One Last Thought On Justin Rose's 18th Hole Shot At Merion

In talking to people over the last week about the U.S. Open at Merion, the 229-yard Justin Rose approach to the 18th hole keeps coming up as an amazingly clutch shot.

John Huggan noted in his column this week that...

...magnificent approach to the 72nd green will linger long in the memory and, less positively, serve as one last condemnation of the USGA’s warped philosophy on how golf at the highest level should be played.

Rose’s shot, widely hailed as one of the ten best ever struck in such high-pressure circumstances, may have missed the flagstick by mere inches but the ball also finished off the putting surface. It deserved better. A lot better.

I was standing behind the 17th tee where you could easily watch the 18th fairway and have since gone back to look at the telecast. The one thing which television didn't fully capture was just how long Rose had to contemplate the shot while playing partner Luke Donald sorted out a drop issue with the television towers to the right of the fairway. NBC's Dan Hicks did call it "excruciating" and there was one telling moment when Rose closed his eyes in obvious agony while waiting to play. But the ruling carried on for some time and he had a solid three minutes leaning on his caddie and bag to think about all of the things that could go wrong.