2013 U.S. Open Commentary

Written by: Tony Korologos | Monday, June 17th, 2013
Categories: Champions TourEuropean TourPGA TourPro GolfRory McIloryThe MastersTiger WoodsU.S. OPENUSGAWeb.com Tour

U.S. Open Alternate Titles

Menacing Merion
Merion Massacre
Misfortune at Merion
Misery at Merion
Merion Comes Up Rose
Merion Mayhem
Mahan Misses at Merion
Mickelson Misses Moment at Merion
USGA Declared Winner At U.S. Open

Open Hangover

I didn’t feel too well after the U.S. Open finished yesterday. Either I was dehydrated from my early morning pre-Open round, or I was jacked up from the pressure and gut wrenching drama of the U.S. Open. How’d you like the Open? How was the course setup for you?

Course Setup

The “U.S. Open-ifying” of the course was exactly what I’d expected. I expected to see rough that produced bogeys or worse, and insanely fast greens. The USGA is looking for a winning score of even-par and that’s what they essentially got (+1). There is a lot of discussion, as there always is during the U.S. Open, about whether the setup was “fair” or “manipulated” or “tricked up.” If the goal was to produce a winning score of even-par, the USGA nailed it. Did they compromise some of the holes at Merion in doing so?

If the goal was to preserve some of the same shot values as those in the past Opens at Merion, they probably missed the mark. The par-3 3rd hole was playing at about 274 uphill, into the wind. Many players had to hit driver. There was no bailout or layup area. After scoring a double on the hole in the final round, Phil Mickelson turned to USGA Executive Director Mike Davis who was following his group and said, “274? That’s terrible. Can’t even reach it.”

The final hole was playing so difficult that none of the 148 who played it Sunday made birdie. None. The eventual open winner Justin Rose, navigated the final hole in par after hitting a brilliant 4-iron approach which went through the green to the back fringe.

No matter what side you’re on regarding the course setup, you might agree that the player who executed the best shots all around did win the championship.

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods was crowned the 2013 U.S. Open trophy by many in the media and many fans before the championship even started. Tiger’s play was below mediocre. His putting and chipping were downright awful. Before the Open, the “will Tiger break Jack’s major record” questions were nauseatingly once again being posed. After this open I can’t help but think that those who ask that question should forget that one and start asking whether or not Tiger will win another major, ever.

Despite going FIVE years without a major win and so many poor showings, Tiger is the favorite already to win the British Open Championship. I’ll take the field until further notice.

Rory McIlory

I’m not sure if it is the gear change to Nike and/or the big money that came along with it. Perhaps it is a matter of focusing more on the hot tennis pro girlfriend. Perhaps it is just a case of sophomore-itis. Whatever the reason, Rory McIlory is not focused. Until he can refocus, he will not be a factor in major championships.

Steve Stricker

It was heartbreaking to watch Steve Stricker collapse Sunday. He was in a great position to win his first major. Hitting a shot OB and then shanking another OB was brutal. I felt terrible for him. That was perhaps part of the reason I didn’t feel well after the tournament was over. He’ll get more chances at major championships obviously, but this one was there for him.

Phil Mickelson

What can you say about Phil? Some people love him and some hate him. He put on quite a show for both of those groups. He’s the only player I can think of in history that can make two double bogeys in the final round of a U.S. Open and have a shot at winning it with 1-3 holes to go.

Hunter Mahan

In my own (very) small way I empathise with Hunter Mahan. His driving and ball striking was so good, but his short game was the weak link which cost him this major.

Jason Day

Jason Day is amazing. He’s always in contention in majors lately. His performance this week was just short of brilliant. Mark it down. He’ll win a major. Best shot for him would be the Masters in my opinion.

Charl Schwartzel

The Schwartz was definitely not with Charl yesterday.  He was in the lead for a moment, but then uncharacteristically melted down.  My golf buddies call that a “Chernobyl.”  I couldn’t believe how many putts he missed.  Charl had five bogeys and a double-bogey on the front alone.  That was tough to watch and very unexpected for a player who has such big golf kahunas.  Held the lead at one time, shoots +8 and ends up tied for 14th.

Luke Donald

This was a tournament well suited for a Luke Donald win.  Hitting that girl in the head with his drive (on a par-3, the 3rd hole) did Luke in.  He was visibly shaken by that event, though not as shaken as the girl, who was knocked unconscious.

ESPN Coverage

I throw up in my mouth a little bit, every time I hear that ESPN will be covering golf.  I’ve grown so tired of Chris Berman’s awful golf announcing that I had the sound turned off the first two days.  Nothing personal, but I don’t want to hear “underneath par” and “rumblin’ stumblin’ bublin'” ever again.  The shtick is old.  Really old.

I know a lot of people don’t like Johnny Miller’s commentary, but at least he knows about golf.

Final Thoughts

The U.S. Open is a great championship and I enjoy watching the drama. It isn’t the kind of golf I’d want to watch week in and week out though. I think most golf fans would agree. Is it the best tournament as far as excitement and entertainment goes? Not even close. The Masters blows it away.

Congratulations to Justin Rose. A well deserved championship to the player who clearly handled the conditions and challenges at Merion the best this past week.

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