The Open
By Snyper on 6/21/10
Matt Snyder is an opinionated* golf enthusiast from Pennsylvania. He coaches at the high school level, molding the minds and swings of our next generation. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts and opinions of Matt in the comments. Don't hold back- because Matt won't.

Well, another week and another great tournament on the PGA Tour. The 110th U.S. Open certainly did not disappoint the fans of the sport. Pebble Beach, perhaps the most scenic course in the world, was set up beautifully and provided a fair challenge to the games’ greatest players. It was a star-studded leader board that resulted in two not-so-popular players rising to the top. With a score of even par being good enough to win the tournament, I think it is fair to say that the course beat the players this week. As the champion, Graeme McDowell, put it, good golf was rewarded and bad golf was punished.

It's a shame that we only get to see this type of a challenge for the tour pro's once a year, but I am thankful that our country's open championship maintains its' toughness year in and year out.
In my opinion, too many of the courses on the PGA Tour offer no punishment for bad shots. These guys are always missing the fairway by 20 yards and ending up with wide-open shots. They never lose a ball and out of bounds stakes seem never to exist on a PGA Tour course. When greens are missed, there's never any real danger and an up and in is rarely a difficult task. It's a shame that we only get to see this type of a challenge for the tour pro's once a year, but I am thankful that our country’s open championship maintains its' toughness year in and year out. I love seeing these guys have to hit good shots in order to get the ball close. Watching them manage their distances and carefully place each shot so that they have room to stop the ball is way more impressive than seeing them throw shots at the pin from anywhere on the course because the greens are so easy to hold. And, perhaps the most impressive part of watching U.S. Open golf, is seeing how the professionals handle the adversity. It doesn’t take long to see that some of them just don’t have what it takes to make a bad shot or a big number and still battle back. The guys that stay cool and have short memories are often the ones who are able to answer a double bogey with two straight birdies. I love seeing that type of resilience on the golf course and it shows us amateurs that even the pros make mistakes. The key isn’t avoiding mistakes, but the key is how you handle your mistakes. Dustin Johnson, though he behaved with great class, did not handle his mistakes well at all on the first few holes of his final round. He compounded bad swings with bad decisions and more bad swings. However, I do give him a lot of credit for hanging in there and managing his frustration as well as he did. I wish he would’ve swallowed his pride enough to do an interview after the round, but I will give him a pass on that considering the perseverance that he showed during his round.

How about Pebble Beach? I don’t know why we don’t have the Open there every other year! That course is just absolutely awesome. I give a big thumbs up to the Open committee and all those involved in the changes that they made to the course. I loved that they moved the fairways closer to the cliffs and also that they moved the tees around considerably from day to day. I especially liked that they gave the guys some easy holes and some chances to make birdies or even eagles. Moving the tees forward on a couple of the par 4’s and 5’s forced the players to make some decisions. It was fun to see them play out their strategies from round to round. The design of the course was almost as perfect as the views that surrounded it. Pebble Beach showed, once again, to be one of the best theatres in the world for the game of golf.

It was cool to see him hold it together when the giants of the sport were falling apart.

And how about Tom Watson! On Thursday and Friday, he played with two guys who’s combined ages were 21 years younger than his own age and he managed to hold his own and make the cut. He beat Rory McIlroy, the young phenom from Irleand by three strokes. Can you imagine being 21 years old and packing your bags to go home while a guy that’s old enough to be your grandfather is teeing it up on the weekend? The man is 60 years old and it has been 28 years since he won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Yet, he still had enough magic up his sleeve to finish in a tie for 29th. That’s great stuff for the fans and for the sport of golf. It was awesome to watch him play number 17 four more times and even more enjoyable to see the emotions that he felt as the fans paid their respects to him while he walked up to the 18th green one final time. I couldn’t help but think about his long time caddie, Bruce Edwards, and wonder if Tom was doing the same. I feel fortunate to be able to see a guy like Watson still around and competing at such a high level. With the way that golf has changed, I can’t help but fear that older players being able to compete is soon going to be a thing of the past. For now, I would love to see Watson or any of those guys from that era, throw together a good enough week to win a tour event again. Both Watson and Norman were so close in the last two British Opens and it leaves me with a great desire to see one of those guys pull it off on Sunday and take home a win. Even though he wasn’t battling for the win this week, Tom Watson showed that he is a great champion and ambassador of the game.

