The Distance Between Your Ears
If you’re an avid golf fan, you’re probably experiencing a combination of elation and depression this particular Monday, following the dramatic finish of the 2012 U.S. Open held at the Olympic Club Lakes Course in San Francisco these past four days.
First, let me send out my hearty congratulations to first time major victor and 2012 U.S. Open Champion, Webb Simpson.
Though Webb has certainly had a strong showing these past couple of years on the PGA, his was not a name widely circulated as being a likely victor for this year’s championship.
And though he wasn’t widely featured on the telecast coverage through the first three days of the tournament, he slowly crawled his way up the leader board and yesterday cemented his +1 victory over fellow golfers, Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell.
McDowell, who won his first U.S. Open at Pebble Beach two years ago, held fast to the bitter end, but his final putt wandered just a little too much to the left to earn a playoff with Simpson.
And Furyk, the grinder’s grinder, played steady and firm until that wayward hooked drive on hole 16 at Olympic, also sending his second U.S. Open Championship hopes into the rough along with his uncooperative Srixon ball.
But boy, what drama. If Shakespeare had the occasion to write about golf, he would have gotten at least a sonnet or two out of these past four days of play.
First, there was Tiger Woods’ return to rare form on day one and two, only to see him fade away into the pack with his early six over par on the first several holes yesterday.
Then there was this year’s Cinderella story, committed University of Texas (the new NCAA men’s golf champions, after a forty-year drought) golf aspiree and 17-year-old wunderkind, Beau Hossler, whose grace-under-pressure and whimsical but lethally accurate iron play left everyone wanting more. Standing ovations abounded for “the kid” by the crowds at Olympic, a kid from whom we will certainly hear a lot more and (I hope), soon.
But for my money, the real victor of this year’s U.S. Open was the Olympic Club course, and, of course, the fans.
Olympic played like a great U.S. Open course should — it seemingly brought the best players in the world to their knees, and forced them to play smart and steady golf in order to arrive on top.
That’s the kind of golf Webb Simpson (and a few others) played, and it’s the kind of golf that keeps golf fans coming back for more.
And, after Rory McIlroy’s pummeling of Congressional at last year’s U.S. Open, it was time for the U.S.G.A. to return to the essence of what makes a great U.S. Open — the matching of the best players in the world with the most challenging, but fair, golf course and playing conditions imaginable.
This year, they delivered in spades, and so did Webb Simpson.
Congrats to them both — it was a victory well deserved!