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In the Club
Rick Reilly
June 26, 1995
A late surge by Corey Pavin won him the U.S. Open and admission to the fraternity of major-tournament winners
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June 26, 1995

In The Club

A late surge by Corey Pavin won him the U.S. Open and admission to the fraternity of major-tournament winners

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Well, of course Corey Pavin won. He cheated.

It's gotta be in the rule book. It's gotta say somewhere in there that the pro with the clothes from J.C. Penney's junior department but with the XXL heart cannot spend the whole week hiding in the U.S. Open rough, then jump out from behind a clump of elephant grass on the 69th hole and chomp everybody's kneecaps off.

Is that fair? A small guy like that—5'9", well below the Tour's six-foot-plus median, so short that those trailer-tipping winds at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club didn't even graze him—stepping up and clobbering one of the best finishing shots in U.S. Open history and putting an overlapping grip on the tournament trophy?

Pavin couldn't have won. He's the cute skinny little guy you hang from your rearview mirror, the one you count on to give a wonderful consolation speech at a major and then go on the next week to win himself a little Hattiesburg or a Wendy's Three-Tour Challenge. Pavin had won 12 times before—even led the Tour in money one year—but he had earned a stick-on label as the Best Player Never to Have Won a Major. You try winning one of the big ones when you're 150th on the Tour in driving distance and leading in frog hair hit in regulation.

But it happened. After 11� years on the Tour, Pavin swooped up from nowhere and flew by glory boys such as Greg Norman and Davis Love III and Phil Mickelson to steal an Open out from under their belt buckles.

This will take a little explaining in the chic burg of Southampton, N.Y., which must be the only town in the nation with a dress code (it's on signs all over). The fashion police aren't going to be happy about having a winner who walks around in a plain white hat that reads CLEVELAND, for crying out loud.

You could squirt a hose in downtown Southampton and hit half a dozen billionaires. The Loves, the Jeff Slumans, the Barry Lanes and a dozen other people stayed in the same private mansion near Shinnecock and barely bumped into each other all week. Robin Love was having such a lovely time that she told her husband, "Boy, wouldn't it be nice to live here?" and Davis jumped off the couch and yelped, "Hey, don't start looking in this neighborhood!"

Not that any of the upper crust actually made it out to the golf. It was far too gruesome. The greens were little more than large inverted woks. The fairways were not quite wide enough for Colin Montgo-merie and John Daly to pass each other without turning sideways. And bordering the fairways were knee-high acres of what they call poverty grass, hitting into which was a very poor decision. "Man, I go rabbit hunting in that stuff," wheezed Fuzzy Zoeller after a brutal day in the rough. "You don't go in there; you send your beagle in there to get something out.... I'm lucky I didn't break any bones."

He wasn't kidding. Amateur Tiger Woods had to withdraw on the 6th hole last Friday after he "tweaked" his left wrist while hitting out of the high grass. Woods was bogeying four straight holes at the time he injured himself. "Sure," said Jim Murray of the Los Angeles Times. "[Tom] Weiskopf used to get that. He'd be on his way to an 81 and get the flu."

It was a great week to be a cramp. Loren Roberts threw out his back on Thursday marking his ball and had to withdraw. Mark McCumber blew out a calf muscle lining up a putt the same day and limped the rest of the way. Fans had to worry about getting Lyme disease. Why is the AMA worrying about boxing when it's golf that's too dangerous?

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