It was written that ‘Golf is a good walk spoilt’.
Well a walk around the Olympic Club for two days has turned to misery for the game’s best players and it’s the USGA and not the golf course the cause for such anguish.
Oympic has made the world’s top three players look like the Three Stooges. How else do you explain three birdies between Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood but for a combined 19-over par on day one of the season’s second Major.
There was 781 bogeys recorded on day one compared to just 273 birdies from the 156 competitors.
As for the opening ‘Sadistic Six’, competitors have played the first six holes in 826-over par that included just 139 birdies but 675 bogeys, 84 double bogeys and 12 triple bogeys.
Not since the legendary Walter Hagen won the 1919 U.S. Open at 17-over par has guests at a Major Championship been so rudely embarrased by the hosts.
What we’ve seen now for two days in the Golden Gate City is weekend amateur stuff and not Major Championship material.
Olympic is simply an uneven match-up. It’s like Mohamed Ali up against pint-sized Mickey Rooney.
Under the USGA’s ‘take no prisoners’ mentality, Olympic’s opening six holes have been renamed the ’Sadistic Six’.
One day one, this year’s U.S. Open field played the opening six holes in close to 500-over par. Yes, 500-over par.
There were cries of ‘Medic, Medic, Medic’ as players battled their way to the seventh bloodied, bruised and bandaged and there was still a dozen holes to play.
With conditions again perfect it’s same scenario on day two but with players now feeling as though they’ve been handed a life sentence and were being banished to Alcatraz for simply trying to break par.
Just four players - former champ, Jim Furyk, Belgium’s big-hitting Nicolas Colsaerts, double U.S. Open winner Ernie Els and American Steve Stricker were the only players in the morning half of the draw on day two to break par in carding one under par 69s. Furky in the clubhouse leading at one under par, Colsaerts at one over and Stricker (69) and Els (68) at four over par.
Who wants to attend a Major Championship and see just one player break par but also witness players like Donald, McIlroy, Trevor Immelman, Rickie Fowler, Ben Crane, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Gary Woodland and each staring at missing the cut with double digit over par figures?
The thing about Olympic is that it’s consistent. Every hole is consistently too long and consistently too penal.
Donald went to San Francisco having retained his BMW PGA title at Wentworth but he will back home in Chicago long before Tiger Woods completes his second round having crashed out with his worst-ever opening two round tally in a Major since being 14-over par on his Majors debut in the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie.
It also will be Donald’s poorest first two rounds in a U.S. Open since being eight over par after two days of the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot where the Englishman eventually finished in a share of 12th place.
And while the USGA has put every concievable obstacle in front of the game’s best, the best in the game have taken it squarely on the chin.
But for how much longer?
SKY Sports Euan Murray commented: “Three over par is quite acceptable”.
Those present at Olympic Club would not agree. There is warm applause from the predominately Californian gallery but missing the roars and the cheers.
We heard just once on day one when Nick Watney joined a select few in holing out for an albatross ‘two’.