|Look closer. Everything is not as it seems at Oakmont for the U.S. Open. (Brandon Tucker/GolfPublisher.com)|
Phil Mickelson faking his wrist injury and Michelle Wie in the field ... just two of many things you're not being told at golf's 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont.
OAKMONT, Pa. - Beware, golf fan. What's been reported at the U.S. Open is hardly as transparent as it seems.
The Dr. Pepper in the press tent has tasted a bit off all week, probably because it's laced with a type of serum that prevents golf writers from being their usual inquisitive selves.
Luckily, I think I'm the only writer here immune to its truth-numbing effects. This stems from my days working the wire for the Soviet Golf Federation during Khrushchev's rule.
I've been snooping around a little bit in the locker room (think what Ian Poulter wears on the course is out there; you should see his skivvies) and have found plenty of dirty undercurrents nobody wants you to know about at the Oakmont Country Club this week.
Conspiracy theorists, get to your blogs. Here is the truth no one wants you to know at the U.S. Open this week:
• The big story at the Oakmont Country Club of course is Phil Mickelson's wrist injury.
Too bad he's really faking it. This devious plan was conceived during his long vacation in the winter as a plan to deflect questions about his Winged Foot collapse last year. His brace isn't protecting the wrist so much as it serves as a blinder to the media, which have been distracted into only asking him about his health and not his head.
The rabbit hole goes even further. Muscleman Jim Anderson, seen hanging around the driving range all week isn't even a trainer at all. He was hired by Butch Harmon to keep an eye on Mickelson and body slam him if he tries to sign any autograph with his bad right wrist this week.
• Colin Montgomerie didn't choose a local caddie for his course knowledge like he says. These pros all play enough practice rounds to know the slopes, and we all know Monty's got the game to compete at this course after his near win in '94.
He chose local looper Goddard for fiscal reasons - knowing he wouldn't have to pay the common 5-10 percent of earnings to him, just about $75 a day. What a cheapskate.
• 4,000 mature shady trees removed in the dead of the night over the past decade or so and we're supposed to believe it was to restore Oakmont to its original vision by founder H.B. Fownes a century ago?
Fat chance! Water supplier Aquafina pressured course officials to chop them down, thus sun-scorching fans so the company could move more bottled water units at $2.50 each.
• The European golfers are not in the midst of a 37-year drought at the U.S. Open, they just want you to believe they are. It's being kept classified, but Great Britain still rules Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. In fact, the country has been stealthily expanding their empire ever since the Beatles made the UK cool again, and Tony Blair was never calling the shots.
This time, the expansion isn't being done with naval ships or Christianity. It's by pressuring nations to raise taxes, gas prices and use more closed-circuit cameras in public places. That being said, UK golfers own the U.S. Open - with Els, Campbell, Goosen and Ogilvy winning six events since 1994.
• Are you happy this week is Michelle Wie-free after the sideshow at last week's LPGA Championship? That almost wasn't the case. As Mickelson contemplated withdrawing due to injury, USGA officials met Monday night and concluded that, if Lefty didn't play, they would give Ms. Ratings Buster an exemption to keep the early rounds interesting.
• Unusually high scores at the Masters, that met with even more treacherous conditions at Oakmont are no coincidence.
One night in a poker room last winter, drunk committee members from the USGA and the Augusta tournament made a bet: The tournament with the lower scoring average will require that committee to caddie for the more difficult tournament in a sun dress.
Since the USGA had better odds, Augusta officials demanded the USGA committee would be required to caddie in a thong bikini for Augusta chairmen - the closest thing they'll get to any chicks at their men-only sausage fest.
June 15, 2007
Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Channel Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours.
I've been slumming it out on cheap public courses my entire life. At one point, aren't I entitled as a lifelong golfer to finally enjoy the fruits of my suffering on a well conditioned, thoughtfully designed private course from one of the game's premier architects?
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