The Loop

Three questions for Friday at the U.S. Open

June 18, 2010

PEBBLE BEACH -- A few morsels to chew on as play gets underway at Pebble Beach:

1. How are the conditions?

The very ingredients that made Pebble Beach such a majestic setting on Thursday -- bright sun, a light breeze -- only conspired to make the golf course play especially difficult, with greens only growing crustier as the day went on. The opposite scenario exists for the second round. Cloudy and cool with even some mist, it might not be the weather that's going to help anyone's tan, but it is likely to make the golf course more receptive.

*2. Speaking of which, were the greens really to blame for Tiger's opening-round struggles?

They were if you listened to him. It's true that Woods saw a number of makable birdie and par attempts veer off line, leading to his complaint that the greens were "awful." Woods went on to say that "no one is going to post a good round this afternoon." Uh, not exactly. Last we checked, Woods was playing virtually the same time as Shaun Micheel, Paul Casey, and Brendan De Jonge, all of whom shot 69 to take a share of the first-round lead.

3. As for Micheel, there's no way he can keep this up, can he?

One would think not. Here's a guy who is coming off a debilitating injury, and is playing with the added burden of a mother who is dying with cancer. But no one ever thought Shaun Micheel could emerge from obscurity to win the 2003 PGA. And by the way, he just birdied the 11th hole to move to three under.

-- Sam Weinman