For controversy, one had to look past the Americans with Disabilities Act to the Disenchanted with the Setup Coalition, a loose but vocal body that meets annually at U.S. Open sites. This year's complaints centered on the 18th green, a patch of lawn cut into the hill below the clubhouse. The upper portion of this green, where the hole was placed on Friday, is pitched at an angle close to that assumed by the Titanic just before it went down. Frank Nobilo rolled a long birdie try up the hill and watched his ball roll back 25 feet. Tom Lehman four-putted. Kirk Triplett, like a second-grader at putt-putt, stopped his retreating ball with his putter and drew a two-stroke penalty. "It's not golf, and it's not fair," said John Daly. "It's just stupid."
Stewart had the most cause for complaint. His eight-foot sidehill putt for birdie missed by inches and then ambled downhill, taking 22 seconds to find a campsite 25 feet below the hole. "I was bordering on fuming," Stewart said.
Bordering, in fact, is an improvement. Stewart used to turn a petulant face to the public, to the point that in 1995 he apologized for what he called his rude behavior toward fans. He rarely had to apologize for his golf—he's been a member of four Ryder Cup teams and a Top 10 money winner four times—but the construction of his Florida mansion a few years ago distracted him from his game and led to the suspicion that he would rather live like a pharaoh than go to work on the fairways.
Stewart says that after his Open victory in 1991, he was overreaching. "I put pressure on myself to be better than I already was," he says. For three rounds at Olympic he was better than anyone, going 66-71-70—three under par, four strokes better than Lehman and Bob Tway and five better than Janzen and Nick Price.
But Sunday's portents were not good. The Lake Course is a kind of sanitarium for aged cypresses and arthritic pines, and in certain light the more twisted tree forms lend a haunted aspect to the place. Stewart drove into a sand-filled divot on the 12th hole, and that seemed to signal an end to his week of good bounces. The luck had already passed to Janzen, whose tee shot on the 5th hole vanished into a cypress and only plopped to earth as he was walking back to the tee to hit again. Instead of taking a two-stroke penalty, he wound up chipping in for a 4. "That was a pure gift from God," said Janzen's wife, Beverly.
As in '93 at Baltusrol, where he knocked a memorable five-iron through branches to the 10th green to make a crucial par, Janzen exploited his good break. He birdied 7, 11 and 13 and was walking onto the 15th green at even par when a roar went up from the scoreboard watchers: Stewart had bogeyed 12 and dropped into a tie with Janzen.
Janzen's last big challenge was the 17th, an uphill par 5 dressed up as a 468-yard par 4. He was five over par on the hole in the first three days, so he should have been spooked. But Janzen reached the green with two solid shots to make par. He then played the 18th like a man with no worries, taking two putts for par—the last about as long as his four-year-old son Connor's jammies.
Stewart's only hope of forcing a playoff was to birdie 17 or 18. He got his chance on 18, but his big-breaking 25-footer faltered at the last instant and slid a few inches by on the low side. "The putt on the 1st hole meant as much as that putt on 18," he said, hiding his disappointment behind a rueful smile.
The winner's expression was a little harder to read, it being the same grin he displays when his son jumps onto his lap. But Janzen said it plainly: "Winning the U.S. Open is the pinnacle for me." Winning it twice—a feat accomplished by 17 other golfers—is presumably like twin peaks.
No stunning upset at Olympic, not this time. Just a wonderful d�j� vu by the Golden Gate.