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U.S. Open Blog
Saturday, June 14, 2008

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The Action

by Ken Klavon   USGA

More Idle Thoughts

8:11 p.m.

In case you wanted to know what Tiger had to say, here's a link to his brief interview before he came inside the media center.

7:33 p.m.

OK, you heard it here first. This is why I like Rocco. As Tiger came off the podium in the flash interview area, Rocco yelled out, "Mr. Woods, Mr. Woods, I have a question. Are you out of your mind?"

7:24 p.m.

More Tiger. He looks weary but pleased. Who wouldn't be? This round will go down as one of the memorable ones in majors history just because of the three huge shots. He said his wedge shot on 17 "was a little warm" coming out. "It was a little lucky," he added.

On the 18th hole putt, he said Robert Karlsson gave him the read.

"I probably wouldn't have made the putt," he said. Followed the final question up by answering with a question (which I love).

"Is it getting any better?" he said of his sore knee. "It's getting worse."

7:12 p.m.

Just when you think you've seen it all, Tiger goes and drops in an unofficial 24-footer to end his day. He takes the lead at three under. Place erupted. Even the media center clapped, which is taboo. The unwritten rule - or maybe it is written somewhere - is that you never cheer in a press box. Not saying Tiger's performance wasn't applause worthy. Just do it silently if you're objective. That's all.

Best of all, though, is this is being shown prime time on the East Coast. Great TV drama, eh?

And Rocco checks in with a birdie putt on 17 to fall to one under. Guess Rocco was right about Tiger. Just don't him out.

6:59 p.m.

Is this really happening? Tiger holes out again! This time on the par-4 17th when his ball was above the front bunker in the tall stuff. When it went it, he had a look on his face that said, 'Are you kidding me?' Trust me, everyone was just as surprised.

Westwood in at two under for the championship. He's in the lead. Have I mentioned that he's our player blog?

Westwood took 30 putts, which is OK on this course. His strength as he said afterward was that "he thought his way around the course and that's been the most important thing."

6:39 p.m.

Have I happened to mention that Lee Westwood is our player blog? Nudge, nudge - he's leading. Sorry for the shameful plug. Poor Rocco. Unfortunate double bogey on No. 15.

6:28 p.m.

Geoff Ogilvy didn't look happy coming off. One-over 72 isn't anything to be upset about, but he felt like he left some shots out there. Namely on 14 when he double bogeyed. He couldn't get up and down.

"Except for the mess on 14, I'm pretty happy," he said grim-faced.

He's right there. He's just one over for the championship. Back in January I did a one-on-on interview with him. I asked what was harder: winning his first major or trying to win the second. He laughed and said, "when I win the second one, I'll let you know."

6:14 p.m.

Well, well, well. Can always count on Tiger for a memorable shot. And here we got it on the par-5 13th. His 66-foot putt lagged until El Tigre brought out the animated fist pump. When he broke into the one-step, I swear we were about to witness Naked Gun's Enrico Palazzo. At least I think that was the character who sang the National Anthem (badly) and then donned the umpire gear. You know, splits and all.

His momentum seized like a 1973 Pinto wagon engine on the next hole when he bogeyed. Talk about a letdown. But that's golf. No guarantees. It's unlike any other sport in terms of 'momentum swings.' It can fall apart so quickly.

Look at Westwood. Our blog guy is hanging in there.

5:38 p.m.

Is Rocco running away with it or what? Shhhh, I know better. He's looking good today. Just dropped in a 6-footer on No. 10 to go four under.

Alas, we have our first 'P' word uttered. One of our tech guys said that he's all prepared for a playoff on Monday. Saying 'playoff' is akin to mentioning no-hitter and watching the next batter get a hit. Meaning it's gonna happen, folks.

If instead they had a fashion-off instead of playoff, who wins: Jesper Parnevik, Ian Poulter or Camilo Villegas? I'd say Poulter has passed Parnevik as the man with the best threads. Color schemes are fabulous. Hey, pink is cool and Poulter isn't afraid to wear it.

5:01 p.m.

Looking at the scoreboard, it is clear that the course is winning. Right now there are only two red numbers - Rocco Mediate (-3) and Lee Westwood (-1). For the record, if Westwood should pull this out, it would be the first time this site (in the seven-year history of a player blog) would have a winner who also blogged for us. That's enough to make me a cheerleader. Kidding.

Oooooooh, Woods misses a birdie putt on No. 9. Mumbling to himself again. Hmmm, I wonder what the mic would pick up if Woods wore one? To me, the guy's a competitor. Athletes and competitors sometimes get intense. They're human. Woods now even par for the championship through nine.

4:14 p.m.

Uh oh, Rocco Mediate falls back. Two-way lead with Stuart Appleby. Now Appleby loses a stroke and it's Mediate all alone again. Lee Westwood, one of our player blogs this week, is tied with Appleby. Hmmm, methinks the course is toughening up.

In a matter of two holes, Appleby went from two under and a share of the lead to one over and a tie for fifth. Ouch. Mediate went north. He finessed in an 8-footer on the fifth hole, grinning wide afterward.

For the record, Rocco Mediate may be the best golf name out there. I like Rory Sabbatini too. Also fond of Reijo Ruotsalainen. Gotcha. He's a former NHL player.

3:45 p.m.

OK, so I'll admit, I'm not sure which I'm more surprised about: Tiger Woods' bogey on the first hole or Phil Mickelson's 9 on the par-5 13th.

Tiger could be seen grimacing on the third hole as he made his way out of a bunker. That knee is still sore, and probably will be for some time.

Mediate dumped in a short putt for birdie on the second hole for the outright lead. Polite applause.

Not sure if nerves are a factor, but it seems as though too many putting touches are off today. Could be the greens too. Mike Davis of the USGA has them running "in the high 13s." That's like putting on ice. Stuart Appleby and Robert Karlsson just couldn't get the putter through on makeable putts, from what I saw.

This, too, from Davis in his daily report: Greens were watered again last night. Like the previous days, firmness readings were taken and extra water was applied to certain greens on an as-needed basis.

Miguel Angel Jimenez is still the golfer who has the coolest ponytail. Beats Natalie Gulbis. Let the record show that Jason Sobel of ESPN.com said he was going to blog about that, too, after I openly asked if he knew of any other male golfers with ponytails. I granted permission.

Whenever I think of Appleby, why does Chili's come to mind?


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