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After Further Review: Spieth wins 115th U.S. Open

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Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on what will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the most compelling, thrilling U.S. Opens of all time. It was one of heroics and heartbreak, where Jordan Spieth was ultimately named victor and Dustin Johnson three-putted the 72nd hole to come up one stroke short.

It’s time to stop considering Jordan Spieth an average ballstriker with a stellar putting touch. When he won in April at Augusta National, some dubbed the 21-year-old a one-dimensional player who would contend or crash depending on that silky putting stroke.

This week at Chambers Bay, however, proved there is more to Spieth than just clutch putting. For the tournament he ranked 15th in putting (1.75 average) and had five three-putts, including at the first hole on Sunday for bogey.

Instead, it was timely driving, solid play with his irons and a walk-off 3-wood at the last to 16 feet for a two-putt birdie that lifted Spieth to victory and the notion he is a one-dimensional player off his young shoulders. – Rex Hoggard

What a head-scratching thriller.

This may be the most baffling U.S. Open ever. If you believe all the complaints players leveled at Chambers Bay this week, you would think this U.S. Open would go down as one of the worst ever. And yet it’s destined to be remembered as one of the most fascinating, compelling and thrilling U.S. Opens ever.

Long before the final putt dropped, this U.S. Open was damned as the “most unpleasant golf tournament ever,” with its “eggplant” fairways, “broccoli” greens and “dumbest-ever” holes. The USGA was told it should be “ashamed of itself” for taking the championship to Chambers Bay. Yet, somehow, some way, the USGA delivered a classic. It set up a stage that delivered star power and drama in an unforgettable finish.

If you believe the overwhelming opinion of tour pros, the U.S. Open has apparently become the Mae West of majors. When it’s good, it’s very good, but when it’s bad, it’s better. - Randall Mell

After spending a week at Chambers Bay, the word that I keep coming back to is silly. Sure, it’s a serviceable test set against a stunning backdrop, and it crowned a worthy (and well-known) champion. But the lengths to which the field was pushed, the struggles the fans had getting around its hilly terrain, and the odd quirks and bounces that often meant shots separated by a foot could end up 40 yards apart – it was all silly.

Surely many will use Jordan Spieth’s victory as validation of Chambers Bay as a U.S. Open venue, as if a couple shots here or there from Branden Grace or Cameron Smith would have meant that the entire body of work might have been judged differently.

But the 72-hole product was one that was met with an avalanche of criticism, both from names well down the standings and those on the final leaderboard. This was a grand experiment by the USGA, and while the final hour was nothing short of thrilling, the days leading up to it produced far too many headaches.

Lee Westwood may have put it best: this is a great course to take a few buddies out, and perhaps a six-pack of beer, for a friendly round. But to use this as the stage for one of golf’s biggest championships? That’s just silly. – Will Gray

Dustin Johnson will win a major someday, probably win more than one. But he’s had four legit chances to win and has found a way to fumble each one away.

No question, each hurts in its own, different way. The final-round 82 was over quickly five years ago at Pebble Beach, the bunker snafu later that year at Whistling Straits was a freak thing and the errant 2-iron on the 14th hole at Royal St. Georges in 2011 was inexcusable. But this one has to hurt the most.

DJ held a two-shot lead, squandered it away, then played stellar golf on the last two holes to have an opportunity to win because of a Jordan Spieth double bogey on the 17th hole and then he three-putts from 13 feet? Come on.

One day, perhaps, Johnson will be able to sit down and appreciate his career. But no matter the major tally, he’ll always know it should’ve been more. – Jay Coffin