San Francisco, CA – Matt Kuchar was the darling of the 1998 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club. As an amateur that year, he tied for 14th.
"I see it's just much firmer than I remember. This course, the ball is running a lot in the fairways, the fairways are firm and the greens are just really firm," Kuchar said of the difference in the course between 1998 and this year.
Kuchar claimed his biggest PGA Tour win earlier this year when he claimed the Players Championship. He also tied for third at the Masters and has three other top-10 finishes.
The 33-year-old mixed three bogeys, two birdies and a double bogey in a round of 73 on Friday.
"Par is a great score for sure. You have to hit it well just to have a good chance at a par. If you're not hitting it well, you are hoping to make par, but it's even surviving just to make bogey sometimes," Kuchar said. "You really have got to be driving it well and be accurate with the irons. With the greens as firm as they are, it's hard to make birdies. It's just a difficult setup to make birdies. With as firm as these greens are and as tough as the conditions are."
Here's what other players were saying after the second round of the 112th U.S. Open.
- RORY MCILROY carded a 3-over 73 to miss the cut by two strokes. On his second round, the 2011 champion said: "Obviously disappointed. It wasn't the way I wanted to play. I left myself with a lot of work to do after yesterday's round, and to be honest, overall, I don't feel like I played that badly for the last two days. It's just such a demanding golf course. You really have to be so precise out there and if not, you're going to get punished."
- GRAEME MCDOWELL, the 2010 winner at Pebble Beach, fought hard to stay in contention: "It's just tough to have fun out there, I got to be honest with you. It's just a brutal test of golf. Disappointed to bogey three of the last four [holes] today. Very happy to be where I am. I think I played some really nice golf the last two days, made enough birdies to kind of offset some mistakes which I think's key."
- LUKE DONALD, the No. 1 ranked player in the world, never got anything going all week: "A little better today, but little consolation, obviously. It's not going to be good enough to play the weekend and obviously my troubles started yesterday. I was a little off. I think I missed nine putts inside 10 feet yesterday and just couldn't get the feel for the greens, the reads, the speed. But it wasn't to be and I'm trying to learn from it and come back stronger next time."
- CASEY MARTIN, who tied for 23rd at The Olympic Club in 1998, just didn't have enough to make it to the weekend: "Wasn't really happy with how I played today. Just missed a lot of putts and hit a few loose shots when it was important. But it's wonderful competing. I haven't done it in so long it really feels great to get out there and grind away."
- DENNIS MILLER, whose birdie putt in a playoff at the qualifier hung on the lip momentarily before falling and giving him a spot in the field, missed the cut by a mile, but was realistic about what his chances were:"You've got to realize that it is hard. And you're playing the best players in the world. I'm a club professional. Every shot requires full concentration. It requires your full attention and you can really look silly out there on just about any hole."
- BEAU HOSSLER, the 17-year-old amateur that had the lead briefly on Friday: "I just felt pretty comfortable out there. Pretty nervous starting the round. Just like any other event I'm normally pretty nervous on the first tee, but once I got through the middle of the round, I found out I had the lead. After hole one, I felt pretty comfortable. I felt I was getting into a little bit of a zone. Unfortunately, I kind of lost it coming in. I was able to salvage one on seven with that chip in, but it was pretty solid overall."