The Course Won

June 23, 2010 | Tom Federline

The U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, California. The winning score – PB Golf Links (-1), the best golfers in the world (0) – even Par. After a four day, 72-hole tournament, the top golf professionals could not conquer Pebble. For once, we (the average bogey golfers), were able to witness the “professionals”, get hacked down to size. That…. was enjoyable! Some of the “professionals”, handled it well, i.e the winner Graeme McDowell (who?), 2nd place – Gregory Havret (who?), Phil Mikelson, Tom Kite, even the guy who choked in the last round, Dustin Johnson (who?). And some of the “professionals” did not, i.e. Tiger “where’s my blonde with a four iron” Whiner Woods, Ernie “I’m not talking to the press, I have to go to my room and sulk” Els, Ian “how in the *#%* are you supposed to play this *#%* course” Poulter, alnog withmany more. Guess what? The cream rose to the top this past weekend and I was lucky enough to catch some of it.

Contrary to most of the of the U.S. Open reviews/criticism over the weekend and last two days, I thoroughly enjoyed watching golf as it was meant to be played. I enjoyed the “risk and reward/failure”. I enjoyed the “Cliffs of Doom”. I enjoyed the “Table Top” 14th green and watching balls roll back down the hill. I enjoyed seeing guys taking eights and tens. I enjoyed the eagles on the Par 5’s and the 295 yard Par 4. I enjoyed the 100 yard Par 3 – elevated tee and ocean winds – 7th. I enjoyed watching one cat actually play his ball from “the Beach”. It was a distant reflection of you and I playing golf (at say the Mount, Pine Ridge or Eagles Landing). Not at the $495 per round, Pebble Beach Golf Links, on the Monterey Bay – Pacific Ocean, outside of San Francisco. And of course it does not reflect what our actual scores would be under those conditions. But from a situational standpoint you and I have been there.

How about the landscape and scenery? Beautiful, classic shots. From a video coverage standpoint, ESPN and NBC were all over it. Was the ocean/bay on every hole? I know it wasn’t, but it sure felt like it was. The Cliffs, the waves, the “actual” beach, the wind, the sun, the fog, the clouds……… man, just golf. The Course – “Just try andshoot under Par – ain’t happenin’ – not this Fathers Day Weekend.” From a commentary standpoint, the same mute button for Gary “Thorne in our side” and”Cakes” Palmer was utilized. Thought ESPN on Thur.-Fri., was better than NBC over the weekend.

Which brings up another positive. Golf coverage at night! On Saturday and Sunday there was actually something worth watching between 6 and 10 in the evening. Major part of the day over, chores and general weekend tasks completed, children blowing you away with thoughtful Dads Day gifts………then golf! You kiddin’ me? To the numbnuts that gave a poor rating to the tournament or the complainers saying, “oh the course is to hard, to soft, to wet, to dry, the greens are bumpy, the scores aren’t low enough.” I say – take your putter and ram it where it belongs.

The Who’s Who, of the guys finishing 1 and 2 for the tournament was also  a nice story. The “Underdogs”, surfaced and conquered. I am a fan of the “underdog” or the “not fixed” scam. Graeme McDowell (winner) bringing his dad over from Ireland for the tournament. Then actually winning the darn thing and having that celebration on the 18th green – classic. Even I started singing, “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” – (many artists, but let’s go with Bing Crosby, he was a golfer). Gregory Havret (2nd place) from France, previously ranked #391 and had to “qualify” to even get in the tournament. Goes out and  puts himself in position to win until the 71st hole. All the while, beating the Whiner Tiger,  head to head on Sunday. Enjoyed every minute.

Next year, the U.S. Open will be at Congressional in Bethesda. Glad it’s in our area, but this past weekendis going to be one tough act to follow. Pebble Beach won this past weekend. The course should every once in awhile. Kudos to the Head Groundskeeper, his team and the USGA for turning it up a notch and delivering a true test of the game. It was the U.S. Open, one of the four majors. It should be tough. It should be picturesque. It should make the cream rise to the top. Congrats Graeme McDowell, hope you had a Guiness with your dad on Sunday.