Tag: US open golf
Rumor has it, when you play at the Olympic Club it is always going to be the wrong guy who wins the US Open. And boy, did they get that one right. At the beginning of the week, the press and the media were all talking about Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods fighting for another win at the US Open. Later on, as the tournament kicked in and Phil Mickelson had just one of his worst starts ever, attention shifted and although Tiger was still in the pack, everybody was talking about Jim Furyk and how he was starting to dominate on Saturday, and could be in his way to win his second US Open.
And yet, the Olympic Club golf course proved to be a really though match for the field and at the end, it was not about mastering the golf course. In my humble opinion, and I must confess I’m not a big fan of the sport and not very savvy in this field, this tournament was a bit like a survival contest. At the end, when all the great names in this sport had failed, Webb Simpson took the win because quite simply, he was the last man standing. The golf course itself took care of all the rest. That been said, I don’t mean to belittle Simpsons talent or effort. Don’t get me wrong, he did had a phenomenal weekend, keeping it cool thru the first rounds and kicking it in on Monday. Simpson finished the day with four birdies in a five-hole stretch around the turn, and a tough par from the collar of the 18th green for a 2-under 68.
He then returned to the locker room and watched from a small television as Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell tried to catch him. These two guys trailing him had both won this tournament and they knew exactly what it took to finish here first. And yet little by little it became evident that the guy in the locker room would be the one winning this year’s US Open. Simpson sat next to his pregnant wife and watched as Furyk bogeyed two of his last three holes, and McDowell couldn’t recover from a bad start and too many tee shots in the rough. He hugged his wife and began to celebrate as McDowell’s 25-foot birdie putt to force a playoffs stayed left of the cup.
The Olympic Club is informally known as the graveyard of champions. Simpson came out from a fog-filled final round at the U.S. Open championship and with his first mayor win, he put two more names into the graveyard of champions. Furyk and McDowell joined a group of proven major winners who were poised to win the U.S. Open — Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Payne Stewart – and ended up losing to the underdog. “I never really wrapped my mind around winning,” said Simpson after winning his first mayor after only 5 appearances, “This place is so demanding, and so all I was really concerned about was keeping the ball in front of me and making pars.”
Many of Tiger Woods fans where already suspecting it, but the legendary Tiger Woods is going to miss his first US Open since, well, since 1994, when he was a Senior in High School. This is the only tournament that Tiger Woods hadn’t miss since he became a professional. We could venture and say that this tournament holds a special place in his heart. He has been very successful in the US Open. Tiger Wood has won the US Open in 2000, 2002 and 2008, as part of his impressive 14 Mayor Championships.
Tiger Woods said he was hoping to fully recover for the AT&T National, which starts June 30 at Aronomink, and the next two majors. And yet we can’t help but to have our doubts. We must not forget that this is pretty much what he said two weeks ago when he said he will do all he could to be in shape and ready for the U.S. Open. And let’s face it, it’s quite evident that the US Open is quite more significant than the AT&T National.
Despite the many injuries he has suffered throughout his career, the Masters is now the only major Woods has played every year since turning pro. He was recovering from knee surgery in 2008 and did not play in the British Open and PGA Championship. But after the obligatory break and once he had recovered he came back with a vengeance. The most recent of four surgeries on Woods’ left knee came a week after the 2008 U.S. Open, which Woods won in a playoff for his 14th major.
Tiger underwent reconstructive surgery and was out for eight months. And then came what we previously called the vengance. He returned and won seven times the following year, and things were looking brilliantly optimistic in 2009. Many of the reporters and commentators who follow the sport closely were not wondering whether he will catch up with Phil Mickelson but when. We had no doubt that he would become the greatest player in golf’s long history. Little did we know that just as his professional life was reaching new heights, his personal life was about to hit rock bottom. On Thanksgiving night in 2009, Tiger Wood’s personal life imploded and soon after, his game was following that same decline.
The U.S. Open will be the 12th straight major without Woods winning, the longest drought of his career. He remains four majors short of the 18 professional majors that Nicklaus won, the ultimate benchmark in golf. Now it’s not going to get any prettier for Tiger. It really seems that its all uphill from now on. It’s not as if Tiger is not going to win another tournament, its just that he is probably not going to be the dominant force we once knew.
Woods hasn’t won since the 2009 Australian Masters. That’s a stretch of 22 tournaments, the longest he has ever gone without a title. He not only lost his No. 1 ranking late last year. Let’s not forget he had dominated the PGA tour for almost a decade before he plunged to No. 15 in the world, his lowest spot in the ranking since the spring of 1997. It might be the end of an era. Or perhaps its just the right preamble for one of the greatest comebacks in this sport. We’ll be kind enough to give Tiger the benefit of the doubt.