“Silicon Valley” star Kumail Nanjiani and writer Emily V. Gordon didn’t just collaborate on the screenplay for “The Big Sick,” the Judd Apatow-produced charmer that stole hearts at Sundance: The pair put their own real-life romance on-screen for all the world to see in the semi-autobiographical comedy, which Amazon acquired for $12 million and opens in limited release this weekend.

Directed by Michael Showalter (“Wet Hot American Summer,” “Hello, My Name Is Doris”), “The Big Sick” stars Nanjiani as a slightly fictionalized version of himself opposite Zoe Kazan as Emily, a Chicago grad student who meets cute with the struggling stand-up comedian one night when she heckles him onstage.

Nakedly honest dating ups and downs ensue as she navigates her own priorities and he fields pressure from the Pakistani parents determined to rope him into an arranged marriage, until an unexpected medical crisis forces Kumail to spend time with Emily’s parents (Ray Romano and Holly Hunter).

So what advice do Nanjiani and Gordon have for staying happy while putting their own real-life relationship on-screen, warts and all? After 11 eleven years together — or 10ten, depending on who you ask — the “Big Sick” couple shared their secrets via phone from New York.

Zoe Kazan and Kumail Nanjiani in “The Big Sick.” (Nicole Rivelli / Sundance Institute)

1. Agree to disagree on the details when you’re mining your shared history for a compelling screen story.

“It’s a fictionalized version of what happened,” said Gordon, a writer, comedy producer, and onetime therapist. “So whenever we were talking through a scene and had disagreements about what happened, we decided that needed to be incorporated into the movie itself. That’s part of what a relationship is; you don’t experience things in the same way.”

“We literally had different emotional experiences of the same events in our lives. Sometimes he would remember more details and sometimes I would remember more because they were more salient to me. But it was always the emotional radius of events that we’d agree or disagree about.”

“And how we experienced them,” added Nanjiani. “Some things, I’d be like, ‘That was such a great memory!’ and she’d say, ‘No — I was miserable!’ There was a lot of that.”

"The Big Sick" gang at Sundance: From left, producer Barry Mendel, actress Holly Hunter, director Michael Showalter, actress Zoe Karan, writer Emily V. Gordon, writer and star Kumail Nanjiani and producer Judd Apatow.
“The Big Sick” gang at Sundance: From left, producer Barry Mendel, actress Holly Hunter, director Michael Showalter, actress Zoe Karan, writer Emily V. Gordon, writer and star Kumail Nanjiani and producer Judd Apatow. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

2. Have Judd Apatow produce the (fictionalized) story of your lives.

“He was fantastic,” said Gordon of comedy superproducer Apatow, who worked with the pair from the script stage. “What he wanted us to do first was to literally write down everything that happened, make it messy — it didn’t matter how long it was. That’s a movie that no one should ever see. It would be very long and not a fun movie.”

When on-screen Emily succumbs to a mystery illness and is hospitalized (a true story), Kumail awkwardly bonds with her visiting parents shortly after breaking things off with her (which didn’t exactly happen).

“The challenge for us was conveying all of the turmoil that me and Emily’s parents were going through,” Nanjiani explained of the dramatic license they took. “If you want other people to feel the weight of it, you kind of have to make it external.”

“We’re sitting in a waiting room feeling like the world is going to end — but that’s not very cinematic. For people to actually feel that you have to heighten certain things, move them around, take some stuff out. Our goal was always to get at the emotional core of that experience, and the changes we made were to serve that goal.”

Zoe Kazan, left, starring with Kumail Nanjiani in "The Big Sick."
Zoe Kazan, left, starring with Kumail Nanjiani in “The Big Sick.” (Amazon Studios)

3. Cast for the movie versions of yourselves (and don’t make it weird).

Kazan landed the role of Emily after an audition process that Gordon opted not to attend “because I thought that might be weird for those actresses,” she said. “But when we watched the tapes, Zoe was just the right fit for the part. She created this version of Emily that was somewhat similar to me but also her own creation.”

