Well, the U.S. Open proved once again why it is the lowest rated major (IMO) on the PGA Tour. Despite a result that was decided in the last few holes of the tournament and some stellar play by feel-good champion Michael Campbell, the overall excitement of the tournament just isn’t as high as it is for the other three majors.
The USGA’s constant obsession with keeping scores over par means we see more players aiming for the middle of greens and hoping to two putt. Birdies are rare and eagles are unheard of. Firing at pins is impossible and there is really no way to make a charge. All you can do is make pars and hope the other guys around you falter. The players for the most part agreed that the U.S Open set up was fair, but Pinehurst No. 2 is one of the greatest golf courses in the world and should be used as much more of a showcase for the game. The USGA could take a lesson from the R&A; set the course up tough and then let the players and the weather dictate scoring. So what if the winner is 15 under par, does that really take away from the championship? Is there anybody who thinks pars are more exciting to watch than birdies? I mean really, if I wanted to see somebody make bogies and double bogies I’d go play myself. Done.
Okay, next rant. Besides the money thing, how in the world does NBC get coverage for the U.S. Open? Their coverage was awful! Dan Hicks lack of golf knowledge and Bob Costas’ painful time fillers made me long for a quick Feherty one-liner or a well-aimed barb from Gary McCord. Even Johnny Miller’s self serving commentary was a welcome relief from listening to Dottie Pepper try to figure out which hole she was on! Aside from the commentary, does anyone know how Retief Goosen did from holes 9 to 16? Apparently he went from being in contention at five over and all of a sudden he was at eight over and NBC maybe showed him once! Sure he wasn’t playing well but they could have showed a few of his shots instead of a less than insightful interview with Annika Sorenstam. No disrespect to Annika, I will be watching closely and hoping that she can win her third major this week, but did she give us anything to think about that we didn’t already know?! Part two, over.
Next, Tiger Woods. He played well. He probably hit the driver the best I’ve seen him hit it all year. But this is definitely not the same Tiger Woods as three years ago as proven down the stretch drive. There is no way that Tiger of 2001 would have made bogeys at 16 and 17 under those same circumstances. Kind of scary for the rest of the field, if Tiger ever gets his game back to where it was we may see a calender year Grand Slam yet. Biggest problems for Tiger; the putter and the head.
Okay finally Michael Campbell. What a good story to see this guy win. There’s nobody I know of who was cheering against this guy. It’s been a long ride for Campbell who was once ranked as high as 14th in the world and has won many European Tour events. He’s got a great swing, a great attitude, and had a hell of a weekend. Sweet outfit too, I like the Maori shirts. Read more about Campbell at www.cambogolf.com.