So, congratulations to Graeme McDowell for being the champion of the 110th U.S. Open. He seems to be a great guy who played some great golf and controlled his emotions and his swing well enough to take home his first major victory. It was cool to see him hold it together when the giants of the sport were falling apart. Also, I would offer a big pat on the back to Gregory Havret for his second place effort. He made a 30-foot putt just to reach a playoff to qualify for the Open. In the playoff, he drained another 20 footer to win a spot in the tournament. Havret’s journey just goes to show the type of great stories that can be written in an open championship. From making a long putt, to making the field, to making the weekend, and to almost winning the tournament. That’s good stuff. So, thank you Pebble Beach, the USGA, and all the players for an excellent weekend of major championship golf. It sure was a great tournament to watch and a proud weekend for golf in the United States.


* Matt's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of oobgolf.


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[ comments ]
birdieXris says:
I concur. Great tournament to watch. The non-tournament coverage was so Tiger-heavy for no reason that i just couldn't watch it.
6/21/10
 
Kickntrue says:
@birdieXris- i agree that while tiger's saturday round was great for the event in general- it did make the coverage nearly unbearable. NBC did a decent job (not great, but decent) but ESPN and everyone else made it REAL bad.
6/21/10
 
ElGalloGigante says:
I stayed away from all the other networks and just stuck with NBC, but it was nice to have the big stars in a position to possibly pull off the victory. This Open has to go down as one of the greatest. From Watson to a resurgent Woods to a circling Phil to the amateurs to Havret, and finished off with a guy winning it who almost didn't qualify. Just an awesome 4 days.
6/21/10
 
birdieXris says:
Yea i tried to stay with NBC on Tv and the mobile app when i was on the course < but in the mornings i would turn on SC and of course, there's tiger. On the golf channel -- tiger again. Even on the mobile app under "highlights" it was all tiger.
6/21/10
 
windowsurfer says:
". . . missing the fairway by 20 yards and ending up with wide-open shots. They never lose a ball and out of bounds stakes seem never to exist on a PGA Tour course." Plus galleries flattening rough and finding balls (I coulda used some help yesterday in soaking wet 8" crabgrass bordering our bumpy fairways!) Also, wuttabout fairway bunkers that catch average joe's drives but pros now routinely fly over?

Reverential silence on dead level tee box . . . kangaroo bounce and endless roll on carpet fairway, wedge off perfect lie as even as J. Jonah Jamieson's brushcut to a perfect, totally consistent surface preceded occassionally by bunker shot from 100% consistent sand, smooth as a Japanese garden. All this - while entertaining - has little relevance to the game/course I play. For relevance, I have to watch Snead and Dean Martin tee-it up on old B&W World of Golf shows where hole length, shot distances and green stimp are more like the reality I enjoy. It's a time warp, man.
6/21/10
 
Snyper says:
I love you guys. I couldn't agree more with you about the coverage. It made me sick that we were missing U.S. Open golf so that they could recap every shot Tiger hit over and over again. I'm glad I wasn't the only one screaming at my television on my way to puke! And window, I'm with ya. I'd like to see what these guys could do if they had to jump out of the car onto the first tee and play without a caddie, yardage book, and in typical public course conditions.
6/21/10
 
birdieXris says:
@ Snyper - Did you notice also how every time TW hit a good shoot (and sometimes even a mediocre one) they would reminisce about "his dominance 10 years ago the last time the Open was at Pebble beach". I mean, seriously. Gag me with a Top Flite Magna! <---dated
6/21/10
 
mjaber says:
I wonder if the PGA Elite haven't gotten spoiled. It always seems that at the US Open we have at least a couple guys who no one thought would contend near the top of the leader board. They're usually the guys who go out and play almost every week, and collect a check, but are never in the mix for a win. Guys like Glover, and Mediate, and now G-Mac (to a lesser extent) and Havret. I wonder if these guys are are so used to "grinding" out a living that they are better at playing for the correct miss, than the Elite level (Woods, Mickelson, Els, et all) who are typically pin-seeking on a weekly basis.

I think what we are seeing with the US Open is golf the way "the rest of us" play. It's about playing for par, and taking a shot at birdie only when you know for sure that a miss will still give you a good opportunity for par, instead of being able to take on every pin, no matter where it is.
6/21/10
 
