The US Open finished on Sunday and Tiger couldn’t repeat his Saturday effort. Dustin Johnson who held a 3 shot lead on Sunday morning crashed from a 6-under start to a 3-over finish. Ernie Els who needed to make a charge, couldn’t and shot 1-over par as did Phil Mickelson. The French golfer Gregory Havret had an honest chance to at least make it into a playoff but bogeyed the 17th the ensure that didn’t happen. And the eventual winner, Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell dropped three shots over the course of the day but managed to put his name on the trophy.
As I have said many times before, golf is a strange game. I think I’ve used the term ‘funny’ before, but that might infer that it is amusing. It isn’t.
Here we were on Sunday at the final round of the 2010 US Open, with the number 1, 2 and 6 ranked golfers in the world in contention and none of them could rise to the occasion. By my count there were only 6 scores under par on Sunday. One was a 68 by Bo Van Pelt who had shot an 82 on Saturday. What was different for him on Sunday when the leaders were crashing and burning. No pressure?
Granted the couse was obviously playing very hard and the greens were very, very fast, but these are still the very best golfers in the world and they were whipped like dogs.
Of course, maybe that is the other side of it. When the best golfers in the world can’t produce and shoot – in some cases – amateur level scores, is the course just too difficult? Are they really chosing the best golfer or just the most fortunate on any given day?
We know that a golf game can go sideways for anyone, whether professional or amateur. But when it goes astray for everyone you wonder if it is because of the course set-up, the pressure of competing for your national championship or (likely) a combination of the two. It would be interesting to see any of the competitors play the course on Monday following the Open strictly as a fun round and see what they would shoot.