US Open 2015 Thoughts

A few thoughts on the US Open 2015, in no particular order

  • Jordan Spieth’s performance was intense. I thought he was done when he double bogeyed 17. Then Spieth pulls out the bird on 18, a hole he said he disliked. Spieth overcame pressure where Dustin Johnson could not.
  • With his win, Spieth set a number of records, mostly due to his age:
    • Youngest player to win both the Masters and US Open in his career.
    • Youngest multiple major championship since Gene Sarazen in 1922.
    • Youngest US Open winner since Bobby Jones in 1923.
    • Just the sixth player to win the Masters and the US Open in the same season.
    • First player since Bobby Jones in 1926 to win with a birdie on the 72nd hole.
  • For all that, though, it is too early to declare him the second coming. There is just too much talent out there for Spieth to chew his way through the Majors as Tiger did in his heyday.
  • I admit to not thinking that it was possible for Spieth to win back-to-back Majors. Clearly I was wrong. But I’ll repeat my prediction for the Open Championship. I just can’t see him continuing to win with all the talent out there.
  • I feel for Dustin Johnson. He did not, however, lose that championship with the three putt. He lost the championship on Saturday when, in spite of hitting every fairway and driving two greens, he did not go low and put a large amount of distance between himself and his competitors.
    • Saying Dustin Johnson lost because of that three putt is the equivalent of saying a kicker lost a football game because he missed the field goal with no time left. If you’re counting on the kicker, you lost the game long before that.
  • Louis Oosthuizen, Rory McIlroy and a few others put on serious charges on Sunday. Where were they the rest of the week? Did it take them that long to figure things out and embrace the course? Or did the USGA change things to more nearly fit their games?
  • In spite of all the criticism, Chambers Bay produced a great championship. The leaderboard was packed on the back nine on Sunday. The tension was palpable. In contrast, last year’s US Open at Pinehurst was a snoozer. I didn’t even watch on the final day.
  • I am tired of the pros complaining about the greens. I putt on bumpy, worn, bare greens all the time  — and I get good results. The US Open players practiced on the greens. They had time to adjust. Maybe the pros aren’t as good at putting as they think they are.  I would like to invite a few pros to try putting on the moonscape of ant hills I putted on the other day. I managed to avoid any three putts while bouncing balls around the mounds.
  • One of the appeals of golf for me is in adjusting to changing conditions. Each course– each hole — offers a different set of problems to solve. When encountering different conditions in fairways and greens, I look for solutions. There is great joy in finding a solution. If the fairways and greens are different, then the pros need to take joy in finding solutions, not whine when things don’t match their ideal.
  • I found the brown landscape at Chambers Bay appealing. Golf does not need to be played on pristine, emerald, Augusta-like courses. Augusta is the Disneyworld of golf courses, with each blade of grass in place. Golf courses exist in nature, and nature is messy.
  • As far as I am concerned, ALL US Open Championships from here forward should be played on public access courses. The US Open is the people’s championship, not the just championship of the one percenters. I find it disgusting that the USGA regales us with stories of national championships at Merion, Oakmont, Baltusrol and Winged Foot which are all places that wouldn’t let me in the front door, if only to glance at the places where my game’s greats made their name. The USGA wants my money, but tells me I can’t really belong to the club. If the USGA is as concerned with growing the game as they say they are, they need to get away from exclusive country clubs.
  • I really like golf tournaments on the West Coast. Being able to watch a championship in prime time is fun.
  • Obviously, Tiger didn’t do himself any credit this past week. Is there anyone out there who seriously expects him to contend in Majors going forward?
  • Jordan Spieth is the anti-Tiger. He’s friendly and smiling (even when he’s not crushing opponents, which seemed to be the only thing that brought Tiger joy) His answers to reporters have actual substance. Try this one:
    • It gives me goose bumps. It’s incredible to win a Major Championship. You only get a few moments in your life like this, and I recognize that. And to have two in one year and to still be early in the year, that’s hard to wrap my head around. But sitting here right now, I am understanding that this is a special time for me.
  • I honestly thought Rickie Fowler would be in the hunt. He did so well in the Majors last year. I still have hope, however, that Fowler will step up and offer yet another name to watch for going forward.
  • Jason Day is tough as nails.
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