News & Notes from Round 3 at the U.S. Open

by Tom Cade

It is Saturday of the 2019 U.S. Open. The field was cut. Many players were sent home (some kicking and screaming, others willingly). Spencer Tibbits, the young amateur from Vancouver, Wash., missed the cut by a single shot – we’re thinking we’ll see him again in the future, on one of golf’s major stages. Joel Dahmen and Richard Lee, both past Washington State Amateur champions, also missed the cut.

Northwest players making the cut are Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C. and Kyle Stanley of Gig Harbor, Wash. Both players are past PNGA Players of the Year – I don’t know if the two players realized this connection, but I didn’t feel I should shout it out as they walked onto the first tee.

Kyle Stanley
Kyle Stanley tees off on Hole No. 3 during the third round of the U.S. Open

Also making the cut are Alex Prugh of Spokane (a former Washington State Amateur champ); Andrew Putnam of University Place, Wash. (a past WSGA Player of the Year); and Aaron Wise, a University of Oregon grad and former NCAA individual champion.

And what, then, did we see today?

“Grandstand Full”
  • You have to get up early in the morning to try to get a seat in the grandstand overlooking the par-3 seventh hole. If you’re not there by 8:00am, don’t even think about it.
  • The driving range at Pebble is located way up the hill from the course – if you were taking public transportation from there to the course, you’d have to transfer twice and bring a sack lunch, and allow for the time zone difference.
  • HOWEVER, I do recommend that you make a stop by the range – it’s well worth it. You can be a little bit closer to the players, hear some banter between them and their caddies and coaches, and watch them duff a couple shots while working on some kinks in their swing.
  • On the far left of the range is where they allow players who did not make the cut hit some practice balls – it’s a quiet area, players with deer-in-the-headlights eyes, muttering softly to themselves or to their just-as-humbled coaches. I feel for them…..but not too much.
  • For some reason, Jordan Spieth went to the far left of the range to hit his warm-up balls. There he was, well within striking distance of the leaders, hitting shots along with the players who didn’t make the cut. The gallery is roped off away from this area and they can’t watch the players there hit balls, so evidently Speith just wanted some quiet time.
Michael Greller stands on the range with Jordan Spieth's swing coach
Michael Greller stands on the range with Jordan Spieth’s swing coach
  • While at the range, Spieth’s caddie, Michael Greller of Gig Harbor, Wash., tried on several hats before heading to the course – first a ball cap, then a knitted skull cap, then no cap, then another ball cap. He needed to find just the right one before he and Spieth headed to the first tee.
  • This being the U.S. Open, many players backed up today, shooting scores typically shot during a men’s club net scramble.
  • The sun tried mightily, but couldn’t quite cut through the marine layer.
  • I overheard someone ask a marshal if they could spend the night on the bench of the grandstands next to the seventh hole, to save a seat for Sunday’s final round. The marshal laughed, and then the spectator laughed, and as the spectator walked away I heard him say to his buddy that he was going to try it anyway.
  • At the entrance to the grounds, spectators were given complimentary ear buds so they could listen to the radio broadcast of the day’s play from anywhere on the course. I must have got the wrong frequency, as all I could hear was a re-broadcast of Kasey Kasum’s “America’s Top 40” from 1982.