June 16, 2013

England's Rose take U.S. Open: Justin Rose shot an even-par 70 Sunday, capping it with one of the loveliest pars he ever has made, to win the U.S. Open by two shots over Phil Mickelson and Jason Day. The 32-year-old became the first English player to win the U.S. Open in 43 years.

posted by tommytrump to golf at 10:00 PM - 17 comments

Buffalo Bills and the Super Bowl.
Alydar and the 1978 Triple Crown.
Phil Mickelson and the U.S. Open.

posted by grum@work at 11:08 PM on June 16, 2013

Jimmy White and the World Snooker Championships (6 finals, 0 wins).

Poor old Phil. Seems like it's just not meant to be. He's had some pretty good chances over the years. That one was up there but I don't agree with his own assessment that it was his best yet. I think Winged Foot is still the one that really got away.

The next one that ends on his birthday is Pebble Beach in 2019. The following year, he'll turn fifty two days before the championship starts at Winged Foot. Of the next seven venues for the US Open, Phil has been second at three of them (Pinehurst, Shinnecock, Winged Foot).

It was nice to see Rose close it out so well. He kept his head while those around him were losing theirs. A sign of the times at the last when he drove to the very spot from which Hogan hit "that shot" with a 1-iron in 1950; Rose hit a 4-iron. Hogan's 1-iron had 17 degrees of loft on it. I don't know the specs of what's in Rose's bag, but standard for a 4-iron these days is 23 degrees and I'd guess his probably isn't any stronger than 21 degrees.

posted by JJ at 10:08 AM on June 17, 2013

For what it's worth, JJ, Hogan had nearly the same shot in the playoff round and hit a 4-iron. Per the story, he hit a 1-iron the day before due to exhaustion. And that club was stolen, along with his shoes, before the playoff round began.

posted by 86 at 10:19 AM on June 17, 2013

Me at life (47 years, 0 wins).

posted by NoMich at 10:43 AM on June 17, 2013

It's worth a lot, 86 - thanks for the link, I love stuff like that! I played at Muirfield last weekend. That place is just wall to wall awesome...

posted by JJ at 11:07 AM on June 17, 2013

I spent a good bit of time out at Merion this week and was thrilled with how things played out. The players, fans, and everyone else involved were awesome. I'm particularly thankful that Mother Nature took her turn early in the week giving the superintendent and all-star crew a chance. They came through with flying colors, I have to say.

I was pulling for Rose and happy to see him win. In game and character, he's a worthy champion.

Something else worth mentioning because pro athletes deserve credit when they earn it --- Most of the players were incredibly nice, but Els, Bubba, and Boo Weekley earn special notice for signing autographs for every kid in the crosswalk I was near on Tuesday. And extra-special notice for Darren Clarke who not only signed for every kid, but interacted with all of them in a very personable way, as well.

The only thing that sucks is now I have to wait a month for the Open Championship. Muirfield's list of winners ranks with any and it'll be interesting to see who adds their name to that bunch. Varden, Hagen, Player, Nicklaus, Trevino, Watson, Faldo (x2), Els and ___?

posted by 86 at 11:59 AM on June 17, 2013

How are the changes at Muirfield, JJ? I'm particularly curious about number nine, and any seemingly subtle ones I would gloss over from an ocean away.

posted by 86 at 12:00 PM on June 17, 2013

The Rose of England?

posted by billsaysthis at 12:27 PM on June 17, 2013

I was going with either Princess Di or Nick Lowe.

