Least surprising major champion this year
That may be a strange way to say it, but if you ask me Lucas Glover’s win was less surprising than Angel Cabrera’s at the Masters. Coming into the week Glover was getting no attention, but the fact is he is a now to 20 in the world according to my ranking, higher than two-time major champ Cabrera.
Glover showed that even when soggy Bethpage is a course for ball strikers. His sweet swing was 4th in GIR and hitting over 70% of the fairways allowed him to do that.
What is more impressive, is that even with the three stroke Friday wave advantage Glover still topped the Thursday wave’s best Tiger Woods. Glover now sits at over four tenths of a standard deviation better than the tour average, which is pretty elite company. That is over 1 stroke per round better than the tour average and sits him right below the elite names.
Glover seems like a nice guy and at his age there is definitely still room for improvement. Expect Glover to be a mainstay in spots 5-10 of the United States international team lists.
Raining on Amy’s parade
Excuse me while I don’t root for Phil. It seems I was the only one in New York with the possible exception of Johnny Miller(Duval) not rooting for Phil.
The problem with Phil is that people expect him to be Tiger. They look at Tiger and say if only Phil could cut out the mistakes he would win by 5. The problem is Phil is not Tiger and the mistakes are part of his game.
Dan Hicks brought up a great point when he said that Phil had four penalty shots on a course with no water. Phil had some absolute shanks and got really lucky on a few lies, not to mention the fortunate tee times. Phil played well, but it was top-ten well, not second well.
Phil now holds the record for most second place finishes in a US Open. There is nothing that sums up his career better. In the history of Golf, Phil is probably one of the ten best players but he has always been overshadowed by the greatest to ever play the game.
Also please excuse me while I don’t fall all over myself praising Mike Davis. First, whoever made the decision to send out the Thursday wave with the impending deluge that everyone knew was coming should be fired. If the wind comes up in the afternoon that is luck of the draw. If players are sent out with the knowledge that the round will not be completed and the course will play significantly easier the next day, that is unfair.
Second, how about at least trying to make it difficult in some manner for the first two rounds. Yeah, so the fairways are soft, the greens are soft AND slow, why not let the rough up to at least scare the players a bit. It turned into a pinseekingfest on Friday, which is not US Open golf.
Third, the tees and pins over the weekend were a joke. 8 and 14 were not the holes how they were designed. If you want a course that has more variety pick a different course, don’t play from the red tees. Glover hit 6-iron, 9-iron to the final hole. That is not what the course designer had in mind
Next year, how about we get more rough(the graduated stages is a good idea, but the first cut is too wide) fast greens(uncontrollable this year) and let the best players play a US Open.
What do you do with Duval and Ricky Barnes? On one hand, Duval was once the worlds best and keeps yelling from the mountain tops that his game is back. On the other, minus this US Open he has no other good finishes. Tough to make sense of that. He will also be tough for anyone to gauge going forward. Its easy to say he is overrated because of the popularity of his run, but with his history a return to the game’s top 100 doesn’t seem impossible. If that is the case, you don’t want to be against him because the lines won’t be priced that way. Duval jumped up to 338 in my rankings.
Ricky Barnes is even stranger situation. If you wanted to stretch yourself, you could make a case that he always has had potential. Unfortunately he hasn’t ever done anything with it on the PGA Tour. At 28 he could improve, but with his performance in the Open he just moved inside the top-200 of my rankings still slightly below the tour average. What’s worse is he doesn’t stand out as a great ballstriker, is an awful putter and has a terrible swing. I’m going to say we won’t be seeing a whole lot of Barnes.
This win does get both of these players into at least the next 4 majors, plus some possible sponsors exemptions on the regular tour(for Duval) so they will have a chance to prove themselves.
Someone we will see a lot of is Michael Sim. With a nice finish that is somewhat hidden by a unfortunate run of the draw Sim moves into the top-50 in my world rankings. He has proven himself on the Euro and NW Tour so far this season and all that is left is the PGA Tour. You haven’t really heard the pub for Sim that you have for Jason Day, but Sim has better results worldwide.
Best European Major ever?
The slow soft course played right into the hands of guys that are used to conditions on the European Tour schedule. That being said, it was still a strong showing from the European contingent. Fisher, Stenson, Garcia, Hansen, McIlroy, McDowell, and the other Hanson were all in contention in this tournament. Most of that list didn’t get any attention, because they weren’t Phil Mickleson’s wife, but they did have a nice showing. Fisher in particular is about to become overrated, but he has a solid game.
To Anthony Kim and Sergio Garcia. Both were fortunate in terms of tee times but it was the best showing by either in a long time. Garcia continues to struggle with the putter and his manhood but actually played pretty well. I think his best bet is to sharpen up the iron game and forget about his putting woes. Kim actually was awful on the first day considering his tee time, but slowly climbed up the leaderboard and has nothing to be ashamed of with a +1 final round.
Tiger Woods is smart enough to separate the means from the ends, which is why I don’t think he will lose too much sleep over losing this Open. Sure, I think he was second best of anyone on the course this week, but he did that getting NO breaks at all(By breaks, I mean good tee times, making a few long putts, etc.) Tiger knows how well he played and the luck will even out in the end. I assume Tiger is excited about getting Congressional firm and fast with greens rolling about 17 for his own tournament, then laughing at the field as he wins by 11.
What is amazing about Golf is that Tiger played pretty well last year, for having a broken leg, but got all the breaks(chip-ins, long putts, other people failing) and won by the smallest of margins. This year he plays better against the field, but loses by three shots. Such is Golf.
Looking ahead and Random thoughts:
-The Difference between Tiger’s gallery and Phil’s gallery is about 30 IQ points. I’ll let you guess who has the edge.
-I still don’t think Tiger is extremely overrated if at all. At least not in the way Phil is.
-I know with 99% certainty who I am picking for the British Open although I am not at all certain he will even be there. If you want an early tip, Hunter Mahan or Anthony Kim are probably good looks.