VIENNA, Va., June 18, 2012 — The U. S. Open at the Olympic Club Course in San Francisco finally concluded yesterday, and it should go into the books as one of the strangest ones yet. As one commentator said, the real winner will be the course, which is as unmanageable as one can be.
But after all was said and done, relative newcomer Webb Simpson who had flown under the radar for most of the time, emerged as the victorious winner at two under par.
Simpson had been there all the time, lurking in the background, making some good shots and having the same difficulties as the others, but in the final holes he really turned on and pulled off a victory. It figures that he attended Wake Forest College on an Arnold Palmer Scholarship, and he did that gentleman proud.
Young Leader Wins
The leaders for most of the day had been Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell, who battled each other more than the course. And then up came Simpson.
Simpson is a virtual youngster in the annals of current pro golfers at age 26, but somehow was not among the favorites whose every hit or miss was followed. He’d been in a tie for 8th place before his personal jets turned on and until his final round score of 68 woke everyone up.
Furyk had played this Lake Course before, and won, but on the 16th hole he hooked one that ended up in the mini-forest surrounding the course and had to settle for a bogey, and seeing Simpson at one over, heading for the end.
Michael Thompson was second with two over, and five others had to settle for three over, including bigger names like Padraig Harrington, Jason Dufner (who had some really good holes), and another newcomer, John Peterson.
Problematic Course in More Ways Than One
It was just a weird tournament, probably due in part to the course itself. Never have so many good golfers ended up in the sand trap. One wanted to hand out buckets and castle forms to play with. Putts of six feet or less (much less) rimmed the cup and went lazily somewhere else. Certainly there were birdies and more than a few bogeys, but to the idling watcher, it was just a strange event.
Furyk uncharacteristically did not make a birdie all day, and seemed more involved with his teammates than the overall group.
Probably the biggest draw of the tournament was the group of Masters Champion Bubba Watson, longtime favorite of the also-ran group, Phil Mickelson, and Tiger Woods. Their luck was worse than some of the others, as Mickelson carded a final 16 over, which tied him for 65th overall. Watson, king of the good old boys, failed to make the cut, and then there was Tiger.
A Tiger Not Burning Bright
Every now and then one of those old time aphorisms comes to mind, which is absolutely perfect for the situation. Watching Tiger’s distressing play and checking the leader board for even a mention of Woods, I thought back to the saying, “Winners never cheat and cheaters never win.”
Call it Karma, call it just bad luck, or call it divine retribution, but the scores thus far of one Eldridge Woods, aka Tiger, who went from first and leader to 14th and struggling, and the old saying just pops up once again.
Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell seemed to be holding their own and were the only two shooting below par. Rookie John Peterson scored that beautiful hole in one, while El Tigro missed a 3-foot putt. And Rickie Fowler was 11 over, probably due to the sun reflecting off his speckled pumpkin pants.
It seems to be his current state of mind that will determine if Woods will win a major event. It seemed he had finally turned the corner and was good to go and then absolutely destroyed himself in the next event. The man who was once known as a fantastic putter now can’t hit anything.
For once, the fog, which rolled in almost all day, at times obscuring much of the course, did a good job of obscuring his play, which was a blessing. Of course, tomorrow IS another day…even for Tiger.
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