US Open preview: Tiger is back at Torrey Pines
I'm a selective purist.
I'd also like to think that there are times when common sense comes into play. It wasn't that long ago that we were not a 24/7 society, where every little thing could be dissected, analyzed, chewed up and spit out only to be regurgitated by someone somewhere down the line and accepted as possible fact.
So, Kenny Perry doesn't want to play in a 36-hole qualifier for the US Open because he says his 47-year-old body can't take the rigors of that kind of exam anymore. And who are we to say that we know how Kenny Perry's body will respond better than he does?
Torrey Pines, the site of the 2008 United States Open, is also not a course that suits Kenny Perry's eye. He's a grown touring professional who doesn't want to endure a 36-hole qualifier to play a course he doesn't like. Hey, I realize that it's the US Open, but get over it!
We ask honesty of all these days -- our politicians, our athletes, our heroes -- and when they have the audacity to actually say something relevant, something honest, something from the heart, we then proceed to barbecue them because we don't like what they said, even though it's the truth that we demanded.
Remember Vijay Singh's comments about Annika Sorenstam participating at Colonial? Remember when a young and somewhat naïve Tiger Woods spoke all too candidly to a reporter shortly after welcoming himself professionally to the world?
I trust that Kenny Perry knows what he's doing. The Ryder Cup at Valhalla is more important to him than the US Open. He's played seven weeks in a row, playing courses that suit his style of play. He's played well, notching a win at the Memorial (ironically Jack Nicklaus's event) and several other top finishes to move him to fifth place in the Ryder Cup standings for the United States squad.
If the USGA wanted to make a real statement about the quality of the US Open field, it would award the winner of any full-field invitational or event a spot in the US Open, just like the Masters has begun to do again. And with it, a buzz would be created because now a red-hot Kenny Perry would be in the Open instead of looking in from the outside and having to make a judgment call on his own.
If you want to regurgitate one, how about this; what's more important, Kenny Perry winning the individual title of US Open Champion or Kenny Perry helping Team USA win back the Ryder Cup? Individual or team, you make the call.
As long as we're speaking of the US Open, let's take a look at what we're in for this weekend.
The 2008 US Open is the 108th played and will be contested on Torrey Pines South Course, playing to a par of 35-36-71 at 7,643 yards, 379 yards longer than any previous US Open layout.
Both of the nines on the South Course end with a par-5. The ninth tops out at 612 yards, while No. 18 checks in at a mere 573 yards. Torrey Pines will also feature two of the longest par-4s in Open history. The 12th hole will play to a length of 504 yards while the sixth hole will measure out as the longest four par in Open history at a mind bending 515 yards. The risk/reward factor will be further tested when the USGA moves the 435 yard par-4 14th hole up to a drivable 277 yards for at least one of the weekend rounds, daring the field to take a shot at driving the green.
In terms of overall conditions, Torrey Pines will play firmer and faster from tee to green in this configuration than it does when the Buick Open is contested there early in the PGA season.
The fairways for the US Open will range from 24 to 33 yards wide with a six-foot wide first cut of rough that will run the length of the hole at a depth of one inch. The next cut of primary rough will be 15-feet wide and grown to two inches, while the second cut of the deepest rough will be three inches deep. Some of the gallery ropes will be moved further from the fairway so that an errant drive will have to contend with a recovery from the most penal rough.
Greens on the South Course will run out at 13 to 13.5 on the Stimpmeter for all four days of the Championship. The primary rough 12 feet around the putting surfaces will feature three inch deep rough while further out the rough will be grown to four inches.
There will be 30 hours of television coverage for the Open with 16 of those coming on NBC, with ESPN handling 14 hours of coverage over the first two days of play.
In case you didn't know, the US Open is open to professional and amateur players with a USGA index of not more than 1.4. The USGA accepted 8,390 entries for play at the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines.
What do you get for winning the US Open besides a wheelbarrow full of cash and a lifestyle change? Well, the winner of the 2008 US Open will receive an Open exemption for the next 10 years, as well as a five year exemption into the Masters, British Open, PGA Championship and Players event as well as a five year PGA Tour exemption.
Now, who's going to win?
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Well written article. I absolutely agree with the sentiments regardings Kenny Perry. He's a grown man and has his goals set and needs to play the events that will help him reach his ultimate goal. I have more of a problem with players that don't respect the events that their idols are now hosting...the Memorial, Bay Hill, the Byron Nelson, etc. While I believe that a Major win would do much more for a person's career, they wouldn't have that career and lifestyle with out the trailblazing efforts of those who came before them. To skip Jack or Arnie's event seems more of a fault than skipping a major (not to mention showing up for the event and withdrawing without calling said host...ie Stricker). As for a US Open Champion...if I were a betting man I wouldn't bet against Tiger. Look for Geoff Ogilvy to make some noise again this year, though.
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