To make a great hole hazards need not be numerous. A few well-placed are quite sufficient to arouse an amount of lively interest and to call forth shots of which the best golfer may well be proud.
Jordan Spieth's shot for the ages at Chambers Bay's par-5(!) 18th hole might have been underappreciated a bit in light of Dustin Johnson's three-putt just moments later. Standing behind the shot and not having seen the coverage until this Fox highlight package at the :50 second mark, it's striking (A) how good the shot was, (B) how close it came to being an albatross, (C) how good the sound was in hearing him beg for the right bounce and (C) how mind-numblingly atrocious the announcing was for such a historic moment. I know Jason Day was (heartbreakingly?) out of it at this point, but sheesh Shark!
Brian Wacker at PGATour.com wrote about Spieth's win and covered many facets, including the 280-yard three-wood:
“I hit it right on the middle of the face and I looked up and it was bleeding right, I just asked for the wind to hold it up just a little bit,” Spieth said. “And it looked like it did, just on the last second it stayed out of going in that bunker and instead found the rebound and stayed up on the top ledge. In midair I was going to be pleased anywhere on the green. And then with the roar I knew it stayed on the top ledge. I'm sitting there thinking, how in the world did it stay up, but I guess it was just my day.”
And his week.
Where the ball landed on the green was the same spot that he’d hit it during a practice round with his coach Cameron McCormick and caddie Michael Greller, who had the experience of about 40 loops around Chambers Bay during summers when he was a sixth grade math and sciende teacher at nearby Narrows View Intermediate School before circuitously landing on Spieth’s bag at the start of his career.
The highlight of his post round press conference, no doubt, was the talk of St. Andrews and the appreciation of history Spieth has on his side.
Doug Ferguson covered this angle.
Spieth was a freshman at Texas when he first went to St. Andrews with the rest of the Walker Cup team. They played the Old Course, soaked up the vibe at the home￼ of golf and then headed north for their matches at Royal Aberdeen.
“It’s one of my favorite places in the world,” Spieth said Sunday evening. “I remember walking around the R&A clubhouse and seeing paintings of royalty playing golf, and it was dated 14-whatever. I’m thinking, our country was discovered in 1492 and they were playing golf here before anyone even knew the Americas existed.”
That was only four years ago, when not many outside golf circles knew Spieth. He’ll get more attention next time he arrives at St. Andrews.
With his appreciation on record or for that matter, the mere image of Spieth looking at R&A clubhouse paintings and appreciating how long the game had been played at St. Andrews, he'll have Fleet Street on his side as the quest for a Grand Slam gets going.
James Corrigan in the Telegraph notes the making of a perfect setup.
The scene is set up perfectly. Spieth and McIlroy hold the four majors between them going into the event and that has not happened since 1972 with Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino. On that occasion, Trevino denied Nicklaus the treble by a shot. Spieth is determined to avoid the same fate.
Kevin Garside in the Independent:
He could not have imagined then as a 17-year-old boy that he would return as a history-maker at the centre of what might yet be the greatest golfing story ever told. Even Rory McIlroy is starting to look passé at 26. Woods, who’s he?
While collecting a few thoughts on Fox Sport's golf debut, it's clear there is not enough time to go through all of the issues.
But Mike Francesa's rant about sums things up on the telecast side of things for me, particularly his fuming about the split screen of Jason Day walking as Rory McIlroy was making a huge charge. I'm not sure if they were hoping to see if Day could survive the walk from 3 to 4, or maybe a button was stuck in the truck, but it was a low point of the day right after the missing blimp views of shots at 18 or the lack of a Jordan Spieth cam in scoring as he watched Dustin Johnson's tournament winning three-putt.
Insulated here at Chambers Bay and mostly looking to Twitter for feedback, it's tricky to evalute a tournament week and easy to merely declare it a success because it ended on Sunday night with a great winner.
Still, let's keep it simple: your overall sense of the 2015 U.S. Open week. (We'll talk TV and the future for Chambers Bay later as I have some opinions on those fronts.)
So vote and comment away...
A four-way tie heading into the final round should be enticement enough to park yourself in front of the screen Sunday. Then throw in the wacky Chambers Bay and it's hard to rule out even the +1's.
Is the course close to going over the top? I believe it's close, but I also believe they won't lose control because the weather forecast of high 70s and bright sunshine will be taken into account by the USGA. I covered this and some of the player comments about the course at GolfDigest.com, including Rory re-positioning the Chambers greens on the vegetable spectrum. And regarding the poa issue, here were some thoughts from Golf World reminding that this is a west coast U.S. Open tradition.
And then there is the 18th hole.
Jordan Spieth may just play up the first fairway, depending on wind and his place on the leaderboard as we note at GolfDigest.com. The USGA has always love converting par-5s to 4s and playing to a par of 70. This week the first/eighteenth hole interchangeability hasn't been a big deal because 70 was maintained as the par and because we haven't seen a second day of the par-4 version of the 18th. I fear this will be another Oakland Hills in the par-5-to-4 division, and we all know how that worked out in 1996.
And Steve DiMeglio filed this on Sergio's criticisms of the course.
"Why do they do this to the course?" Garcia told USA TODAY Sports after shooting 70-75-70, adding that only the British Open carries more weight in his soul. "This is a great championship with great history. The U.S. Open deserves so much better than this. It hurts to see what they have done to the course. These greens, come on, let's be honest, you can't say they are good. It's just not right."
**Great news: Morning Drive's Tim Rosaforte reported through Rex Hoggard that 18 will stay a par-5, as intended by the architects. This gets the focus away from any controversy. It will be interesting to hear Mike Davis' reasoning, since Fox Sports reported several times yesterday that it would play as a par-4.
Just guessing, but the north breeze and cooler than expected weather we're seeing so far today played a role, as did the fear of the setup detracting from the outcome.