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Dear Mr. Hogan,
Rick Reilly
June 24, 1996
Inspired by a four-time U.S. Open champ, Steve Jones held on for an unlikely victory at Oakland Hills
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June 24, 1996

Dear Mr. Hogan,

Inspired by a four-time U.S. Open champ, Steve Jones held on for an unlikely victory at Oakland Hills

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Flying home on a friend's private jet, Lehman was trying to get used to another too-close-to-believe loss in a major. This makes three now—by a hair to José María Olazábal in the 1994 Masters, by a fingernail to Pavin in last year's Open and now this. But instead of dwelling on that, Lehman had stood on the 18th green, taken the microphone and told the gallery, "I'm not sure you realize what it would be like to miss three years of golf right in the middle of your career. For Steve to come back and win the U.S. Open, to me, is just an incredible story." That is just about what Love said too, even though he was second in the '95 Masters and tied for fourth in the '95 Open and was now a runner-up again and should've just been mad enough to chew glass. Instead he said, "My hat is off to Steve." I guess some people just don't know the right way to lose.

So, that's it, and.... Oh, wait. I forgot to tell you what happened to the guy in Scottsdale. Well, somehow the sound of that little golf ball dropping in a hole in Michigan made a grown man and woman in Arizona cry like babies. "You need to know what kind of man Steve is to know how this feels," said Kevin Failoni. "Never once did he blame me. Never once did he stop being my friend."

Tell you how hacked off Jones was at the guy who iced his career for three years and cost him probably a million or two: Last Saturday night, on the eve of his greatest chance in golf, he left a message on the Failonis' answering machine saying he was thinking of them and that he loved them.

Pretty square, huh? No way you ever did anything schmaltzy like that. Am I right, Mr. Hogan?

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Oakland Hills 33 0 1
Kevin Failoni 0 0 0