U.S. Open RecapEditor's Note: Be sure to follow @_DanDaly on Twitter this golf season for his off-the-cuff remarks and entertaining commentary!
Well if you were looking for drama, the 2018 US Open had more than a full summer in The Hamptons. With all due respect to Brooks Koepka, the guy just won back-to-back US Opens and sadly this wasn’t even the most interesting story to come out of the weekend. That’s not a good thing for golf and especially the USGA quite frankly.
Here are my top nine (because it’s a golf article) noteworthy events from the 2018 US Open…
9. Scott Gregory – Who in the hell is that you ask? Well, you probably don’t know who he is but the 2016 British Amateur champion (now a professional) finished dead last at +27. Mostly because of his 92 on Thursday becoming the first person to not break 90 in a US Open since some guy named Felix Casas shot 92 in the 2002 US Open at Bethpage. But hats off to Scott who rebounded nicely on Friday with a 75.
8. Rickie Fowler – I feel like everyone is allergic to something these days. Peanuts, eggs, gluten, fish… you name it, there is someone you probably know that is allergic to it. Well, I have come to the conclusion that Rickie Fowler is allergic to being in contention at a golf tournament. I’m serious, the guy literally has an allergic reaction every time he even sniffs the first page of the leaderboard. Case and point, he shoots 84 on Saturday with a chance to make a move early in the day but right on cue, he comes back Sunday teeing off before everyone else with no pressure on him and what does he do? Shoots the low round of the tournament (until Fleetwood broke it several hours later). If the guy is ever going to actually win a major he is going to have post a stupid low number several hours before the leaders finish.
7. Rory/Day – I’m putting them as one story because quite frankly it’s the same story for both this week and that story is…Seriously…WTF? I mean Rory owns the course record at Shinnecock and has been playing well and doesn’t break 80 the first day. Day has a recent win and was in good form coming into the week and breaks 80 on the number Thursday. While I didn’t expect either to win this week I certainly didn’t see both of them hanging out on their couch with Bubba Watson over the weekend. Day has now missed back to back cuts at the US Open while Rory has missed three in a row.
6. Spieth – The downward spiral Spieth has been on since his final round 64 at Augusta is nothing short of shocking. Most notably because the guy couldn’t win a putting contest against Adam Scott right now. It’s like a virus that has spread to the rest of his game and it’s hard to watch. After a triple bogey-bogey start on Thursday and posting an opening round 78 Spieth had it all the way to 11-over Friday afternoon before making four straight back nine birdies to get a shot clear of the cut line with two to play. The Jordan Spieth I know, or at least thought I knew would never go bogey-bogey to finish and MC by one shot. I don’t know who this new Jordan Spieth is but I much prefer the guy that has won three Majors and damn near shot 62 to win the Masters earlier this year. Oh, speaking of which, it broke my heart to see Patrick Reed fall apart on the back nine Sunday after such an impressive early round charge. Damn shame.
5. Tiger – It took all of fifteen minutes and seven shots on his opening hole before any chance of winning the US Open was out the door for Tiger this week. Turns out he could have saved a lot of money and left the Yacht at home and just gotten a Motel 6 for a few days. Look, I know the 2000, 2006 or even 2008 Tiger Woods is never teeing it up again, but the guy that lead the field in every ball striking category two weeks ago at the Memorial didn’t show up either, not even close. Despite what most people probably think, this comeback has been quite spectacular two Top-5 finishes, a T-11 at The Players, his swing speed, his short game and his overall ball striking stats. However his two performances thus far in the two Majors leave a lot of question marks. I know he said he thinks he will win a major again, and I certainly learned a long time ago not to bet against Tiger Woods, but the way he has hit it at the Majors so far and putted all year tells me he has a long way to go before he gets major win number 15. Then again, he may win the British next month and it wouldn’t surprise me at all.
4. Fleetwood – My man cashed big for us this week with his Top 5/10 finish and made the last few hours very interesting for all of us holding a 40/1 Fleetwood to win ticket. I know Johnny Miller would tell you the course was obviously playing a little easier on Sunday, but it wasn’t exactly the Kapalua Resort course either. To make 8 birdies and shoot a 63 on Sunday at the US Open at Shinnecock is pretty damn impressive. The guy had the low round of the day Friday and Sunday and lost by 1 shot. I can’t imagine how many times he is going to replay that 8 footer straight up the hill on 18 in his head for years to come but I would imagine he might need a therapist for at least the next few weeks. The guy is legit and will be a very serious threat at Carnoustie next month. Unfortunately the days of getting Tommy Fleetwood in 30/1 and up range are long gone.
