PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – How slow was the play Wednesday at postcard-perfect Pebble Beach? Well, Sean O’Hair and Hunter Mahan joined Eric Axley and John Rollins on the 10th tee early in the afternoon, looking to get in nine holes.
Ninety minutes later, the foursome stood on the 12th green, shaking hands. O’Hair and Mahan had had enough, and headed off for the practice ground.
“It’s tough here – so many guys want to see and play the course, and it’s just too slow,” Mahan said. “Being out there that long isn’t going to do anyone any good.”
Mahan doesn’t have to worry about being underprepared. He got into town on the weekend, played Saturday and Sunday, and had 54 holes in before trying to play nine holes Wednesday. He feels about as ready as possible as he gets set to tee it up in his fourth U.S. Open. He has finished 18th or better in each of his last three Open starts, and was in the mix on Monday at Bethpage Black a year ago before finishing T-6.
“I’m really happy with where I’m at right now,” he said. “The course has changed a lot since I got here on Saturday. It was really firm, then slowed down a little the next two days, and the last two days, they let it go. They know what the weather is going to be. Usually an Open course gets real firm on the weekend, but this time, we may see the same conditions for four days.”
Mahan laughed when asked if he’d ever played a three-hole practice round before. He had not. But his caddie, John Wood, recalled being on Mark Calcavecchia’s bag one time for a practice round that ended even sooner.
“First hole, Calc hits wedge and hits the pin,” recalled Wood. “Second hole, we have 8-iron, he hits the pin. Two holes, hits two pins. He turns to me and says, ‘Let’s get out of here. I’ve got it all figured out.’ ”