Rain Delay US Open Special
Essential knowledge from Bethpage
(Or: stuff you need to know in case someone asks you in the pub tonight/tomorrow)
Who’s leading the US Open, then?
There are four players tied at one under, but the guy out in front, by virtue of playing the most holes (11), is Jeff Brehaut.
Who the heck is Jeff Brehaut?
He’s a 46-year old from Los Altos, California (pop: 27,693) with very lovely teeth and a charming understated demeanour. He’s a regular on the second-tier Nationwide Tour (with two victories), who toiled for 10 years on the PGA Tour from 1998 after graduating from Q School at the 13th attempt. The guy’s a trier. We’ll give him that. This is only the second major he has played in. He finished tied 17 at the 2007 US Open. He’s probably barely recognised even in his own home.
But he must now be the most famous person from Los Altos, right?
Wrong. How about Jim Morrison, lead singer with the Doors. Or Allison Waite, Playboy playmate (whatever they are). Or Lauren McFall, member of the USA’s bronze medal 2004 Olympic Synchronized Swimming team.
Well, OK. But he must be the most famous golfer from Los Altos?
Wrong again. Hats off to Julie Inkster, LPGA superstar and commentator.
What does Jeff think about seeing his name on top of the leaderboard?
He can hardly belief it. He’s not alone. “Not everyone that gets on tour is an All-American. I’m living proof of that,” he said. “It was my dream to play on the PGA Tour and I found a way to make it happen. It’s pretty cool.” And pretty wet.
What do the players think about not being allowed to lift, clean and replace their balls?
“It makes it a bit of a lottery,” said Paul Casey, piling sand bags against the door of the locker room. “But, hey, it all adds to the fun.”
How are the nine English golfers faring in the typically English weather?
Er, not very well, actually. Seven out of the nine of them have started their round. They have played 46 holes between them scoring just one birdie and standing at a cumulative 26 over par.
Are they going to get this thing finished? Or even started?
“I guarantee you they will have a US Open champion at the end of this week,” said Padraig Harrington, wringing out his socks. “Well, at some stage in the next week or so,” he added laughing.
What’s the official line from the USGA Suits?
“We will not determine a national champion until we play 72 holes,” said the no-nonsense championship director Mike Davis. “So if that takes us into Monday or Tuesday or whatever…The perfect scenario would be to finish the second round by the end of Saturday then try to play 36 holes on Sunday.” Except that there is a 50% chance of rain on Friday and a 70% chance on Saturday. Memo to self: change flight home to next Tuesday.
What’s the lowdown on Tiger?
On the course, he’s on hole 6, one over par, tied 12th. Highlight of his day was his now traditional snap hook off the 1st tee, which landed five yards from the steps to the hospitality tents. He made par, of course. It was a better day off course for the World No.1 Forbes magazine today published its list of the Richest Sportsmen in the World. Tiger is No.1 for the eighth straight year, having banked $110 million in the past 12 months. That’s two-and a half times more greenbacks than his nearest rivals: Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen, and basketball’s Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, all tied for second place with a miserly $45 million. Are very David Beckham is fifth with $40 million. Bless him.
Any golf tips for golf-starved US Open fans?
There are photographs on the walls in the portable toilets behind the media center (sic) that offer tips on how to drive, putt, and hit irons and sand shots. You could practise while you pee, except there’s nothing on the grip and there’s certainly no room to swing anything in there, anyway.
Play suspended 1.55pm. I’m off to buy an umbrella and a pair of wellies.