Facebook Twitter

FOREIGN GOLFERS CONTEST RULE; NICKLAUS PREPARED THIS TIME

SHARE FOREIGN GOLFERS CONTEST RULE; NICKLAUS PREPARED THIS TIME

There's been a lot of talk this week about the PGA Tour rule that requires golfers to play in at least 15 events to keep their cards. The rule doesn't affect most American players, who want to play in as many events as possible. But many of the top foreigners want the rule changed.

Thursday, co-leader Bernhard Langer had his say about the rule."It's very difficult to play both tours (European and PGA), and we've been saying that for years. It would help tremendously if they would cut down the number of tournaments."

"I'm getting older and have a family . . . it's a burden to have to travel over here so much.

Langer points out that he's required to play in only nine European events. He said he'd be happy if they would drop the required number of PGA events from 15 to 12.

***

Jack Nicklaus, whose 67 put him in contention for his fifth Open victory, says the difference between his game now and in past years is that he doesn't prerare himself as well.

"I have so many things going on, I'm not as prepared as I used to be," he said.

However, Nicolaus did do something different to prepare this time. He took a fishing trip to Canada and took his driver and a 5-iron with hime and hit old range balls across the river. Oh, and if that sounds like a form of golf pollution to you, Nicklaus claims he arranged for all the balls to be picked up.

***

In last year's U.S. Open at Brookline, three players were tied for the lead after the first round with five players one stroke behind - just like this year. However, none of those eight players ended up in the top five.

***

With 21 sub-par rounds Thursday, the U.S. Open record of 272 seems to be in jeopardy. Six years ago, when the Open was played at Oakmont (Pa.), there were just 18 sub-par rounds - the entire tournament.

***

One reason for the low scores was the weather, which consisted of rain the previous three days and just a slight amount Thursday. The soft fairways hurt the golfers' length, but also kept them out of trouble. The soft greens were more approachable and not as lightning-fast as U.S. Opens are famous for.

***

One thing about the Oak Hill East Course, it always seems to bring out the best players.

In 1956, Dr. Cary Middlecoff, who was one of the best players of his era, captured the U.S. Open Championship, edging Ben Hogan and Julius Boros.

In 1968, Lee Trevino was the winner with Jack Nicklaus second. Then in 1980 at the PGA, Nicklaus was the winner by a whopping 7-shot margin.

The last major championship played at Oak Hill was the U.S. Senior Open in 1984. And it was won by the Senior Tour's most successful golfer in history, Miller Barber.

***

Call it an extreme case of opening-round jitters for amateur Jonathan Yarian. The first round turned into a nightmare for the 19-year-old from Huntington, W.Va., who finished with a cool 20-over-par 90. That left him 24 shots off the pace and nine strokes behind the next player in front of him.

Yarian, who qualified with a 7-under-par total for 36 holes at Lake Buena Vista, Fla., started with a triple bogey and followed with three straight double bogeys before finally settling down and making a par. After a 49 on the front nine, he ran off three straight pars on the back nine and had a more respectable 41.

- Mike Sorensen