“It was quite easy, quite frankly. She clearly did the best job. I just had to put on my grown-up lady pants and say, ‘This is my job, to watch all these ladies flirt with my husband and figure out which one does it the best!’”

Holly Hunter, from left, Ray Romano and Kumail Nanjiani in a scene from, "The Big Sick."
Holly Hunter, from left, Ray Romano and Kumail Nanjiani in a scene from, “The Big Sick.” (Nicole Rivelli / AP)

4. Prepare your relatives for the creative liberties you’ve taken with their on-screen counterparts before they see the film.

Gordon and Nanjiani talked their parents through the scripting process so that they were prepared to see very different versions of themselves in the final film.

“We didn’t want them to be surprised by anything in it,” said Gordon. “They were pretty well informed.! All sets of parents had seen the movie at home and all of them came to the premiere in New York. They’re parents! They love it, and they’re proud, and they’re weirded out and confused by the whole thing.”

For Nanjiani, writing about his relationship with his parents and his resistance to the traditional life they wanted for him brought him a better understanding of their motivations.

“The pressures were very, very intense, and around that time I was feeling like [my parents] were really pushing me to make a decision,” he said. “Writing my parents’ perspective, writing dialogue for them, gave me a new understanding. Just writing what they would say to me made me understand why they would say it to me. It was a challenge for them to be from such a completely different world and to try to bring a piece of that world here with them. I really understood their struggle much more than I had before.”

Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, who co-wrote "The Big Sick" based on their own romance, premiered the film at Sundance.
Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, who co-wrote “The Big Sick” based on their own romance, premiered the film at Sundance. (Jay Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

5. Remember that relationships take work — especially when you’re making a movie together — about your own lives.

“We touch on this in the movie and it’s also true of our marriage: No relationship is ever done — like, ‘Well, that’s good, I don’t have to worry about that now,’” said Gordon. “It’s a living thing that you kind of have to prune and take care of and address and realize that it’s always going to be growing on its own, whether or not you’re feeding and nurturing it. It’s a living thing.”

Nanjiani concurred: “It changes as you change. You evolve, and the relationship has to evolve too. For me that’s been the big epiphany of being with Emily for the last 11 years. And for us making this movie has been very exciting, but it’s also been a challenge so we’ve had to evolve our relationship to accommodate for it.”

“I think it’s always good to get into your partner’s mindset,” Gordon said, “or put yourself in their shoes and empathize with how things are for them, and we had the thrill and joy of having to do that professionally. I do highly recommend this as a form of couple’s therapy.”

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Husband and wife Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon relay a fictionalized version of their lives in “The Big Sick.”

Review: Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan brave the hurdles of interracial romance in the delightful ‘The Big Sick’ »

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Justin Chang reviews ‘The Big Sick’, directed by Michael Showalter, starring Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Ray Romano, Holly Hunter, Adeel Akhtar, Anupam Kher, Aidy Bryant, Bo Burnham, Kurt Braunohler. Video by Jason H. Neubert.

jen.yamato@latimes.com

@jenyamato

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Despite persistently high temperatures working against them, firefighters have kept a 1,500-acre blaze burning north of Big Bear Lake from spreading deeper into the wooded area, authorities said Thursday.

The Holcomb fire started Monday afternoon and has burned 1,540 acres north of Big Bear and Baldwin lakes, where it made a brief push east toward Highway 18 and triggered mandatory evacuations earlier this week.

Since then, crews have relied heavily on water- and flame retardant-dropping aircraft to attack the blaze while they build containment lines around the fire, said Anna Bribiescas, a spokeswoman at the fire’s incident command center.



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Remember Y2K, that hyped computer bug and harbinger of digital apocalypse that never happened when the year 2000 arrived?

