Sunday, June 8, 2008

Romo, Timberlake Break 100; Lauer at 100; Am Misses Mark at Torrey

You remember when Tiger Woods said that there was no way an amateur at 10 handicap could break 100 at Oakmont? Well, the USGA really stuck it to Tiger by proving that 3 guys who are nearly scratch golfers could break 100 - or at least shoot 100 - at Torrey Pines.

A year ago, Woods said at Oakmont CC, site of the 2007 U.S. Open, that a 10-handicap couldn't break 100 there. That became the challenge for a foursome of single-digit amateurs, who played the South Course at Torrey Pines, site of the 2008 U.S. Open next week, largely from the back tees Friday.

The damage report: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (whose handicap index is 2.2) shot a 13-over par 84; pop star Justin Timberlake (a 6.0) shot 98; Today Show host Matt Lauer (a 6.2) shot 100; and John Atkinson (an 8.1), who was chosen from a pool of 56,000 contest entrants nationwide, shot 114.

So, it wasn't quite the challenge that Tiger posed, but close enough I suppose. It is pretty remarkable that Romo managed an 84. Timberlake and Lauer's scores of right on 100 may very well prove the point that Woods made because anyone with a higher handicap would likely miss the 100 mark.

More on the round:

Not a single birdie was made, and the longest putt holed was a 20-footer Lauer made for par at the last hole. Atkinson failed to make a single par, yet he was the winner by anyone's measure. A year ago, Atkinson was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.

Atkinson is a great story, even if he didn't shoot under 100.

Romo waxed the course by amateur standards and I am very impressed with the result. Still, my question is whether or not Romo would have fired under 100 at Oakmont? Torrey Pines has been setup notably easier than Oakmont, despite the increased length over Oakmont. The rough is shorter (though thicker), the greens aren't quite as fast. Also, Mike Davis predicted a winning score under par for this year's Open and meant it. He said no such thing of Oakmont. I would really be curious to see how the same foursome would fare there. And that leads me to the conclusion that the USGA wants me to make, however much I hate to admit it, that they should do this again.

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