How Tough is Torrey

By Michael CollinsJune 12, 2008, 4:00 pm
Editor's note: Michael Collins has been a stand-up comedian for 15 years and has more than seven years experience as a professional caddie. He currently covers the PGA TOUR as a correspondent with XM Satellite Radio and takes his turn on The Turn Mondays on GOLF CHANNEL.
The Open?
 
Its weird walking around Torrey Pines and seeing all the USGA signs around and no Buick signs. I know its the US Open but the way guy are talking about the set up, it feels wrong.
 
Everyone I talk too says this is going to be a fair test of golf with the graduated rough. I talked to one caddie who said if the wind didnt blow the winning score could be double digits! Of course this was after talking about his party days in the late 60s, and after he walked to his top ten world ranked player the caddie standing next to me leaned over and said, Thats got to be a little left over in his system from the 60s! We both laughed but agreed that the course is playable.
 
Caddies are talking about how this set up may play a little easier than when they were here earlier in the year. How you ask? Because in late January, early February, the greens are too soft and get extremely bumpy. The fairways are so wet that many times you get mud on your ball causing havoc with iron shots.
 
They all say yes the greens are fast but they are firm and running true and because of that when you get a putt on line it will stay on line. Different than earlier in the year when sometimes even 3-footers can be putt and hope.
 
The other thing is the first TWO cuts. The first cut just off the fairway has grass that is so dense the ball almost always sits up; something I dont know was done on purpose. The second cut is a coin flip (truly about 60/40), most players and caddies believe if you get in it, you can get enough club on it to get it to the green. Its the 3rd cut where players are going to be D-E-D dead.
 
I had a player tell me that on Monday he tried to hit a sand wedge out and only advanced it 15 feet! Whats that mean? It means the courses defense is length. Just over 7600 yards, but it doesnt necessarily favor the long hitter. Why? Because big hitters, miss big.
 
When in regular tournaments they can just muscle a 7, 8, or 9 iron on the green, this week theyre going to have to chip out sideways first. But the short straight hitter is still going to have to hit a 4 iron in to a green that is designed for a 7 iron.
 
The fairways are not running like weve seen US Open fairways run in the past. Were used to seeing guys hit drives that run 40 to 50 yards once they get on the ground... not this week, 15-20 max.
 
The last and I think most important thing about this week is familiarity. Guys came here expecting to see a different course and when they got here they went, Hmmm, this aint that bad. Expecting to see fairways that were as wide as sidewalks, instead seeing fairways that seem reasonable is giving these guys a little bit of confidence.
 
What they dont know is two holes will have greens with no actual holes in them, just a flagstick stuck in the ground. It isthe USGA and theyre going to get you somehow!
 
Ive decided what the TOUR needs. Permanent traveling barbershop. Last week when I was home I went to the barbershop for the first time in months and the two hours I spent hanging out there proved one thing to me. All the problems of the TOUR (and most of the problems of the world) could be solved in a barbershop.
 
Its amazing how after a good heated argument over Swiss cheese being better than provolone that the world can come into perspective. We then moved on to questions over what would happen if one week we made the TOUR play literally at a goofy golf course (miniature). How fun would it be to see if guys reacted the same after hitting the windmill three times as they would a three putt?
 
My grand plan:
 
There needs to be a tournament that the players have to caddie for their caddies and they have to carry the tour bag. I dont want to hear about, oh my back could get hurt, I could pull a muscle... you werent thinking about that when you loaded that bag up with rain gear, 2 dozen balls, and $30 dollars worth of change. And how would players react to their caddies doing unto them...
 
Would you watch?
 
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    Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

    The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

    The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

    After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

    “I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”

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    Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

    Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

    “I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

    To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

    “More punishment,” he said.

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    DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

    Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

    Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

    It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

    With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

    Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

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    TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

    • Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

    • This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

    • Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery

     


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    • In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

    • At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

    • Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

    • My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.