Musings and Mulligans

Roy Lang III is The Times Assistant Sports Editor. He played golf at Centenary College. He has covered six major golf championships and also covered last year’s Ryder Cup. As an added bonus, both Hal Sutton and David Toms are on his speed-dial.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Toms OK after Friday finish

For the first time ever, David Toms led the U.S. Open. Then the tournament -- famous for sending people over the edge -- struck back at the Shreveporter.
Toms' double-triple finish ripped away the title of "Open leader" and many would figure his confidence. But after a 45-minute cooling off period, Toms seemed to be back to his normal self.
He is still only four strokes out of the lead and in this tournament. He remains one of the best ball strikers out here. Retief Goosen, Vijay Singh and Toms are probably the players playing the best tee-to-green.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Toms Lurking At Even Par

He may not get a lot of publicity after his seemingly ho-hum, even-par opening round at the U.S. Open on Thursday, but 70 is no average feat on Pinehurst No. 2.
The former LSU star missed just one fairway and had several birdie putts slide by the edge. He was never in big trouble -- a key to winning this golf tournament.
As I said yesterday, no one is hitting the ball better tee to green. His performance today speaks to that.
A detailed look at Toms' first round coming soon.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Lang's Locks

Here are the players to watch at this week's U.S. Open

David Toms (9-1): No one, and I mean no one, is hitting the ball better than David Toms right now. Played with him today and he was 7-under through 13 holes. He is running on all cylinders.

Tiger Woods (11-1): Sorry, but he will miss too many fairways this week. The rough is up and the ball goes right to the bottom of it. He's simply not hitting it straight enough. Look elsewhere for a winner.

Phil Mickelson (12-1): Everyone is picking Phil, but like Tiger, I'm not sure he can hit enough fairways to win. He will get it up-and-down with the best of them though.

Vijay Singh (13-1): Has made 10 straight cuts at the Open, two less than Phil. His putter might be the only reason he doesnt win this week.

Todd Hamilton (20-1): Plays tough courses extremely well. Defending British Open champ could surprise again.

Ben's Amazing Homemade Ice Cream a Pre-Tourney Must

After hearing so much about the famous ice cream from the inconspicuous stand on highway 211, David Toms had his fill of peach ice cream Wednesday night. It was delicious, so he says ... I taste an endorsement deal coming.

Toms Is Ready After Birdie Barrage

David Toms spent the morning at Pinehurst No. 2 with a session at the range with coach Rob Akins. Peach Queen Katie Williams, David's new "biggest fan," was spotted among the celebrities at Pinehurst on Wednesday.
David also chipped and putted before leaving the facility and heading to a local club, Forest Creek.
He made seven birdies in 12 holes and quit at 7-under after 13. I would say he's ready to go for the U.S. Open.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

THE BEST ICE CREAM ... EVER

Note to those who are on their way to Pinehurst, or who may be already here. If you like ice cream, or fresh fruit, or both, YOU MUST TRAVEL TO EAGLE SPRINGS. Take route 211 West from Pinehurst about 17 miles. Just past Eagle Springs (dont blink) you will see a fresh produce stand that serves homemade ice cream.
I happened upon the stand and met Katie Williams, the NORTH CAROLINA PEACH QUEEN of 1999. I was honored as I found out she is quite the celebrity and works at her family's produce/ice cream stand.
Katie hooked me up with her father's famous homemade Peach Ice Cream. Holy cow. Well worth the "short" drive.
Katie also informed me that the area is quite famous for peaches. I had no idea. Thought that was a Georgia thing.
A visit to the stand will tell you all you need to know about the Williams family -- pictures and all. Wonder if Katie's three siblings are mad her picture is the biggest -- by far -- in the collage? Katie's brother Ben, survived an accident where his school bus did its best Dukes Of Hazzard imitation and flipped over. Despite a broken back, he is recovered now and Katie claims he's quite a golfer and football star.
Visit the stand and say hello to Katie, who is rooting for David Toms this week.

Hey Monty!

David Toms was paired with Colin Montgomerie in Tuesday's practice round. If you remember, the two battled until the 18th hole at Oakland Hills Country Club on Sunday of last year's Ryder Cup. The Scot eventually won the match, which clinched the Cup for Europe.
The two have been mired in controversy for the past few weeks. Toms for his gesture and Monty for a suspect drop in an European Tour event.
Paul Casey, much beloved by all Americans (please note the sarcasm) began the day with Toms and Montgomerie but dropped out after nine holes. He was a no-show.
Toms had some choice words at the end of last year for Casey, who basically tore the United States a new one -- despite the fact he received a free education here and snatched up an American beauty.
Toms seems extrememly relaxed and is flying under the radar a bit here as far as a favorite.
If he continues to hit his driver like he has been, all will be good for the former LSU star.

Monday, June 13, 2005

U.S. Open Week Begins!

Well, the No. 2 Course at Pinehurst Country Club is buzzing as the best golfers in the world have flocked to the tiny golf community in North Carolina for the 2005 U.S. Open.
Shreveport's David Toms arrived at the course just after 7 a.m. and is playing a practice round with Justin Leonard, Bob Tway and Scott Verplank.
By mid-morning, several of Toms' "buddies" on the PGA Tour had already given him grief about his "gesture" at the Memorial.
If nothing else, it has provided plenty of smiles at the beginning of the week. Lord knows, come Sunday, most of the participants will be beaten up and discouraged thanks to the venue and its USGA setup.