It doesn’t matter how many tournaments I’ve played in, I will be freakin shaking on the 1st tee today. My heart will be pounding in chest and throat, and I will just be thinking of my target and being in slow motion. The truth be told, I played nine holes yesterday with my pal Michael Allen, and I didn’t hit it very well off the tee. That may be understated as I didn’t hit a single fairway on the back nine (we played nine holes on the back).
Holes 12-17 are hard a stretch as those at Walton Heath or anywhere I’ve ever played before. So the good news is I’ve played some of my best rounds after lousy practice rounds and lousy warm up sessions. The key will be to just enjoy the moment, and suck up the awesome experience of my first ever USGA Open. Whether I shoot 70 (unlikely) or 80 (I hope not) the goal is to make the cut and contend against the other 26 amateurs in the field for low amateur honors and all the exemptions you get with that accomplishment. But I also can tell you that the two top ranked guys in the world over 50 are Tim Jackson and Paul Simson (#1 & #2’m probably a distant #3 over 50 amateurs. These guys can flat out play under these tough conditions, and I hope stand tall with them and battle it out over 72 holes.
With how tough this course is going to play, my guess is the cut will be +5 and there will be 5 amateurs that make the cut.
The guys playing this morning are getting perfect conditions, no wind and NO rain. My 2:25 tee time may not have such great conditions with rain expected that will make the course play VERY long.
Not sure when I can get to holes 7-18 as it takes a lot of time to post each hole with pictures, but hope to get to it after my Friday am round!!
Stay tuned (live coverage on ESPN later)