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U.S. Open: A lot to talk about after 18 holes of ecstasy and agony

June 16, 2011 | 11:29 am


They have an interview area near the first tee, and they parade the early leaders up a huge hill, across the massive putting green behind the massive clubhouse at Congressional Country Club, and on to meet those who will chronicle their successes, failures and behavior during these four days in hell. They call it the “flash quote” area, maybe because, after 18 holes of little ecstasy and lots of agony, their life flashes before their eyes as the questioning begins.

A few early samples:

Shane Lowry, one over par 72 — “I know it may sound negative, but you’ve got to go out there with the mindset to not make double bogeys.”

Chez Revie, one under 70 — “The rough is tough and the greens are getting firmer and the wind is picking up. It’s going to be tough this afternoon.”

Still seven hours of golf left, and the US Golf Assn. needs to be inspecting all golf bags for razor blades.

The USGA always has some fun with the first-round pairings. And why not? It’s their party and they can laugh if they want to.

Among the groupings going off Thursday were:

-- The All-Spaniards: Miguel Angel Jimenez, Sergio Garcia and Alvaro Quiros.
-- The All-Swedes: Henrik Stenson, Johan Edfors, Fredrik Jacobson.
-- The All Italians: Francesco Molinari, Edoardo Molinari, Matteo Manassero.
-- The All-Somebody-Should-Win: Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson.
-- The All Soft-Spoken: Steve Stricker, Retief Goosen, David Toms.

-- The World Top Guns: Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer.

-- The All-Dress-Flashy: Rickie Fowler, Ian Poulter, Hunter Mahan.

-- The All-We-Won-One-Masters: Trevor Immelman, Zach Johnson, Charl Schwartzel.

-- The All-Thick-English-Accent: Justin Rose, England; Tim Clark, South Africa; Jason Day, Australia.

-- The All-American Who Are These Guys?: Michael Tobiason Jr., Jesse Hutchins, Michael Smith.
-- The All-American Who Are These Guys Part 2:  Bud Cauley, Adam Long, Michael Barbosa.


Live U.S. Open updates

Who will win the U.S. Open?

-- Bill Dwyre, reporting from Bethesda, Md.

Photo: Shane Lowry on the 12th tee. Credit: Chris Trotman / Getty Images.