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The runner-up showing was his eighth top 10 this season. That comes after a 2010 during which he topped the money list ($4.9 million) and won the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average. Kuchar has avoided the star treatment by coming close but seldom winning. (He is 32, but he has won only three times in his career.)
"Jim Furyk told me a few weeks ago, 'Another 10 years like this, and you'll be the Steve Stricker of the PGA Tour,' " Kuchar said. "I wouldn't mind that at all."
This is clearly not where we expected American golf to be on the eve of the U.S. Open. But while Strick and Kooch stole the show at the Memorial, they were not the only players who raised eyebrows.
Mickelson showed signs of life. He had been regularly hitting greens in regulation this season but not putting his approaches close. He was knocking down the flags on the weekend at Muirfield Village.
Rickie Fowler was close to top form. He made an impressive 26 birdies and an eagle yet finished only four under par. That is an unmistakable sign that, as Tiger is fond of saying, he's close.
Dustin Johnson, last year's U.S. Open meltdown story and the PGA Championship bunker-gate victim, has a new caddie, Joe LaCava, the longtime carrier for Fred Couples. Johnson shot 65 in the final round, finished fourth and may thrive with his new jockey. "He has a beautiful putting stroke, drives the heck out of it, smashes his irons and put most of his work in on his short game," LaCava said. "He's determined to play well, which is great."
As for the others, world No. 1 Luke Donald didn't factor, but his closing 68 lifted him to a tie for seventh. One of these days his penchant for backdoor top 10s and final-round 68s is going to snag him a major championship. Maybe next week. We also learned that Ernie Els, who won the '97 Open at Congressional, and reigning FedEx Cup champ Furyk, have some work to do. Els, normally the most affable man on the Tour, chewed out his manager after a writer tried to ask him a few questions. Meanwhile Furyk, who has been quiet all year, missed the cut by seven shots.
Woods, of course, is a complete question mark. Will he even play, and if he does, how well will he play and how long will his ailing left knee hold out?
This U.S. Open truly looks like the U.S. Wide Open. Just don't count out that Wisconsin guy because he's 44 and majorless. "I don't know why Steve hasn't won a major," said Nicklaus, "but the way he's playing, watch out at Congressional."