Soak up the lyrical writing and sharp observations from Lawrence Donegan's final game story and Guardian appearance in Monday's piece from Olympic Club. He's leaving the paper to spend more time with his family. And for the first time in five years since that euphemism typically reserved for "he was fired," it's actually the truth.
Hitting a golf ball and putting have nothing in common. They’re two different games. You work all your life to perfect a repeating swing that will get you to the greens, and then you have to try to do something that is totally unrelated. BEN HOGAN
From Martin Kaufman's review of the television coverage at Olympic Club, a long overdue question for the Worldwide Leader...
• I’m sure Andy North is a nice fellow – he is, after all, from Wisconsin – but I have no idea how he has held that prime ESPN gig for so many years. The man seems determined not to say anything remotely interesting. When I see him on the ESPN set, I can’t help thinking: Is this the best that the self-proclaimed “worldwide leader in sports” can do?
No, it's not.
Kaufman also highlights some new additions to the Curtis Strange lexicon.
Does winning mean they expedite discussions about a ban on anchoring the putter to your torso, or does yet another major win ensure the governing bodies will not touch this one?
I lean toward the latter option.
Before we move on from Olympic Club and its storied history, the latest State of the Game podcast features Rod Morri and Mike Clayton in conversation with Neil Sagebiel about his book on Jack Fleck.
I've just hit the send button on 1100 words of course setup talk for Golf World and plan to actually eat some food, but after reading the initial reactions to Sunday, it seems a golf course topic is required. While I don't usually like to lean on stats, the numbers were eye opening this year. I'll save the really surprising stuff for my story so that the context isn't skewed, but as I noted in Golf World Monday, players hit 12% fewer fairways this year than in 1998 when Tom Meeks was painting fairway lines. And he wasn't exactly known for his generosity off the tee!
I also really enjoyed reading your kneejerk reactions and it seems that television did a good job conveying the often arbitrary nature of the landing zones.
So the first question is, would wider have made it better U.S. Open? Keep in mind this would have meant more drivers and mostly wedges into par-4s because of how firm the course got (as expected). But also remember that a lot of water was applied to the course to keep the fairways as playable, gulp, they were.
Here's what the USGA's Mike Davis said to this same general question when I asked him Sunday:
I think that if we had let the fairways get real firm then they could have been 50% wider and they would have played more narrow than these have played.
I'll be writing my feature story for Golf World but feel free to share any thoughts on the winner, the course, the finish, NBC, the state of the Euro, etc...
For what it's worth, my kneejerk reaction with the usual emphasis on jerk: Olympic Club shined but was underserved by a mixed bag setup that featured some of the usual great Mike Davis/Tom O'Toole moves (16 tee Sunday) and severely hampered by fairway contours that led to just too much plodding, defensive golf. That in no way is meant to take away from Webb Simpson or the fantastic presentation of Olympic by Pat Finlen and crew. But it was a very Meeks-like setup and I'm not wild about the kind of golf where the player who backs up least wins.
From GolfChannel.com and NBC:
Peterson finished with 72, leaving him at 213 (+3) and paired with Retief Goosen at 2:10 Sunday.
**Sean Martin talks to Peterson about the ace and his chances Sunday.
Then he came to Olympic’s par-3 13th and holed a 7-iron from 180 yards. “When it went in, man, I don’t know what I did, I want to watch the replay,” he said. “I hope y’all have a replay so I can see it again. But I went nuts. I know that. I tried chest bump my caddie and I missed and I think I hit his head. But it was really, really cool. First one ever. Being in the U.S. Open on the weekend was awesome.”