Though I am admittedly a hacker, I love golf. I love the tradition and history of the game, the challenge of each shot on each hole, the scenic layouts of certain courses and the fellowship of golfing with my friends. Needless to say, I was enthralled by the action at this past week's US Open Championships. From the opening pairing of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott on the first day to the playoffs today, this was an Open for the ages.
A few notes:
1) I can understand Phil's frustration. The quadruple bogey on Number 13 Saturday ruined him. Just a bogey would have brought him to plus 3 after Sunday and tied for sixth. Instead, he finished tied for 18th with a +6. We once played golf at Connestee Falls and watched our putts roll off the green and several yards down the fairway. Went from putter to wedge. Not a good hole that day.
2) In case you haven't heard, Tiger Woods had surgery on his knee right after the Masters. He was obviously in pain, especially on Saturday. A lot of people said that the media was overplaying his injury, that it's just golf. I would beg to differ. Golf is so much about balance and control and your knees are just a little bit important for that. Golf is a game of precision.
I would argue that Tiger playing with a hurt knee was more impressive than Curt Schilling's bloody sock, Emmitt Smith's separated shoulder in the 1994 NFC Championship game, or even Kerri Strugg's miraculous vault on an injured ankle in the 1996 Olympics. While these injuries might have HURT MORE, I don't believe they affected the performance in their sports as much as a bum knee in golf might. Some injuries in some sports can be played through.
I watched Justin Harrell play against Florida with a torn bicep! I have no doubt that he hurt, but he could still perform at an acceptable level. There's no way you are performing with that injury if you are a golfer or tennis player. It's not about toughness, it's about physiology.
3) We are going to talk about Tiger's performance for a long time. Saturday was amazing. That birdie putt from near the fringe on 13 (the same hole that ate Mickelson) was phenomenal. Then he holed 17 from the bunker and a 30 foot birdie on 18 to clinch the lead. The putt on Number 18 Sunday to tie will be also remembered (if only for the insatiable fist pumping). Check out these highlights from Saturday:
4)Get rid of the 18 hole playoff for the US Open. Playing Monday is so anticlimatic. It was close today, but what if Tiger had birdied three in a row and Rocco bogeyed those and was 6 behind? That equals: Yawner. If there is a tie, they should draw a number from a hat or bucket and play three holes. If 12 is drawn, you play 12, 13 and 14. If there is still a tie, go on to 15. I don't like sudden death, it does not give enough room for the better golfer to emerge. 18 on Monday is too much though, especially if one golfer falters.