U.S. Open 2016: Which Side of the Draw Was Best?

June 18, 2016

Each night during the U.S. Open, writers, producers and editors from the Sports Illustrated Golf Group give their opinions on the hot topic of the day at Oakmont. Agree with our takes? Disagree? Leave your answers in the comments section below or tweet us at @golf_com.

Who had the edge during a busy Friday at the U.S. Open: Those who played 36 today or the players who had the stop-and-start Thursday followed by a day of rest on Friday?

Cameron Morfit, senior writer, GOLF Magazine: The guys who got to simply keep playing had the edge, I believe, in that they had time to find a groove and stay there. Or, in the case of Daniel Summerhays (65), to find a groove after not playing particularly well in round one. Of course if Lee Westwood goes out and shoots 65 Saturday morning I’m changing my answer. 

Josh Sens, contributor, GOLF Magazine: The players who told themselves that it didn’t matter. The “woe is me, I’m at a disadvantage” mindset just doesn’t work very well in golf. 

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: The Thursday afternoon crew got prime scoring conditions for all 36 holes of their play Friday while the morning players had to keep adjusting to ever-changing conditions on a stormy day. I figured it was a two-shot edge for the afternoon wave but that could still change Saturday morning.

Joe Passov, senior editor, GOLF Magazine: I think the 36-hole guys reap the advantage. They had ideal, similar conditions throughout and it wasn’t so hot or humid that it would have wiped them out for tomorrow’s third round. Those poor stop-and-start guys could find little rhythm on Thursday and a day off won’t help matters.

MORE: Players Ready for a Busy Saturday  |  U.S. Open Leaderboard

Pete Madden, senior producer, GOLF.com: If you’re going to be battling to make the cut, I bet you’re glad to know roughly where the line is so you can decide whether to play it safe or attack the pin. If you’re one of the leaders who didn’t play a full round on Friday, I bet you’re worried the day off might have cooled hot hands heading into a looong day Saturday.

Sean Zak, assistant editor, GOLF.com: Definitely the guys who played 36. For starters, they’re 18 holes closer to getting off this damn difficult course. As much of a slog as it was to play two rounds in one day, (most of) these players are built with play-all-day stamina, so it was far more normal than the day-long game of “Red Light, Green Light” played on Day 1. 

Jeff Ritter, digital development editor, GOLF.com: The course is only going to get drier, faster and tougher. Scores will rise tomorrow, so anyone with 36 holes already in the books has a big advantage. The scoreboard says DJ is tied for the lead, but in reality he’s up by two shots.

Peter Bukowski, associate editor, GOLF.com: I’ve gone back and forth on this and landed on the guys who played 36 (or tried to) today. The course was still not in full Oakmonster mode, but you can expect by tomorrow it will be. The players who posted a solid number today — now’s your time DJ — have a clear advantage over the players who will have to play 36 holes in what will assuredly be tougher conditions Saturday.