OAKMONT, Pa - Thick, deep, rough is as much of a staple of the U.S. Open as the trophy given to those who can conquer it.
Only this year, this rough has taken a chunky divot out of itself before the first round even begins.
The perfect storm was in place at Oakmont Country Club this week. It\'s been a year since Phil Mickelson, self-proclaimed \"idiot,\" double-bogeyed the 72nd hole to finish in second in last year\'s Open.
After quitting the 2006 season early, then bouncing back with two wins, including the Players Championship, the stage was set for the mother of all comebacks, especially with Tiger Woods not driving the ball accurately enough to be considered an overwhelming favorite this week.
But it\'s not going to happen. Mickelson hurt his wrist here a few weeks back practicing shots out of the thick, five-inch high rough and will be far from 100 percent entering the first round.
Of course, no one put a gun to his head and told him to hack away in thick rough all afternoon weeks before the Open. But if it didn\'t happen to Mickelson, it was going to happen to someone else.
And it did. David Howell withdrew this week after hurting his wrist in practice as well.
The USGA surely saw the unusually high, U.S. Open-like scores and difficult conditions at the Masters and felt threatened. It doesn\'t help that Carnoustie, one of the British Open\'s most notoriously difficult venues, is up next.
For more details visit - http://www.worldgolf.com/news/pga/us-open-deep-rough-phil-mickelson-wrist-injury-5541.htm
June 13, 2007 Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.