Sport Golf

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Moods brightened by deluge of tweets

Karl MacGinty

WHAT did people do during weather delays before the advent of Twitter?

Redefine the Theory of Relativity; find a cure for cancer ...

Who cares?

The three hours and 32 minutes interruption to play at Merion generated a flood of tweets.

Amid the deluge, a few stood out.

Like the picture Ian Poulter issued showing "me and my mate Tiger chilling in the house whilst the storms come through."

Only the ceramic big cat on the window sill behind Poulter wasn't a Tiger.

"That's a Leopard," said one observant individual.

"Well spotted!" came the reply.

Scottish golf writer John Huggan suggested: "I have a solution to this nonsense. Play the US Open at Royal Portrush!"

Incidentally, it was fascinating to see so many American and international journalists rushing to the doors of the monster US Open Media Centre to take pictures of torrential rain pouring down at the height of the storm.

"You'd swear they'd never seen rain before," said one bemused English colleague.

He took a picture on his iPhone of all those folks crammed in a doorway nearby taking pictures on their iPhones ... then posted it on Twitter.

LEFTY REFRESHED BY NO FRILLS APPROACH

HAD to smile at newspaper reports over here that Phil Mickelson took a 'Redeye' flight from Carlsbad, California to Philadelphia on Wednesday night.

The image of Mickelson crammed into the middle seat in row 36 down the back of some airliner for his overnight return trip to Merion could hardly be further removed from reality.

Of course, the talismanic American was able to bunk down in his private jet, a Gulfstream G5, I understand, which probably was a good deal more restful than the budget motel rooms occupied by many spectators (and reporters) at the US Open.

So, Lefty was able to sleep comfortably from just after the time of departure at 8.30 western (11.30 Philadelphia time) until his arrival at 4.30 in the morning.

Mickelson decided on Monday to leave behind the miserable wet weather of Merion and fly home early for his daughter's junior school graduation on Wednesday.

The only red he saw was at his first hole, the 11th, where he three-putted for bogey ... yet Mickelson, carrying five wedges and no driver in his bag this week, recovered with birdie at 13 and soon heading to the top of the leaderboard.

GARCIA TAKES CROWD ABUSE TO KEEP PEACE

SERGIO GARCIA was so badly heckled by unruly spectators at Merion's eighth hole, he was asked by a rules official if he'd like the loudmouths ejected.

Showing an uncommon sense of discretion, Garcia said no, explaining it might spark further reactions.

Fears that he would be abused arose following his recent racist jibe at world No 1 Tiger Woods at the European Tour Awards Banquet in Wentworth. Garcia has since sent Woods a letter of apology.

Two uniformed police officers and another in plain clothes walked with the Garcia group, which including Padraig Harrington, during the first round.

The Spaniard received a cordial greeting from the stand when he first stepped onto the tee at 11, his opening hole yesterday ... and just one 'boo' was audible amid the applause when Garcia's name was called by the starter.

One of the uniformed officers spent several minutes staring hard in the direction from which this solitary dissenting voice had come, but nobody stood out.

"Must have been Paddy," suggested one wag standing nearby, sending a ripple of laughter coursing through the crowd ... of course it wasn't. Harrington and Garcia buried the hatchet at the 2008 Ryder Cup in Valhalla.

There were a few asides by fans out of Garcia's earshot when he hit successive tee shots out of bounds on 14 and 15, but only one shout of "Pollo Frito" on 15 and clucking noises from a fan on 18 could have been heard by the Spaniard.

111

The number of minutes of play on day one before the first round was suspended because of rain

2011

The first-round leader of the US Open has only won the title once in the last 10 years – that was Rory McIlroy in 2011

4am

The time Phil Mickelson landed in Philadelphia yesterday in his private jet. The American star was at the course at 5:40am but started his round at the 11th with a three-putt bogey

Irish Independent

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