Well, 17 years later, it appears something like a Y2K bug played a role in a mistaken alert for a 6.8 earthquake sent out Wednesday about an earthquake off the Santa Barbara coast — back in 1925.

The error happened when someone at Caltech tried to correct the exact location of the Prohibition-era Santa Barbara earthquake, which happened 92 years ago.

From the Archives — June 1925: Earthquake devastates Santa Barbara »

The erroneous report went out by email around 4:51 p.m. A closer look at the alert, however, would have shown that something was amiss. The time of the alert was dated June 29, 2025, at 7:42 a.m. But it corresponds with a real earthquake that occurred a century earlier.

The false alert also did not show up on the U.S. Geological Survey’s website that maps new earthquakes.

“That’s a mistake. It’s not real,” said Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson.

He said that a seismologist at UC Santa Barbara had recently complained to the USGS’ National Earthquake Information Center that the precise location of Santa Barbara’s 1925 earthquake was not correct, and about 6 miles off from where records actually indicated.

Hauksson’s team was asked by the National Earthquake Information Center to update the location of the historic event in the Advanced National Seismic System database. Someone on Hauksson’s team did so. If everything had gone right, almost no one should have noticed the change.

The USGS Web pages were updated correctly. But the USGS’ email notification system changed the year from 1925 to 2025, which caused an email to be sent from the email server that typically sends alerts of new earthquakes.

“Apparently, there is a software bug around somewhere,” according to a summary of the incident provided by Hauksson.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the USGS said the revision of the 1925 earthquake was “misinterpreted by software as a current event. We are working to resolve the issue.”

As to whether an earthquake off the Santa Barbara coast, of that magnitude, would have been felt in downtown L.A., Hauksson said:

“Yes, it would have been very lightly felt. Particularly, people in high-rises would have felt swaying back and forth for a while.”

https://twitter.com/USGS/status/877685556003692545

A 6.8 earthquake hit Santa Barbara on June 1925. This is what the disaster looked like »

https://twitter.com/alxxdes/status/877677727301554176

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UPDATES:

10:10 a.m., June 22: This article was updated with more information about the origin of the error, involving USGS email notification.

7:35 p.m.: This article was updated with information on what showed up on the USGS website.

5:55 p.m.: This article was updated with a statement from the USGS.

4:55 p.m.: This article was updated with information that the report was erroneous.

This article was originally published at 4:52 p.m. June 21.



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In each of the last two years, a standout limited series — HBO’s “Olive Kitteridge” in 2015, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” last September — have steamrolled through that category’s top prizes.

That’s not going to happen this year as the two most celebrated limited series — FX’s “Feud: Bette and Joan” and HBO’s “Big Little Lies” — are powered by women. Neither has a lead actor in the running, though both offer plenty of choices in the supporting categories. (I’d suggest Alfred Molina’s sharp portrayal of beleaguered director Robert Aldrich in “Feud” and Alexander Skarsgard’s richly nuanced work as the abusive husband on “Big Little Lies.”)

But even if there’s no sweep, you have to wonder if voters will spread the love between the two celebrated shows or coalesce behind one when Emmys are handed out in September. Here’s an early look at the categories.

LIMITED SERIES

“Big Little Lies”

“Feud: Bette and Joan”

“The Night Of”

“Fargo”

“Genius”

Prime contenders: ”American Crime,” “The Young Pope,” “Shots Fired,” “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”

Analysis: ”Big Little Lies,” “Feud” and “The Night Of” are the big players in these categories this year, with “Fargo” in play too for a season that hasn’t quite measured up to its predecessors. For the final spot, ABC’s recently canceled “American Crime” could well make the cut. John Ridley’s crime drama anthology earned nominations for its first two seasons, and its third won plenty of critical acclaim. But ratings for the show cratered in its Sunday night time slot, so awareness of its recent run of impassioned, ambitious episodes may have diminished among voters too.

