2006 US Open at Winged Foot: Another Massacre in the making

Winged Foot was the home of the 1974 US Open, which Hale Irwin won with a seven over par, in what has come to be known as “The Massacre at Winged Foot.”

And it is the home of the 2006 US Open, which has finished Day One of play. The Leaderboard? One player (Colin Montgomerie) is under par at the end of the first round, and that’s at one under. Only one player out of a field of 156. The big names: Phil Mickelson is even par. Vijay Singh (my pretourney pick) is one over par. Ernie Els is four over. Tiger Woods is seven over par after day one.

My hometown hero and sentimental favorite, Fred Funk, is fighting strong at one over.

I’ve been excited about the Open for the past month. USGA wanted to punish the hell out of the players, really test them to see who is the best. And with 6 inch rough, undulating greens with the friction of a pane of glass, and a 514 Par 4 ninth hole (which Els actually eagled on his approach shot today), among other challenges, this is an impossibly tough course. To quote golfer Mark Brooks, “There’s probably six hard holes, six really hard holes and six impossible holes.”

This is a textbook example of how to demonstrate to the non-golfer how golf is a sport as physically and mentally strenuous as any other. 156 golfers (145 pros who do this for a living and 9 qualifying amateurs), and only one can meet the mark of a negative score on the round. It illustrates the game’s challenge, and tosses in a healthy spot of schadenfreude while we’re at it.

I love this game. Thank you USGA.

Who’s the defending champion? Is he even playing?

New Zealand’s Michael Campbell, who is 5+ after the first round.

The US Open is always one of my favorite tournaments because it shows that as good as those guys are a course can still beat them up a bit. I was watching an interview with Tiger Woods after his round and even though he’s seven over, he feels that he’s only a round or two from being in the thing. I think if he shoots a couple 68’s he might be right but I wouldn’t be money on it.

I know it’s a fairly easy pick but I’d go with Phil or Monty to win. Monty is one of the best ball strikers in golf and Phil had a great driving day today.

I don’t think it’ll be another seven over massacre but I wouldn’t be surprised at 4 or 5 over.

Who knows, it’ll be interesting though.

Yeah, fat chance on that. He’s very rusty from his time off since the Masters. Golf Channel’s comprehensive post-round coverage dissected his swing compared to his pre-hiatus swing, and it’s an ugly thing. Then again, he is Tiger, and he looked to be shedding that rust pretty quickly on the last few holes of the day. He’ll make the cut, probably even top ten. But, yeah, he’s out of the win.

I dunno, if it’s one thing you’ve learned over the years, don’t ever count Tiger out.

Montgomerie won’t win. He’s like the Chicago Cubs. If he wins, the world will explode. I’d put money on Funk to win. Accurate driving is going to be the key to this tournament, like every other Open.

Phil? I’d like for him to win. I want him to get a Mickel-slam, like Tiger had his a few years back. I just wanna hear the golf pundits belittle the achievement again.

The U.S. Open is the only golf event I particularly enjoy following. There’s something about the fact that the world’s best players annually struggle to finish at even par that makes it a far more intriguing occasion than anything else golf has to offer.

I think Mickelson has to be the favorite at this point, with everyone in the positions they’re in. Right now, though, there are more than enough guys with the skill who are still close enough to the lead. Tomorrow or Saturday night will give a much better picture of who is worth watching on Sunday.

Just a quick correction, Tiger is 6 over after Day 1, not 7 over.

My bad. Seven out from the lead. Yeah, that’s what I meant to say. Not trying to justify my stupid mistake. Nosirree.

Yippee! Ten minutes until they tee off on Day Two.

And I was able to keep my schedule open so that I am at home typing for work all. day. long.

C’mon Freddy Funk!

I’d like to put in a kind word for the teenager from Hawaii.
Michelle who?
Yesterday Tiger was saying the greens were actually slower than he had expected.
They could really scalp em for the weekends, and use some impossible pin placements.
I think the “stepped” rough is a good idea we may see more of, to tame modern equipment and length.

I just like to see these guys look like we look.

If your average weekend guy is hitting his (30 yard wide) fairways at 30% and is penalized at least a half-stroke by the (3 inch) rough, then do whatever is equivalent to the pros. . .even if that means having 10 yard wide fairways and 6 inch rough.

I wish they’d set courses up like this more often. We know these guys are great. . .at least a few times a years, let’s seen them struggle to break par.

And having tapped in to end his second round, it looks like Woods, at 12+ after two rounds, will not make the cut. There’s a leader-plus-ten guideline in place for determining the cut, and one morning player, Steve Stricker, went into the clubhouse at 1-. And so, barring a disastrous afternoon for everybody yet to play, this will be the first Major in which Woods does not make the cut.

Funk’s 5+ after two rounds makes him quite safe to play the weekend. Woohoo!

Err, 6+. Shame he missed two short putts on that last hole, dropped from an easy birdie to a painful bogey.

I’m pulling for Mickelson. That is all.


I work 5 minutes above Winged Foot and live 5 minutes below it. At this point, that 10-minute-total commute has stretched out to 30-40 minutes minimum due to US Open traffic.

I just hope someone wins and then they go away!! :smiley:


So WordMan works in an airship, and lives in an underground cavern?
I know - he flies the blimp, and at night retires to his bomb shelter!

You say it like it isn’t common or something - sheesh!

The Hutchinson River Parkway is a bucolic little 2-lane thoroughfare that becomes the Merritt Parkway as it crosses into CT. Really charming and a beautiful drive in the Fall when the colors turn here in the Northeast. But it is a temperamental parkway - throw a curveball at it, such as a bad patch of rain or a fender bender, and it can back up for miles. US Open traffic? Fuggedaboudit.

Just looked at the leader board. Of the folks who have finished their second rounds, it looks like the majority of them are at the bottom half of the leader board. Did anyone check the scoring differences yesterday between the early and late groups?
Course could firm up and winds and temps rise, leading to a lot of movement at the top of the board this afternoon - away from negative numbers. I suspect Stricker’s 1 under will look pretty good at days end.

I like the difficulty of the US Open as well, although they do have to watch that things don’t get out of hand. If they go overboard it can turn things into a crapshoot.

And I have to say I don’t really understand this idea with trying to get a winner at or around par, since par is fairly arbitrary anyway. That hole that Ernie eagled usually plays as a par 5, so on any other weekend that’s a double-eagle :). It’s easy to get scores over par if you change par, and it’s also fairly meaningless.