'Drama, comedy and tragedy' at Merion
To imagine what it’s like to putt on some of the Merion greens, place a golf ball on the top of your windshield and try to get it to stop before it hits the wipers. The few times I had the speed right on a long putt – it would pass by the hole with minimal pace – the ball would still roll out 4-5 feet.
Desperate for backspin, Mickelson and Bubba Watson chipped from the putting surface on 15. Didn’t work either.
But tee to green, Merion was manageable. Of course it helped, make that HELPED, that we played the middle tees, making this a par-70 of 6,159 yards, shaving some 800 yards from the Open layout.
The 18th hole played to 530 yards on Saturday. Mickelson, without a driver, had some 270 yards in on his second shot.
We played it from 430, and I caught the fairway slope, scooting past Hogan’s plaque. I had 155 in. Different golf course.
I got hole-high with a 7-iron and then tried to do something that not one of the 73 competitors could on the weekend – make a birdie on the home hole. I blew my attempt 10 feet past the Sunday pin.
We got some comic relief on the first tee when my caddie, an Aaron Rodgers lookalike named Luke Lyons (he wore No. 12 and played quarterback in high school), told the group: “You don’t need your driver here. Just hit something 230-240.”
Allen shot back: “That’s what I hit my driver.”
I missed my second shot to the right and asked Luke if the rough was bad there.
“Wouldn’t say there’s much good rough out here,” he replied.