June 28, 2013

A US Open for the ages

Willie King PGA Professional

---- — The 2013 U.S. Open, held June 13 to 16, was just a spectacular championship in so many ways. First of all, this era’s second-greatest player was in the hunt the entire way. Secondly, the USGA did a phenomenal job of setting up the golf course to make it a complete examination. Thirdly, the drama on the final round was so entertaining with so many golfers with a chance to win the trophy.

Luke Donald, one of the straightest drivers of the golf ball out of Northwestern University, faltered early and wasn’t a factor. Steve Stricker, who played for the University of Illinois, had a horrendous start and had to fight to finish in the top 10.

Then the young Aussie, Jason Day, played nicely all day long only to bogey the 72nd hole and finish tied for second, two strokes back.

Hunter Mahan also played solid golf most of the day but found trouble on the back nine and finally finished four shots back at 5-over for the championship.

The big story for most of the week was Phil Mickelson. Mickelson was right there the entire fourth round, making his way around the fabled Merion Golf Club. Mickelson, who has the greatest short game of all time, faced an awkward pitch shot on the 15th and failed to get it up and down for par.

Later came the overly long par-4 (511 yards) 18th, where Mickelson left himself a 50- yard pitch shot to tie Justin Rose. The pitch shot came close to hitting the flag stick, but

Mickelson ended up as a runner-up for a record sixth time.

The eventual champion, Rose, was a very worthy winner as he displayed such skill and poise coming down the home stretch. He is noted for his great iron play, and it certainly showed on Sunday at the U.S. Open.

Hats off to Rose by all means, but what wonderful sportsmanship displayed by Mickelson in defeat.

All things considered, the golfing public got to see one of the greatest championships of the modern era. I would put this U.S. Open right up there with Tiger Woods’ great win at Torrey Pines in 2008 over the lovable Rocco Mediate.

Tip of the week: If you are struggling with your 4-, 5-, and 6-irons please consider hitting the many different hybrids that have been offered in recent years.

Rule of the week: With all the rain in recent weeks, remember the plugged ball rule.

You get free relief from a plugged lie through the green (but no relief in a hazard).

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