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« 2007 U.S. Open Ratings Up | Main | What Was Jim Drinking Last Night? »
Monday
Jun182007

A Few More Monday U.S. Open Clippings

2007usopen_50.gifThomas Bonk takes on the tricky task of pointing out that Angel Cabrera doesn't exactly seem to slip into that all star cast of winners at Oakmont, while getting to the most important question: is this championship about the course and USGA or about the players?
Somewhere along the way, the venerable layout, the scene of eight historic U.S. Opens and renowned for a power table of winners, might have lost a little bit of its luster. The list includes Armour, Snead, Hogan, Nicklaus, Miller, to name a few, and now Cabrera. Are we sure it's a proper fit?

Next June at Torrey Pines, Woods will be working on a six-year streak since his last U.S. Open title. Mickelson has none, in 17 tries. Yes, Cabrera has more U.S. Open titles than Mickelson.

Maybe that's just the way it is, and even the way it should be. After all, Cabrera didn't do anything wrong, he earned his championship, the only player in the field who had two rounds under par, his opening 69 and his closing 69.

But something just seemed wrong. A total of eight scores under par for four days? Only six players shooting better than 10 over par? A course so brutally difficult that even par doesn't even get a sniff?

And...
At the end of the day, it's getting harder and harder to distinguish the significance of the U.S. Open, certainly if you go by judging the relevance of its recent champions. We've traveled this road before, of course, when Jack Fleck won in 1955 or when Orville Moody won in 1969 or Lou Graham in 1975.

These days, more and more, the extreme difficulty of the courses is the dominant factor of the U.S. Open — not the players.

Bonk also looks at the state of Ernie Els' game 13 years after winning at Oakmont and concludes his knee isn't fully healed and that Els may never be the player he once was.

Gary Van Sickle is alarmed by some of the things happening with Tiger's game.
Forget that stat about never coming from behind to win a major on the last day. At the Masters and at Oakmont, he grabbed the lead on Sunday ... and couldn't hold it either time!

At the Masters, the par 5s cost him. He was spooked by No. 8 and hit 3-wood off the tee (3-wood?), and then he made a rare poor decision to go for the 15th green in two from a bad lie when he didn't need to (he found the water). At Oakmont, he committed a no-no by bunting it over the third green, biffed his third shot across the green, muffed his next pitch and made an un-Tiger-like double bogey. The Old Tiger makes par from the fairway there 9 out of 10 times, and the 10th time, he doesn't make double.

The biggest concerns of Tiger-watchers? Whatever happened to his tempo? It used to be fluid. Now he seems to be trying to hit everything as hard as he can, like he did when he overpowered Augusta National in 1997. Is it possible to have too much muscle? For once, it was his near-flawless play Saturday that looked like the aberration.
Larry Stewart reports on Saturday's ratings, which prove the remarkable impact Tiger has...
Saturday's third round got a 4.6 overnight rating, compared with a 3.2 for the third round last year. In Los Angeles, Saturday's round got a 4.0 and beat the 3.9 for the Dodgers versus the Angels that day on Channel 11.

The 4.6 overnight was the highest for a U.S. Open third round since a 4.8 in 2004. The final round that year from Shinnecock Hills earned a solid 6.3 national overnight rating. Phil Mickelson three-putted from five feet for a double bogey at the 17th hole, and Retief Goosen won by two shots.

When Woods last won a U.S. Open — at Bethpage in 2002 — the overnight rating for the final round was a 9.3.

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Reader Comments (11)

Tiger's swings Saturday and Sunday were night and day.

That's golf, I guess, but you don't expect it from HIM. Still, not a bad major run he has going. 1 - 1 - 2 - 2.

In the remaining '07 majors, I expect him to redo '06. Van Sickle aside, doesn't everyone?
06.18.2007 | Unregistered CommenterBlossom Dearie
Someone clue me in, because I was born just a few days before Johnny Miller's 63 in 1973. What was more impressive, shooting 63 at Oakmont that day, or shooting 69 under yesterday's conditions?
06.18.2007 | Unregistered CommenterSeitz
A 67 by Angel without bogies on 16 and 17 might've convinced me, but not the 69.

A much better case can be made for Casey's 2nd round 66.

My pick for best 63 in a major is Norman's 2nd round at Turnberry 1986. Wind and rain.
06.18.2007 | Unregistered CommenterGerry
gerry,

don't tell johnny miller that!

actually, do. i'm so sick of that guy.
06.18.2007 | Unregistered Commenterrpf
The NBC/USGA relationship is unclean, as is the CBS/Masters.
06.18.2007 | Unregistered CommenterGerry
what is clean? the NFL and CBS/NBC/ESPN/Vegas?

The NHL and-"brother can you spare some airtime on your cable channel"

its television.
06.18.2007 | Unregistered Commenterbob
Near as I can tell, nobody has used the headline: "Angel wanna wear my golf shoes"

Dan King
06.18.2007 | Unregistered CommenterDan King
Writers knocking Angel's win demonstrate a lack of class.
06.18.2007 | Unregistered Commenterrod
How many wins did Els have when he won at Oakmont? How many did Miller have (I believe it was 2)? They look like great champions looking back, but did they at the time?
06.18.2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnyonymouse
Miller's 63 is definitely better than Cabrera's 69 and slightly better than Casey's 66, imo.

For one round performances, I've always thought Player's 64 at Augusta in 1978, with birdies on 7 of the last 10 holes, coming from 7 behind and jumping over a bunch of bodies including Nicklaus and Watson, was one of the most underappreciated final rounds of all time.
06.18.2007 | Unregistered CommenterTuna
Read Bill Fields article on golfdigest.com. His reference to Mickey Wright's opinion of Cabrera's swing ought to shut up anyone who thinks he's a fluke.
06.19.2007 | Unregistered Commenter86general

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