TaylorMade and the Golf Channel kicked off the week Monday night with a riverfront party at downtown Pittsburgh's Station Square, at which attendees had the chance to take a shot at a green floating 132 yards away in the Monongahela River, using their choice of TaylorMade TP Red or TP Black. The prize for making a hole-in-one was a brand new Porsche. Nobody did, but a lot of fish were fed and a lot of fun was had.
TaylorMade Tour Staff players who dropped by included Sergio Garcia, Retief Goosen, Fred Funk, Sean O'Hair, Nathan Green, Mike Weir, Todd Fischer, Trip Isenhour, Justin Rose, Dean Wilson and Scott Verplank. Party-goers could also test the latest Rossa putters on a couple of synthetic putting greens, where Fred found putters he liked so much that he took them to the course the next day.
Speaking of the course, you can believe the hype, because Oakmont is as tough as you've read and heard. In his Tuesday press conference Sergio said it "wasn't' too bad for a par-78" and definitely tougher than Winged Foot was last year. Typically narrow U.S. Open fairways; deep, thick, lush rough; ultra-slick and undulating greens. And what you can't pick up on TV is the myriad elevation changes from tee to green. Some think that there's more slope around the holes here than at Augusta, so expect to see a lot of big-breaking six-footers.
All in all it's an incredibly tough test that has crowned great U.S. Open champions like Tommy Armour, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller. A fantastic course and an ideal venue for our national championship, and we take great pride that the head pro here, Bob Ford, is a member of TaylorMade-adidas Golf's Presidential Advisory Board.
New club requests mostly focused on two types: controllable metalwoods to keep the ball in the fairway, and high-lofted metalwoods to get the ball out of the rough in the event a fairway is missed. Retief Goosen requested a shorter, 41-inch, 15-degree Burner 3-wood. Todd Hamilton experimented with a shorter and more lofted 3-wood. Jeff Brehaut switched out his 3-wood for a newly built 4-wood. David Toms and Mike Weir both took 7-woods with them during their Tuesday practice rounds.
Sergio Garcia and Retief Goosen each came by the trailer Monday morning to grind all new wedges for themselves, as both wanted fresh grooves to ensure maximum spin and control. Goosen also got a Rossa Maranello without sight-lines on the flange, which he asked to be removed.