Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:58 AM
US Open Recap
Editor's Note: Be sure to follow @_DanDaly on Twitter this golf season for his off-the-cuff remarks and entertaining commentary!
I don’t know what the exact conversation was between Gary Woodland and his caddie while they were standing in the middle of the 14th fairway on Sunday afternoon debating possibly the biggest shot of his entire life but I’d like to think it went something like this…
Woodland to his caddie, “This is for Azinger up in the booth thinking I should lay up.”
Obviously it worked out better for Woodland than Roy MacAvoy and the rest is history.
Here are my (back) nine takeaways from the US Open at Pebble Beach this week:
9) Rickie Fowler tried to win a Major with a full scale mullet. The problem for Rickie is that there is only one man that can win a major with a mullet game that strong and you sir are no John Patrick Daly. Also, the guy might be the worst really talented golfer at playing from anywhere near the lead of all-time. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.
8) The two non-stories that people made stories because that’s what people do. Both were so blown out of proportion it was more embarrassing than the events themselves.
First, the Jordan Spieth/Michael Greller meltdown on the 8th hole Thursday. Spieth was wrong, period. He looked and sounded like an idiot, yes. But Spieth has maintained from day one that he considers himself and Greller a team. While that may sound stupid, he has always been the first to say “we” every time he wins as well. People made it out like the guy has become Bubba Watson whipping on Ted Scott.
The second was the Patrick Reed wedge snap on 18 Friday. Absolutely no big deal either. I don’t like Reed at all and would love to pile on, but the fact of the matter is that it was not a big deal at all. He got mad, didn’t cause a scene, didn’t throw a tantrum and got his frustration out quickly and calmly. Besides, he used excellent form and proper technique, even Bo Jackson would have approved. The real hero in that moment though was Reed’s caddie. Dude didn’t flinch, calmly and casually handed him another wedge and bent over to pick up the broken one from the ground as though it was all normal.
7) Dustin Johnson might actually be worse than Adam Scott when it comes to putting in Majors. Seriously. DJ and Adam Scott have each won one major, and it’s always been…DJ has gotten bad breaks and Adam Scott can’t putt. While DJ has definitely had his share of bad breaks he could also have four majors by now if the guy could putt. I have watched him give away more Majors than Adam Scott because of his putter and Friday was no different. After a terrible start Friday with back to back bogeys early DJ got right back in the tournament with nine holes left on Friday at two under par. He then hit six shots inside 13 feet on the back nine, including 5 in a row, and missed every one of them. He may not have won this week either way but his whole tournament was done after that stretch on Friday. I couldn’t ever figure out how a guy that talented had one Major, but the answer is so obvious now, he and Adam Scott are one in the same.
6) Xander Schauffele is really, really, really good at golf and is going to win at least one Major by the end of next year. While he’s not Brooks Koepka, the guy has finished T-6 or better in four of his last six Major starts. He will learn to finish sooner than later. He’s just too good not to. On the opposite side of that spectrum…
5) Phil Mickelson is never going to win a US Open. The guy has one top-25 there in his last eight starts and just finished T-52 on the one course he actually had a chance at this point in life. It’s time he and everyone else finally come to grips with that fact. It just ain’t gonna happen. Not next year at Winged Foot in some fairytale at 50-years-old… not ever.
4) Tiger Woods won the 2000 US Open at Pebble by a billion shots. We knew that guy was never walking through the door again; but when he won the Tour Championship and then the Masters it sure seemed like a slightly lesser version of vintage Tiger. Unfortunately that’s not the case. Tiger is still better than 99% of the guys on Tour and will win again, probably even another major or maybe two if we’re lucky, but any consistent dominance we were hoping for from him just isn’t going to happen. I say that not as a knock, I love the guy, just to say don’t take it for granted when he is in contention, they are going to be much less frequent than we had hoped for after April.
3) Every other US Open should be played in prime-time on the West Coast. Stick that directly into my veins. Except for having to write this way too late at night I love everything about US Opens on the West Coast. I would say they should play it there every year but you can’t leave Oakmont, Winged Foot, etc on the East Coast out of the rotation. Pebble Beach is absolutely majestic in person and on TV. I know people are having a conniption over the winning score and the number of people that finished under par but fact is that the wind didn’t blow and these guys are just really good. Yes the USGA over watered early in the week and made the course softer but with any wind at all this week no one gets close to shooting 284 (even par) for the week.
2) Brooks Koepka is ridiculous. In the last four Majors played he has lost to exactly two people, Tiger Woods at Augusta and Gary Woodland at Pebble. That’s it. I don’t know how long he will continue to play like Smylie Kaufman in regular Tour events and Tiger Woods 2000 in Majors but it sure doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon. I do feel sorry for the guy though. When history looks back at this stretch of golf by Koepka no one will remember how well he played or how many Majors he won, they will simply remember how absolutely horrible the hats were that he wore. I know Nike is trying to pimp their gear and he is under contract but you can’t tell me the dude doesn’t have veto power in some form. And if he actually used it and those are the best ones he had to choose from then Nike really needs to quickly exit the golf gear game. The mock turtle necks are bad enough but these hats are next level bad and unfortunately based on how well he has played will be in golf highlights for generations to come. I mean think about having your grandkids watch those highlights with you 40 years from now…talk about embarrassing!
1) Gary Woodland is the man. I celebrate his entire collection. I thought the shot he hit on 14 showed the size of cojones until the chip shot he hit on 17. While the three-wood on 14 was an amazing shot and looked a lot cooler, that chip shot on 17, under that pressure, with that tight of a lie…are you kidding me?!?!? That was the shot of the tournament. I know Tom Watson chipped in there to win his US Open but I would argue that Woodland’s chip was harder and more impressive. Oh yeah, and then he just decided to drop a bomb on 18 for good measure. This is one of those, “the final score doesn’t indicate how close it really was” kind of days.
If you don’t like Gary Woodland then I don’t like you. The guy is classy, humble, genuine, has massive cojones and won the US Open wearing American flag golf shoes while being chased down by Brooks Koepka at Pebble Beach.
Yeah, if you don’t like that guy or the way that played out then then I can’t help you.