Well, the U.S. Open was a bit anti-climactic. Martin Kaymer beat the field into submission with two near-perfect opening rounds of 65. Dare we call it blitzkrieg?
In the end, the big stories going in got answered:
- Would Phil Mickelson complete the career grand slam? Not with that balky putter.
- Could Lee Westwood finally win a major? No.
- Would Rory McIlroy win his second U.S. Open? No (He'd finish T23).
- Is Kenny Perry too old to compete in a major? Maybe, but then again T28 isn't too shabby.
- Would Tiger Woods show up or live tweet the event? Seriously?
- Can a two-time heart transplant recipient rise to the top level of his sport? Oh yes.
Let's hit the links.
Hole #1: Kaymer Owns Pinehurst
Wow. Just wow. 65-65! For the second big championship in a row, former world #1 Martin Kaymer went out and looked absolutely unbeatable. Though he looked, at times on the weekend, a little embarrassed to be beating the field so badly (he shot +1 on the last two days, but could have shot +7), the only thing really in doubt was if he'd finish in double digits or not (he didn't due to a bogey on 16). The field looked like they were chasing the Tiger Woods of 2000… in awe and beaten. It was the second major for 29-year-old Kaymer, vaulting him right back into the "next big thing" discussions that he fell out of over the past three years. Kudos to Jamieson Weiss for at least mentioning Martin Kaymer in his picks for the week. [Link]
Hole #2: Compton and Fowler Break Par
While Kaymer completely blew away the field, there was quite a duel going on behind him for second. In the end, Erik Compton and Rickie Fowler finished at -1, the only players besides Kaymer to break par for the championship. Compton has twice undergone heart transplants. Fowler recently changed his swing. Advantage: Compton. A host of players finished T4 at +1. Compton and Fowler were also tied at the end of the third round. [Link]
Hole #3: Remembering Payne
Naturally, ESPN and NBC observed the tragic loss of Payne Stewart following the 1999 U.S. Open. NBC and Golf Channel even ran an hour-long special about his life and death. But the touches we liked most were the more personal ones, Rickie Fowler donning the knickers on Thursday, Justin Rose striking the pose as his final putt fell, and Chelsea Stewart next to the statue of her father. [Link]
Hole #4: Oops!
During the second round of the U.S. Open, Hunter Mahan and Jamie Donaldson inadvertently switched balls on the #18 fairway. Each was assessed a two-stroke penalty and had to hit their second shots again from the proper spot. Mahan's caddie John Wood blamed himself for the costly mistake. Hunter missed the cut by a stroke. [Link]
Hole #5: Double Dip for Fluff
After carrying his usual bag around Pinehurst for Jim Furyk this past week, Mike "Fluff" Cowan will also loop for Lydia Ko during the Womens U.S. Open. So he's still got a shot to caddie for a U.S. Open winner this year. [Link]
Hole #6: Billionaire on the Bag
Usually on the PGA TOUR, it's guys making a reasonably decent living caddying for millionaires. In this case, it's a (near) billionaire looping for an amateur (his son). That was Scott McNealy, of Sun Microsystems fame, on the bag for 18-year-old Maverick McNealy, who missed the cut by five. Don't worry, though. We suspect he's in the will. [Link]
Hole #7: So That's How You Do AimPoint
We're not entirely sure what's going on here, but we are entertained. [Link]
Hole #8: Co-star of the Week and Chief Protagonist
Pinehurst #2 is a big boy course, 7,600 yards of eat-your-lunch-for-you goodness. After the acclaimed restoration by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, it is no longer a nearly featureless sea of bermuda punctuated by those awesome greens. While the greens have always been the story at Pinehurst, the rest of the course now lives up to the billing. [Link]
Hole #9: Maltbie's Cart Driver in Deep
If you've ever wondered if you could get arrested for driving a golf cart under the influence, we have your answer. You can. Tommy Lineberry was driving NBC analyst Roger Maltbie when his golf cart reportedly struck a state trooper on the leg. The trooper chased down the cart and ultimately arrested Lineberry for a whole slew of offenses. The important question is: What did Maltbie know and when did he know it? [Link]
Ladies: It's your turn next.