Open Makes for Great Reading

By George WhiteJune 20, 2005, 4:00 pm
Maybe its just this internal gizmo that I have inside me, but for whatever reason, the U.S. Open has nearly always been the one major championship that I least enjoy watching.
 
What does it mean? Probably means something about my immaturity. It probably means something about this go-go world, where weve become accustomed to external stimuli nearly every minute of every day. Whatever ' it just doesnt hold the same allure as the Masters, the British Open or the PGA Championship.
 
Maybe its because the other three are win it championships. Most of the action is involved with trying to do something to win the title. Here, its different - in the U.S. Open, the champion almost always is the one who repeatedly shakes off bad fortune, catapults to the lead though a series of misfortunes visited on someone else, then hangs on for dear life until he finally just outlasts the field, one by one by one.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods was never able to get a good feel for the greens at Pinehurst No.2.
I realize it takes a particular kind of golfer to achieve this. Retief Goosen is an excellent example, though he didnt get it done this time. I dont think of Michael Campbell when I think of this particular type, though he certainly was on Sunday. To win a U.S. Open, you seldom shoot for flags. You drive the ball in the fairway, somehow get the ball to stop somewhere on the green with your approach shot, then putt like a banshee.
 
As the United States Golf Association wishes, this exposes the golfer to the utmost in mental pressure. Obviously, the person who wins is an exceptional player when it comes to managing oneself around 72 holes. It just isnt particularly enjoyable to watch ' for me.
 
Despite what I think, there are some golfers and a lot of fans who thoroughly enjoy the U.S. Open. They appreciate the fact that disaster is always only a shot away.
 
I always will feel that it's much better to play a tournament where, if you shoot a round in the mid-60s, you should fly up that board' not if you shoot a round like 67 you get lapped, said no less an authority than Tiger Woods. I don't like tournaments where 25 under par is the winning score. I'd much rather prefer to play challenges like this.
 
I dont particularly enjoy a tournament where 20-under wins, either. But I think 6-10 under is perfectly with reason.
 
That, for me, strictly means for purposes of watching on television. I enjoy reading about the Open, about who had the guts and the skill to stick in there for four days and persevere until the very last potential three-putt. And I confess that I always watch the final day, regardless of how bad the leaders are getting cuffed around. Ive found that I can take about four hours of this torture ' look forward to it, in fact. But given the four majors, this one is generally the least interesting.
 
It's more of a thinking man's game, said Woods. And you have to think, you have to be patient. It brings out all different types of shots you have to play and you have to know how to play. And that's why it's a major championship. It seems like we see the same guys in the top 10 or 15 in each and every major, and there's a reason why. They know how to hit shots.
 
Thats all very true. And its the very nature of what the founding fathers intended, I guess. Golf was originally meant to be an exercise in masochism. Course designers around the turn of the century had it so right ' a shot poorly played is a shot irretrievably lost! Recovery shot? Balderdash! There should no such thing as a recovery shot!
 
Tiger tried to explain the difficulty of playing Pinehurst during Open week.
 
I don't think they (the fans) quite understand how difficult it really is out there, he said. No one really does, unless you've played. And I've tried to explain it to some of you guys or people that watch it on TV, some of my friends (who) say, What were you thinking here?
 
I said, You have no idea. You have to get out there and experience the speed of the greens, the slope, the feel of the shots.
 
It is so hard to explain to people how difficult this golf course was playing I mean, I was joking the entire week, thank God I wore spikes, because if you backed off some of these holes you slip right down the hill. At least I had some cleats, I dug in.
 
It makes for fascinating reading, this U.S. Open. But for watching? Nope, not for me. Let the gents go about being clipped on the jaw, and when its over, let me know who lasted the longest.
 
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Related links:
  • Leaderboard - 105th U.S. Open
  • Full Coverage - 105th U.S. Open
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