For the 9th time in a row the golfing world has another first time major winner with Webb Simpson, and the second major champion winner with a belly putter. Webb definitely had the best weekend at the US Open. With final rounds of 68 and 68 he very much deserved to be in contention, and when the leaders starting falling back towards par, his posted score of +1 in the club house turned out to be a major winner.
Webb started the day a little shaky with bogey on the 2nd and 5th holes, but followed up that stretch with three birdies in a row on 6, 7 and 8. Add to that a par on 9 and a birdie on 10, followed up by 7 pars to finish and a winning score of 281 shots (one above par for the championship). On the 18th hole Webb missed the fairway, and hit his approach shot just off the green, with a semi difficult chip and a sprinkler head to content with. In a major championship, knowing that you need to post a par to have any chance to win, he hit a great chip about 3 or 4 feet, and then nailed the par put to be the leader in the clubhouse.
Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell did have a few hiccups on Sunday, even though both were in the hunt for the entire day on Sunday. However the 54 hole curse continues in Major Championships, were the winner has ultimately not come out of the last group on the course. Graeme started out with 3 bogies on the first six, and bogied nine for an outward nine of 38 (four over par). He quickly got a few back on 11 and 12 to get back within one of Furyk. When both players bogeyed the par three 13th the hopes that even par would win the event went out the window. Graeme did give us a bit of something to cheer about after his birdie putt on 17 went in to get within one of the leader. After a very good (albeit not great) approach shot we had a chance at a Monday playoff if Graeme could birdie the last hole and get to +1.
Furyk on the other hand must have just run out of 5 hour energy and came up left in the bunker with a SW on the 72nd hole of the US Open when he needed birdie to tie. After a skanky bunker shot flew the green and into another bunker, the championship was down to Graeme and Webb.
Graeme did not hit the best of putts on the 72nd hole when he needed a birdie to tie Webbs score of +1 in the clubhouse. The graphic clearly stated that the ball was going to break left, Johnnie Miller said is was breaking left (and he is never wrong just ask him), but Graeme never seemed to get the putt on the right line, it was on the low side the whole way. Both Jim and Graeme played with a lot of heart on Sunday, but Webb’s score of 68 seemed to be too much for for our 54 hole leaders.
The 2012 112th US Open was one of the most exciting and dramatic US Open’s that I can remember watching. I especially enjoyed watching golf so late at night (being in Chicago we were watching the last group finish up around 9:30pm central time). All any golfer can ask for is a fun and exciting finish, and this year we got a great finish with more drama than we could have hoped for. A final round 68, playing the last 14 at -4 under to come from behind and steal victory from the leaders is something that I will never forget. The way that Webb handled himself in the locker room after Graeme missed that putt ( I am remembering a slobbering John Daly in the 90’s when Costantino Rocco chucked his chip into the valley of sin…come on you guys know what I’m talking about) was first class. I think Webb is going to make a great champion, I am happy to say that the United States National Champion is a happy proud American, and we all found ourselves shocked and awed by the Sunday at The Olympic Club in San Fransisco.