Another fascinating US Open has wrapped up & it seems to have created no end of controversy and hand-wringing online. That kinda goes with the territory, but for what’s it worth, I personally enjoyed watching the guys games tested on every level (and I didn’t here any one complain the ball was going too far).
So, here’s our quick 5 takeaways:
- This is Modern Golf – You couldn’t help but watch DJ & BK (too familiar?) over the 4 rounds with awe and a touch of disdain. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but respect for their ability, I just hate the fact I’ll never be able to play that way. They are the walking embodiment of the modern game at the professional level. Two athletes, goin’ after it with the a combination of raw power, delicate finesse and rock-solid putting. There’s been bombers in the past, but rarely have we seen two guys possess all the skills needed to excel on any course in any conditions at this level. And just look at them. Athletes and they can play! While there may have been suggestions Erin Hills set up for a bomber like Koepka, there’s no denying after this years win Brook’s has the perfect US Open game & temperament. The future looks (scary) long and I like it!
- Some ‘Bomb & Gouge’ merchants are a little one-dimensional – At the same time, you couldn’t help but notice some of the pre-tournament favourites had their games genuinely exposed by the conditions and course set-up. The ‘bomb & gougers’ who can dominate on the perfectly manicured PGA Tour courses found the conditions at Shinnecock a little more nuanced. As a mate of mine used to say ‘questions were asked which my game had no answer for’. Just look at the names who missed the cut… Rory, Jon Rahm, Jason Day. These are guys who can dominate and overpower a course but were found wanting this week. It seems the week-to-week perfection of the regular tour has created a style of play that doesn’t always suit a traditional US Open test.
- If it aint hard, it’s not a US Open – The course set-up, I felt, was unfairly criticised. Sure, the USGA pushed it on Saturday but that’s what I love about it this event. It’s an out-an-out test of golf, every shot, every putt, unrelenting for 72 holes. That’s what it’s supposed to be. And as the famous quote goes, the idea is not to embarrass the best golfers in the world, but to find them. Wanna know what it takes to win a US Open? Here you go: Brooks Koepka – GIR 4th; Putts/GIR 5th; Driving Dist 2nd; SG:APP 1st; SG:Total 1st. Tommy Fleetwood – GIR 2nd; Putts/GIR 9th; Driving Dist 13th; Driving Acc 1st; SG:OTT 2nd; SG:Total 2nd Statically the best two guys out there and close to leading in every category. It was a complete and thorough test, which is what a US Open should be, and they passed with flying colours.
- Yes, it’s OK to call Phil the ‘C” word – What was that Phil? I know what it was, it’s cheating. He tried to influence the outcome by bending the rules to his advantage. Not OK. It’s worth a quick look at Beef Johnson’s interview after the round (he played with Phil). He commented that both of them were laughing on the green and Phil said he was unsure what he’d just done to his score. It doesn’t sound like a calculated attempt, so he may not have intended to ‘cheat’ per say… more likely he was just pissed off & played a bit of quick-putt. If he really was trying to use the rules to his advantage, a much more sensible play would have been to let the putt run off the green & down the hill & call it unplayable (which he’d be completely entitled to do). Take a one shot penalty, and take the putt again from the same spot. Now that would have been quite the statement and created some consternation at the USGA. Imagine if more than a few guys out there started doing that…
- What’s with all the heckling? – I know we have to ‘grow the game’ and all that, but I do worry that we are starting to lose a little something as we bring more non-golfers into the fold. I’m gunna sound like one of the old guys down at your club now, but there is something great about the traditions of the game and the respect that was shown to the players from the crowd. These guys are good, and wether you like them or not, it’s not too difficult to respect their ability. From cheering Poulter’s missed putt’s to shouting “nice shot chubby” after a Patrick Reed drive, I really think the boorish behaviour is a bad look for the game at this level. The ‘mashed potatoes’ and ‘bababoey’ I can abide, but enough of the snide (and borderline) abuse. So I guess that Ryder Cup thing should be interesting then…
What’s your take? Drop us a line and let us know.