ElGalloGigante says:
Haha! I'm with WindowSurfer and Snyper when it comes to seeing the Pros play the course more like the average golfer. I'd be interested in seeing them tee it up near a busy clubhouse, hitting a second shot from the grass-clipping coated rough, and judging their distance by guessing how close they are to the yardage poles. "How long is this Par 5?" I don't know, what does the card say?
6/21/10
 
mjaber says:
The TV coverage, to me, was atrocious. Did we really need them to interrupt the golf to show the piece on how the USGA was "going green"? That stuff should have been covered in the run-up, on Saturday. Keep the cameras on the golf. If you want to do interviews in the booth, great, but do I need to be looking at 2 guys with headsets on talking about something other than the tournament while guys are playing? Let the guys talk in the background while you show some poor shlub searching for his ball, like we do every day, in knee high grass. Use the shot tracer to replay drives and show us how badly Tiger just hooked another tee shot. Anything. Just not these 2 schmoes in the tower talking about something that is not going on right now, on the course. In fact, don't show the guys in the booth at all. If you want to put people on the screen talking about golf, get Michelle Wie and Natalie Gulbis in bikinis to talk about it. Then, and only then, can you show people in the booth talking about golf.
6/21/10
 
windowsurfer says:
If I let myself get carried away . . . tee-side fans and playing partners who chatter about where to get the best price on a new BBQ or how late their kid got in the night before. (I'm no purist? -- fine, how do 80%+ of free throws go in?) How about a green superintendent who challenges Tiger to a fist-fight on Friday morning cuz he's sick of hearing members complain about greens? (True story from my wild-west track.) I could also mention beer cart girls in halter tops, but that's a whole 'nuther forum.
6/21/10
 
Swingem says:
What????
6/21/10
 
Kurt the Knife says:
My wife and I walked the entire course on sat. Kinda followed Villegas and Molinari around occasionally lagging to watch Henley and Van Pelt.
I once thot 500 large to play a round of golf would be unthinkable. But after actually seeing the place, we are convinced we will play it once we get our swings under control. From the girls tees, of course. The length for the pros was huge.
It really is something to see.
6/21/10
 
Kurt the Knife says:
Oh, and the crowds and press ( fans, photogs,media ) on course following Tiger was ridiculous huge.
I'm not surprised the tv was woods-centric
6/21/10
 
falcon50driver says:
Kurt if you're interested, there's a house for sale on the 18th fairway. 1.7 acres of land, 11,000 sq ft of living area, 4BR 9Bathrooms...$29 million.
6/21/10
 
brianshaffer32 says:
Guys just take a second and think about it before you get the urge to puke. No, no one is bigger than the game and golf would go on without Tiger. But would golf have been what it is today without him? I guarantee you it would be just as professional soccer and what Tennis has become. Sports like Tennis and Soccer are only big in the U.S. during the big time tournaments otherwise no one would ever watch. And if it wasn't for Tiger it would be that way in golf too. The networks don't know any better and simply won't get their ratings if Tiger isn't being shown. Not to mention Tiger was only 3 shots off the lead and was shown just as much as Phil, Ernie, Havret, Dustin (when he was still a float) and Mcdowell. And as for the Tiger coverage on the Golf shows prior and post tournament, what do you expect its Tiger Woods at a major championship, chasing Jack, of course he is going to be covered.
6/22/10
 
Tim Horan says:
@mjaber - you were going great until you spoilt it all by going shallow on us and bringing girls in bikinis into what was until then great input. I am not against the concept of MW or NG in bikinis but that's the point I'm not against MW or NG.
6/22/10
 
Banker85 says:
bunch of complainers serioulsy... Tiger on tv gets your panties all twisted then change the channel...
6/22/10
 
Banker85 says:
by the way loved the tournament and great article! I agree playing at pebble each year is a good idea!
6/22/10
 
ElGalloGigante says:
The idea of making Pebble Beach the only site of the US Open strikes me as a good one. I know the rotating schedule of courses is a cash cow for all the courses in contention, but Pebble is a beast and I enjoy watching the Pros get punished.

The talking heads on the Tube and Radio seem to be upset that the scores were so high, but c'mon now, is it really that exciting to see birdie after birdie? I think watching golf on prime-time where a player in the hunt can go birdie-par-bogey on any given hole is extremely more entertaining than a birdie-eagle fest.
6/22/10
 
Kurt the Knife says:
@merlin

Thanks. we were wondering how much some o them places might cost.
6/22/10
 
dsethi says:
I had the pleasure of attending the Open on Friday, my 2nd attended golf tourney and first major. Amazing, to say the least. Too many great memories to list them all, but I'll say the best ones were being in the 18th grandstand when Watson finished up right on the cut line and everyone gave him a standing ovation (he also played with two young pups, Mcilroy and Ishikawa); and besides seeing Mickelson, Els, Tiger and the other big names, was probably posting up on 16 tee box and seeing Watney, Barnes and Mahan, 3 of the younger more talented guys on tour playing together and enjoying a few laughs before moving through the hole.

Good stuff.
6/23/10
 
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