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Monday, 22 June 2015

An Open to Remember, or Forget

If nothing else, the U.S. Open was something completely different this year. Chambers Bay looked lovely on the flyovers, but I'm not so sure it won many fans among the players or the viewers.

I tend to be of the opinion that, regardless of the conditions, the course is the same for everyone, and the best players will always find a way to shoot the lowest score. That proved true again this week. Young Mr. Spieth is the best player in the game right now, regardless of what the world rankings might say. 

Rory, despite his confidence at the beginning of the week, could never putt well enough to be a factor. His length off the tee, and his ability to hit high, spinning irons, might have given him an edge over most of the field, but, at the end of the day, the guy that makes the putts is the guy who usually wins. In this case, perhaps it was the guy who missed the fewest putts that won, but it still came down to the flatstick, as it does in most championships.

Either the  camera work by Fox, -- even if I did appreciate the frequent use of shot tracker -- or simply the course layout made it a struggle for me to follow the ball from my armchair. Apparently, it was not so easy for the patrons either. 

The greens were, quite simply, a disgrace. We saw the best players in the world struggle to convert three and four footers, not because of the pressure of the moment, but because of the green surfaces. And, at the end of the day, some would argue that the tournament was won as a result of a three putt from twelve feet by DJ, rather than a brilliant second shot by Jordan Spieth on 18; not the way anyone wants to see it end.

We have a worthy champion in Jordan Spieth. In this respect, the week has to be termed a success. But, I, like many others, was left pretty much speechless at the conclusion of the championship. I didn't know whether to be happy or sad. I didn't particularly enjoy the coverage, or the course. It was bastardized links golf, that, had the wind blown, would have been made virtually impossible by the use of elephants buried in greens that were too fast, and bumpy as hell. The course was beautiful to look at, but it certainly wasn't links golf. 

I'm sure the USGA had high hopes for Chambers Bay, and they may have actually saved the day by making the finishing holes on Sunday opportunities for birdies, rather than carnage, giving some players, including Rory, the chance to make a run and giving us some excitement. But, this was not the USGA's finest moment. It was an Open to remember, or forget, depending on your point of view.