The 2013 U.S. Open teed off this morning at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Play was then promptly suspended due to the weather. Before that happened, I spoke with beloved commenter and resident golf nut Spencer096 about the tournament and unfortunately, the weather.
CRM: Did you want to give this one a stupid title too?
spencer096: You read me like a US Open book, Stephen!
CRM: Solid start. Let’s just get into it. What are the big stories heading into the US Open this year?
spencer096: In my opinion, the biggest story is those cool wicker baskets they use for flagsticks…
CRM: What? The flagsticks are the biggest story at the U.S. Open?
spencer096: Hell yea, when you watch as much golf as I do, all that other stuff is played out, ya know?
CRM: No. No I don’t. I have a life. Everyone reading this has a life. OK. Those are both lies. Still. Flagsticks?
spencer096: I live my life one 3am European Tour viewing at a time. And…uh…can you, like, put a picture of Vin Diesel doing the Jesus pose here to make it more, like, impactful?
CRM: Like this? No. What does this have to do with anything? This was a mistake, wasn’t it?
spencer096: No, I’m just f—ing around you gullible, bearded bastard.
CRM: I don’t even have a beard anym-
spencer096: The biggest story heading into this year’s US Open has got to be the weather and how it’s going to impact Merion. If the rain holds off, we’re in for a classic US Open, because this week’s got it ALL. A classic US Open venue (setting for the iconic golf picture of all time) with lightning fast greens, shoe hidin’ rough that’s narrower through the hips than Bret Beilema’s ladyfriend that’ll prove once and for all a golf course doesn’t need to be long to be difficult.
CRM: That’s great, but the weather in the Northeast has been the worst lately. And the PGA tour has had more bad weather than [think of hilarious weather reference and place it here. Try to avoid anything where people died.] What if the rain finds a way? (Again, it has.)
spencer096: It will be an unmitigated disaster. If rain softens up the course, all that shit about it being tough? Ignore it. If it’s soft, drives won’t roll into the thick rough and those fast greens will start to accept a lot more shots than if they’re rolling in the 14’s like they’re hoping and that whole USGA philosophy of “protecting par” will go right out the window.
Hell, behind the scenes it’s already a disaster. Merion’s an intimate ‘lil venue that can’t really handle the typical deluge of fans US Opens see. Ticket sales are limited to 25,000 per day, down from the typical 40-45,000 fans they get at more spacious hosts, which, combined with the merchandise and concessions losses mean the USGA’s already conceding they plan on losing $10mm this weekend.
spencer096: FAMILY SITE.
CRM: What? This is my site!
spencer096: Call me when TBL’s paying me ficus money.
CRM: You realize that is an inside joke that literally fewer than a dozen people will get, right?
spencer096: Sounds to me like another win for golf.
CRM: Let’s get back to the golf… It seems like the course will favor completely different golfers depending on the weather. You have to figure that if it’s soft, longer hitters will have a huge advantage but if it’s firm, it will favor the more precise players with the wedge game and putter to match.
CRM: Didn’t see that coming, did you? I stole that from a slideshow on Buzzfeed or something. Now give us three picks if it’s soft and three if it’s dry and firm…assuming Tiger’s the favorite, right?
spencer096: Yea, either/or, Tiger’s the favorite. He says he’ll only be taking driver on two holes, which is nice even if his driving’s really improved from last year. His short game’s been nothing short of ridiculous this year even if the short irons could use a little work, where he ranks below 90th in proximity from 75-100 and 125-150 yards, and all of his other stats are f—ing nuts.
CRM: My eyes are glazing over…
spencer096: Hold on! He’s 5th in strokes gained putting, 12th in total driving, 15th in sand saves, 23rd in going for par 5 greens in 2 shots, 8th in proximity from 175-200 yards and 5th from 200-225 yards (all three have a very strong correlation to scoring average). By FAR, Tiger Woods is the favorite.
CRM: So what you’re saying is…
spencer095: If it’s soft, I think Rory and similar Ferrari golfers – guys that hit the ball a f—ing mile – hit everything close and are streaky putters, make their run. Justin Rose, Charl Schwartzel and Tiger’s favorite Spaniard all fit that bill (Sergio has shockingly good short game stats and is SECOND in strokes gained putting). However, if the course firms up, bet on precise ballstrikers or the short game genies. For some reason, I really like Boo Weekley this week because he’s a world class ballstriker and his balky putter won’t kill him if nobody can make birdies on a tough course and Matt Kuchar’s playing some incredible golf these days and, next to Tiger, is the only golfer that can be legitimately considered a safe bet. One more? Adam Scott, who, in the last five majors is -15 (the next lowest player over that period is Tiger at +2).
CRM: Anything else?
spencer096: Wanna see my favorite hole?
CRM: FAMILY SITE!
spencer096: Oh chill out Tipper Gore, I’m talking golf.
CRM: That looks difficult. So what do you think you’d score on that?
spencer096: Well, the way I’ve been driving it lately, I’d probably end up just in the left rough and…
CRM: Never mind, clearly asking was a mistake…
spencer096: …you don’t want the rough to grab the hosel and shut the club, pulling the ball into the left trees so…
CRM: Thanks again for taking the time, spencer096!
spencer096: …I’d most likely block it right of the green where depending on where they put the pin…
CRM: Always a pleasure!
spencer096: …and my lie, I’m pretty confident I could escape with at least 5.
CRM: Seek help.
[Images: Getty, @yourgolftravel]