#AskAlan at the Open, Saturday Edition

With thoughts about Rory’s grind, JT’s pique, the Sunday setup, the Keegan lovefest and much more

By Alan Shipnuck
June 18, 2022

How far back is too far back? @RobertMi11er

After watching Jon Rahm make an absolute mess of the 18th hole, it’s clear you can spend strokes very quickly out there. The 54-hole lead is 4 under and I think the winning score could be 2 under, or even 1 under. It’s going to be cold Sunday, there will be wind and the course is going to play very, very tough. So let’s say anyone who’s 2 over or better is in this fight, but they’re going to have to play their butt off.

Do you think they’ll soak the course tonight or let it continue drying out? @JesseReed78 

The USGA has been a little benevolent so far; the setup has been a little benign. There is universal praise for this course, which means it’s probably just a little too fair. It’s time for the USGA to really put its foot on the neck of the players. I hope there’s not a drop of water put on this golf course overnight—it should be tough and brutal and mean. Here’s hoping.

Which would be the more intense (read: loudah!) rooting interest, Rory or Keegan? @PeteViles

Everyone loves Rory. He has become the moral compass of golf. But Keegan Bradley is Boston to the bone. He’s pandering to the crowd, he’s playing to them, and I think on Sunday, Keegan is the people’s choice. Even his twitchy weirdness adds to the drama because he’s like a cat on a hot tin roof. So I think Keegan’s the guy for the Boston crazies.

What’s more likely, multiple majors for Zalatoris or him turning into Rickie Fowler, part two? @HeavySvenB

I mean, Rickie Fowler has had a sneaky OK career—I think Zalatoris would probably be fine with five wins and a Players. But Zalatoris has already become a big-game hunter with his fine play at seemingly every major, as the tough setups accentuate his supreme ball-striking. Given how often he contends, I feel like he’s going to pick one off. And if you can win one, you can win two. So I’m going to say he’s going to be around for a long time contending in the most important tournaments.

Unlike FIGJAM, will you accept a two-part question? Is Rahm also finding some extra juice, much like Rory is, with the LIV defections, and what constitutes a “civilized dinner” at an Italian joint? @DeeFnCee

Jon Rahm is a very old world personality, he’s very black and white. No doubt he’s a little upset about what’s happening with his colleagues and he feels like he’s fighting for the future of the PGA Tour, and I do think that righteousness gives him a little extra energy. The “civilized Italian joint” is a reference to a tweet I posted about my dinner with Michael Bamberger on Friday night. It was a beautiful evening, it was warm, we were sitting outside enjoying good conversation, good people-watching and good food. Aaron Wise rolled up in his tournament car, his bride popped out and grabbed some food from the same spot. His sketchy play today was not due to a lack of carbs, I’ll say that.

JT is annoyed that his honesty probably cost him a stroke, maybe two, to say nothing of what it did to him mentally. Are there players with reputations among their peers one way or the other about how they handle close calls with rules officials? @_the_real_k_man

On the PGA Tour, the players’ collective attitude is that the rules are there to help you and you need to bend them as hard as you can without breaking them to your benefit. So there is no doubt that other players, presented with the same scenario as Thomas, might have pushed harder to get a favorable ruling. But I’m a little annoyed by JT’s whining—either you do the right thing or you don’t, but don’t be asked to be patted on the back. It’s like Bobby Jones said, “You might as well congratulate a guy for not robbing a bank.” I mean, give me a break. The way Thomas handled the situation was a little disappointing.

Alan, I’m sure you’re on site, but do you have any idea how much of a disgrace the TV coverage is? @tschu_22

Yes, I do, thanks to all of you. I haven’t paid close attention to the coverage because I am out walking a lot or typing on my computer, but yes, I can hear your voices loud and clear. It’s a shame because it’s such a great tournament on a super charming venue. Why is the presentation of golf so uniformly bad from network to network, from streaming platforms to cable? You guys deserve better.

OK, Alan, is the 11th hole as cool as it looks? @dogrin

Definitely. It has instantly become one of the great short little par-3s in golf. It’s visually incredible with a super cool green. I love everything about it.

Temperatures in the 50s tomorrow—what do you think about Rory’s chances? @misterdomer

It’s going to be a grind out there. I think Saturday was one of the most impressive rounds I’ve ever seen Rory McIlroy play. He had nothing. He was fighting his swing. But he scrambled like a mofo, making an insane number of one-putts, some great up-and-downs and some quintessential U.S. Open bogeys. It was a quite a display. There have been plenty of times in his career that McIlroy did not have that grind and that grit; if he wins this thing I think this third round is going to be remembered as one of the best of his career because he could have shot 80, but instead he kept himself in there. So hats off to Rory. I have a sneaky feeling this is going to light a fire and he’s going to play a hell of a round on Sunday. If I had to pick a favorite, I’m saying Rory McIlroy.

6 thoughts on “#AskAlan at the Open, Saturday Edition”

  1. Ship: Why are viewers hating on the broadcast (in your opinion)? I am open to reasons, but Zinger is great and I think the team is presenting the course and the players in an entertaining fashion. What do people think is missing? Also I saw Dahmen in a conventional golf hat today. THAT is a problem. He needs to go bucket 100% or it’s a mojo loss. What if Rory donned a bucket? Everyone would go nuts with the non-conforming look! And please keep spoiling us periodically with the daily #AskAlan. Great stuff.

  2. Suggestion; sell the “Ask Alan” segment to the PGATour.com…..fans have zero voice on golfchannel.com, golfweek.com, golfdigest.com or golf.com. The aforementioned sites feed us their bias, without an avenue of response or inquiry. Kudos to firepitcollective.com, where opinions and fan feedback are welcomed. And thank you for your “extra effort” reporting from Brookline. The network telecasts just don’t get it.

  3. ThisSeasonWillBeDifferent

    Try this for the most enjoyable viewing experience (particularly when Azinger is involved) – mute it, or turn the volume way down. It’s very peaceful and you will be much more focused on the actual action. If you must have volume, go to Peacock and pick one of the featured pairings. Great way to get a feel for the course and you will not have to listen to Zinger talk incessantly about “the pressure.” The B Team commentators are almost always preferable. Recent Women’s Open on Peacock watching JY Ko, Lexi and Min Jee’s respective groupings was phenomenal.

    Go Rory! And Zalatoris. What a talent. If and when he learns to putt he will be hard to beat.

    Love the website. Keep up the great, engaging work gentlemen.

    1. I concur…..God Bless the mute button. Been doing that all season w/CBS, NBC telecasts. Featured pairings are so much better, especially when you get a great “on course” analyst like Smylie or Woody. Faldo & Zinger were great players but their analysis is boring and uninspired. Time to hit the “reset” button CBS/NBC.


        Would love to see a network have the stones to do a broadcast the absolute best way – on course audio only. When Fox Soccer and Setanta Sports (RIP) would broadcast UEFA Champions League games during the multi game per day knock out stages, they would show several “non-feature” matches on their extra channels with zero commentary, but would include the stadium audio. Absolutely brilliant way to watch a football match.

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