SAN FRANCISCO – Just six players managed to finish Round 1 at The Olympic Club under par. The field was a collective 768 over par and the high-profile three-ball of world No. 1 Luke Donald, defending champion Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood were a combined 19 over.
By comparison, the par-71 Blue Course at Congressional played to a 74.109 average last year. On Friday the Lake Course boasted a 74.932 average as a par 70.
“It's a lot better than I am. That golf course is too tough for me,” sighed Bubba Watson who opened with a 78.
But if Thursday’s scoring was of any concern to the U.S. Golf Association they weren’t letting on. Executive director Mike Davis said the Lake Course is exactly where they want it and his instructions for the superintendent staff was to keep the layout at the same firmness for Friday’s second round.
Although that would require some watering of fairways and greens, Davis didn’t expect improved scoring conditions on Friday. It will be a tough test, exactly what the USGA wants.
“This is really what we are trying to do,” Davis said. “If fans had to see this 52 weeks of the year it probably wouldn't be good. But to see it once a year, at least the feedback we've gotten for decades and decades is that it's something that fans want to see. A tough test, one week of the year.”
Fans? Sure, but maybe not the players.