The USGA have been delighted with the weather here this week. It is a curious climate with cool, cloudy early mornings as the inland desert drags moisture from the Pacific Ocean.
Then the sun comes through, the breeze keeps the temperature pleasant and the course dries out to provide firm, difficult greens.
All of which thrills the USGA, a golfing body that has a seriously sadistic streak running through its DNA.
“It is absolutely right where we want it,” says USGA vice president Jim Hyler of the Torrey Pines South Course. “It is absolutely dialled in. The green speeds (lightning fast), the firmness, the rough cut, the fairway conditions, it’s absolutely where we want it.”
It’s not just the officials who are delighted. Lee Westwood couldn’t conceal his enthusiasm: “I think this is one of the best US Open courses we have ever played.
“It is certainly set up the best. It is not in such a shape that has you feeling there is a disaster waiting just around the corner.”
It seems an age since Michael Campbell was holding off Tiger Woods at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2005. This was the Kiwi at last fulfilling his potential and surely providing the platform for a glittering career.
Sadly, it hasn’t worked out that way for the likeable Campbell. He has now slipped to 339 in the world, missed 10 cuts this year and hasn’t won anywhere for three years.
From the top of the world to apparent oblivion. “The thing about that is that no one teaches you how to climb back down Everest again,” Campbell says.
“People die coming down. They’ve reached their goal in life to climb Everest, like me winning a major. What’s on the other end?
“It’s frustrating, very frustrating indeed. I just know I have another five years. It’s up to me to play and try to win tournaments around the world.”
Campbell admits he has struggled with elevated expectation levels after winning the US Open but it’s not been all bad. “I’ve raised money for kids so it hasn’t been a total disaster," he said.
“My golf hasn’t been great, but my life off the course has been fantastic.”
There was more woe for the first New Zealander to win a major since Bob Charles in 1963 when he carded a first-round 78 at Torrey Pines. Another battle to make a cut remains.
Much was made of the marquee pairing of the world's top three - Tiger Woods Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott. It certainly brought in the crowds early for their 8.06 tee off.
Nottinghamshire’s Oliver Wilson had the perfect view of proceedings playing in the group one ahead of the illustrious trio. “Well, I watched half of it. It was very slow so to look behind me was a bit of entertainment," he said.
“Having the opportunity to watch the three best players in the world was good and even hitting shots into places they shouldn’t have been! That gives you confidence when you see those guys in those sort of positions.”
There are other positions to be avoided in these parts. Our engineer Ken has just helpfully pointed out signs telling us to avoid certain areas populated by rattlesnakes!