French pairing fine for Levet

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – Two months ago, Thomas Levet stood beneath the sprawling oak tree behind Augusta National’s clubhouse and soaked in the Masters ambiance. He loved it, but conceded he’d have loved it more had he been a participant. Instead, he was working for television.

“I want to return to the majors as a player,” he said.

True to his word, Levet this week is in the field at the U.S. Open, having shot 70-67 in a qualifier in Surrey, England. It’s Levet’s second straight appearance in this major, but just his fifth overall in a pro career that dates back 20 years.

To go with the joy of being in the U.S. Open, Levet can add a feeling of great comfort, thanks to the playfulness of U.S. Golf Association officials. Showing that they have a sense of humor beneath those blue blazers, championship organizers put together some pairings that are right out of the blue. For example, Levet is paired Thursday and Friday with fellow Frenchmen Jean-Francois Lucquin and Raphael Jacquelin.

“I was surprised, but it will be fun,” Levet said. “We play all our practice rounds together, maybe 100 times a year.”

Indeed, Levet was with Lucquin and Jacquelin for Tuesday’s practice round and they’ll be together again Wednesday. But wouldn’t they be sick of one another by Thursday? Levet smiled and shook his head. “No, no,” he said. “It is fun – and besides, I think it will be easier for the French media.”

Get that, the U.S. Golf Association is out to make things easier for the media.

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