Could you break 100 at Torrey Pines
Golf enthusiasts will no doubt be keeping an eye on the 108th U.S. Open this week at Torrey Pines in San Diego. And why not? It is traditionally the toughest event on the tour providing golf fans a chance to see the professionals struggle with the conditions the United States Golf Association deems necessary to determine the national champion.
The USGA has given us a compelling reason to watch this week, even if you are a casual golf fan. Rivals Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are paired together for the first two rounds of the championship. While you never hear either speak poorly of the other on camera, or in print, it is considered common knowledge that Woods and Mickelson don't particularly care for each other.
So, the more we get to see of these two trying not to interact with each other for two days, the better. Pity Adam Scott who had the luck to be the third member of the pairing. That grouping is sure to have the largest gallery following it by far, which will make the challenge of focusing on a tough golf layout even more challenging.
If you want to set your DVR, the threesome has an 11:06 a.m. EST starting time on Thursday and hits the 10th tee for their first hole on Friday at 4:36 p.m. EST.
While the golf tournament itself is usually enough to satisfy on its own, this year NBC and Golf Digest have teamed up to get us an intriguing side show. It was born from a statement made by Woods last year when the world's number one golfer said an eight handicap golfer couldn't break 100 at Oakmont with U.S. Open conditions.
While that statement sparked plenty of debate, Golf Digest and NBC, with cooperation of the USGA, decided to put that idea to the test at Torrey Pines this year. Last Friday four amateurs teed it up at Torrey Pines to find out just how an average golfer could do in Open conditions.
Most of you will recognize three members of the group as they are celebrities. They are Dallas Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo, singer Justin Timberlake and NBC Today host Matt Lauer. The other amateur was selected from over 56,000 entrants and is supposed to be about an eight handicap golfer.
Lauer claims a handicap index of 5.6, Timberlake is said to be about a 10, and Romo is an accomplished golfer who once shot a 69 at a U.S. Open qualifying site. The quarterback said he would be disappointed if he didn't break 80 at Torrey Pines.
The highlights of this amateur round will be shown this Sunday at 2 p.m., an hour before coverage of the final round of the Open. Of course NBC probably doesn't want the results to be widely known, but if you can't wait to find out how the round went, a trip to the U.S. Open website may enlighten you.
From a personal perspective I would like to think that my A game would allow me to break 100 on any course, but the reality is that it would not be likely on a U.S. Open track. I have broken 100 on at least two courses where U.S. Opens have been played, and numerous other courses where tour events are held, but two things weren't there that the tour players face. First is the length and second is the rough.
The guys on Friday played the course at 7600 yards or close to it, and with 30 yard wide fairways framed by severe rough. When my group heads to tees longer than 6600 yards I usually try to get them to turn around. Sometimes it works, other times I have to grin and bear it. Bottom line is a 7600 yard track will undo just about any 10-12 handicap player.
Imagine the scores on the par five 13th at Torrey Pines. It is 614 yards from the tips and requires a 240 yard carry over a chasm to reach the fairway. The last time I had a ball in the air that far, the hole was severely downwind and downhill. If I were to challenge this hole, I could score 100 on 13 alone. However, in the spirit of trying to break 100 on this course, I would likely hit a wedge to the regular tees and start from there.
The whole thing sounds like fun. And work!