Phil Mickelson dunked his tee shot on the 10th hole into the water. So did Heath Slocum. Some, like Stewart Cink, saw that and were able to adjust.
But one thing was clear: No. 10 at Congressional is not a fan favorite among most golfers at this U.S. Open.
“I think 10 is maybe the only slightly unfair hole, here, at Congressional,” defending champion Graeme McDowell said. “I think the rest of them are what they are. You play well and you get rewarded.”
There was a lot of hate out there for No. 10, a hole that Padraig Harrington said he’s been thinking about for three days. Formerly the 18th, the new 10th hole is a 218-yard par-3 with a lot of water in front of the green and several bunkers behind it.
“That’s one of the few holes out here that I really don’t like,” said Fred Funk, who shot par on the hole. “I don’t think it matches the rest of the golf course.”
With the United States Golf Association wanting to reward good shots and punish bad ones, a lot of players had to deal with punishment after hitting the ball into the water. Mickelson – who started on No. 10 along with half the field – finished with a double bogey.
“It was a tough start,” Harrington said. “Our group played it in 1‑under par, which wasn’t too bad. Two pars and a birdie and we were off and running. Even if you get through 10, you have 11, 12, 13, 14 – there’s plenty of them out there.”
Of course there were a few who played it well and had praise for the reviled 10th hole, including Ryan Palmer, who shot a 2-under 69 on the day.
“I loved it today; I hit it about four feet. Keeping it up was smart where the left side of the green is,” he said. “It’s definitely a hard shot, especially on your tee shot of the day, which I’ll get [Friday] afternoon. It’s a pretty hole.”