As I watched an extraordinary number of TV coverage hours on the US Open this weekend, several thoughts and images remain with me……
- Like no other American golf course, The Olympic Club is synonymous with stunning comeback wins and famous runner-ups. Jack Fleck’s shocking victory over Ben Hogan in 1955, Billy Casper outlasting an over-aggressive Arnold Palmer in 1966, steady Scott Simpson overcoming Tom Watson in 1987, the overly-emotional Lee Janzen beating Payne Stewart in 1998, and this year’s champion 25-year old Webb Simpson (competing in only his 5th major championship tournament) coming from six shots behind to eliminate former US Open champions Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell.
- Rising high school senior, Beau Hossler, already committed to the Texas Longhorns, actually told Bob Costas after his Saturday round that he was changing his goals from being the low amateur to winning the tournament. Absolutely nothing seemed to faze this kid!
- As never before, Tiger Woods lost EVERYTHING over the weekend after holding a piece of the lead and seemingly hitting every fairway after 36 holes. He began Sunday going 6-over after the first six holes. Yet, he said there were a lot of “positives” to take away from his play. What the hell is he talking about?
- Bringing back former Olympic Club champions (Fleck-90 and Casper-80) was fantastic for TV and serious golf fans. Their book promotions (done by Bob Costas) were a little cheesy, but just hearing these guys uniquely reminisce about their historic wins was fun and intriguing. The USGA should continue this for future US Opens……and invite Lee Trevino and David Graham “in the tower” next year at Merion.
- After watching the piece on the 50th anniversary of Nicklaus’ win over Palmer at Oakmont (Jack’s first major), I had no idea how much mutual respect these two greats have for each other. A respect that keeps growing even now! On the other hand, it was also very interesting to see how much (polite) dislike Palmer has for Ben Hogan. As long as Palmer and Nicklaus are alive, we should continue to hear as much from them as possible…especially during major golf telecasts. They are more than legends of the game, the game is them!
- Without a doubt, Johnny Miller is the best golf commentator in the business. Especially with his distinctive and life-long connection to The Olympic Club, the always “Tell-It-Like-It-Is” Miller was at his very best this weekend! I wish NBC would let him do other sports. To the contrary, I just can’t stomach the pompous interpretations of The Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee, Frank Nobilo, and Notah Begay. Of all the personalities that could be selected to commentate on golf, these 3 guys are the last ones I would employ. Somebody please tell Chamblee to get a haircut, Begay needs to lose the ear rings and liven up a little, and Nobilo (minus his 5 o’clock shadow) is just plain dull!
- I appreciate Bob Costas and his vast sports knowledge and boundless energy, but why do I always get the feeling that he believes HE is more important and greater than the event itself….whatever sport he’s doing? In the case of the US Open specifically, we didn’t need both Costas AND Jimmy Roberts. I prefer Jimmy Roberts because he’s much more associated with golf than Costas. Also, memo to ESPN……please do NOT allow Chris Berman to ever be involved with a golf telecast again. What a joke!
- Finally, much to my personal disappointment, next year’s US Open host site (Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, PA) was NEVER highlighted, for that matter I don’t recall even so much as a brief mention. There is no other course in America that has hosted more USGA events (18), and like The Olympic Club, Merion will be hosting its 5th US Open in 2013. Arguably, as the site of Bobby Jones’ epic Grand Slam of 1930, Merion is also THE most historic of all America’s golf courses!
Congratulations to rising star Webb Simpson, but as always for US Opens the golf course was the real winner!
Filed under: Professional Golf
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