/First time that sentence has ever been written.

posted by owlhouse at 12:25 AM on June 18, 2013

Not Posh Spice, Owlie?

posted by billsaysthis at 11:55 AM on June 18, 2013

Mention Lowe and Di to us frontier Yanks and you get this.

posted by beaverboard at 12:05 PM on June 18, 2013

The changes at Muirfield are interesting. Key things I noticed:

Several holes - the 1st, 6th and 15th - have been made into more acute doglegs. Maybe it's just the way things sit to my eye, but this actually makes the holes easier in my view. The first, from the old tee, for example, I have always found difficult because it's not quite a dogleg. The correct shot from the tee is probably a 3 or 4 iron down to the very slight bend to the right, but it's very hard not to really want to haul off with a driver and let it drift right into that bend. From the new tee, it's an obvious choice - you either hit an iron up to the corner, or you take on a definite shaped cut round the corner. I'm not sure I'm explaining that well, but somehow making the driver tee shot more difficult seems to me to make the choice easier, and in doing so removes the subtle trick those tee shots used to be able to play on dummies like me!

The new tee at the ninth is actually similar although there's no change in angle, but by taking it back 50 yards, it somehow makes it less interesting, because you'd have to really muller it to get it all the way up into the nasty trouble. From the old tee, you're faced with a choice of hitting a long iron short of the trouble and leaving yourself a long second shot, or trying to hit driver over the trouble and through a narrow gap to leave yourself a much shorter shot possibly setting up and eagle. It's a slightly unsubtle solution.

The strangest one I found was at 18. From the old tee, I hit 3-iron to stay short of the bunkers on the left, but managed to get into the first one (at about 260). That's links golf for you. But we went back to the new tee and I hit 3-iron again, and to my amazement, hit it into the same bunker (at +300). When you get up to the fairway you discover a very subtle downward slope from the beginning of the fairway for about 40 yards. Had I hit my iron shots further, I'd have landed on a flatter bit of ground and stayed short of the bunkers; as it was, I was catching that downslope and launching forward into them.

My favourite change is one I wouldn't have really noticed unless I'd asked the question. I thought I was just driving badly so was mostly joking on the tenth tee when I said to my playing partner: "Did this hole get narrower?" He informed me that it had. They've moved the three righthand bunkers 15 yards left to make room for a new chipping practice area for the Open. Naturally, I then smashed one straight right into that practice area. It's very nice, but makes the 10th quite long!

posted by JJ at 05:29 AM on June 19, 2013

What I would also add is that if we don't get any "weather" - which of course is unlikely - someone might shoot a silly score. There were some R&A members from the championship committee playing in the match I was playing in and their response to that possibility was basically "so what?", which I found quite pleasing when set against the USGA's continued obsession with defending par.

posted by JJ at 09:14 AM on June 19, 2013

which I found quite pleasing when set against the USGA's continued obsession with defending par.

Seconded wholeheartedly.

posted by tahoemoj at 12:47 PM on June 19, 2013

Muirfield is the home of ignoring the abstract concept "par". The scorecards, until relatively recently, didn't feature pars for any of the holes - the famous story of the visiting golfer asking the starter why there were no pars listed on the scorecard being told to "hit as few shots as you can and you'll be fine" is almost certainly apocraphyl, but the essence of that thinking certainly lives there.

The other thing I meant to mention that maybe doesn't get enough coverage on the TV during the open at Muirfield is the fact that unlike many traditional links courses, it's not an "out and back", but two loops of nine holes, the first going clockwise, the second anticlockwise. The result is that it's very rare to face two consecutive tee shots with the same wind direction to contend with, and it also means that there is seldom a "safe" big miss that will end up on the fairway of another hole (unlike at St Andrews for example where you can miss big left nearly all day).

And the turf! It's very special. The course sits quite far above sea level - some would argue it's not really a proper links course at all - and the turf is more peaty, producing darker soil from the divots than I'm used to seeing. Somehow, this makes it delicious to hit from. It makes it really easy to shape the ball, and wedges are definitely easier to strike crisply.

posted by JJ at 05:14 AM on June 20, 2013

Thanks for all the insight, JJ. It will without a doubt improve my watching experience.

posted by tahoemoj at 11:58 AM on June 20, 2013

I have a REALLY good story from that weekend that I'm reluctant to put "in the public domain", and it comes with a photograph I will treasure forever, if anyone wants to email me I can share it on condition that you can keep it to yourself! johnrollomcclure@gmail.com

posted by JJ at 05:28 PM on June 21, 2013

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