So, the U. S. Open Water is completed, finished midday Monday when those few still gainfully employed were back at work. Too bad, because the final moments were monuments to duffers, those who like golf but find the affection is not necessarily returned by the game.
The winner? A player ranked 71st in the world named Lucas Glover who gradually overtook another unknown, Ricky Barnes, and the well-known Phil Mickelson, to win by a couple of strokes. Barnes had been ahead until his right elbow started flying on his drives and he was pulling the ball into the rough. The crowd was a boisterous one cheering for Phil Mickelson and not the polite group referred to eons ago as the “gallery.” Time was when announcer Jack Whitaker was banished from the Masters in Georgia for referring on the air to those gathered as “the crowd” instead of the much-preferred “gallery.” A long time ago. The group at Bethpage, Long Island, in 2009, made no bones about yelling for Mickelson even as he faded in the final round.
Mickelson had become the favorite partly by his jovial manner and partly through the well-publicized fact that his comely wife had contracted breast cancer and was about to undergo treatment. The fact of her condition was mentioned by the commentators nearly every time Mickelson appeared on camera, until Mrs. Mickelson’s breast rivaled that of Cleopatra and the asp.
But all the yelling and cheering could not save Phil in the final moments. He, like most of his close competitors, had trouble on the greens. If you watched, how many times did you see long putts fall short of the hole? But did the commentators revive that old bromide, “never up, never in”? If so, I missed that. And how many short putts were missed? Was it the rain? The weird hours that dragged the event into an extra day? So confused was the coverage that Tiger Woods was allowed to play several holes un-camered, though it need be said he was never really in contention.
So unknown was winner Lucas Glover that the head of golfdom conferred the trophy on him without mentioning him by name! It fell to Bob Costas in the subsequent interview to refer to “Glover.”
Unfair to mention Glover without a reference to the player who was even with him going into the final day. Ricky Barnes had won the U S. Amateur in 2002 and was low amateur next year at the Masters.
So, duffers unite. The winner, truly, of this year’s Open was not an unknown name. It was the name everybody talks about but does nothing about. The Weather.