Whereas, thanks to a huge promotional push, National Geographic’s first scripted series, “Genius,” is everywhere. You don’t have to be Albert Einstein to know that the formula ($) x ($$2) = awards recognition, though it’s worth noting that Emmy voters also like to stick to math they know, giving “American Crime” the edge. Bottom line: It’s a coin flip as to which of the two shows snags the final slot.

See the most-read stories this hour »

LEAD ACTRESS, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies”

Jessica Lange, “Feud: Bette and Joan”

Reese Witherspoon, “Big Little Lies”

Susan Sarandon, “Feud: Bette and Joan”

Oprah Winfrey, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”

Carrie Coon, “Fargo”

Prime contenders: Felicity Huffman, “American Crime”; Bryce Dallas Howard, “Black Mirror”; Sanaa Lathan, “Shots Fired”; Andrea Riseborough, “Agatha Christie’s The Witness for the Prosecution”; Lauren Graham, “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”

Analysis: The debate between the “Big Little Lies” camp and the “Feud” family will continue all the way to the Emmys. Which is the worthier show? And, within each series, which of its leads most merits recognition? (Continuing with our arithmetic theme, I’d offer: Sarandon < Witherspoon < Lange < Kidman.) All four women will be nominated.

The three likeliest contenders for the remaining two slots are Huffman (previous Emmy winner, four-time nominee, twice lauded for “American Crime”), Coon (boosted here by her brilliant work in “The Leftovers”) and Winfrey (who is Oprah). Winfrey gave a gut-wrenching turn in “Henrietta Lacks,” but Emmy voters have overlooked big names in the past. (Anthony Hopkins and Ian McKellen were considered shoo-ins last year for “The Dresser.”) This is going to be close.

LEAD ACTOR, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE

Riz Ahmed, “The Night Of”

John Turturro, “The Night Of”

Geoffrey Rush, “Genius”

Ewan McGregor, “Fargo”

Robert De Niro, “The Wizard of Lies”

Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock: The Lying Detective”

Prime contenders: Jude Law, “The Young Pope”; Toby Jones, “Agatha Christie’s The Witness for the Prosecution”; Michael Gambon, “Churchill’s Secret”; Ricky Gervais, “David Brent: Life on the Road”; Timothy Hutton, “American Crime”

Analysis: “The Night Of,” though imperfect, offered a piercing look at the criminal justice system with standout work from Ahmed and Turturro. One of them should win this Emmy, but it’s easy to imagine them splitting the vote the same way Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman did two years ago for the first season of “Fargo.”

McGregor’s double-duty turn playing battling brothers on “Fargo” will prove irresistible to his peers, as will De Niro’s casting as Bernie Madoff in “Wizards.” The final spot will likely go to Cumberbatch, nominated four previous times (with one win) for “Sherlock.” Possible spoiler: Gambon, towering as another legendary Englishman.

glenn.whipp@latimes.com

Twitter: @glennwhipp

ALSO:

What ‘Big Little Lies’ left out from the book ending

Ewan McGregor slipped easily between ‘Fargo’s’ feuding brothers

Here is what really happened to Joan Crawford, Bette Davis and others after ‘Feud’



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Days after losing McDonald’s as a major sponsor, Olympic leaders have signed a deal that will provide an influx of cash and perhaps nudge the Games into a new era of virtual reality and drones hovering over stadiums.

The International Olympic Committee announced Wednesday that it has entered into a long-term agreement with Intel, adding the microprocessor giant to a list of high-level partners that include Coca-Cola, Toyota, Visa and Panasonic.

These “TOP” (for The Olympic Partners) sponsorships sell for a reported $200 million per four-year Olympic cycle, but IOC executives seemed more interested in talking about the technological possibilities.

There are plans to explore the use of 5G platforms, drones and 360 content that would allow home viewers to choose from various camera angles. Intel said it will produce a virtual-reality broadcast from the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

“Through this close collaboration with the Olympic family, we will accelerate the adoption of technology for the future of sports on the world’s largest athletic stage,” Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich said in a statement.

