By John Strege
It's somewhat premature to analyze Tiger Woods' recent failures to win majors and how they might apply to this U.S. Open, but NBC's Johnny Miller nonetheless attempted to do so on Friday.
"It's the putting at the majors," Miller said. "For some reason he's not making the putts like he does at regular tour events. Maybe that's part of being his age. He's got a lot of wear and tear on the old tires. I don't know if that's it, but he's not making them. So far."
"Later in the career there's always a lot of scar tissue on that putter," Notah Begay said.
Miller could be right, of course, but when he was discussing Woods' ills, he was completing a round of even-par 70 that put him in a tie for 29th at the time. And as the day progressed, he eventually climbed into the top 20, with 36 holes left.
Blame it on Augusta
Martin Kaymer, a past winner of the PGA Championship and a former No. 1 in the World Ranking, decided to change his swing from a fade to a draw and has encountered a slump that has dropped him to No. 34.
Paul Azinger's theory? "That's always Augusta National influence," he said. "It's ruined more careers of guys trying to play well at Augusta, to learn how to hit it higher and learn how to draw it."
ESPN's Dottie Pepper reported that the group of Nicolas Colsaerts, Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson had been put on the clock, and that it affected their play. All three hit a ball in the hazard at the ninth hole.
"Dustin Johnson is headed back to the drop zone. Colsaerts...also is now headed back to the drop zone," she said. "I think the biggest part of what's all going on in this group right now is the fact that they're on the clock. All three of these guys are visibly flustered and it's not just from the poor shots they hit."
It's not a flagstick
Merion Golf Club does not have flags, as we all know. It has wicker baskets. So, what to call them, if they're not flagsticks. ESPN's Sean McDonough had the answer. "Very difficult hole location today," he said, "that wicker stick protected by the right front bunker."
Good call, Rog
When Colsaerts hit his tee shot at 14 what seemed so far right it was hard , Roger Maltbie on ESPN put an entertaining spin on the shot.
"That was a total bailout there," he said. "If this was roller derby he'd have put his hands on his hips and called off the jam in the middle of that swing."
Question of the day
Maltbie to USGA executive director Mike Davis: "Is this a long short course or a short long course? I can't figure it out."
Why does the broadcast media keep referring to Merion as a female, as in "she's holding her own"?
Joe Ogilvie (@ogilviej): "Someone asked me if the US Open was fun. My reply: 'yes, if you enjoy colonoscopies.'"
John Cook (@johncookgolf): "Congressional, long golf course, soft, record scores. Merion, short, soft, par might win. Hmmmm."
(Getty Images photo)