Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Why Lucas Glover won the U.S. Open

A few final thoughts on the U.S. Open now that it’s finally over.

All the “shout outs” need to go to Glover’s bagman, Don Cooper, for not letting his man pull a Jean van de Velde on the final hole with a major championship in the bag. Yes, we know that the majority of scribes and fans don’t like the fact that Glover could hit 6-iron and 9-iron and secure the championship, but that’s the way the hole was strategically set for that day. It played as a 354-yard par four. When was the last time you witnessed a hole that short on the PGA Tour? Like, never! How many of the wannabe champions – Glover, Woods, Mickelson, Duval, Barnes – made birdie? None, that’s how many. It was a great concept by the USGA. Glover could have hit driver, but he may have hit it anywhere, made double-bogey and sent the championship to a four-way playoff. Nope, Cooper and Glover plotted the perfect strategy.

During the play of the final four holes we got to thinking about the time-worn cliché usually reserved for the Masters: The tournament doesn’t start until the last nine on Sunday (or in this case Monday). This is also completely accurate for the U.S. Open except for 180 degrees in the opposite direction. With the Masters we expect birdies and eagles galore as player after player makes a run at the title. (That just started to return a little this year.) With the U.S. Open it’s totally the opposite. The winner is usually the player who can make pars over the final few holes. Case in point – Glover. Mickelson bogeyed 15 and 17 and Duval bogeyed 17. Glover played the last three in one under. That’s why he’s the U.S. Open champion.

For some good insight into Glover, read his post round interview here.

If you happened to tape, TIVO or DVR the final round, take a look at Glover’s putting routine. It never changed. Good instruction here.

Kudos to NBC for their coverage of the stopping and starting and the coming and going of the five day event. It seemed like they were on the air continually from Saturday morning until it ended on Monday. (You can bet they were hoping for no playoff.) If you wanted to watch the U.S. Open, NBC was there for you. It was great couch potato Father’s Day stuff. Try this piece by Brad Klein of GolfWeek for a little insight into what went on behind the scenes.

Wonder what the weather will be next year at Pebble Beach?

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