Last week, longtime sponsor McDonald’s pulled out of its IOC deal, with a company official saying the fast-food chain was “reconsidering all aspects of our business.”

The Intel partnership comes at an opportune moment for the IOC, which is working to market its fledgling Olympic Channel worldwide.

david.wharton@latimes.com

Follow @LAtimesWharton on Twitter



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A wildfire in the San Bernardino Mountains continued to grow overnight as warm temperatures and low humidity helped push flames over a ridge top and deeper into rugged terrain, authorities said Tuesday.

“Compared to fire behavior during the day, the fire did lay down a bit. But the fire did remain active,” said U.S. Forest Service Battalion Chief Chon Bribiescas.

The flames moved closer to Highway 18, which is closed between Baldwin Lake and Mitsubishi Plant roads, Bribiescas said.

The blaze, dubbed the Holcomb fire, began about 3 p.m. Monday near Holcomb Valley Road and North Shore Drive, the Big Bear Fire Department said.

In what was the hottest day of the year so far in the mountains, two firefighters suffered heat-related injuries as the blaze spread across an estimated 850 acres, officials said.

Temperatures reached 89 degrees the mountain area on Monday, and were forecast to be just under that on Tuesday.

“Having no cloud cover, high temperatures and those relative low humidities, it’s going to burn pretty good,” National Weather Service meteorologist Jimmy Taeger said.

Conditions are expected to improve slightly in the coming days as the heat wave subsides, he said.

The flames generated large plumes of smoke that were visible across the region. The smoke and wind prompted the South Coast Air Quality Management District to issue a smoke advisory, warning of unhealthy air in the eastern San Bernardino Mountains.

The wildfire was not posing a threat to homes, but the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said the Tanglewood Campground, the Doble Trail campground, the Baldwin Lake area and a nearby waste dump were closed as a precaution.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.



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Firefighters were battling a fast-moving wildfire Monday in the dry, grassy hills north of Big Bear.

The blaze, dubbed the Holcomb fire, began about 3 p.m. near Holcomb Valley Road and North Shore Drive, the Big Bear Fire Department said.

By 6 p.m., the fire had spread to 850 acres, the U.S. Forest Service said.

The wildfire was not posing a threat to homes, but the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said the Tanglewood Campground, the Doble Trail campground, the Baldwin Lake area and a nearby waste dump were under a voluntary evacuation order.

Firefighters were contending with a heat spell as well as wind gusts of up to 23 mph.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

matt.hamilton@latimes.com

Twitter: @MattHjourno


UPDATES:

6:10 p.m.: This article was updated with the fire’s increase from 200 to 850 acres.

This article was originally published at 5:55 p.m.



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It’s not the kind of leaderboard that makes someone want to cancel their weekend plans to stay home and watch the last two rounds of the U.S. Open.

Paul Casey. Tommy Fleetwood. Brooks Koepka. Brian Harman. All at seven under par at Erin Hills.

One shot back. Jamie Lovemark. J.B. Holmes … and Rickie Fowler. Thank goodness.

Between them all you won’t find one winner of a major and only Fowler with star power.

In fact, you have to go down to 19th place to find a winner of a major, Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer, at three under.

There are 23 golfers within four shots of the lead and 42 players under par.

The cut was at one-over par after Friday’s round, allowing 68 golfers to make it to the weekend.

The top three golfers in the world, and six of the top 10, didn’t make it.

Among those getting the weekend off were Justin Rose (+2), Adam Scott (+3), Bubba Watson (+4), No. 1 Dustin Johnson (+4), No. 2 Rory McIlroy (+5), Jon Rahm (+5) and No. 3 Jason Day (+10).

