After the first day of play, many golfers were on the verge of calling Oakmont "easy". On the second day, Oakmont decided to fight back. With the minor exception of Paul Casey’s round of 66, Oakmont stole the headlines and story away from the players as the thick rough, and hardened greens frustrated the best players in the world.
Now that second round play has closed, the spotlight has focused squarely on the USGA’s ability to keep the course in check and avoid a repeat of the 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock where some of the greens became so hard and fast that stopping any shot became an impossible task. When Tiger Woods was asked if he thought the USGA was allowing Oakmont’s conditions to get away from them, he replied, "It’s close. It’s right on the edge, I think. The first green, that was — thank God I have spikes on, because I think it would have slipped right off the back."
However, Woods was not the only player voicing his concerns about the USGA’s course conditions. After finishing his second round at +7, Phil Mickelson walked off the course frustrated, with a painful injured wrist and addressed the media. To the surprise of many, he was upset with the USGA allowing a course to play so difficult it presented risk to players, "Well, it’s disappointing to dream as a kid about winning the U.S. Open and spend all this time getting ready for it and have the course setup, injury, you know? To think that the end of this tournament — you’re trying to win and hit great shots but you’re also trying to not end your career on one shot, which — or at least suspend it for a while. That’s a little disappointing, yeah." At the end of play, Mickelson finished just one shot outside the cut line and was left with a year to re-evaluate his preparation and continue his dreams of winning a U.S. Open.
Jim Hyler, Chairman of the USGA’s Chamionship Committee, responded to the criticism by saying, "We listen to what he says, but it won’t have an impact on what we do [to the course]. It’s our national championship, so we want it to be a rigorous test. We’ve had tough rough at the U.S. Open for years. We like where we are right now, we don’t pay attention to scores." However, Hyler did say that crews would be out at night to water the greens, in an attempt to slow them down, and would be paying close attention to the 10th and 12th which were playing especially difficult today.
While the average score for the field was a staggering 76.9, England’s Paul Casey shocked the field by carding a 66. Casey played the USGA’s game, missing only one fairway and reaping the benefits by carding five birdies and only one bogey throughout his round. Casey said, "A 66 is way beyond my expectations. I’m still a bit surprised. The goal was to go out and shoot something level, a couple over maybe, and finish below probably 10-over and try to get into the weekend." Interestingly, Casey admitted that the only time during his round he was nervous was putting out for par on his last hole, the 9th, with many other players watching from the practice green, "I don’t like playing in front of my peers," Casey said. "I feel like everybody’s critiquing." There was not much about Casey’s round to critique, in fact many players were shocked that anyone was able produce such a low score with the difficult Oakmont conditions.
Nevertheless, Casey’s 66 was not enough to vault him up the leaderboard. The top spot belonged to Angel Cabrera. The Argentinian shot 71 today to bring his two round total to even par – 140 and take a one shot lead over Bubba Watson. With such a premium being placed on driving accuracy and the difficulty of the rough, it came as quite a suprise to some to see the tandem of big hitters at the top of the leader board. However, neither one particulary fit hte U.S. Open mold of fairways and greens. Watson hit only 57% of his fairways and 61% of the greens in regulation. Yet, both find themselves sharing the 36 hole lead. Watson said, "The one thing, everybody keeps saying in the interviews, they say that if your game is off any bit; so if your game is on, anybody has a chance to win. Anybody that’s playing good, all it has to take is that one week you play great, and you can win."
|T8||Tom Pernice Jr.||72||72||+4|
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WOTW: Viktor Hovland’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver in Khaki Green
Viktor Hovland successfully defended his Hero World Challenge title this weekend. Hovland fired a final round 69, giving him a 2 stroke win over Scottie Scheffler. After the round, Victor received his trophy from Tiger Woods and on his wrist was a green Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver.
Name: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver
Date: 2021 – Present
Case: Stainless Steel
Bezel: Stainless Steel
Dial: Khaki Green “Méga Tapisserie”
Movement: Calibre 4308, 32 Jewels
Power Reserve: 60 Hours
Glass: Saphire Crystal
Waterproof: 300 Meters
Bracelet: Khaki Green Rubber Strap
Price: $29,000 (~$35,000)
Audemars Piguet has been making the Royal Oak Offshore line of watches since 1992 as the larger and more capable version of the iconic Royal Oak. The larger cases, bezels, and straps give the Offshore a stronger look and stand out more on the wrist. The Offshore Diver line was introduced in 2010 and was the first Audemars Piguet watch to be ISO certified.
The case on the Offshore Diver is 42mm and made from a solid block of stainless steel but it does sit tall on the wrist at around 14mm thick. The caseback on the new Offshore Diver features a large display window, made from sapphire crystal, that allows you to view the mechanical movement inside. The caseback is held in place by 8 screws and is sealed to give the Diver a 300 meter water resistance rating. On the right side of the case is the tradition screw-down crown, finished in black ceramic and ping gold, that is used to set the time and day on the watch. The second crown sits at 10 o’clock and it is used to to set the inner rotating bezel. This bezel is around the dial and can be used for timing during dives. On top of the case is the legendary octagon Royal Oak bezel that sits on a large rubber gasket and is held in place by 8 hex screws. Under the sapphire crystal is a Khaki Green dial the the Royal Oak Offshore’s Méga Tapisserie texture. Méga Tapisserie is a sequence of raised squares with a matte finish. The hour markers and hands are made from pink gold and filled with larger amounts of luminescent material for easy reading underwater. A date is located at 3 o’clock and has a magnifying cyclops lens integrated into the glass.
Inside the stainless steel armor is a self-winding mechanical movement that was designed and built in-house by Audemars Piguet in 2021. The Calibre 4308 is an upgraded movement with a date that moves to the next day instantly a new setting mechanism for added durability. The 4308 contains 234 individual parts, offers the wearer 60 hours of power reserve and features an oscillating rotor made from solid 22k pink gold. That rotor is then given a dark grey finish and perfectly hand polished.
Holding this dive watch on Viktor’s wrist is a Khaki Green rubber strap with a stainless steel pin buckle. You are able to quickly change out the strap with quick release buttons on the lugs and pin buckle. Each strap then has steel latches built into them to snap into the lugs and pin buckle. Audemars Piguet makes plenty of $600+ rubber and leather options to dress up, or down, your Offshore Diver.
These Royal Oak Offshore Divers are gaining popularity and at one time pretty easy to get your hands on. This isn’t the case currently and if you can get one at your local Audemars Piguet dealer for the $29,000 retail price, consider yourself lucky. On the secondary market you can expect to add around a $6,000 premium to that retail price.
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