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The Day Everyone Forgot How To Play Golf

Yesterday’s U.S. Open finish was dramatic. I’ll say that for it. But brilliant shotmaking, it was not. And it doesn’t have anything to do with the course being too hard, or the USGA setting up unfair conditions… it’s about two guys who need to hire caddies who know the Heimlich manuever.

First, let’s congratulate Geoff Ogilvy… nothing should take away from his win, although that’s certainly going to happen. No one’s going to remember it as the Open that Ogilvy won, but they’ll remember it as the Open that Phil Mickelson Van-de-Velded away. But the fact is that Ogilvy played 72 holes in fewer strokes than anyone else, and he kept grinding when it looked like he didn’t have a chance, and it paid off. He deserves this win as much as any golfer has ever deserved a win.

That said… Phil Mickelson is a dumbass. At least, he was yesterday. What he did was no better than what Jean Van de Velde did when he choked away the British Open a few years ago. Van de Velde hit bleachers, a creek, and a bunker en route to a triple bogey on the last day of the British Open, eventually losing in a playoff.

Mickelson was equally dumb yesterday. To be honest with you, it was slightly hard to watch, but I wasn’t that upset about it. I’m not a big Mickelson fan and was a little annoyed at how the New York crowd sucked him off all day. Anyway, Phil hit driver off the tee, a club that had been failing him all day. He nearly drilled a hospitality tent. He didn’t just chip out, take his chances with par, or even a bogey to force a playoff… he had to go for the green, and he pegged a tree. His third shot plugged in a bunker, and he failed to get up and down. Double bogey, game over, tournament lost. For no real reason.

“I still am in shock that I did that. I just can’t believe that I did that,” Mickelson said. “I am such an idiot.”

Well, yeah. No argument from me. At least you know it. Live and learn.

And Mickelson wasn’t the only one. Colin Montgomerie finished in the exact same position, one back of Ogilvy after double-bogeying the 18th. Mickelson’s won recently, and he’ll be there again… Colin Montgomerie doesn’t have any such guarantees. I hated that guy for a long time… eventually, he became irrelevant… and then, after absorbing some pretty harsh abuse from American fans and media, and getting back to his previous form, he became sympathetic. It’s gotten to the point where he’s a friendly old guy, instead of an arrogant, grating prick. I felt bad for the guy. If it can be said that anyone out there deserves a major win, it’s him.

Paddy Harrington, too, screwed the pooch. He tripled-bogeyed 18 to finish two behind Ogilvy. Jim Furyk also bogeyed 18 to finish one back of Ogilvy. Bogeys, I can understand… 18′s a hard hole. But three different guys played that hole needed bogey only to at least force a playoff, and not one of them could come up with it. Maybe they’re all just really missing Earl Woods, I dunno.

Matthew J. Darnell

2 Comments

  1. I can’t have been the only one to think of “Tin Cup”, that chick flick masquerading as a sports movie. In it Kevin Costner plays a washed up golf pro who starts banging Rene Russo and makes it into the Open. With one hole to go he only has to “lay it up” to be assured of getting his ATP tour card for the next year, but he decides to try and make the ridiculous shot instead. And misses it 8 times in a row, finally making it after he has dropped like a stone through the standings. Somehow this makes him a hero.

    This movie should be removed from Mickelson’s collection, if only for his own sake.

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