Truth & Rumors: Watney's Albatross and Martin's Reception
We wrote a little something yesterday about “the rarest, most meaningless shot” we’ll see all week -- Alvaro Quiros’s practice round albatross on Olympic's seventh. Well, we recommend you watch Nick Watney’s reprise from Thursday, because it’s phenomenal. His double eagle on the par-5 17th starts at the 1:10 mark in our highlight package.
It’s hard to say which is more impressive, hitting a tee shot from 270 and having it roll in like a putt or drawing a 5-iron with the ball below your feet and having it roll in like a putt. Watney went from three-over to even on that one swing.
Just how rare is a double-eagle in competition? The U.S. Open had only seen two before yesterday, and the tournament has been played since 1895. And how about seeing an albatross in two straight majors, after Louis Oosthuizen's at Augusta? Our researchers are still pouring over the microfiche, but…never...?
Casey at the Tee
Casey Martin, playing in the U.S. Open for the first time since 1998, put together a solid opening round by any measure, shooting four-over 74. It was particularly impressive considering Martin's painful circulatory disorder in his right leg. Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle:
Martin shook off a case of nerves to play the last 12 holes in 1-under. If you intend to watch him during Friday's second round, don't make it a mission of pity. Go for the sheer beauty of his swing. This is one of the purest ball strikers you'll ever see, and when you consider where he has been the past six years, the notion is astonishing.
"I guess I settled down and played pretty well," said Martin. "But it doesn't feel like I played well. It feels like I've been through a war. It was so hard out there. Man, that course is a stress."
Even through the hellish stage of his career, back when he had to sue the PGA Tour and endure such bitter resentment from the golf establishment, the Olympic Club has been Martin's friend. He recalls the galleries being "great" when he played the 1998 U.S. Open, finishing in a tie for 23rd in his then-historic use of a cart, and the fans were off-the-charts respectful Thursday.
All of that is good to see, given what Martin had to put up with last time he found himself in the spotlight. He started day two hanging around the top 60 players, who will make the cut.
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