:  +1 (71+68+72=211)
T10.  B. de Jonge (ZIM):  +1 (68+70+73=211)


  1. Two odd lineup facts in the game between U of L and Vandy in the College World Series. First, Louisville's lead-off hitter is also their catcher; you don't see that very often. Second, Vanderbilt's lineup at the beginning of the game listed a pitcher in the 8th spot as the designated hitter. And then the Dores didn't announce -- or perhaps even decide -- who the actual designated hitter would be until that spot in the order came up to bat.

  2. Through six holes in the fourth round, J.B. Holmes is two under for the day and one over for the tournament. He is currently tied for 9th place.

  3. Scoreboard:

    1. M. Kaymer (GER): -8 (55 holes)
    T2. E. Compton: -3 (55)
    T2. R. Fowler: -3 (55)
    T4. D. Johnson: -2 (56)
    T4. H. Stenson (SWE): -2 (55)

  4. Kaymer drives the green on the short par-four third hole and moves to 9 under par.

    1. M. Kaymer (GER): -9 (57 holes)
    T2. H. Stenson (SWE): -3 (57)
    T2. E. Compton: -3 (57)
    T2. R. Fowler: -3 (57)
    4. D. Johnson: -2 (58)

  5. 1. M. Kaymer (GER): -9 (58 holes)
    2. E. Compton: -4 (59)
    T3. D. Johnson: -2 (60)
    T3. H. Stenson (SWE): -2 (59)

  6. 1. M. Kaymer (GER): -9 (59 holes)
    2. E. Compton: -4 (60)
    T3. D. Johnson: -2 (61)
    T3. H. Stenson (SWE): -2 (60)
    T3. R. Fowler: -2 (59)

  7. For the record, I really dislike the new baseball stadium that they are using for the College World Series these days. The old Rosenblatt Stadium had a ramshackle quality that I found charming, but the new stadium is about as generic as it is possible for a stadium to be. The only quirk about it is that college players find it almost literally impossible to hit home runs there, meaning that all CWS games take on a sort of dead ball quality.

  8. 1. M. Kaymer (GER): -9 (60 holes)
    2. E. Compton: -3 (61)
    T3. D. Johnson: -2 (61)
    T3. H. Stenson (SWE): -2 (61)
    T3. R. Fowler: -2 (60)

    Of these men, Kaymer is the only one who is under par for the day.

  9. In the top of the 8th inning, Texas Tech trails Texas Christian 1-0. With one out, Texas Tech has sent in a pinch runner to run for its leadoff hitter, and has sent up a pinch hitter to bat for its number two hitter. I've never seen that before. The Red Raiders might want to reconsider their batting order.

  10. The pinch hitter works! He whacks a double to left, and the Red Raiders now have men on 2d and 3d with one out.

  11. Texas Christian brought in their closer to deal with Texas Tech's pinch hitter after the Red Raiders got a one-out single. Up to this point, the Texas Christian starter had completely dominated Tech. But the closer has given up a hit to put men on 2d and 3d, and now he gives up a triple and scores both runs. Texas Tech suddenly leads 2-1.

  12. Texas Christian escapes without any further damage, but the Frogs trail 2-1 going into the bottom of the 8th. This would be a pretty big upset if it holds up.

  13. Unbelievable scenes in Omaha. With one out and the tying run on second, the Texas Christian batter hits a deep grounder to second. The Tech second baseman does a great job to stop the ball, thus holding the runner at third. But the Tech fielder, making a desperate -- and hopeless -- effort to get the out, hurls a throw to first that goes well over the first baseman's head. The runner scores. The batter goes to second. We are all tied at 2.

  14. And now Boomer White, the Texas Christian left fielder, laces a single to left and the Frogs have taken a 3-2 lead. What a game!

  15. Meanwhile, Martin Kaymer has played the front nine at Pinehurst in a very slick 34 strokes. I have a feeling they could play this tournament for four more rounds, and he would still be in the lead.

    1. M. Kaymer (GER): -9 (63 holes)
    2. E. Compton: -4 (64)
    3. D. Johnson: -2 (65)

  16. After eight innings, Texas Christian leads 3-2. Tech is down to its last three outs.

  17. Since it's almost impossible to hit a home run at the new Omaha Stadium -- there hasn't been one in the last 90 innings of CWS play -- it's very hard to come from behind there. In fact, since the CWS moved to the new stadium a few years ago, no team has ever come from behind in the 9th inning to win; they are 0-40.

