Posted in Golf
Sport Eagle’s Craig White recaps the U.S. Open from The Olympic Club in California
Day Four – Simpson spins Championship Webb
4th and Final round of US Open and the Americans have a new hero to cheer for.
As the field started on the final day of the 112th US Open, 30 players still found themselves in contention to win the much coveted event being played at the famous course in San Francisco. It was going to come down do this, who could post a sub par round.
In normality it would require much more than just shooting below par golf. Usually we would expect to see a really low score, maybe 6 under or similar to have any sort of chance but as we have seen since the start of this tournament, the first six holes at the Olympic Club maybe the hardest in the World. If you are able to escape these holes level par, then you must have produced some fabulous golf. The holes are long, narrow and the pins being placed in difficult positions.
Unknown American, Webb Simpson has only been playing on the USPGA tour since 2008 and has never won a PGA event until now and what a way to break your duck. However, Simpson has had a good season so far with two top-5 finishes and five top-10 finishes which puts him 35th on the money list but with this Major success he should be rise to the top 15 with his winnings. Simpson was simply brilliant, controlled tempo and played sensible but aggressive golf. The American was very aggressive when the opportunity arose but was very controlled when chances didn’t present themselves.
Simpson finished with 72-73-68-68 for 281 which was 1-over. He wins $1,400,000.00 and earns 600 FedEx ranking points.
Lee Westwood, Tiger Woods and many more struggled at the start of their rounds. Woods and Westwood had been in a good position to attack the course and put pressure on the leaders Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk. However, after those aforementioned first six holes Woods chances were over, he was already 6-over par for the round, the type of golf a low amateur handicapper would be happy with. It certainly wasn’t Major winning golf.
Lee Westwood finished with 73-72-67-73 for 285 winning $163,594.00 tied 5th.
Tiger Woods finished with 69-70-75-73 for 287 winning $86,348 tied 21st.
Westwood started steadily over the first three holes but then started to make a few errors, errors which are magnified immensely by the Olympic course. The Englishman would have realised early that his chance of winning the first Major of his career was over. He will need to break his duck in Majors soon, otherwise Westwood could become a Tim Henman or Jimmy White of golf.
Beau Hossler the American amateur was still very much in contention to win the event. Something that had never been achieved before. Even the great Jack Nicklaus was only able to managed a 2nd place as an amateur. Beau started steadily but needed some great 1 putts to keep his round in control early on. Although, he faltered after 6 holes and must have known then that he needed to focus only on winning the amatuer event. Unfortunately his round collapsed down the finishing stretch and Jason Spieth, Beau’s future teammate at The University of Texas at Austin won the event. Hossler has committed to play at Texas when he graduates high school next year. Spieth helped UT win the college championship, then filled in for an injured Brandt Snedeker closed with rounds of 69-70 to finish at 7-over 287 two shots better than Hossler, who shot 70-73-70-76 on the tight, twisting layout at the Olympic Club.
Beau Hossler finished with a 70-73-70-76 for a 289 but not winning a penny as he played as an amateur, he finished in tied 29th.
German’s very own Martin Kaymer showed signs that he is very much back in the frame as a top ranked golfer. Something that many a fan, pundit and fellow professional are pleased to see. The former world number 1 was unable to pressurise the top of the leader board but he did show glimpses of golf-shot-making which were remarkable. Types of shots we haven’t seen from the German for a long time but may re-ignite his season. Kaymer is one we will be focusing on for the rest of the season.
Martin Kaymer finished with 74-71-69-72 for a 286 which has him tied for 15th.
Time for the future 2012 champ to to dispose of his last challenges. Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk were the last players who could threaten Simpson’s success, the 2010 hero of Pebble beach hitting back from an outward 38 with birdies at the 12 and 13th, although, the Irishman wasn’t able to sustain this pressure.
Day Three – Still Wide Open
Day Three of the US Open at the Olympic club and the European fans finally get some performances to cheer about as Lee Westwood puts himself in a perfect position to attack the field on the last day as Tiger Woods falters.
The players must think they are in heaven as beautiful weather conditions continued to shine over San Francisco. Westwood started the day early and it was clear to see that the machine was back!
The perfectly graceful swing that the Englishman possesses and controlled aggression when putting has turned the this major from one of despair to one of being able to win.
