First Person

U.S. Open 2020: I played Winged Foot from the championship tips on camera, and it was probably a bad idea

The author hitting and hoping from the rough at Winged Foot West.

Winged Foot West is a hard course for me.

It’s a hard course for me from the regular tees. When no one is watching. When it is not preparing to host the best players in the world.

I have never been one of those golfers who deludes himself into thinking he can play the game at a high level. I know my place. Winged Foot, from the championship tips, days before the hardest tournament in golf, is most definitely not my place.

And yet when the opportunity to play Winged Foot recently from the tips ON CAMERA, with every one of my hitchy swings chronicled for the masses was presented, I didn’t run away. The video you’re about to see was done with my full cooperation, save for the part where I lay the sod over a wedge shot and curse out our producer. There’s a backstory there. I won’t get into it now.

Anyway, watch the video, and then we’ll talk.

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OK, Some answers to your inevitable questions.

Could you have done better? Absolutely. The opportunity was there for me to go LOW ... and by low, I mean at least sprinkle in a bogey or two. Then again, in subsequent days I was reminded of my ability to produce a wide assortment of embarrassingly bad golf shots in far less intimidating surroundings. So let’s be honest: it’s also possible I could have done much, much worse.

What was the hardest part of the golf course? Some combination of length, rough, insanely quick, undulating greens. It was all there on display. Plus, one must not forget sheer visual intimidation, which is what I fell victim to when I tried to finesse that wedge on the second hole, and instead looked as if I was beginning to dig up my own burial plot. It’s a wonder I wasn’t escorted off the property right then.

Was it really necessary to curse out your producer? Necessary? No. Did it feel good in the moment? A little. It’s OK. We’re still friends (I think).


Did you really fist pump after a double bogey? Have you no shame? Yes. And no. Like I said, it could have been worse.

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