(Editor's note: Cristie Kerr, the 2007 U.S. Women's Open champion, is filing a daily blog with GolfChannel.com, offering her views on watching the men at Pinehurst No. 2 as the women get ready to play it next week for the U.S. Women's Open.)
By CRISTIE KERR
This historic back-to-back U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open just got a lot more exciting as I make my way to Pinehurst No. 2. It was so inspiring turning on the TV and seeing my friend Erik Compton make that great run into contention Saturday. We grew up together in Miami, and he really touched me with his speech when he introduced me for my induction into the Miami Sports Hall of Fame.
Erik isn’t just a great story with what he’s doing after two heart transplants, he’s a classy guy. He has a great spirit. When he was going into surgery to get his second transplant, I called his cell phone to leave an encouraging message, and his greeting was classic Erik. His greeting was: “You got to love the challenge . . . See everybody soon.” I thought that was great.
I’m driving to Pinehurst with my husband, Erik Stevens, and our son, Mason, and we’re hoping it works out to where I can walk the back nine and follow Erik Compton in Sunday’s final round. We expect to arrive sometime mid-morning. With the USGA opening the practice range to the women at Pinehurst No. 2 at noon on Sunday, I’m hoping I might even be on the range getting in some work at the same time Erik is warming up for his final round. It just depends on the timing of our arrival and getting into our hotel, but I’d really like to do that.
Tuning in to Saturday’s U.S. Open, I wasn’t surprised seeing how much more severe the course was set up. With Martin Kaymer at 10 under, you knew they didn’t want him shooting under par again, and he didn’t. Winning a U.S. Open can be more about mental toughness than it is skill. I wrote Friday about how I would be curious to see how Martin handled himself if he got a bad break, because it can take a toll on you and really shift momentum. Martin got a bad break when his drive ended up against a tree early in his round, at the fourth hole, and I thought he handled it really well. He took the unplayable, made a terrific bogey and then eagled the next hole. Playing the U.S. Open, you have to get out of your own way to win. We’ll see Sunday if Martin can keep doing that.