In the words of Michael Scott, everyone stay calm. Stay f***ing calm! Let’s discuss the U.S. Open.

Live under par?

The U.S. Open is off and running, but scores are lower than many fans hoped. Justin Thomas jumped out to the lead with a 65, and 20 other players are under par. Among them: Patrick Reed (66), Matthew Wolff (67), Rory McIlroy (67), Lee Westwood (67), Xander Schauffele (68), Bryson DeChambeau (69), Jon Rahm (69), and Tony Finau (69). Leaderboard

Does this mean the glory days of brutal U.S. Opens are over? Of course not. We’re just one round in. The course played pretty soft on Thursday, and pins were largely set in accessible positions. Some assumed the setup was intentionally gentle in order to keep up the pace of play and ensure all players finished on Thursday. (They did—barely.)

Yes, there were more under-par rounds today than you’d expect from a U.S. Open at Winged Foot. But let’s not overreact. The wind is expected to kick up on Friday and Saturday, and failing that, Winged Foot’s SubAir system can dry out the greens. The USGA has been clear that it wants the course to get firmer as the event goes on. So let’s see how the next 36 hours go before writing this U.S. Open off.

Athletic Brewing

Phil Mickelson struggled in his return to Winged Foot, shooting a first-round 79 and ending his hopes of winning this week. We’re sure he wanted to go straight to the bar after his round, but his second-round tee time is at 8:07 A.M. Instead of hitting the hooch, he should grab a non-alcoholic option from Athletic Brewing! It’s refreshing, low in calories, and great-tasting! Plus, Athletic ships free nationwide, so you can get their brews wherever you live.

Use code FRIEDEGGFALL20 at checkout for 20% off!

Let’s hit the slopes

No matter how soft or firm Winged Foot plays, the undulations in its greens will always be a factor. Long and short putts alike require immense concentration, and speed is always at the forefront of players’ minds.

What we enjoyed most about Thursday’s round was the creativity players had to use in order to navigate Winged Foot’s greens. Nowhere was that more apparent than on the 1st green, where the pin was set in the middle bowl. Whereas approaches that ended up in the bowl fed close, those that missed on the sides resulted in tricky two putts. Zach Johnson even used all three sides of the bowl to make a 35-footer.

Here are some of the players’ post-round thoughts on the greens:

Lee Westwood: “It’s nice to play on greens like this. You need to use your imagination. You need to be very disciplined to certain flags, miss it in the right places. Or else, you know, it creeps up on you quickly how difficult the golf course can get.”

Preston Summerhays: “No matter where you were at on the green, you had to play defensive and just try to get two-putts.”

Rory Sabbatini: “I had a four-foot putt that I had to play a foot outside the hole just because there is a lot of slope and there is a lot of severity to the greens.”

Sandy Scott: “I had some putts that you get up to the green and realize you’ve got to aim 90 degrees to the hole even though you’re within 20 feet. You might hit good approach shots but just be a little unfortunate with catching some slopes. So that’s why you have to really think about where you’re going to position yourself to the hole.”

Matthew Wolff: “[At Winged Foot] there’s more knobs and stuff that you could play it off of, but I would say these are probably the slopiest greens that I’ve ever played. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some putts that, not only people can’t stop, but you’re going to use backstops to bring the ball back to a hole even on a putt. It’s the U.S. Open. You expect a challenge, and you’re excited for it.”

Other tidbits from the U.S. Open

This tournament could turn unprofessional very quickly, but not in a bad way. Six amateurs are currently inside the projected cut line, and Ricky Castillo is just one shot outside the top 60 and ties. Georgia’s Davis Thompson got it to four-under par at one point, but settled for a round of 69. He and Florida State’s John Pak lead the amateur contingent at Winged Foot.

Will Zalatoris should have made two holes-in-one today. After jarring one on the 7th hole, the Korn Ferry Tour points leader hit the center of the stick on the par-3 13th—but settled for a birdie after the ball somehow stayed out. Zalatoris birdied his final two holes to shoot an even-par 70 and sits five shots off the lead.

Before Zalatoris made his ace on No. 7, Patrick Reed got one of his own on the same hole. According to Justin Ray, the last time there were two holes-in-one on the same hole in the same round of a U.S. Open was the second round of the 1989 U.S. Open at Oak Hill. A very Justin Ray stat.

Quick Hooks

Brendan Quinn of The Athletic has an excellent piece on the increasingly blurred lines between Golf Channel and the PGA Tour. He details how the Tour’s leverage in making the new TV deal led to the current situation. Full article

The folks over at Barstool Sports put together a lovely and insightful video about the Winged Foot maintenance crew’s preparations for this weekend. Watch it here

Portugual’s own Victor Lopes leads the European Tour’s Open de Portugal through one round. Julian Suri, Garrick Higgo, and George Coetzee are in the top 10. Leaderboard

The Latest from The Fried Egg

Shotgun Start: Scoreable Winged Foot, Lost boy Spieth, and flailing Phil

Brendan and Andy react to the opening round at Winged Foot, where 21 players posted scores under par and Justin Thomas set the pace with a 65. At the start, they get into some of the specific holes and tees they loved and a few questions they had about setup. They assess the pin positions, the firmness, the overall conditions, and the wails that it was too easy for a U.S. Open at Winged Foot. They also discuss if the membership might try to put their thumb on the scale and push for a stiffer test. Transitioning to players, they go over a very SGS-esque leaderboard with Team UPS making a strong showing, Shaun Norris anchoring away, Jason Kokrak going all-in, and Sabbo representing for continental Europe. Some quotes from Rory McIroy and JT are also lamented and praised in the context of the usual setups we see on Tour vs. this week. They conclude with some thoughts on Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth, the lost boy, and if and when he needs to just make wholesale changes. A lightning round of make/miss cut closes it out and sets us up for Friday at the national championship. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.