Westwood couldn’t have asked for more as he finished the day 3-under par which shoots him up the field tied 4th. The timing couldn’t have been better as Westwood is renowned for finishing strongly from this situation. The number 3 player in the world has never won a major but with players struggling to produce scores on the difficult course you would be a silly man to bet against him.
Americas old timer, Jim Furyk is co-leading the event and has done since the second day. Furyk is in the twilight of his career which maybe playing to his advantage. Furyk doesn’t have the same power that he use to have, so it simply means that he has to play the course more like a amateur member. Taking less risks and making sure he two-putts as a maximum. He finished with a round of level par and is tied with Graeme McDowell the 2010 winner.
Our very own Martin Kaymer from Germany another vastly improved round. Playing with ice cool composure the German ended up 1-under par for the 3rd day and now sits pretty tied 14th and must consider he is still very much in the frame to win the event.
As mentioned yesterday, this event won’t be won with a high score. However, if any player can hit a sub par round on the last day then they will be in contention.
Day Two – Tiger roars through the 156 strong field.
On a day where golfers couldn’t have asked for better conditions, overnight leader from Day One, American Michael Thompson struggled to regain form.
Many would have expected this because majors are renowned for outsiders rising to the occasion purely hoping to make the cut,something previously mentioned, it’s a reward in itself. Thus the American appears to be this player for stats. Although, he can’t be blamed for this.
Tiger Woods had a fabulous round and this can only be attributed to the entertainment media pop culture not having the stories to write. Perfect for a former world number one who strives to regain his crown. two points about the Tiger are very clear, firstly the swing. It’s back! Which means Woods is back. Secondly, he will be world number 1 again this year. Maybe as quick as 8 week from now. One thing is for sure, the world of golf best be prepared for the repercussions he endured for the last 2 years.
Taking a look at Europe
It was an awful day. The world’s top three golfers from the UK and Ireland all struggled to make an impression. The triol of Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and current champion Rory Mcilroy continued where they left off yesterday. Struggling off the tee, unable to find fairway and missing the greens in regulation. Westwood finished on 2 over for the day which leaves him 5 over for the tournament, he just makes the cut.
After Luke Donald’s 79 yesterday then you might consider a round of 72 as an improvement but unfortunately the Englishman will be making his travel arrangements after missing the cut and the reigning champion didn’t fare any better. In scoring terms Rory was better, although he was still widely erratic. After such a bad perform yesterday left himself too much work finishing 10 over and now leaves to focus on the next event.
Germany’s contingent in Martin Kaymer and Alex Cejka had mixed fortune. Alex had a horrid round of 8-over 78 Thursday, however, the out-of-form German had a superb round of controlled golf for a 1-under pat 69 and Alex just makes the cut. Kaymer wasn’t so good but did show signs of improvement towards the weekend as he scraps through with a 1-over 71 which leaves him 5 over for the tournament.
Fans may already consider that the world’s number 12 golfer is out of contention but there maybe more than meets the eye. We have to consider that the winning score will more than likely be 278 strokes for the event and if Kaymer improves by 3 shots on each of the next 2 days he will be right back in contention.
It’s worth mentioning two extremely young and talented amateur golfers who’s combined age is younger than the great Tiger Woods. Beau Hossler, the 17-year-old American who was co-leading momentarily, before youthful exuberance and naïveté started to be displayed in his biggest golf event so far. Beau will make the cut and could potentially win the amateur event before the weekend even starts.
The other is Andy Zhang, the 14-year-old, yes that’s right, FOURTEEN-year-old who resides at the David Leadbetter School of Golf in the US. The young man didn’t manage to make the cut after finishing 17-over but this will be the experience that helps his career when he does turn pro.
Day One – First day at the Olympic Club and weather conditions are perfect for fans and players alike. Although, as seen at previous majors, the sunny conditions make the course more difficult as the day progresses.
The first day is usually when the less famous players in the field have the chance to impress the galaries. Why? Well its simple, the lower ranked players have to “hit the ground running,” because they will be striving to make the cut for the event which has huge financial reward. Lower ranked players appear less able to consistently perform over a 4-day competition, and this is what separates the men from the boys.
The world’s top three players had horrid rounds. Ranked one in the world, England’s Luke Donald must have wished he could fly home after 8 holes. This was exactly the same for Lee Westwood, the world number 2. However, Westwood started to find his grove with his irons as he finished the first 9 holes.
