BETHESDA, Md. – The U.S. Open is all about tough courses and high scores, and exhausted, drained players often talk openly about their experiences. They should be recognized for their candor.
Of course, if your name is Rory McIlroy, you generally see things differently and talk more positively.
The Honesty Award, Part 1
Y.E. Yang on his opening birdie at No. 10, where he hit a 5-hybrid to four feet: “I sort of cheated and looked at the other guys (in his group) and saw what they hit.”
Dear Mr. Yang: We appreciate your honesty, but looking in the bags of fellow players is not cheating. Many golfers do it. At this year’s induction ceremony for the World Golf Hall of Fame, inductee Doug Ford told a story about Sam Snead often looking in the bags of other players.
The Honesty Award, Part 2
Graeme McDowell, on brown-looking greens at Congressional: “Yeah, they (the greens) are brown in places. They used the front pin on 4, which we looked at yesterday in practice, and that was a particularly brown and beaten-up area of the green. And they did the same on 12. They used the very front portion there, probably before they lose them, you know.”
The Scared-to-Death Award
“I’ve been thinking about 10 (the 218-yard 10th hole over water) for three days,” said Padraig Harrington, “knowing that I was off at 7:44 the first day. It’s a tough start, and I’m happy not to have to do it again.”
The Rory McIlroy Award
How talented is Rory McIlroy? He wins his own award for explosive, unflinching golf.
McIlroy hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation, an amazing statistic in any major championship. He made six birdies, no bogeys.
The “I’m Not Perfect” Award
Once again, McIlroy is our winner: “Yeah (I missed one green). I hit a pretty poor tee shot off the 14th, missed the fairway right with a 3-wood, and hit a 5-iron from there into the left bunker … got it out to maybe 15 feet and holed.”
The Long Bomb Award
Who is the longest hitter in the field? Scott Hend leads in driving distance with a 346-yard average, but managed to hit just 4 of 14 fairways.
On the other hand, Bubba Watson averaged 336 yards (tied for second) and hit 13 of 14 fairways (tied for first).
The “I’m Bubba Watson and You’re Not” Award
Watson’s last seven holes looked like this: birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie, bogey, bogey, bogey.
Although he bogeyed his last three holes, his impressive driving performance and birdie barrage should reinforce how talented the Second Lefty (behind Phil Mickelson) really is.
The Short Guy Award
The shortest hitter in the field? Brian Gay averaged 248.5 yards in the first round.
The Enigmatic Spaniard Award
Is Sergio Garcia on the comeback trail? Yes and no. He hit 16 greens in regulation (tied for second), but he totaled 32 putts (tied for 112th).
Putting remains Garcia’s Achilles’ heel.
The “I’m a Lover, Not a Putter” Award:
What’s wrong with Matteo Manassero? Five 3-putt greens, 36 total putts.
The Low Par-3 Award
Did he putt out? Y.E. Yang birdied each of the par-3 holes.
On the scorecard, these holes measure 233, 173, 218 and 193.