Chat with Andy North
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN golf analyst Andy North chats live from The Olympic Club, site of the 2012 U.S. Open.
North is a two-time U.S. Open champion, for two of his 14 professional wins. He was also a three-time All-American at the University of Florida.
Send your questions now and join North Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET!
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Buzzmaster (11:02 AM)
We've got Andy!
How hard is it to change your mental approach to having to make a ton of birdies in a weekly event to 'par is a good score' and what did you do to mentally prepare?
Andy North (11:03 AM)
Personally, it was very easy to do that, because that was my mindset. For the regular tour player it is an adjustment. You're in such an aggressive mode on tour, sometimes you take that mindset to the U.S. Open, that's a huge challenge. The players will be talking about patience and taking one shot at a time.
Who are a few guys outside the top 20 you could see competing this week?
Andy North (11:06 AM)
One of the things that's really important to understand about the Olympic Club is you have to drive the ball well. You start to look at good ball strikers. Guys who understand how to keep it in the fairway. There are a lot of holes where you have to work the ball into a fairway with slope. You have to curve the ball. Because of that, I know Jason Dufner has jumped into the top 10, but he's still a guy that not many people who think he can win here. Johnson is a good ball striker. If you look at the winners here in the recent past, you've got some guys that have been great ball strikers. Driving the ball will be the most important thing this week.
Andy, what do you think the winning score is going to be?
Andy North (11:06 AM)
At an Open, something around par is always very good. There are very few years like last year where everything is soft. It will be firm this year. Right around par is good. I don't see a lot of guys under par. If you can shoot 2-3 under, that's the winning score.
When can we see Dr. North reporting for duty?
Andy North (11:07 AM)
He'll show up on Wednesday! We've had to tweak our theorem a little bit, because the Euros have won the last couple of years. They've been so strong of late. After numbers of hours in the lab, we'll come out with our new theorem. I think 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday, the good doctor makes a house call.
Players who can stripe their long irons should be the ones in contention right? Everyone will be forced to layup on these short doglegs and steep slopes?
Andy North (11:09 AM)
Any time you can hit some good long irons in an Open, that's a factor. There is not a lot of middle ground. There are probably a half a dozen long iron shots players have to play. The greens will be firm. It will be hard just to hit the greens here. I watched a couple of guys play 4 irons into the greens and it rolled to the back edge. If you have a long iron, it will have to be struck perfectly.
Josh (Annapolis, MD)
Do you see Sergio having any shot at winning this week? As pure of a ball striker as he is I would have to imagine that he can plan his way around the course and his inability to putt under pressure won't be as much of a factor
Andy North (11:10 AM)
Sergio is a good ball striker. Those are the kind of guys that come to the forefront here. The one thing about Sergio is he's always been a good ball striker, but it's usually the same flight. There will be some holes here that will be difficult for him to get into the fairway.
Andy North (11:10 AM)
His ball striking is good, I'm just not so sure that he's ready. Let's be honest about it, his putting has been suspect in the majors.
Has there been any negativity expressed by the players about the condition on the course? Any grumblings that it is unfair?
Andy North (11:11 AM)
No, absolutely not. The golf course is in fabulous shape. There haven't been anywhere near the number of grumblings the last 4-5 years. The USGA has been a little more player friendly in setting up the course. I don't think the rough has been anywhere near as severe. It's kind of an unusual phenomenon that there isn't any grumbling in the lockerroom.
Andy (Huntington, WV)
How much of a factor is the rough going to be this week? Unplayable from rough or will guys have chances to take a swipe and possibly get in to even more trouble?
Andy North (11:13 AM)
The interesting thing about the rough here is there are spots where it is very very thick. Because of the moisture at times, there are spots where it's very lush. Two players could hit into a spot and one is chopping it out and one has a good lie. There are places to play it out of the rough and places where it is very very difficult. It depends on the slope of the fairway, usually the lower side of the rough is the thickest and most lush.
When playing an Open do you look at the course and decide which holes to "go for it" and try and play for birdie or is it more a take oppurtunity when presents itself?
Andy North (11:14 AM)
I think it's more take the opportunity with it presents itself. You could have a hole one day that changes because of the hole location. There might be some holes where you're never aggressive on. It's all about the gameplanning and preparation. And you have to be disciplined enough to be patient and take the chances when they come.
Andy (Huntington, WV)
Does Tiger hit a bunch of irons and the 3W this week off the tee?
Andy North (11:16 AM)
I think you'll see him tee off on a bunch of holes with something else than a driver. Historically, the more he swings a club and is more confident in his ball striking, that's when you see him use more clubs. There are a lot of opportunities here for him to hit something other than driver. There are some long, long holes, but just because it's long, doesn't mean you have to hit driver.
Andy - thanks for taking my question... what side of the draw has an advantage? Typically it is dictated by early vs late but is this US Open more about starting at #9 vs #1 on the first day? I imagine shooting 4 or 5 over on those holes could just destroy someone quickly.
Andy North (11:17 AM)
I really don't think it makes a difference. It looks like the weather will be decent. It's not like the midwest where you have a storm blowing through. If we have weather here, it will be because it gets foggy. You might have a little breeze. I don't see being one part of the draw will have any effect weather wise. It is unusual that we're starting on No. 9 than No. 10, but it's closest to the clubhouse and it's a good starting hole. I don't think it matters. Everyone has to do it through the course of the day. I don't think there will be any effect at all.
Andy North (11:18 AM)
Overall, it's going to be a spectacular week. If you've never watched it at Olympic, pay attention to the slopes. There are some huge trees on the fairways. It will be an interesting week.
Buzzmaster (11:18 AM)
Thanks for chatting Andy!