...Carolina Golf News Line                          gbh5k.jpg (5219 bytes)

The First Day at the US Open at Pinehurst 2 - Monday June 13, 2005

Before traveling to the Open it would be a wise thing to have a travel plan that includes parking.  Most of the parking areas do not accommodate travelers who do not have parking passes.  Even the traffic directors do not know which lots are for what purpose.  After a 45 minute wait in line it is not good to find out that you have to start over and the workers cannot even tell you where to go.  The Pinehurst Circle was a traffic jam and a place to try and avoid.
Once in the gate though things are pretty well organized.  

The statue of a Payne Stewart thrusting his arm in the air after a dramatic winning putt on the 18th brings back memories of a moment frozen in time.  During the 1999 US Open here at Pinehurst 2 Payne sunk putts on the last three holes, but the one on the final hole was not predicted.  Everyone believed that there would be a playoff with lovable Phil Mickelson, who lost by a stroke.  Shortly after that we lost Payne to a plane crash.

Monday was a practice round day.  And most of the pros were there sharpening there skills and measuring the course.  Since cameras were allowed I managed to catch a few action shots and close-ups.

Cory Pavin is on the second tee below and is shown both addressing and finishing in good form of course.

Above Chris DeMarco addresses and tees off.  He is a good bet to win Sunday.  No one can argue that he can play a tough course after losing this year's master on the 18th to Tiger Woods.

Chris putts on the left using a non-conforming grip.  His right hand just sort of lays against the putter handle instead of wrapping around the grip.  It is a wonder that Chris could concentrate.  He was continually signing autographs.  It took some time for him to get past the autograph hunters that bordered the ropes between holes.  I didn't see him turn down one person.

The players spent much time on the greens, making notes, and practicing putts to various potential pin locations.  Some of them let the balls roll down off the greens through the tight cut fringe into potential spots for recovery.  The tight cut fringe did not keep the ball on the green.  Some used putters to putt up the sides instead of wedges.  But they always used a target such as a ball of even a water bottle.

John Daly at left is focusing on addressing the ball while puffing away.  He and his playing partner Herrin discuss strategy while strolling down the fairway below.
Daly was a crowd favorite -- easily the biggest crowd of the afternoon.  After he hit his tee shot and complained about a bad kick, the crowd started chanting, "Hit another one John".  Finally Daly picked a ball out of his pocket, threw it down on the grass without a tee, and almost in the same fluid motion hit it off the ground with his driver.  The crowd roared as the ball rose out of site and landed about 300 yards down the fairway.  He liked it too -- below. 

By JW Farquhar - Golf Writer