What We Learned: Olympic up to the challenge


SAN FRANCISCO - For the 112th U.S. Open, the GolfChannel.com team offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from Day 2 at The Olympic Club.

I learned that the 112th edition of the U.S. Open is far from over. Yeah, yeah. I know what you’re thinking: “Tiger Woods is tied for the lead! He’s going to win!” You know what? I don’t disagree with that notion one bit. Force me to pick an eventual champion from the current list of contenders and my money is on the dude with 14 majors to his name, too. But I’ve also seen too much golf over the past two days to believe that some strange, quirky, unpredictable things can’t happen over the next 36 holes. It’s not as if his fellow co-leaders Jim Furyk and David Toms will go bury their heads in a greenside bunker simply at the notion of having to contend with him for a title. And the nature of this beast that is Olympic has shown us that there are no givens on this course. Nothing is absolute here, nothing is taken for granted. So yes, I think Tiger is on the verge of his 15th major victory, but I’m going to stick around and keep watching anyway, because I don’t think this thing’s even close to being over. - Jason Sobel

I learned that The Olympic Club is a helluva lot better than I thought it was. I knew it was a good track, but I wasn't convinced that it'd provide a great championship. Perhaps I was too aware of Opens past where David took down Goliath, perhaps I was too worried that another Jack Fleck would take down another Ben Hogan. That still may happen, but, if it does, it won't be Olympic's fault. I walked around these storied grounds for three days early in the week and listened to players who weren't fond of the place. I thought there'd be too many goofy bounces that that the top players wouldn't be pleased. I'm over it all now. This is a great test, one that will provide a worthy champion by week's end. - Jay Coffin

This U.S. Open is a brutish test, but it might not be a complete test. If you can win this championship hardly having to hit your driver, how can it be a complete test? This is no shot at Tiger Woods, who is working his ball around The Olympic Club with masterful control, but he just might tame this track hitting mostly irons off tee boxes. Woods hit three drivers on Thursday, five on Friday. He is playing smart, with a wonderful gameplan and the shots to make it work. This question isn’t really about Tiger. The challenge and opportunities are the same for everyone this week. The issue here is whether the U.S. Golf Association is trying to identify the best player without really requiring him to hit a very important club in the bag. - Randall Mell

That world No. 1 Luke Donald may be the game’s best player right now but his 11-over-par week at The Olympic Club suggests the U.S. Open may not be his cup of tea. On a shot-maker’s layout that was likely the Englishman’s best chance to win an Open, along with next year at Merion, he made almost five times as many bogeys (14) as birdies (three). In his last six starts at the national championship his line reads MC-WD-MC-T47-T45-MC. - Rex Hoggard