The 118th playing of the United States Open Championship is in the books and once again this one, likes so many other, was packed with more than its share of controversy.
Here are some thoughts in the aftermath of what transpired last week at Shinnecock Hills:
The USGA: Not a great week for the guys in their starched shirts with USGA-insignia ties. They promised there would be no repeat of 2004 yet on Saturday the afternoon players were force-fed a giant poop-sandwich. David Duval had this observation: “I think they got it right on Friday, the other three days it was amiss.”
Brandel Chamblee, who is not afraid to stir the pot, ripped the lads from Far Hills with more fury:
“Something was amiss in a big, big way [at Shinnecock Hills]. I think the USGA has lost a lot of the trust of the golf world. They’ve done it for numerous reasons.
“On their watch, they missed COR – the rebound effect in drivers. They missed the rebound effect and the combination of the rebound effect [with] the ball. They missed it, on their watch. And now, the feeling is that they’re crying foul, even though it was on their watch. And so, essentially, the equipment companies got it done, by [the USGA’s] standards, legally.
“On their watch, there have been huge mistakes in major championships. … We well know this one (Shinnecock in 2018) – a colossal mistake all the way across the board. The golf course was bumpy the first day; they didn’t quite get that right. It was awful the third day. And today (Sunday), in a different kind of way, it was far too easy.
“And then there’s penalties that they levy that make absolutely no sense, penalties that they don’t levy – not disqualifying Phil Mickelson yesterday. …
“There seems to be no obvious leadership, you know, to me. No obvious leadership heading in the right direction.”
That just about covers that part.
Phil Mickelson: Speaking of Phil Mickelson, he’s become the John Gotti of the PGA Tour and the golf world in general. Gotti was “The Teflon Don” because nothing would stick to him. Same for Mickelson. The PGA Tour did nothing when he flat-out violated their “don’t hang out or do business with known gamblers” policy, knowing that Mickelson owed huge amounts of money from betting losses to Billy Walters. On Saturday, Mickelson went all NHL on the 13th green, tried to putt a moving ball back at the hole and simply incurred a penalty. The bad part came when he tried to explain it, giving everyone some rules mumbo-jumbo. It would have been acceptable if the said something like: “Look, I have to plead temporary insanity. I over-reacted to what they did with that green and I’m sorry for it. Lost my cool, lost my composure and I’m sorry I did.” Instead, Mickelson crafted his move as using the rules to prevent the ball from rolling off the green. He should have taken his medicine like everyone else.
Jordan Spieth: The wrong place to try and find his lost game and it showed.
Rory McIlroy: It’s amazing that a guy who grew up in a place where the wind blows cannot play in the wind.
Dustin Johnson: Showed just how vulnerable his game can be. This will go down as another blown major and that makes three now. Had a total of 73 putts over the final two rounds. Can he really handle the fact that he has one and his buddy Brooks now has two?
Tommy Fleetwood: Destiny was calling him on the 72nd hole Sunday. Somewhere Johnny Miller was sticking pins in a Tommy Fleetwood Voodoo Doll. It worked. Fleetwood missed what wasn’t a really difficult putt for 62 and history. It would have erased Miller from the books and made life a lot tougher on Koepka. Can Tommy be one of the favorites next month at Carnoustie, site of the Open Championship? Certainly.
Tony Finau: This guy has performed so very well in the season’s first two majors. Has top 10s in both. Kid has a real future and he’ll win one or more.
Patrick Reed: Used up all his “E” tickets on the front nine Sunday.
Tiger Woods: Good thing he wasn’t there on Saturday. Also, his 10-year exemption is up but no worries, the USGA will give him a special exemption into the 2019 championship at Pebble Beach.
Pebble Beach: And finally, speaking of Pebble Beach, it’s such a great place that even the USGA can’t screw it up.