  18. With two outs and a man on first in the top of the ninth, the number-9 hitter comes up for Texas Tech. He hits a ground ball to third -- but the third baseman can't field it! That's an error on Texas Christian, and there are now runners at first and second.

    In the last inning, Texas Tech pulled their leadoff hitter for a pinch runner. So now they are sending up a pinch hitter.

  19. The pinch hitter grounds out to short, and Texas Christian wins 3-2. A very good game, and it only took 2 hours and 55 minutes to play. Louisville would be in the sixth inning at this point.

  20. Now NBC is showing highlights of how Martin Kaymer helped Europe come from behind to beat the United States at the Ryder Cup in 2012. I'm sure a lot of NBC's viewers were thrilled to see that footage again.

  21. Leaderboard:

    1. M. Kaymer (GER): -8 (64 holes)
    2. E. Compton: -3 (65)
    3. D. Johnson: -2 (66)
    4. R. Fowler: -1 (64)

  22. Please make it stop:

    1. M. Kaymer (GER): -8 (65 holes)
    T2. D. Johnson: -2 (66)
    T2. E. Compton: -2 (66)

  23. This will be the fourth time in the last five years that the U.S. Open has been won by a European player. Before 2010, no European had won the U.S. Open in 40 years. The Europeans may want to hire Mike Davis to set up their next Ryder Cup course.

  24. Now NBC has put up a graphic comparing the ages at which Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus won their majors. Thanks, NBC. That seems really relevant here.

  25. The Direct TV commercials where the guy is married to a marionette are some of the oddest commercials I've ever seen.

  26. The U.S. Open is so horrible. It's like they have a national championship of writing, and we have this big competition with all of the world's best writers where they have to write something without using the letter "E."

    1. That's a pretty good comparison. Pinehurst has a lot in common with Augusta National -- it's a course where almost all the drama relates to how you manage the greens. Bobby Jones understood that the best way to set up a course like this is to give the golfers a lot of freedom around the rest of the course, because the greens are going to be such a challenge. That's probably what they should have done here.

      But they're afraid that such an approach would lead to scores that were too low. So they made everything so difficult that after Friday, no one could ever get any rhythm going, and you were constantly watching balls roll all over the place.

      I have a lot of sympathy for Mike Davis and what he's trying to do, and I would advise him to forget about where the scores end up relative to par, and to just set up the course to create the best and fairest challenge possible.

  27. There are three players under par, and the best of those has played even par since Friday.

  28. Phil Mickelson came out on NBC after his fourth round and called this tournament "a good, even test" for the world's best golfers, but it sounded like he was reading from talking points prepared and approved by the USGA PR people.

    Kenny Perry tied Phil Mickelson this weekend.

  29. OK, now we've got four guys on the course. Three of them are the three guys who are under par for the weekend, and, in fact, they are now the only three guys at even or better for the weekend.

  30. OK, one of the guys--Erik Compton--completes his tournament, and he stays under par. Compton played two rounds under par, and he finishes at 1-under.

  31. Only two guys got under par in as many as three rounds this weekend (Keegan Bradley and Brendon Todd). Martin Kaymer has to make par or better here on No. 18 to become the third to do so.

  32. I don't ever want to waste my time on another golf tournament where there's more talk about the strategy of how the course was laid out for the weekend than about the golfers and their play.

  33. Rickie Fowler gets his par on No. 18, so he finishes at 1-under for the weekend.

  34. And it's over. Martin Kaymer finishes with a one under par 69. He shoots 271 for the tournament -- nine under par -- and wins by eight shots over Erik Compton and Rickie Fowler.

  35. And Kaymer gets his par on No. 18 to finish 1-under for the day, 1-over since Friday and 9-under for the weekend. I like Kaymer fine. This is his second major, and he seems to be pretty consistently in contention weekend to weekend. So his winning in and of itself is not a problem. But this top of the leaderboard ...

    Kaymer 65-65-72-69=271 (-9)
    Compton 72-68-67-72=279 (-1)
    Fowler 70-70-67-72=279 (-1)
    Everybody Els=281 (+1) or worse

    ... that's a bad weekend of golf watching right there, boys.