Friday 19 January 2018

US Open Short Chips: A long Bray from here to there for Nolan

Jordan Spieth failed to qualify to the match play stage of the last tournament he took part in at Chambers Bay
Jordan Spieth failed to qualify to the match play stage of the last tournament he took part in at Chambers Bay

So Short Chips is standing there, on the elevated walkway between the first green and the second tee as a group of players and caddies are coming up the stairs.

Bubba Watson is first up. Then Rickie Fowler. A serious looking Butch Harmon follows. Then another guy. We look at him, something seems familiar.

And written on his belt is: 'Keith Nolan.'

Could it be? So I call out: "Keith Nolan." And the guy turns.

It is indeed the bould Keith, the Bray-born former top Irish amateur who once earned his card to play on the US Tour proper.

What's he doing there? "I'm caddying for Lee," he says, indicating at another guy coming up behind us.

And it's Lee Janzen, two time US Open champion, now on the Champions Tour.

This will be Janzen's first appearance in the US Open since 2008 and his 20th overall. He won on the Champions Tour earlier in the year and was 10th in the recent Senior PGA Championship.

Rookies battling 100 years of woe

Over a hundred years of history shows that the US Open does not favour first-time competitors. The last golfer to win the Open in his first attempt was amateur Francis Ouimet in 1913. And the last winner to come all the way through local and sectional qualifying was Orville Moody in 1969.

No joy for Spieth in amateur audition

Jordan Spieth's past experience of Chambers Bay in the 2010 US Amateur championship won't be great help to him, as he failed to qualify for the match play stages.

Quote of the day

"It really is amazing that some days you'll come out and you'll feel like you can beat anyone, and then some days you come out and you've got no confidence in the world and you can't break an egg with a hammer" - Jason Day on the mental side of golf.

Number of the day

11 Only 11 players of the 156-strong field have competitive experience at Chambers Bay, including Spieth and Patrick Reed, who both played in the 2010 US Amateur Championship.

Irish Independent

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