Chat with Curtis Strange
Strange was the PGA Tour money leader in 1985, 1987 and 1988.
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN golf analyst Curtis Strange stops by to chat about the upcoming U.S. Open. ESPN will air coverage of the tournament on June 14-15 (noon-3 p.m. ET, 5-10 p.m. ET).
Strange is one of 21 golfers to win multiple U.S. Open titles, winning back-to-back championships in 1988 and 1989. He won 17 times on the PGA Tour, earning him a spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2007.
Send your questions now and join Strange Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (12:54 PM)
Curtis will be here at the top of the hour to take your questions!
Do u think Rory will rebound from three straight missed cuts and contend this week and at the open?
Curtis Strange (1:05 PM)
You never say he can't, because he's such a young talent. But three missed cuts in a row doesn't do anything for his psyche going into the toughest test in golf.
Curtis, thanks for the chat. Was there anything special you did in preparation of the US Open as opposed to other tournements? (like practicing putting on your driveway or something)
Curtis Strange (1:06 PM)
It was different. I always took the week off before to be well rested physically and just as important, mentally.
Mike (Charlotte, NC)
Knowing that the US Open is more about survival, did you go into the week thinking certain holes would be your aggressive/birdie holes and for everything else it was par is good?
Curtis Strange (1:07 PM)
You don't go into a round of golf thinking like that. But you do understand on a round of golf on a U.S. Open set up, it's more about par. Par is always a good score. It was always tough to be too aggressive and try to force the envelope, because more times than not, it would bite you. You plod along. When you stand on every tee, the goal is to put it in the fairway. When you're standing in the fairway, the goal is to get it on the green. That's how I thought about it. NEver thought about the outcome.
Ian (Sarnia, Ontario)
Simple question: does the sensation you get from hitting a ball on the screws ever get old? Even for pros like yourself?
Curtis Strange (1:08 PM)
Curtis Strange (1:08 PM)
It's the best feeling that you ever have, because quite frankly, it just doesn't happen that often, when it comes off just as you envisioned it.
Do you think Lee Westwood can get over his "majors" hump and win this?
Curtis Strange (1:09 PM)
There is no doubt that he plays well enough from tee to green. But in the Open, you have to bring your complete game and that means you also have to chip and putt it exceptionally well. That's been his Achilles heel. We've seen it for the past three years and many majors. He's been the best ball striker and hasn't won. I'd love to see him win one.
how tough are holes 1-6 at Olympic?
Curtis Strange (1:11 PM)
They are made tougher this year because No. 1 will play as a par 4. In previous Opens, that was a bit of a breather for a start. So with the change on the first hole, the extension of the tee on the third hole, the par 3, and your first par 5 is the 16th hole. There is no let up at all.
Do you think a 8 handicap like myself could even break 90 on a course like Olympic? I think so but my buddies are saying NO WAY
Curtis Strange (1:11 PM)
If you're a good solid 8, on a pretty good golf course at home, yes. If you can get over the intimidation factor and just play golf.
Given last year's record breaking -16 score posted by Rory McIlroy and a field that saw 19 players finish under par, do you foresee the USGA finding ways to make this year's Open more challenging in order to target a winning score closer to par?
Curtis Strange (1:13 PM)
That is the most asked question from coast to coast right now. I think the USGA is very aware of the image of retaliation for Congressional. I don't think they will intentionally make Olympic harder than they already envision it being. It will be plenty hard if they have the appropriate rough. Remember in 1998, Olympic was the hardest golf course in the entire year. It averaged 4.5 strokes over par. So, I don't see it playing that tough, but it will be everything that the players would expect.
Spencer (White Plains, NY)
What is the one thing during US Open week that only the players know about and/or understand?
Curtis Strange (1:16 PM)
First of all, that's part of my job as an ESPN analyst to hopefully tell you during telecasts. But it's a great question. When you watch the Open on television, you never see the nuances. You never get a feel for a difficulty of the rough and controlling your ball out of it, both for the second shot and around the greens. There is a lot of guess work involved, with experience. Olympic's greens are very small, so it's a priority, major priority, to put it in the fairway off the tee. The greens at Olympic are sloped, small, probably be hard and fast. Under that pressure, on the biggest stage, it's magnified, because it's the U.S. Open.
Curtis Strange (1:16 PM)
You know standing on the first tee, Thursday morning, this is a different week, because you're so amped up.
Curtis, We all know there will be much conversation regarding Casey Martin and the use of carts leading up to the Open. I vaguely remember his previous appearance but do not recall his caddy. Since he'll be allowed use of a cart, does he still have a caddy? If so, will the caddy actually carry the clubs or will the be strapped to the cart? What advantages, if any, would a player have if their caddy didn't have to carry the bag?
Curtis Strange (1:19 PM)
I believe he will have to have a caddy and he will want to have a caddy, for yardages, just helping out on the golf course, doing what caddies do. I want to say that I personally congratulate him on qualifying and still playing quality golf. Qualifying for the Open is not easy. I'd love to see him do well. But having a cart will not be an advantage. Let's be honest, he has a disability. He's playing quality golf and everybody should look at him as an inspiration.
What sort of rest of season projections do you see for Tiger? Will he tack on a couple more wins and maybe even a major this season? Has he finally found his swing?
Curtis Strange (1:20 PM)
Well, the future looks bright right now. He's won twice against two of the best fields all year long. He looks very much in control of his game. This could be, sitting right here today, a tremendous year for him, if he were to win a major or two. That's why we play the game. That's why we like to watch, we don't know what's going to happen.
Hey Curtis, who is your pick for the Open?
Curtis Strange (1:23 PM)
I'd rather try to win the lottery than try to pick the winner of the U.S. Open. But since you asked, I'll give you three names, because of their current form and ability to hit the ball consistently. Zach Johnson, Hunter Mahan and Jason Dufner. You have many more young players such as Snedeker, Haas, Fowler and contemporaries of theirs that have to start somewhere and have to win their first big tournament. They could very well do it this week. I truly believe to win the Open, and there are exceptions, you have to have some background, some experience. It just helps you so much come the weekend when the pressure is magnified unlike any other tournament you ever play in. It's fun for me to see the next generation develop as players. I'm anxious to see who rises to the top this week.
Curtis Strange (1:25 PM)
Thanks for having me. I enjoyed it. From the locations of the questions, it's great to see that there is so much anticipation for the national open. Remember, if you see an American win on Sunday afternoon, walking up the last hole, it will be the greatest feeling he will ever have. We as golfers try to suppress emotion most of the time, but to win the Open on Fathers Day, your national championship....just remember that. It adds to the meaning of the championship for that player.