What Happened

By Mercer BaggsJune 22, 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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    Schauffele just fine being the underdog

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

    Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

    Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

    Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

    “All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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    Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

    So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

    Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

    Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Jordan Spieth: 7/4

    Xander Schauffele: 5/1

    Kevin Kisner: 11/2

    Tiger Woods: 14/1

    Francesco Molinari: 14/1

    Rory McIlroy: 14/1

    Kevin Chappell: 20/1

    Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

    Alex Noren: 25/1

    Zach Johnson: 30/1

    Justin Rose: 30/1

    Matt Kuchar: 40/1

    Webb Simpson: 50/1

    Adam Scott: 80/1

    Tony Finau: 80/1

    Charley Hoffman: 100/1

    Austin Cook: 100/1

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    Spieth stands on brink of Open repeat

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 7:49 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth described Monday’s “ceremony” to return the claret jug to the keepers of the game’s oldest championship as anything but enjoyable.

    For the last 12 months the silver chalice has been a ready reminder of what he was able to overcome and accomplish in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, a beacon of hope during a year that’s been infinitely forgettable.

    By comparison, the relative pillow fight this week at Carnoustie has been a welcome distraction, a happy-go-lucky stroll through a wispy field. Unlike last year’s edition, when Spieth traveled from the depths of defeat to the heights of victory within a 30-minute window, the defending champion has made this Open seem stress-free, easy even, by comparison.

    But then those who remain at Carnoustie know it’s little more than a temporary sleight of hand.

    As carefree as things appeared on Saturday when 13 players, including Spieth, posted rounds of 67 or lower, as tame as Carnoustie, which stands alone as The Open’s undisputed bully, has been through 54 holes there was a foreboding tension among the rank and file as they readied for a final trip around Royal Brown & Bouncy.

    “This kind of southeast or east/southeast wind we had is probably the easiest wind this golf course can have, but when it goes off the left side, which I think is forecasted, that's when you start getting more into the wind versus that kind of cross downwind,” said Spieth, who is tied for the lead with Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner at 9 under par after a 6-under 65. “It won't be the case tomorrow. It's going to be a meaty start, not to mention, obviously, the last few holes to finish.”

    Carnoustie only gives so much and with winds predicted to gust to 25 mph there was a distinct feeling that playtime was over.

    As melancholy as Spieth was about giving back the claret jug, and make no mistake, he wasn’t happy, not even his status among the leading contenders with a lap remaining was enough for him to ignore the sleeping giant.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    But then he’s come by his anxiousness honestly. Spieth has spent far too much time answering questions about an inexplicably balky putter the last few weeks and he hasn’t finished better than 21st since his “show” finish in April at the Masters.

    After a refreshingly solid start to his week on Thursday imploded with a double bogey-bogey-par-bogey finish he appeared closer to an early ride home on Friday than he did another victory lap, but he slowly clawed his way back into the conversation as only he can with one clutch putt after the next.

    “I'm playing golf for me now. I've kind of got a cleared mind. I've made a lot of progress over the year that's been kind of an off year, a building year,” said Spieth, who is bogey-free over his last 36 holes. “And I've got an opportunity to make it a very memorable one with a round, but it's not necessary for me to prove anything for any reason.”

    But if an awakened Carnoustie has Spieth’s attention, the collection of would-be champions assembled around and behind him adds another layer of intrigue.

    Kisner, Spieth’s housemate this week on Angus coast, has led or shared the lead after each round this week and hasn’t shown any signs of fading like he did at last year’s PGA Championship, when he started the final round with a one-stroke lead only to close with a 74 to tie for seventh place.

    “I haven't played it in that much wind. So I think it's going to be a true test, and we'll get to see really who's hitting it the best and playing the best tomorrow,” said Kisner, who added a 68 to his total on Day 3.

    There’s no shortage of potential party crashers, from Justin Rose at 4 under after a round-of-the-week 64 to 2015 champion Zach Johnson, who also made himself at home with Spieth and Kisner in the annual Open frat house and is at 5 under.

    Rory McIlroy, who is four years removed from winning his last major championship, looked like a player poised to get off the Grand Slam schneid for much of the day, moving to 7 under with a birdie at the 15th hole, but he played the last three holes in 2 over par and is tied with Johnson at 5 under par. 

    And then there’s Tiger Woods. For three magical hours the three-time Open champion played like he’d never drifted into the dark competitive hole that’s defined his last few years. Like he’d never been sidelined by an endless collection of injuries and eventually sought relief under the surgeon’s knife.

    As quietly as Woods can do anything, he turned in 3 under par for the day and added two more birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. His birdie putt at the 14th hole lifted him temporarily into a share of the lead at 6 under par.

    “We knew there were going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win on Sunday, and it's turning out to be that,” said Woods, who is four strokes off the lead. “I didn't want to be too far back if the guys got to 10 [under] today. Five [shots back] is certainly doable, and especially if we get the forecast tomorrow.”

    Woods held his round of 66 together with a gritty par save at the 18th hole after hitting what he said was his only clunker of the day off the final tee.

    Even that episode seemed like foreshadowing.

    The 18th hole has rough, bunkers, out of bounds and a burn named Barry that weaves its way through the hole like a drunken soccer fan. It’s the Grand Slam of hazardous living and appears certain to play a leading role in Sunday’s outcome.

    Perhaps none of the leading men will go full Jean Van de Velde, the star-crossed Frenchman who could still be standing in that burn if not for a rising tide back at the 1999 championship, but if the 499 yards of dusty turf is an uninvited guest, it’s a guest nonetheless.

    It may not create the same joyless feelings that he had when he returned the claret jug, but given the hole’s history and Spieth’s penchant for late-inning histrionics (see Open Championship, 2017), the 18th hole is certain to produce more than a few uncomfortable moments.

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    Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

    One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

    McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

    McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

    “I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”