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By Mercer BaggsJune 29, 2009, 4:00 pm
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LIKE A GLOVE(R): Lucas Glover won the 109th United States Open at Bethpage Black, finishing at 4-under 276. The 29-year-old South Carolinian made only one birdie in shooting a final-round 3-over 73, but still finished two shots clear of David Duval, Phil Mickelson and Ricky Barnes.
 
Backspin How unlikely was this win? Glover had won only once on the PGA Tour, had never made a cut in the U.S. Open, and had never finished better than T-20 in a major championship. But thanks to some steady play over his final nine holes and a multitude of mistakes by the rest of the challengers, Glover got his named etched alongside Woods, Nicklaus, Palmer and just about every other legend to ever play the game.
 

 
GIVE HIM FIVE: Phil Mickelson claimed his record fifth U.S. Open runner-up finish, shooting even-par 70 in the final round to finish at 2-under 278. Mickelson grabbed a share of the lead with an eagle at the par-5 13th, but bogeyed two of his final four holes for another disappointing Open result.
 
Backspin There was the scene: New York. There was the storyline: a wife with breast cancer. And there was the moment: the eagle that earned him a share of the lead with five holes to play. Even the ultimate Mickelson pessimist had to think that this was finally his time. But it wasn't. Maybe it's just not meant to be.
 

 
FROM NO. 882 to T-2: David Duval earned his best finish since winning the 2001 Open Championship, rallying for a tie for second. Duval began his day with a plugged tee shot at the par-3 third, which led to a triple bogey. Undaunted, he birdied holes 14, 15 and 16 to grab a share of the lead, before brutally lipping out a par putt at 17.
 
Backspin This was an unbelievable performance by Duval, one that most people never saw coming ' but some did (kind of). Duval will lament his Monday misfortune, but he will also take a lot of positives out of this week, including locking up his Tour card for next year. If there is one negative that will come out of all of this, it's that people's expectations of him ' and his exposure ' will increase dramatically. Duval has always seemed more comfortable out of the spotlight.
 

 
BARNES DOOR OPEN: Ricky Barnes led by as many as six strokes in the third round, became just the fourth player to ever reach double digits under par in a U.S. Open, and had sole possession of the lead entering the final stanza. He then closed in 6-over 76 to tie for second.
 
Backspin I have 20/400 vision and I could see Barnes' meltdown coming. Still, it didn't make it any less painful to watch. I'm going to go home tonight and watch replay after replay of Lawrence Taylor breaking Joe Theisman's leg just to get the image of Barnes' swing out of my head.
 

 
STUCK ON 14: Tiger Woods finished 72 holes at Bethpage right where he started, at even par, good for a tie for sixth. Woods, who spent the entire tournament playing catch up, didn't reach red figures until making a birdie putt on the 14th hole Monday. He didn't stay there long, however, as he bogeyed the very next hole.
 
Backspin Tiger ' or Tiger proponents ' can blame the draw or his closing four holes in the fist round (which he played in 4 over), but the fact is: Tiger had a chance to win on Monday. He just wasn't good enough. Woods didn't make the putts he needed to in order to win. He didn't deserve this one.
 

 
PLEASE MAKE IT START ... AND STOP: The opening day of the 109th U.S. Open at Bethpage was washed out due to incessant rain, and the championship never caught up. The third round didn't begin until Saturday night, with the final round getting underway Sunday evening. The United Stop-and-Start Open finally concluded Monday around 1:25 p.m. ET.
 
Backspin This was a brutal Open all the way around ' for the players, the caddies, the officials, the media, and even the fans. A Mickelson victory would have overshadowed all of the negatives. But that didn't happen. And this Open ' except in the opinion of Glover ' was far from a classic.
 

 
WE MISSED YOU: Inevitably, some of the players you think might contend for the title end up missing the cut. At this particular major that list included: Masters runner-up Chad Campbell, Paul Casey, Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Zach Johnson and David Toms.
 
Backspin Of all the disappointments, two stand out ' and neither are Harrington (the way he's played this year, it's not surprising he missed out on the final two rounds). The first is Casey. Here comes Mr. No. 3 in the World and he shoots 75-75 to miss the cut by six. For all the youthful talent around the world (Casey, Scott, Kim, Donald, Poulter, Garcia, etc.), none have a major victory ' except Lucas Glover. Then there is Els, who shot 78-77 to miss the cut by 11 shots. You don't want to pick on the guy ' because you never know what's going on in his personal life ' but it doesn't seem like he ever recovered from losing to Phil Mickelson in the 2006 Masters. And may never will.
 

 
REMEMBERING PAYNE: This year marked the 10th anniversary of Payne Stewart's dramatic U.S. Open triumph at Pinehurst, in which he made a 15-foot putt on the 72nd hole to defeat Phil Mickelson. Stewart perished four months later in a plane crash.
 
Backspin Just as no one who witnessed the 1999 U.S. Open will ever forget it, no one who ever saw Payne Stewart play will ever forget him. For all of the run-of-the-mill players on Tour today, Stewart was irreplaceable. October 25 will officially mark the 10-year anniversary of when the plane he was flying in crashed in Aberdeen, S.D.
 

 
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Michelle Wie and Natalie Gulbis were among the notable players who failed to make it through qualifying for the U.S. Women's Open. ... John Daly was involved in an automobile accident when the fan and awnings from his RV were ripped off in a tunnel and hit another car. ... Chris Smith's wife was killed in an automobile accident.
 
BackspinNo Wie? They might as well just cancel the event. ... Somehow Daly will blame this on the victim. ... Smith's two children were also in critical condition. Just a true Father's Day tragedy.
 
Related Links:
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

     

     

    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.