Update: Mahan, Watson headed home early
Fortunately for the field at the U.S. Open, the USGA does not have a 10-shot rule in place at its most prestigious championship. Martin Kaymer has run away from everyone, playing a different course, it seems, en route to back-to-back rounds of 65 and a 10-under score at the midpoint. It's the first time -- ever -- at any major championship that someone has opened with those two scores. The closest score to Kaymer is 3-under, and the group 10 shots off the pace is in a tie for 15th (!) place.
With no 10-shot rule in place, the USGA simply takes the top 60 and ties from the starting 156-man field. Right now, the projected cut line is 5-over, meaning all those at 6-over and higher will be packing their bags on Friday night. That includes some of the favorites at the start of the week and some of the biggest names in the sport. Perhaps the top player who will be jetting off Friday night is Bubba Watson, who will miss the cut at the U.S. Open shortly after winning a green jacket for the second time.
In 2012 at Olympic, Bubba was fresh off his first major championship and not really focused on golf. He and his wife had just adopted a son, Caleb, and he was understandably still basking in the glow of that Masters win. This year, he's been on a tear up to the Masters, though the Masters and since the Masters. It looked like he'd win again at the Memorial two weeks ago before a late Sunday implosion, a win that would have probably locked up Player of the Year honors.
But just as he complained about the the difficult course setup at Olympic two years ago — "too tough for me" and "I don't like it," among others — Bubba started this week with a less-than-enthusiastic review of Pinehurst No. 2. He called the greens "unfriendly" and never endorsed the layout in the way pretty much everyone else had. So mentally, it didn't seem like Bubba, who has probably played the best golf in the world through the first six months of the year, had the best approach. And it was evident Thursday morning when he quickly dropped down the leaderboard. He finished Friday at 6-over and will need some dramatic movements late in order to make the weekend.
Also at 6-over is Hunter Mahan, who would have entirely different plans right now if he had just hit the correct ball out of the 18th fairway. Mahan and Jamie Donaldson got confused and hit the wrong balls, and then realized their mistakes up around the green. That's a two-stroke penalty for each, and Mahan would be safely inside the cut line at 4-over if it were not for that gaffe, which is more suited for the most junior competitions in golf.
In addition to Mahan and Bubba, some other big names likely going home are Luke Donald, Jason Dufner, Charl Schwartzel, Angel Cabrera, and Lee Westwood. Here's the group hovering around the projected cut line of 5-over and those on the wrong side.
|T48||Bo Van Pelt||4||F|
|Projected Cut: 5-over|