Name: U.S. Open
Dates: June 18th – June 21st
Golf Course: Chambers Bay GC
Location: University Place, Washington
2014 Winner: Martin Kaymer
Where do we even start? I don’t know. Such a great ending to a U.S. Open that definitely had it’s flaws (most notably the conditions of the course and Fox’s coverage but we’ll get to those later). As bad as parts of it were, the ending silenced almost all of the critics and just made them watch amazing golf theater. That’s what it was. Theater.
Let’s start with Dustin Johnson. Poor ol’ DJ. There are few moments in sports that make you go, “That was hard to watch” but holy shit that was hard to watch. Especially given DJ’s previous history of choking majors away like at Whistling Straits in 2010. This time around he was near the top of the leaderboard all weekend. It just kinda felt like his tournament for most of the way. He was in the Sunday final group and all he had to do was play pretty well. His work was cut out for him. His front 9 was good. He shot a bogey-free 33. All good there. And then the back 9 started where he bogeyed 10, 11 and 13 and everybody was already saying “Here we go again.” But he was still in a good spot. He was in the final group at -3, Spieth was playing well at -4 (after double bogeying 17) but DJ was still very much within striking distance.
Then Spieth did Spieth things on 18. His second shot with his 3 wood is one of the best shots you’ll ever see in a moment like that. Just absolutely owned up to the moment, let it rip and gave himself a decent chance at eagle and almost a guaranteed birdie to put himself at -5 and the leader in the clubhouse. No joke, I forgot to breathe when Spieth was lining up his eagle putt on 18. You could just feel how big the moment was. If he makes that putt then it’s all but over. It was such a big moment. Instead, Spieth missed the eagle putt and tapped in for birdie to be at -5. Which meant Dustin had to either eagle 18 for the win, birdie for the tie or par for the loss. He confidently crushed his drive which kind of felt like he was exercising some demons. His second shot with a 5-iron was even better that set him up for a good chance at eagle and his first major championship. At this point, we’re all thinking it’s going to a playoff Monday, right? I thought he had a decent chance to hole the eagle but the birdie seems all but wrapped up.
Then this happened
BRUTAL. So brutal. Made even worse by the fact that Fox kept showing the Gretzky family like DJ was gonna win (or at least tie). Nope. He three-putts for a par and Jordan Spieth is your U.S. Open champion. Just like that. There are a lot of ways to lose a golf tournament but that was easily one of the worst. That birdie putt to send it to a Monday playoff was such a knee knocker. I miss those putts all the time. It’s right at that distance where it’s not a terribly long putt but it sure as shit isn’t a gimme. I feel bad for Dustin Johnson. I really do. I know he’s rich and gets to have sex with Paulina Gretzky but that was rough. After it happened it seemed like he was in shock. Like he didn’t understand the gravity of what happened. And we missed out on a Monday 18-hole playoff between Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth which would’ve been awesome.
And then there’s our winner, Jordan Spieth. What else can we even say? The dude is cash money.
Take a look at this
Yesterday’s win was ugly because it somewhat feels more like DJ let it slip through his fingers than Spieth won it outright. You could tell in the post-round interviews that even Spieth was shocked to see DJ three-putt. But who gives a shit? A major championship is a major championship. You can’t win them all by breaking every record in the book like Spieth did at Augusta. Sometimes you gotta win ugly. We’re in historic territory now with Spieth. He’s won the first two majors of the year so a grand slam is on the table. The British Open is next (or The Open Championship or whatever the fuck. Not sure when it switched. I call it the British Open). Spieth had a great line when Joe Buck asked him about the grand slam. Saying you can’t win ‘em all if you don’t win the first two. Money line. The kid just gets it.
PS- How about Louis Oosthuizen coming out of nowhere to finish tied for second place with Dustin? Oosthuizen was +9 after 20 holes of the tournament and ended up at -4. Incredible comeback stuff from the South African.
