Avid golfer Bulger is going to U.S. Open
Being played on his home course
BY STEVE KORTE
An avid golfer, St. Louis Rams quarterback Marc Bulger would be interested in the U.S. Open golf tournament this weekend even if it wasn't being held on his home course
But since it's being held at the Oakmont Country Club, where he is a member, Bulger plans on being among the gallery on Saturday in Oakmont, Pa.
"I know the course," Bulger said. "I'd rather watch it on TV, but you have to say you went."
Bulger's best round on the par-70 Oakmont Course was a respectable 76.
"It was from the tips (of the tees), and the rough wasn't like it is now," Bulger said. "If I broke 100 now, I'd be happy."
Bulger picked Tiger Woods as the golfer he wants to see win the U.S. Open.
"I'm pulling for Tiger," Bulger said. "(Johnny) Miller and (Jack) Nicholas and all those greats of golf have won at Oakmont, and I think he is underdog for this tournament because everybody is saying his style won't win. I think he has all the shots."
Bulger is preparing for his seventh season in the NFL. He's coming off his best season as a starter as he completed 370 (second most in Rams history) of his 588 passing attempts (most in Rams history) for 4,301 yards (fourth in Rams history) and 24 touchdowns.
"Marc is fine," Rams coach Scott Linehan said Wednesday of how Bulger has looked during the Rams' mandatory minicamp. "He is at a high level. He is an extremely gifted thrower, and now he has all the first-year, new-coach stuff out of the way. Now he has to tune his game. He looks great."
Bulger said Linehan has made only a few minor changes to the offense that he installed last season in his first season as the Rams' head coach.
"We're just redoing everything we did last year," Bulger said. "It's not like we're adding a couple hundred new plays. A couple of new ideas here and there. It's more fine-tuning what we did last year."
The Rams added wide receiver Drew Bennett and tight end Randy McMichael to a passing attack that ranked fourth in the NFL.
Bennett has been the Tennessee Titans leading receiver the past three seasons, while McMichael has caught 60 or more passes in each of the past three seasons for the Miami Dolphins.
After seeing Bennett and McMichael in action during organized team activities and the minicamp, Bulger said both players are as good as advertised.
"They're exactly what we thought we would get," Bulger said. "When you get veterans like that, I don't think you have to guess as much as you do in the draft. We knew what kind of players they were and what kind of people they were, and we're happy that they're here. I'm even more impressed with both of them than I thought when they first came here."
Bulger said he's excited about how potentially explosive the Rams' offense could be this season, but he's not ready to compare the 2007 Rams with the team's Greatest Show on Turf days from 1999-2001.
"It's way too early to say that," Bulger said. "We haven't done anything on the field yet. Those guys certainly did it for more than one year, and it would be tough to ever match those guys."
As a senior at West Virginia in 1999, Bulger said he watched quarterback Kurt Warner guide the Greatest Show on Turf to a Super Bowl championship.
"Kurt's story kind of captivated every one, and everyone wanted to watch," Bulger said. "It was exciting. It kind of gave the NFL a shot in the arm just because those games were so fun to watch. Then to be in the locker room in '01 and get to watch it in person was pretty special."
Bennett has been impressed with Bulger after just a dozen or so practices with him.
"I'm very happy with what I've seen so far from Bulger," Bennett said. "That guy is something else. You puts it right on the numbers every play."
Bennett said he thought Bulger was one of the most underrated players in the NFL.
"I played with (Steve) McNair when he was co-MVP in 2003, and Bulger is just as accurate and knows the game just as well," Bennett said. "The guy is definitely underrated."