A few thoughts from the U.S. Open:
–Lots of people praised Merion for the way the course held up to the pros. Not nearly as many people, praised Merion for its logistics. The course might be able to host the players in an Open, but the overall demands of an Open (hospitality, parking, media and television facilities, crowd access) might overwhelm the course.
–The golf in Philadelphia was great. The crowd, well, maybe not so much. Lots of emails and tweets sent to me over the weekend about the “you the man” and “in the hole” and “babalooie” cries as players teed off. I personally blame too much beer and the folks down in Phoenix who has begs crowds to act rowdy.
–Six runner-up finishes in a single major is a staggering number. No, its not staggering like winning 18 majors or even 14 majors. But It is certainly one of two or three statistics that Phil Mickelson will be remembered for.
–Steve Stricker shanked a shot on the second hole. Shank is four-0lettetr word in golf. Yet there it was for all the world to see. Shank. Wow.
–Justin Rose deserved to win the U.S. Open. He played a brilliant round of even-par 70 on a golf course that was not set up to produce an even-par round.
–When Phil Mickelson and Luke Donald both complain loudly that the set up on the third hole, a par-4, was lousy, maybe the USGA needs to reconsider that kind of setup in the future. Donald, never the longest of hitters, had to hit driver and pulled the shot into a crowd and hit a standard bearer on the elbow. Mickelson lashed out at a USGA official over the idea that the par-3 was a 274-yar hole (to the pin).
–Admit it, when Mickelson holed that shot on the 10th hole for an eagle, you thought he was going to win. And when he airmailed the 13th hole with a wedge, you knew he was going to lose.
–Next year the U.S. Open returned to Pinehurt No. 2, and because of those dome-shaped greens, you won’t see the same kind of rough, because a player in the rough would never be able to keep any shot on the green at Pinehurst. And the next week at Pinehurst No. 2? The U.S. Women’s Open.
–A tweet from Berry Henson, the desert golf who is making his living on the Asian Tour these days, says “to look at this Matsuyama kid.” That would be Hideki Matsuyama, the 21-year-old who tied for 10th in the Open. That performance allowed Matsuyama to crawl to 49th in the world rankings. In his last four events in Japan, he’s been first twice and second twice. So we will take Henson’s advice and keep an eye on Matsuyama.