Give Lucas Glover his due and Phil Mickelson a pass; U.S. Open was most entertaining
Driving into El Paso, Texas, Monday afternoon, I had a good chance to listen to mainstream media discuss the outcome of the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black.
Many of the comments I heard were laughable, including the one that Phil Mickelson choked this one away, that all he had to do was play the final four holes even par to get into the playoff.
Usually, when you hear this kind of stuff it comes from guys who can’t break 120. They don’t get it. Golf at the U.S. Open level is something they can’t begin to relate to. And they have no idea how hard the setup is for a U.S. Open because all golf courses are difficult for them.
Mickelson picked the wrong club on the par-3 17th. He thought 5-iron would be the stick; David Duval thought that, too. And they both missed short par putts down the stretch. (Hey, even Tiger Woods missed short putts this week.)
I heard one guy on Sirius Radio comment that Mickelson should have chosen 4-iron on 17. No kidding. That’s easy in hindsight, but Mickelson and Duval weren’t just trying to get it close; they didn’t want to go long either. And they probably had a little input from their caddies on that decision, too.
Unlike a regular Tour event, a miss by a foot or two at the U.S. Open usually translates into bogey or worse. Give these guys normal conditions, and they get it up and down most of the time. U.S. Open setups don’t fall under normal conditions.
I also heard some of these mainstream mouthpieces say it was one thing for Mickelson to lose to Tiger Woods as he did in 2002, but another to fall to Lucas Glover. Nothing like winning the U.S. Open and being belittled by a 36-handicapper who cites your one previous PGA Tour win as the reason you’re no good.
Newsflash: All these guys on the Tour can play. And all the guys who qualified for the Open – which is really, really tough to do ? well, they’re pretty good, too. And by the way, Glover is considered one of the best ball strikers and drivers in golf. He has played on a Presidents Cup team and is now ranked 18th in the world. Yeah, he’s got game.
As for Mickelson, I give him credit for clawing back into contention, especially considering all the distractions he and his family are dealing with right now.
And Duval, finishing in a tie for second was really remarkable, considering the world’s former No. 1 had dropped to 882nd in the world coming into this week.
All in all, despite the weather delays, it was a most entertaining U.S. Open ? even without Woods winning it.
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I do agree, however, that the Open was most entertaining. And anyone who didn't find it so just doesn't appreciate golf. There's a difference between golf fans and Woods groupies.
After years of being a pro you come up short on the 17th. NEVER should of happened. & those par puts as well.
Mick dazzles us with his brilliance & then lets us down with his closing instinct. That is why Tiger is #1 & then there is the rest of "the field". He finishes when he is in those situations.
You age fast when you cheer for Mick!!