This assortment at the top was made possible when the wheels momentarily came off Fowler’s game after his lights-out, record-setting 65 at Erin Hills on Thursday. He was coasting along Friday, playing par golf and hanging out at the top of the leaderboard.

Then, inexplicably, he lost his putting touch. He bogeyed the 11th, 12th and 13th holes and missed a short birdie putt on the par-five 14th.

“I just hit a three-wood a touch left on 11, and I had to try and hit something out of the rough, and ended up in a tough spot behind the green,” Fowler said. “Then three-putt the next two holes. So I really could have been through there with just one bogey. … So, all in all, not bad.”

He’s still very much in play after shooting a 73.

Casey was the only leader who went in the morning. Starting on the back nine, he exchanged a birdie on 11 with a bogey on 12. No harm, no foul.

Then came the par-five 14th hole. His second shot drifted off the fairway, and his third was over the green in the fescue. He failed to advance his fourth shot more than a foot as the high grass grabbed the club. It didn’t get any better when he finally made the green. Triple bogey, eight.

He then bogeyed the 15th hole, hitting it short of the green in two and failing to get up and down. So there he stood at two under and seemingly out of the picture.

But then, starting at 17, he reeled off five straight birdies.

Casey said he couldn’t remember the last time he had five birdies in a row or an eight in a competitive round.

“Not every day you enjoy a round of golf with an eight on the card,” Casey said. “But I’m a pretty happy man. Yeah, it was a bit of a roller coaster. … [It’s tough to get through] a U.S. Open or any major without some kind of hiccup.”

Koepka is one of those players that the smart guys like to put in their fantasy league. Lots of talent, just looking for that one break-out moment.

This is his sixth year on the Tour and fifth U.S. Open. His best finish was fourth in 2014 at Pinehurst. He was 13th last year at Oakmont. He has won one tournament on the PGA Tour.

Koepka, playing the back nine first, birdied four of his first seven holes. Then his game flattened out on the front nine, bogeying one and six. He missed a six-foot putt on his last hole, which would have given him sole possession of the lead.

“I made two bad swings on the front nine,” Koepka said. “I got in a hazard on one. And I pulled the four-iron on the par-three [sixth]. If you do that you’re going to deserve a bogey out there.”

Fleetwood found his way to the top with a rather ordinary four-birdie, two-bogey round. The 26-year-old Englishman has never won on the PGA Tour, but he has won four times on the European Tour. This is only his second U.S. Open, finishing 27th in 2015.

“Tomorrow will be a very cool experience,” Fleetwood said. “Anything can happen. There are always ups and downs out there.”

The left-handed Harman had three birdies, two of them on par threes, and one bogey. At 30, Harman has been around long enough to claim two PGA victories. This is his third try at the U.S. Open and the first time he has made the cut.

“I have no expectations,” he said. “I have no idea how the weekend is going to go, no one does. For me, if I can just stay where I am, just keep doing what I’m doing, I’ll have a chance.”

The rounds of the day were turned in by Hideki Matsuyama and Chez Reavie, who equaled Fowler’s 65 on Thursday. Matsuyama birdied six of his first eight holes and picked up a birdie on the 13th to put him at five under for the tournament after an opening 74

Rain is expected on Saturday, which should make the greens easy to stick and putt. But on Sunday, the winds, which so far have been mild, are expected to be in a force making the final round a real test of skill.

The last six majors have been taken by first-time winners. It’s looking as if that streak could grow to seven.

john.cherwa@latimes.com

Follow John Cherwa on Twitter @jcherwa



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Rory McIlroy nearly aced his final hole Friday, striping a 153-yard approach on No. 9 to a hot dog’s length. The closing birdie amounted to whipped cream on a pile of trash.

Playing partner Jason Day finished with a bogey, and the two major champions strolled off together.

“Get ’em next time, boys!” a spectator hollered.

As Day arrived at the Erin Hills scoring area, 4-year-old Dash jumped into his father’s arms.

“Daddy, are we going home?” he asked.

