The starter at the No. 10 hole at Pinehurst No. 2 thought he had gotten it right when he introduced Ernie Els as being from South Africa. A quick glance at Els's bio in the PGA Tour media guide confirms that the two-time U.S. Open champion indeed was born in Johannesburg.
Yet Els did not appear pleased with those opening remarks. He was overheard telling the starter that he wanted to be introduced as hailing from Wentworth, England, where Els currently resides.
USGA policy is to introduce players as being from their country of birth, the starter told reporters as a disgruntled Els made his way down the fairway.
"And that's where he'll be from tomorrow," the starter said.
Pavin Knows His Priorities
Most weekends during the season, golf does not come second for Corey Pavin. That's especially the case during the U.S. Open. Pavin won his only major championship at the 1995 Open at Shinnecock Hills, and the event remains a priority on his golfing calendar.
Thursday, the Open was almost incidental to his post-round plans. After shooting a 3-over 73, Pavin flew by private jet to San Diego so he could watch his son, Ryan, graduate from high school.
"It was an easy decision on what I was going to do. I was going to make sure I was at my boy's graduation," said Pavin, who will be back at Pinehurst No. 2 in time for his 12:37 tee time Friday afternoon. "So fortunately, it worked out that I played early today, could get there tonight and at least do both. The U.S. Open was second in line there."
Pavin teed off at 7:22 Thursday morning at No. 10 with Luke List and Nick Price.
"I was hoping to get an early one, put it that way," Pavin said when asked if he got a special tee time so he could make it to the West Coast in time. "I'm going to be sleeping as much as I can both ways, and I think I'll be all right. I'm sure I'll be tired by the end of tomorrow, but it'll all be worthwhile to do it that way."
Jacobsen Glad to Be Back
Fan favorite Peter Jacobsen, who last year joined the Champions Tour, is playing in his first U.S. Open since 1996. The reigning U.S. Senior Open champion shot 2-over 72.
"It's everything that I remember," said Jacobsen, who often is the center of comic attention at pro-ams and other golf-related events with his impersonations of famous players. "The penalty is when you miss the fairway, and there wasn't one ball that I chipped out that I could reach the green."
Jacobsen, 51, has played in eight PGA Tour events this season. His best finish was in April at the MCI Heritage in Hilton Head Island, N.C., where he finished tied for 25th.
Ryan Moore, Matt Every and Trip Kuehne tied for low amateur after the first round. Each shot 5-over 75. . . .
University of Virginia graduate James Driscoll shot 6-over 76.