The Loop

Is it easy or hard?

Nick Dougherty is leading the U.S. Open. After a 68 in the first round, he could not be happier. “The U.S. Open is my favorite tournament to play,” he said, “which is unusual because I’m British…I love the fun, you Americans are noisier than us, and I like that. I love the atmosphere, the way the tournament is run.”

Dougherty and some other players credit surprisingly easy course conditions as the reason for their success. “I think the course is — I hate saying it — easy, especially if a USGA official picks up on that,” Dougherty said. Tiger Woods, who trails the by three, agrees.__ “It was the easiest pin in each section,”__ he said. Later on, Dougherty wanted to take back what he said about the course being easy. “Goodness, I shouldn’t have said that,” he regretted. __

“No, absolutely not.”__ Graeme McDowell certainly would not call Oakmont easy. “I have never felt so uncomfortable on a putting surface in my life,” he said. “Doesn’t matter if you’re ten feet, 20 feet, 50 feet, they are awful. They are scary. They are really scary.”

--Jeff Patterson