Golf Channel Contributor John Feinstein is in San Francisco, CA this week for the 112th U.S. Open Championship. The U.S. Open is back at The Olympic Club for the first time since 1998 and looking back, it was a very unusual U.S. Open that year because of what happened with the pin position on the 18th hole in the second round. The USGA was concerned all week about the ability to use certain parts of that green because of the severity of the slope and they took a chance with the pin position on Friday and ended up losing. Other great moments included Lee Janzen’s ball falling from a tree on the fifth hole and Payne Stewart driving into a divot on the 12th hole on Sunday. Feinstein also remembered how Stewart handled defeat with an incredible amount of grace and it was appropriate in many ways that he would go on to win the U.S. Open the very next year at Pinehurst #2.
It will be very interesting to see how Tiger, Phil, and Bubba will play when they are grouped together. If a couple of them go low and have a bit of a duel or if one of them shoots a very high score, the grouping will get more attention outside of golf but otherwise the attention will remain confined to the golf world. No matter what, many people will be following the group at The Olympic Club and Feinstein is interested to see how well Bubba Watson handles the pressure and attention in his first Major Championship since winning The Masters.
Of all of the storylines this week, Feinstein said that his favorite is Casey Martin in part because he knows him very well. He remembers in 1998 how Martin originally was going to have to drive a single-seated cart around the hills until a USGA official tried it and determined that Martin could have a regular cart to use. The fact that Martin will be playing in his first U.S. Open since 1998 and second overall with both of them being at The Olympic Club is pretty amazing.