Or not. Players
who muscled shots up near the green from the intermediate rough often found
themselves in poor position to get up and down. By tournament's end the tiered
turf had exacted a half-stroke price for each missed fairway. (At the 2005 U.S.
Open, by way of comparison, Pinehurst's rough cost the competitors a third of a
stroke per mistake.) That benefited Geoff Ogilvy, who hit eight more fairways
than Mickelson on the way to his five-over 285, the first over-par winning
total since Andy North shot 285 (one over) at the 1978 Open at Cherry
love it," said Davis. "It rewards the shotmakers."
sometimes think they are the gods. Mickelson made that mistake on Sunday when
he tried to reach the 5th green with a five-wood from a grassy pocket in the
left rough. He had 179 yards to the hole before his attempt and perhaps 178
afterward: The ball popped to knee height before plopping back into the thick
stuff. Lefty took a deep breath and changed clubs, but he bogeyed the short
par-5, the easiest hole on the course.
That was a mere
prelude to the fan favorite's gods-forsaken play on the 72nd hole. Needing a
par to secure the third leg of the Mickelslam and a 5 to get into a playoff
with Ogilvy, Mickelson drove wildly off a hospitality tent, tangled with a tree
on his second, then buried his third in a greenside bunker, effectively handing
the championship to the Australian. "I thought I could get it around the
tree," a chastened Mickelson said.
If Montgomerie had
seen a tree, he might have hanged himself from it, having cost himself at least
a chance at a playoff by plopping his approach at the last hole into the
greenside rough. "You wonder sometimes why you put yourself through
this," said the 43-year-old Scot, who had blown a precious opportunity to
win his first major. He added, "It was a very fair test of golf, the most
demanding test we've ever had, and 285 is a great score. I think the USGA set
up the course very well, and all credit to them."
That was music to
the ears of Davis, Jones and Greytok. The USGA man, the course doctor and the
greenkeeper spent most of Sunday watching their greens bake in 90� heat, but
the poa putting surfaces--though brown and crusty in spots--held up. It was the
golfers who wilted.
was Winged Foot," Davis summed up, accepting handshakes and backslaps in
the clubhouse. "I can think of a few minor things we might have done
differently, but the course was wonderful. For me it was fun to sit back and
watch it happen."
Nice guy, Davis.
Wouldn't hurt a Phil.