PINEHURST, N.C. – There was time to kill – lots of it – between the end of the second round and the start of the third here at the 114th U.S. Open. By 1:10 p.m. ET Friday, Martin Kaymer had signed his card and staked himself to an eight-shot lead. He wouldn’t strike another meaningful shot for 26-plus hours, so, like Martin, we waited. And waited.
Some scribes passed the time by working out. Others watched TV, read a book, video-chatted with their family, or played golf at one of the many spectacular venues in a 10-mile radius.
Well, I preferred to eat.
Let’s be clear: This post isn’t a cry for help. This isn’t a subtle way of saying that I eat only when I’m bored. Not that at all. It’s just that when I’m on the road 12-15 weeks per year, I enjoy sampling the town’s local flavor. You know, literally.
So, after our work was done Friday night, the GolfChannel.com crew pulled our Nissan Versa into the Full Moon Oyster Bar, a wannabe dive in the middle of a shopping center in Southern Pines. When it comes to seafood I typically enact The 50-Mile Rule (from a body of water), but in this case I made an exception because, well, there were oysters involved.
Though my metabolism has caught up a bit in recent years, I can still consume an ungodly amount of food and not pack on much, if any, weight onto my 5-foot-10-inch, 165-pound frame. With that in mind, The Full Moon platter seemed a no-brainer: crab legs and shrimp and scallops and mussels and clams and oysters, all in one heap. “Enough for two!” the menu boasted, though by the end of the night, trust me, it proved enough for one famished, 27-year-old male, too. (Not to mention the key lime pie for dessert.)
When my cellphone buzzed at 8 a.m. Saturday, the final group of Kaymer and Brendon Todd was still 7 1/2 hours away from beginning its third round ... in other words, plenty of time for a hearty lunch.
At about 12:30 p.m., we made the 10-minute walk from the media center to the village of Pinehurst, where elderly women zipped around the streets in golf carts, church bells rang on schedule, the Goodyear blimp idled overhead.
Since this midday break wasn’t about sightseeing, however, we soon headed down the brick-paved street of Market Square. There was Dugans, a Pinehurst staple, an Irish pub with a friendly staff, a packed bar and, of course, a menu featuring fish and chips. Sure, it was a heavy lunch before an afternoon of walking and scribbling, but I can safely assume it was better fuel than the media-center fare. (Today’s featured item: chicken sliders.)
Third-round play will conclude at about 8 p.m. tonight, and our team here will leave Pinehurst sometime after 10. Once again, there’ll be plenty of time to kill before the leaders go off Sunday afternoon. Hey, you know what that means.