Shockingly enough, the answer was yes.

The world’s No. 2- and No. 3-ranked players, McIlroy and Day, headed home before moving day.

Fellow major champions Danny Willett, Jason Dufner, Jimmy Walker, Angel Cabrera, Graeme McDowell, Bubba Watson, Lucas Glover, Charl Schwartzel, Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, Dustin Johnson (the defending champ) and Justin Rose also missed the cut.

How strange is professional golf?

A fellow named Xander Schauffele, who ranks 352nd in the world, and a Texas A&M bomber who goes by the catchy Cameron Champ are a combined 10-under par heading into the weekend.

McIlroy and Day combined to play Erin Hills in 15 over.

As he approached his post-round interview, a USGA official announced: “Jason Day: 79 yesterday, 75 today.”

“Thanks, mate,” Day replied with a chuckle.

“I enjoyed the walk,” Day said. “The walk was great.”

Day and McIlroy are two of the friendliest and classiest players on tour. They remained cheery throughout the round and blamed their struggles on no one or nothing but themselves.

“The golf course is actually really beautiful,” Day said. “The fairways are massive. I was in the hay, too, much over the last couple of days. Just didn’t execute, unfortunately.”

Said McIlroy: “The golf course is great, it really is. I’m a big fan of this place. It’s a big, big golf course, with long rough and all that stuff, but it lets you play. It lets you be aggressive, you can get on runs where you can make birdies. Not your typical U.S. Open setup, but I’m a big fan. I think it’s going to produce a really good winner at the end of the week. I’m looking forward to how it unfolds over the weekend.”

Day: “At least I’ll get to sit in air con and watch the guys tear it up.”

Day merely tore up the fescue Friday. After a long wait on the seventh tee and some friendly banter with McIlroy and Rose, Day blocked his drive a mile right.

“Over here, Jason,” a volunteer called out as he approached an area near the 18th fairway.

“Make some room, please,” a security official told the gallery.

Day’s ball sat up nicely. Onlookers chuckled after he told an official: “They can stay if they want. I can hit it right over their heads.”

And he did.

“I knew I was out of it,” Day said. “I was trying to stay out of the way of Rosey.”

Rose had the best chance to make the cut, but he fell a stroke shy at 2 over.

Day hasn’t been in great form this season, but he said he felt this was his “best preparation going into a major, I felt like, in my career … and I felt the most calm I have in a major in a long time this week.”

Two first-round triple bogeys did him in.

McIlroy, despite having played a limited schedule because of a rib injury, was so confident heading into the week, he said: “We have 60 yards from left line to right line. You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here, if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

He then hit five of 14 fairways, fewest in the field. His putter was the problem Friday.

“Yeah, I don’t think it was the putter,” he said wryly. “It was the guy on the end of it.”

tgreenstein@chicagotribune.com

Follow Teddy Greenstein on Twitter @TeddyGreenstein



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The piercing paradigm has changed, with secondary holes becoming so commonplace that jewelry designers are beginning to consider them a sales opportunity.

Until recently, secondary piercings were a sentimental bonding exercise amongst young women or an opportunity to add some pizazz.

But now, many girls receive piercings without emotional pretense — considering a new hole as routine as buying a T-shirt. Drop in on any dinner table full of twentysomething New York girls, and you’d be hard-pressed to meet an attendee without a fleet of secondary piercings.

The trend is international. Multiple piercings are the norm in Paris, London and Berlin. Even in conservative-leaning Seoul, South Korea — where tattoo artistry is illegal without a doctor’s license — multiple piercings on style-conscious twentysomethings can be spotted across the city.

Brands like Alison Lou, designed by Alison Chemla, are counting on the omnipresence of second holes for sales. This follows the rise of luxury piercing jewelry brands like Maria Tash and BVLA — which brought a high-end angle to a onetime subculture form of adornment.

