Thanks to a memorable double-hit chip by T.C. Chen and closing bogeys at the 17th and 18th holes by Dave Barr, North was once again able to shoot 74 in the final round of an Open and win. Asked what won it for him, North said, "Guts."
Guts are what North never lost. His physical courage was obvious at Shinnecock, where he had to walk backward up the steep inclines at the 9th, 14th and 15th holes to ease the pain in his knees. The grudge he once carried is gone; he seems to have accepted his place in golf history as the man who never received the respect he deserved for winning two U.S. Opens.
"You get kind of tired having to justify winning an Open," he says. "Hey, I'd love to have won 30 or 40 tournaments. If I had been healthy, I would have won a whole bunch. But I don't think I need to feel badly that I won three events on the Tour, and two of them happened to be Opens. I'm proud of it."
Jack Nicklaus, who played the first two days at Shinnecock Hills with North, had to agree. "You watch the way he manipulates the ball around the green and the things he can do," Nicklaus said. "He played some wonderful shots. I think he would have won a lot more golf tournaments had he been healthier. But to have won two Opens, and have that on your record, is pretty darn good."