3. DJ – This tournament was over Friday night. O…V…E…R. No one was catching DJ. Guy just won last week, shot an effortless 69 on Thursday to take the lead and an even easier 67 on Friday to take a four shot lead into the weekend and was cruising. The only thing that bothered DJ through the first two rounds were insufficient applause. Hell, I was already spending the 10/1 money I had on him. Turns out the guy has only won one major to date for a reason. This wasn’t anywhere near as bad as some of the others, not even close really, but make no mistake, this was absolutely DJ’s US Open to lose this weekend…and he did. I realize the course was a disaster on Saturday but that had very little to do with his terrible iron shots and it was perfectly fine on Sunday when the guy couldn’t putt the ball into the ocean. I don’t recall ever seeing a bigger discrepancy in the final round of a major than the putting difference between DJ and Koepka on Sunday. DJ hit 16 of 18 greens on Sunday and had 35 putts to Koepka’s 12 greens and 28 putts. Say what you want about Saturday but for a guy that lost by two shots look no further than DJ’s putter on Sunday. Koepka was nails on Sunday when he needed to be, DJ wasn’t.
2. Brooks Koepka – It’s pretty hard, almost impossible actually to win back-to-back US Opens and not be the biggest story to come out of the US Open. You can thank Mike Davis for that Brooks, but more on that in a minute. While his win last year at Erin Hills was impressive in its own right, it also came with a very large US Open asterisk. While it still counted as a US Open win, the 2017 US Open was much closer to a John Deere Classic than a US Open. But what he did this year, and specifically the back nine on Sunday, was what winning a Major and specifically a US Open is all about. The guy was flat out nails on Sunday afternoon and while I’m not sure he was the best player this week, he certainly deserved to win. Besides the fact that he has a smoking hot girlfriend he now also has more Major Championships than DJ, Day, Fowler, Rose, JT, Rahm, Matsuyama, Reed, Sergio and Kuchar just to a name a few.
1. Mike Davis/USGA/Course Set-Up/Phil Mickelson – Let’s be honest, sadly they are all one in the same this week. First Mike Davis, he needs to resign…immediately. The guy is running a clown show over there and everyone knows it but him apparently. The players hate Davis and the USGA, the fans and media hate them and even FOX and their old boss David Fey were taking shots at them. Literally, the only way the USGA could screw up this week was to let the course get away from them…especially after what happened there in 2004. So what did they do? Exactly that. And then they made it ten times worse by over compensating on Sunday and draining the entire Atlantic Ocean on the course. I honestly think the USGA needs to hire a former player (like a Ray Floyd, Hale Irwin, etc) that oversees at least the US Open for them every year. When you have players on Twitter openly mocking the USGA and talking about how much better the PGA Tour does than the USGA of setting up a golf course you have a serious problem. And just in case screwing up one of the best courses on the planet wasn’t enough, to add insult to injury they completely get shown up by Mickelson and are so incompetent that aren’t even sure with 100% certainty which of their own two rules he broke so they throw a dart at a dart board, pick the less severe one and then look even dumber. I mean, it would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.
As for Mickelson, what he did was stupid, classless and absolutely deserved to be disqualified. I don’t think he should have WD after the fact though, he shouldn’t do the USGA’s job for them. If that had happened at Augusta he not only would have been disqualified on the spot he might be the only former winner that had his lifetime exemption revoked. Then again, Mickelson wouldn’t have even thought about doing that at Augusta, nor would he have had to because they don’t have a clown college running their tournament. There are two arguments being made for Phil. One, his version, that he knew the rule and did it on purpose because he thought it was his best chance at a lower score. Two, that he just got so pissed off at the course set up and hates the USGA so much that he didn’t give a shit and just said F**k it, I’m stopping this ball.
If you believe the first (his version) you are naïve, giving him WAY too much credit, and you’re probably a Phil Mickelson homer. There is no way he calculated all of that in the four seconds from when he hit his putt to the time he started running. No way. More importantly, immediately after the hole he said to Beef Johnston (his playing partner) “I don't know what score that is [for me]. I don't know what happens now.” For a guy that claims it was a calculated move he sure doesn’t seem to really know what he just did or made.
So the obvious answer is the second option, he hates the USGA (a well-known fact and an understandable one) hit a breaking point with them/his round/etc and just decided to show them up. Either way it was a classless act (even against the USGA) but at least I would have respected him more for being honest. Honestly, my biggest problem isn’t that Phil did it, it’s the fact that he wouldn’t just come out after the fact and say why he did it. When Zach Johnson of all people is willing to stand up and call out the USGA and you aren’t especially after what you did, that is ten times worse than the act itself.
At least now we can move on to the next Major run by a competent group of people.
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