The first day of the U.S. Open championship is in the books with rory McIlroy leading the field following a beautiful 65. He looked in perfect form from the beginning with a fluid swing.
Spent time watching McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson in the same group, which started their day on No. 10, a 208-yard par 3 that played a little longer with some wind and over water. Mickelson came up short on his first swing of the championship, put it the drink, and ended with a double bogey on the first hole.
First, about the players: Men dressed in all colors, they come in all sizes and shapes and of course, nationalities. They have their caddies, legion of fans and their routine.
Second, about Congressional: the Blue Course is playing to 7,500 yards. Incredibly hilly, and no, I did not traverse each and every hill on Thursday. In fact, I kept within several holes on the back nine, with a foray to No. 1 and the massive putting and chipping practice areas which sit outside the beautiful clubhouse.
Third, about the Open: There was only a brief shower around 8:30 a.m. and again around 6:30 p.m. so it is good the first round was played in full. I’m amazed at the setup of the course and the unusual amount of space these guys had to walk between greens and tee boxes. In fact, I really thought they should have been putting the players on a shuttle card to take them between 9s, they are so, so far apart. And to turn in your scorecard, they might as well hire a taxi. It’s a tough course to walk, for everyone.
Fourth, about all the extras: It’s a multi-million dollar event. The pavilions, the concessions, the corporate setups, the merchandise pavilion etc. etc. It is far different then the last US Open I saw, much different than a British Open and even the PGA, of which I have been to two. You walk into the merchandise tent and it’s like ants swirling around under one roof. Of course, prices for everything are hefty.
Saw a few locals at Congressional — Kim Kell, Al Moyseenko, Kevin Breslin, Hugh Breslin, Sam Connelly, Dirk Schultz, Bill Hoffman, Chris Hafner among others.
Pulling for McIlroy to hold on all weekend for the championship.