John Feinstein - June 7, 2012


When asked about U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying from Monday, Feinstein said that Casey Martin was the best story from that day not only because of the golf cart issue but also because of the fact that he is no longer a competitive golfer as he is now the head coach of Oregon’s Men’s Golf Team. Martin finished T23 at Olympic Club in 1998 and it is a wonderful story to see him return to that course 14 years later.

Tiger Woods heads to The Olympic Club after winning the Memorial Tournament and Feinstein said that he has no idea what the win means for Tiger at the U.S. Open because he gets the feeling that Tiger has no idea what it means either. Tiger’s chip-in at the 16th hole is evidence that the old Tiger is still there and if Tiger contends or even wins at The Olympic Club it will be because of his short game. His short game was there for him at Muirfield Village and it will be interesting to see if it is there next week.

Looking back at the 1998 U.S. Open, the things that stand out for Feinstein are the pin placement at 18 in the second round on Friday and the way that nothing seemed to go right for Payne Stewart in the final round. Stewart struggled with his swing and then he got a slow play warning on the 12th hole. But Stewart handled himself like a Champion when he missed the putt to tie Lee Janzen on the 72nd hole and that showed Feinstein that Stewart had grown up from his early immature behavior. He had never seen an athlete evolve like that and he hoped that Stewart would win a Major in the near future. Of course, he went on to win the U.S. Open at Pinehurst #2 the very next year.

Harrison Frazar won in Memphis last year shortly after writing in Sports Illustrated that he was considering retiring from competitive golf and Feinstein thinks that Frazar has a lot left in his career mainly because of the security that that win provided him. Golf at its best is about redemption and Frazar is a great redemption story because he went from looking for other jobs to looking ahead to future tournaments that he was now eligible for.