It was their final practice round before the first round of the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. Between reading the slopes on the greens, testing the bunkers and driving off the tees one final time, a quartet of golfers was surprisingly loose Wednesday.
Matt Every made his putt on the 17th hole with the Puget Sound and Fox Island to his right.
“I’ll give you 100 grand if you swim across this right now,” Charley Hoffman told Every. “I’ll go right now and get my check book.”
Every wisely didn’t take him up on it, considering how cold the Puget Sound is and the distance between the 17th hole and Fox Island.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News Tribune
Steve Marino played music from his phone in his back pocket most of the way. Billy Horschel, who tied for fourth in the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion East Golf Course in Pennsylvania, had trouble on a couple of backside greens, including on 17 after jokingly asking if he could just have it.
“Have you seen my stats?” Horschel said.
Their most trouble came on the greens, trying to read the break of the slopes. Hoffman bogeyed four consecutive holes before tapping in for birdie on 18.
That came thanks to a monster of a drive that set him up in the middle of the fairway. He sent his second shot about 15 feet behind the pin before just missing an eagle putt.
Horschel birdied that one, too, even after his first tee shot landed in a left-side bunker.
On 16 – Every, Hoffman and Horschel all landed in a right-side bunker.
Even with some of the struggles – landing in sand and missing putts – they kept it light before what should be a tense first-round. Horschel laughed when a fan yelled at Marino, “Go ’77 Dolphins” after he had teed off on 17. Even if former Miami quarterback Dan Marino didn’t begin his NFL career until 1983.
But, hey, they were all keeping it loose anyway.