COLUMBIA - Southern Miss and a national television audience proved to be the right tonic for South Carolina after an offseason filled with questions.
The Gamecocks took the field minus several key players - injuries, suspensions and the ongoing saga of several players staying at a local hotel at a reduced rate - but it didn't seem to matter. South Carolina rolled to a 41-13 victory, its sixth season-opening win in a row under Steve Spurrier.
It was South Carolina's highest output since the 2006 Liberty Bowl, a 44-36 South Carolina win over Houston.
Of all the numbers that Jack Nicklaus posted in his career, this might be the most impressive of all:
As in years of marriage.
Jack William Nicklaus and Barbara Jean Bash tied the knot on July 23, 1960, at North Broadway Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio.
Five children, 21 grandchildren and 18 major championship victories have arrived since that day.
Jack is still regarded by many as the greatest golfer of all-time, and Barbara gets a lot of deserved credit for being the "first lady of golf."
I didn't know how to respond.
As I watched South Carolina score the winning run Tuesday night to beat UCLA and claim the College World Series title -- and the school's first national championship in a major sport -- I was just kind of numb.
Maybe it was the sleep that was trying to overtake me.
Maybe it was the shock of the Gamecocks -- finally -- grabbing the brass ring.
My wife (she's a Carolina girl) asked for my response, and I had a hard time speaking. Maybe I was a little emotional, and maybe a tear (or two) formed in my eyes.
Will this be the week South Carolina fans have been waiting for all of their lives?
Will Omaha be the dateline of the Gamecocks' biggest victory?
Will the University of South Carolina finally win a national championship in a major sport?
SAN FRANCISCO -- OK, I'm making my way back to Augusta. I got to play Pebble Beach today, so I'm pretty sure I'm already in the clouds without the benefit of an airplane.
The USGA holds a lottery for media covering the event to play the course the day after. If there's a playoff, no one plays. My name wasn't drawn, but Ron Green Jr. of The Charlotte Observer was. He was traveling with me and Scott Michaux, and he graciously agreed to let me take his place since he had already played it.
I'm forever in Ron's debt.
Good afternoon and Happy Father's Day. Scroll down for the latest:
It's another cool day on the Monterey Peninsula. Should be another good day for scoring at the final round of the U.S. Open.
The big question today is if Dustin Johnson can hang on and win his first major. The car pool consensus (myself, Scott Michaux and Charlotte's Ron Green Jr.) is that he can do it. He's proved he can win at Pebble Beach, and he's got the length to take advantage of the birdie holes here.
It's another beautiful day here at Pebble Beach Golf Links. A little overcast, but not too breezy yet. Scroll down to bottom for latest updates:
3 P.M. UPDATE: It's moving day at the U.S. Open and it looks like the scoring might be good today, at least early on. Davis Love III and Kenny Perry each are 4-under for the day on the front nine. Brandt Snedeker is 3-under so far.
It's Day 2 at the U.S. Open, and here are the storylines we'll be following from Pebble Beach Golf Links. Scroll down to the bottom for the latest news:
Can the big names (Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood) rebound from over-par performances on opening day? Logic says Woods and Westwood should be able to make a move as they play this morning, when the greens are going to be at their best. Mickelson might have more of an uphill climb since he goes off in the afternoon and could face the worst weather conditions.
There's an old saying in golf: you can't win a tournament on the first day, but you can lose it.
Masters champ Phil Mickelson is making the second part of that adage look true right now.
Mickelson is 4-over par on the day and just missed a reasonable birdie putt at the par-5 6th. If he can limp home and not give any more shots back, he might be OK. But he'll need a good round tomorrow to make the cut.
Mike Weir is on top at 2-under with one hole to play. Rafael Cabrera-Bello has the clubhouse lead with 1-under 70.
It was a simple question, but the answer was a no-brainer.
As UGA teammates Russell Henley and Hudson Swafford walked the 18th fairway Tuesday at Pebble Beach Golf Links, the two discussed if they were going to go for the green in two or lay up on the famous par-5.
With the surf pounding the sea wall near the green and a cool breeze blowing on the Monterey Peninsula, it wasn't an easy shot, even during a practice round for the U.S. Open.
But the answer was yes, and for both UGA golfers.