Guys like Davis Love III. And Geoff Ogilvy. And Kevin Streelman. And Rocco Mediate. All of whom figured prominently among Fridays story lines on a day much of which was dominated by You-Know-Who.
The boys in the pressroom are supposed to root for the stories not the people. But even the most hardened among them dont complain when the best people are among the best stories. Even if just for one news cycle.
Streelman, a PGA TOUR rookie and Thursdays co-leader at Torrey Pines South, hails from Wheaton, Il. which also happens to be where Red Grange, John Belushi and Bob Woodward spent their childhoods.
Woodward would eventually break a few stories for the Washington Post; Belushi would make a few people laugh and Grange would stampede his way into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. As running back for the Chicago Bears Grange wore No. 77 and came to be known as the Galloping Ghost.
And somewhere along the line, in Chicago golf circles, shooting a 77 came to be known as a Red Grange.
So Streelman came full circle Friday when he followed his opening 68 with a Red Grange that included two double bogeys and a triple.
And when he finished, he was a good guy about it. If Thursday morning I would have said 3-over at the U.S. Open through two rounds, I would have taken, Streelman said, adding that the four and a half hours of sleep he managed on the lead came between 10 p.m. and 2:30 a.m.
Davis Love wouldnt know how to big time somebody if you offered him a 10-year exemption. In fact Love, playing in his 18th straight U.S. Open, had to earn his way into this one through sectional qualifying. After two rounds he is 1-under par and just two back.
Foot and neck injuries threatened to slow his career to a crawl at age 44. But this is his third week in a row in an event. Once you get physically healthy, then you have to get brain healthy, he said Friday. And theres very few people that seem to be able to help you with that.
Ogilvy, who won this championship two years ago and never complained that people referred to it as the U.S. Open Phil Mickelson lost, wouldnt know how to drop a name if his life depended on it.
Early last year, I asked him in an interview to tell me something about him nobody else knew. After a long pause, he said, I have to take a shower every night before I go to bed. If I dont, I dont feel clean.
So far this week his putting stroke has been even cleaner. Ogilvy has made a ton of par-saving putts and trails leader Stuart Appleby by just three shots after 36 holes.
On Thursday Ogilvys countryman, Robert Allenby, complained loudly about the bumpy afternoon poa annua greens at Torrey Pines South. When a reporter went to Ogilvy and told him Allenby had called them the worst greens ever, Ogilvy objected.
Thats an exaggeration, he said of Allenbys contention. The greens we played Thursday and Friday at Winged Foot, they were a lot worse than today, by 10 times.
Winged Foot two years ago was where Ogilvy won his U.S. Open. But then he didnt feel the need to remind the reporter of that part.
Mediate, who has had a wonderful career for a guy whose back hasnt cooperated, had it to 4-under and finished at 2-under par. His arrival coincided with Tiger Woods birdie putt on his last hole that left Woods tied with him.
Mediate just smiled when told Woods had blazed to a 30 on the front side. And he gracefully fielded the questions on Tiger that had nothing to do with the terrific golf Mediate had just played.
Thats the way good guys are.
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