“I’ve even noticed [the change] in myself, and I’m such a wimp. It’s not a big deal anymore. Now I feel like if I’m at lunch with friends on Sunday, we’ll be like ‘let’s go get a piercing.’ It’s not a forever thing — you can take an earring out and it will close up. It’s just like buying any other piece of jewelry — it’s that extra something, I think people just place it wherever,” Chemla said.

Piercing artist J. Colby Smith said of shifting attitudes toward piercings: “I think it’s become a lot more acceptable. It’s not just a scary thing, everyone has a second hole, a third hole — it’s just trickled down and doesn’t seem as big a physical investment.”

Piercing’s prominence has also permeated fashion design — with J.W. Anderson using the adornment practice as inspiration for his popular Pierce bag, while buzzy Lower East Side-based designer Sandy Liang has decorated her denim collections with earrings.

An earring ensemble by Alison Lou, designed for consumers with multiple piercings. (WWD)

Chemla only sells her studs as singles, not as pairs — and attributes 40 percent of her sales to the single earring category. That percentage, she says, has been “slowly increasing with the number of piercings we have been seeing.”

Jewelry designer Jennifer Fisher sells her earrings in single form, too. She launched the singles category on her site in June 2014, and says the category increased her overall earring sales by 40 percent. “It used to be pair of hoop earrings and now they buy five at a time. Most girls have four piercings and a cartilage piercing, it seems like the norm now,” Fisher observed.

“Last week I had a girl in my studio with only two holes, and my staff was like ‘Wow, only two?’ If you have only two now, it’s like you’re special. I feel like so many people have pierced themselves everywhere that they’ve run out of space,” Fisher added of the phenomenon.

Laura Freedman, owner of the Broken English jewelry boutique chain, attributes 20 percent of her stores’ sales volume to multiple piercing earrings. “We started jumping in sales and noticed secondary piercing, third piercing jewelry — it’s just bread-and-butter. It flies off the shelf. It’s a huge market for us, we sell a ton — it’s definitely a category that stores shouldn’t miss out on,” she said.

The Broken English boutiques are a retail partner for the Maria Tash label — a brand that was recently called upon by Liberty and Saks Fifth Avenue to install temporary piercing salons in their department stores. Freedman also noted Chemla’s line, as well as Celine Daoust, Anita Ko and WWAKE as strong performers in the multiple piercing category.

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Late last month, Alison Lou hosted a piercing party at its Upper East Side boutique — a retail activation where approximately 30 shoppers purchased earrings to be pierced with onsite. Many girls were observed telling the party’s piercing artist to stick their latest stone “wherever there’s room,” left on their lobe.

Said Colby Smith: “It really seems like piercings are contagious. I’ll see myself working my way through offices or groups of friends.”

Fisher has noticed girls purchasing the same hoop style in graduated sizes, created a coordinated look up the ear: “It’s not just about fine tiny studs. Especially in summer, girls are coming in wanting to layer hoops — even giant hoop earrings.”

Chemla feels there is more consumer demand for second-hold earrings than with traditional lobe pairs. “When I’m designing earrings, I always consider the earrings I’m making as second hole studs. I feel like it’s definitely something people are looking for all the time — more for second hole studs than regular hole earrings,” she said.

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The designer has begun creating sets of coordinated earrings for that purpose — in effect creating an outfit for the ear. One such set is anchored with a bouquet of enameled gold flowers on the lobe, with tiny flowers trailing upward. Another ensemble allows shoppers to purchase pieces of Mr. Potato Head anatomy — re-creating his signature expressions on their ears.

Colby Smith says he predicted this trickle-down of piercing jewelry to the designer tier. “It’s safer now for them to invest [in this category]. I always knew it would shift that way.

“For me, having more holes is a way to wear more jewelry. Generally speaking women like jewelry — so really it’s a no-brainer. We just needed it to become a little more socially acceptable, and I knew the floodgates would open.”

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