And so, as Martin Kaymer extends his lead over someone named Fran Quinn early in round two of the U.S. Open, the essential question for fans of golf esthetics remains:
Who's the head groundskeeper at Pinehurst this week?
If you answered "Carl Spackler," you're on the right track, because Pinehurst, frankly, looks like Carl's been hunting gophers again. Brown fairways, weeds in (or at least in close proximity to) bunkers ... the place looks like hell, and or at least like the golf course that adjoins hell.
And the amazing thing is, they've done it on purpose.
Apparently gripped with nostalgia or some previously foreign populist instinct, they've allowed Pinehurst to go to seed so it reminds everyone not of a pristine PGA track but of the worn public links Joe Hacker used to play as a kid.
Part of this was no doubt intended for the traditional purpose -- i.e., set up U.S. Open courses as no man's land at Verdun, so that you have to lose a finger to break par -- but they could have done that without turning the place into Garage Sale Hills. I, for one, freely admit I don't get it.
Maybe I'm just a golf course snob. But it is the U.S. Open. Esthetically, I expect tuxedos, not board shorts and flip-flops.