Shot of the Week:
Ridiculous. Completely and utterly insane. I tweeted that I was speechless at the time and it was true. Not only is it simply a great shot but the greatness of it is compounded by the situation. Spieth had just double-boegeyed 17 to bring himself back down to the pack at -4. Not exactly the time most guys would feel the most confident about themselves. Spieth? Seemingly the totally opposite. Dude gets humbled by a hole and seems to have more confidence the next time around. When that ball funneled around to the hole, it seemed at the very least that he was gonna birdie and force a playoff in case somebody also got to -5 (enter Dustin Johnson and truck loads of heartbreak).
This would’ve won and I was almost positive it was gonna be the SOTW. This is the putt that gave him a 2 shot lead with two holes to go. It was supposed to be the one that slammed the door on all the other guys stuck at -4. It didn’t turn out that way but it was still awesome. Such a cocky walk off when he knew it was going in.
Fan of the Week:
Easiest one ever. If you chirp Ian Poulter at a golf tournament and the TV cameras are able to pick it up, you’re gonna be FOTW. That is my promise to you. Especially when the chirp is, “Nice putt, Sally!” That’s just good ol’ fashioned fun. Because fuck Ian Poulter and fuck everything about him. He’s the worst.
This was up there too. Not technically a fan but a marshall trying to tell a train to be quiet was great.
Fox covering the U.S. Open for the first time was a goddamn disaster
The only thing more brutal than Dustin Johnson’s three-putt on the 72nd hole might’ve been Fox’s coverage of the tournament. It was god awful. From horrible camera angles to not being able to find balls after they were hit to Joe Buck to Curt Menefee to having a split creen of a camera following veritgo-stricken Jason Day it was just awful. I went in with an open mind. I’m not a huge Joe Buck fan but I wanted to give it a chance. He called Cole Hammer “Cole Hamels” 10 minutes into the broadcast and then called Spieth “Justin” a little bit later. They also didn’t show enough of the tournament in general. There were guys in the top 10 who we pretty much never saw. They made it feel small. Adam Scott shot a 64 on Sunday and it’s like Fox didn’t even know it was happening. I love Tiger but they don’t need to show a ton of him when he’s out here shooting 80s. The whole thing was a debacle.
This summed up everything wrong with Fox covering the U.S. Open
And scene. At least they only have the rights for another 11 years. Holly Sonders is hot though.
Ian Poulter rips the conditions at Chambers Bay in a long Instagram rant
We touched on it a little in the recap but one of the themes of this U.S. Open was the conditions of the course. Players ripped the course all week leading up to the event and during the event. Billy Horschel made fun of it during his round on Sunday and then ripped the USGA for having the tournament at Chambers Bay. Even eventual winner Jordan Spieth ripped the 18th hole by calling it the dumbest hole he’s ever seen. But then, of course, as a surprise to no one who follows golf even a little bit, Ian Poulter wanted to be the flag bearer for the excuse train because that’s what he does best. Did the course have some problems? Of course. It was literally on fire at one point. And look at this Brandt Snedeker putt from Sunday
That’s awful and unacceptable for a major championship. You can’t have putts hitting ramps in the middle of greens. You just can’t. But if you didn’t think Poulter was gonna use this as an opportunity to make a laundry list of excuses then you’re high. The guy finished 11 over. He played like shit. Sure I’m sure parts of the course hurt his score but they hurt everybody’ score. I agree the course was in shitty shape but I hate that Poulter just wanted to bitch and moan because that’s all he does.
Jason Day gets vertigo and it becomes the main story of the weekend
This was the story Fox latched onto. Fox even had us watch him walk around in case he passed out again. Like the Fox producers were like, “I don’t care what you do as long as you follow Day until he passes out. I wanna see that mother fucker hit the ground. You hear me? If he falls and breaks his neck, even better.” To be totally honest, I don’t really know what vertigo is or how serious it is. So I don’t know if I can make fun of it. It makes you feel dizzy and you can’t walk? Whatever it is, Fox made it seem like Day was out there with two torn ACLs and a broken neck. Hope he’s alright but it probably shouldn’t have dominated the weekend like it did. Not that that’s Jason Day’s choice.
Seeing that this was Fox’s first U.S. Open, lets dedicate our picture gallery to Holly Sonders