Me, I like pulling
the legs off spiders. I eat my sack lunch at the Discount Surgery Center, just
to hear the wails. I'm the guy yelling up to the man on the ledge, "Just do
But nothing ever
gave me as much joy as last week's U.S. Open at Winged Foot Country Club, where
there was more silent screaming than on Mime Night at the tattoo parlor. God,
it was delicious!
Pros worth $50
million were hitting full shots two feet. Studs with jets were flubbing chip
shots that would roll back into their own divots. Legends were biting their
putters in half. Nothing's been this much fun since the days of the KGB.
This wasn't an
Open. It was an open wound. Nobody won it. The USGA finally just gave up and
handed the trophy to the only guy who wasn't curled up in a ball--somebody
named Geoff Ogilvy. He looked shocked, like the one millionth customer at the
drugstore who suddenly gets handed the keys to a Cadillac. The schmo shot five
over par! Five over doesn't win the Walla Walla City Championship! Fact is,
five over doesn't even make the cut on Tour.
everywhere. Phil Mickelson needed a par on the last hole to win the tournament.
A bogey would've gotten him into a playoff. He made a double bogey. He
collapsed like a cardboard wind tunnel. He looked as if somebody had replaced
all his blood with Metamucil. He kept repeating, "I can't believe I just
Golf is cruel. It
will hold you upside down and shake you by your heels until all your dignity
falls out. Mickelson had dreamed of winning an Open since he was a boy,
practiced thousands of hours for it--and visited Winged Foot so many times that
they nearly charged him membership dues. And then he came to the big moment and
played like a diseased yak.
On the fifth hole,
with his ball in rough high enough to hide Corey Pavin, New Phil morphed back
into Old Phil and tried to slap it out heroically with a four-wood. Trying to
hit a fairway wood out of six-inch rough is like trying to suck a basketball
through a clarinet. Mickelson whaled at the ball with all his might. It went
two feet. I could've hit it at least three.
It only got worse.
Mickelson hit two--two!--fairways the entire day. A man in an iron lung could
hit two. Yet Mickelson kept hitting driver, every tee shot, when even the
strippers in Yonkers knew he should be hitting three-wood. Why didn't he?
Because his three-wood wasn't in his bag. It was in his car trunk. In his
intensive preparation, he decided to add a fourth wedge and take out the
On 17 his drive
ended up inside a garbage bag. Lefty was now Hefty. He turned 18 into a kind of
Rube Goldberg contraption--off the hospitality tent, off the tree, into a
fried-egg lie in the bunker, across the green, back into the rough, eight feet
past the hole, into the cup for six--his only double of the week. It was the
worst collapse in a U.S. Open since Sam Snead made a last-hole 8 in 1939.
But at least
Mickelson lost his Open dreams in the rough. Colin Montgomerie lost his from
the middle of the fairway. He too could've won the tournament with a simple
par, and he too made a double bogey. At age 43, Montgomerie blew his best--and
maybe his last--chance to win a major. "Really," he said afterward,
looking like he might want to find something sharp to poke in his eyes,
"you wonder why you put yourself through this."