What a remarkably sloppy U.S. Open final. Can anyone imagine Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els all being in contention, as well as young bomber Dustin Johnson, all being near the top of the leaderboard and a relatively uninteresting Irish pro taking the title? Seems incongruous to me.
- Johnson’s day was shot largely from the second hole. He looked out of his element after cutting right under his chip beside the second green. He never really recovered and finished T8. Hard to imagine that won’t wear on him — which is too bad because he’s a fun player to watch. Here’s AP’s take: “Johnson’s 82 was the second-worst round of the day and the worst final round by a 54-hole leader since Fred McCloud’s 83 in 1911. And now, Johnson will be remembered in the same way as Morgan. “Playing so poorly, I still had fun today,” Johnson said. “I enjoyed playing today. You know, (I’ll) get it done next time.” In 1992, Morgan held the lead going to the final day, only to shoot an 81 while Tom Kite played flawless to win his only major championship. Johnson’s struggles conjured memories of Morgan. Having solved Pebble for wins in the past two February PGA Tour stops here, Johnson saw his Saturday night lead gone by the time he reached the fourth tee. Johnson made a triple bogey on No. 2, a double at the third and a bogey at four and seven. He failed to make a birdie in his final round, after making 11 birdies and an eagle the first three days. “It can do that around this place,” Tiger Woods said. “Just because you are playing well it doesn’t mean it can’t happen to you. This golf course, it baits you into being aggressive.”
- For quite a while I thought Els would pull it off. He handed his shot at another US Open win away at the turn and never seemed to be able to make anything happen from that point onward. Interestingly, Els, who is usually very media-friendly, ducked everyone after the round.
- I could have sworn we saw the pre-sex scandal version of Tiger Woods in round 3. But the cranky one who can’t make putts and snap hooks his driver showed up again during the fourth round. This was his for the taking and he didn’t get it done. That said even watching the third round on my PVR I felt the excitement level rise with his run on the back nine. Watching Tiger Woods make a charge is still the most exciting thing in golf.
- What can I say about Phil Mickelson? He had a game plan and he stuck with it — even if it didn’t really work. Remember the 3-wood fiasco at Torrey Pines? Well Mickelson was going to blast his driver everywhere at Pebble, regardless of whether it made sense. That said, it looked like questionable iron selection on holes like 12 (I think Miller said he used 6-iron all four rounds and came up short every time), makes you wonder what he’s thinking. Like Woods, Mickelson should have put this tournament away.
- And what of our own Mike Weir? I bet you the last time he shot rounds of 79-83 he was age 11. I know he said his driving was in better shape, but it sure didn’t look that way. Now he’s off on holiday (after this week’s skins game, which doesn’t count) until the British Open. Not a good indicator this year will get turned around.
- With his win, Graeme McDowell is now #13 in the world. Why then do I think he’s the answer to this question: “Which little-known Irish pro won the 2010 U.S. Open when Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Tiger Woods were all within shots of the lead?” I guess it could be worse — Gregory Havret might have won.