By Chuck Garbedian Special to Published Jun 18, 2010 at 1:45 AM

Tom Petty once crooned, "The future is wide open..."

So is the 110th edition of the United States Open, contested this week on the Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, Calif. Round One is in the books and, as expected, there was drama, intrigue, excitement and scoring.

Now, ESPN, for the love of all things balata, can we please lose Chris Berman? Boomer is fine on football, decent on baseball, but has no place in golf. No offense, but what Berman attempts just doesn't translate.

Since I'm not on the approved list of announcers for the USGA, I would be happy to nominate and recommend ESPN's own Scott Van Pelt to the anchor chair and let him have a swing at the action.

Meanwhile, we find Shaun Micheel, Paul Casey and Brendon De Jonge all tied for the early lead following 2-under par 69s, while the duo of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson combined to make ZERO birdies.

Woods posted a 3-over par 74 and Philly Mick shot 4-over par 75. The funny, sad, strange twist is that for each is that it could have been far worse.

What was jaw-dropping after the round was Woods complaining about the Poa in the greens causing them to be bumpy in the afternoon as the day progressed. You're from California, you've played Pebble and Torrey Pines and well, newsflash, there is Poa in the grass and it tends to get bumpy as the day progresses. No surprise there, in fact, it is acknowledged and expected by folks in the media, in the field and from the USGA. It's there, it's part of the surroundings and you deal with it. Complaining about it does nothing and makes you look silly.

After watching the coverage, I will agree with The Golf Channel's Brandel Chamblee who talked about the fact that fans want to hear honest comments from the players once they are done with their rounds, but there has to be, in my opinion, a cooling-off period before a player gets up in front of the media scrum and goes off in the heat of the moment. This is a performance- based industry and in this situation I would give the player the benefit of the doubt, especially when coming directly off the golf course and into the media flash area.

On Wednesday the USGA announced that Erin Hills will host the 2017 US Open. It is the first competition of our national championship to be held in the state of Wisconsin and the focus will begin with the playing of the US Amateur in 2011.

Securing the Open was a dream for former owner Bob Lang. His dream was to bring his golf course first to the people of Wisconsin and then to the world. Lang began that journey and now new Erin Hills owner Andy Ziegler will complete the deal in 2017.

So take a good look Wisconsin at this year's coverage, criticism, and praise of a venue as storied as Pebble Beach. For in a mere seven years the focus of the golfing world will be squarely on the tiny hamlet of Erin, Wis.

Jerry Kelly was tied for 14th after posting a one-over par 72 on Thursday. JK's round included four birdies and five bogeys after he hit nine of 14 fairways and 10 of 18 greens. Kelly rolled the rock 28 times in Round One.
Steve Stricker jump-started his round with a beautiful birdie on the first hole to come storming out of the gate. Strick couldn't keep the momentum flowing as he carded only one more birdie against six bogeys in a four-over par 74 that featured 11 of 14 fairways hit, 11 of 18 greens and a team Wisconsin-high 34 putts.

It is crystal clear after day one that whoever is going to win the 110th US Open will be a patient putter. This will not be an accidental victory, it will be won by someone who, if he isn't already a great putter, will have the putting rounds of his life. He will see the line, read the break and trust what he's decided on as putt after putt disappears into the hole.
No complaining, no whining, just giving yourself chance upon chance to get the ball into the hole.

I'll spare you the suspense, the only "player" to break 100 in the Pebble Beach made for TV challenge was actor Mark Wahlberg, who parred the 18th hole to post a 97. The event was borne out of a statement that Tiger Woods made during the 2007 US Open that a "ten-handicap couldn't break 100 on such a tough setup."

Wahlberg was joined by hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, who made a triple on 18 to shoot 100, Saints QB Drew Brees, who shot a 102 and 51-year old amateur Peggy Ference who plays to a 4.9 handicap out of her home course near Skillman, N.J. Ference won a Golf Digest essay contest to earn the dream round and shot 118.

If you'd like to witness the carnage of four less-than-average golfers trying to get around a US Open set up with the likes of Ricky Fowler, US Ryder Cup Captain Corey Pavin, Ricky Barnes and Bubba Watson all making cameos as caddies, tune into NBC on Sunday prior to the final round to catch all the action.

You have to wonder just how old some of the field looks to 18-year old Ryo Ishikawa and 21-year old Rory McIlroy? Ishikawa and McIlroy are in a group to themselves that they share with 60-year old Tom Watson. Then the group in front of them features a pair of 40-somethings in Vijay Singh and Davis Love III, while in the group behind them its Kenny Perry, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Fred Funk.

Ishikawa, McIlroy and Watson have a 10:17 a.m. tee time, leaving plenty of time for Tom Terrific to grab his AARP card and head down to the early blue plate buffet at the Senior Center.

The most interesting feature of Day 2 at the US Open will be how the early-late tee time switch impacts things. If all things were fair and equitable, those who played poorly in the afternoon wave will play better in the morning wave and vice versa. However, golf is cruel game that is never really mastered so instead look for a surprise or two on the leader board and the scoring to be higher across the board in Day 2.

Television coverage again bounces between ESPN and NBC on Friday with a mix of Curtis Strange, Johnny Miller, Dan Hicks and Roger Maltbie, plus the unusual assortment of characters this game provides.

Day 2 should be something to see. Enjoy.


Chuck Garbedian Special to
Chuck has more than a decade of experience in many aspects of the golf industry -- from sales to teaching to hosting radio talk shows. He has been media chairman for the Greater Milwaukee Open since 1992, has served as women's golf coach at Wisconsin Lutheran College and is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America. He currently does work for PGA TOUR Network on SIRIUS XM Radio.