The defending champion, world number two Rory Mcilroy struggled from tee to green. Courses used for majors are usually maintained in such a way that it makes the greatest golfers in the world look average. Extremely thick, tight rough and greens that are like glass, and with the ever increasing temperature the course continues to speed up throughout the day becoming harder and harder.
America’s Michael Thompson held the early club house lead on 4-under par 66 and he was closely followed by former world number 1 Tiger Woods who also finished with a good opening round, 1-under par 69.
England’s Ian Poulter had a slow start, the charismatic Englishman who has become as well known for his dress sense as his golf. The classy looking Brit started to slow but produces some wondering irons in the closing stages to finish with a level par 70.
Justin Rose from England had a good round considering the problems he has been experiencing with the putter. Recently Rose has been heeling most of his putts which doesn’t allow the ball to generate a smooth onward role, however he will be happy to have finished at 1 under par 69.
Germany’s Martin Kaymer had as bad around as he did at Augusta on the opening day. He finished 4-over on 74 which puts him tied for 52nd. Kaymer was unable to find the greens and deal with the difficult rough surrounding the putting surface. He was unable to control the speeds of his putts or find a steady rhythm with his approach play, one thing is for sure. The German has his work now to make the cut, can Kaymer make the weekend’s golf?
Preview – Return of the Tiger?
Today we preview the start of the second most prestigious golf tournament of the season, one of golf’s four majors. The U.S. Open, a competition that was first competed for in 1895.
The competition will played at the legendary Olympic Club in San Francisco, culminating on the 17th June which is also Father’s Day in the United States.
Unlike the other majors, if the leaders are tied at the end of the final round, then they will have to return on Monday for a 18-hole playoff. If still tied, it will then go to a sudden death playoff. This scenario has only been seen once in 2008 when Tiger Woods defeated Rocco Mediate.
156 golfers will participate in this years event, 60 players of which were ranked in the top 60 prior to the event.
However, this major has all the opportunities to go down as one of the greatest events in its history.
Why? The field is stronger than its been for a few years.
In more recent years, its been a situation, which single player can challenge Tiger Woods? Will it be Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen or Angel Cabrera, to name a few past champions.
One aspect of this tournament that will keep many a fan watching, is the recent resurgence of Tiger and the fact that all his competitors aren’t as fearful of the legendary talent who lost form in last two years for reasons away from golf.
Woods has not-so-quietly risen back up the world rankings, sitting fourth and after his win at The Memorial at the beginning of this month, he is the favorite for the U.S. Open.
Yes, he’s not the dominating Tiger we’ve all grown to know. But he’s still got the talent. What’s changed? The media have left him alone. He is practising more and his regained confidence after winning again.
Everyone is more focused on the European players who have taken over his mantle. Another thing regarding Tiger, “Form is temporary, class is permanent.” He is a legend and now he is proving it to the fans and himself.
Even with a rising Tiger, it will be far more open. The European stars are sitting pretty at the summit of the rankings and four of the top five golfers in the world are from Europe, three golfers of which are from the UK. Luke Donald who recently regained top spot. Rory McIlroy, the current U.S. Open champ has recently dropped to number 2 in the world, while Lee Westwood still sits pretty in third.
Germany’s Martin Kaymer will be hoping to also be back in the mix. His best finish was 8th in 2010, last year way down at 39th. Not being one of the favorites may work to Kaymer’s advantage.
“Every tournament we play and every tournament Tiger plays, it’s a lot about him and the other players are under the radar a little bit,” said the former world number one. “For some players, it’s good. Some players like to be pushed by the crowds a little bit, they like to be watched by other people. But I like to be under the radar and see how far I can push it into Sunday.”
The course is par 70, is 7,170 yards long. This type of challenge which will certainly play into the hands of the bigger hitters of the event.
It will be a huge challenge for Rory to retain his title, especially with his recent loss of form. However, if Rory or Tiger does win this event then we will surely see two golfers battling for all future events like that of Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicholas in years gone by.
For up to date coverage of this event, please check out the daily articles as we focus on whether Rory will roar again or whether the Tiger is out of the Woods.
Stay with Sport Eagle for up-to-date news regarding Martin’s, Tiger’s and the field’s progress during The U.S. Open. Follow Craig White (@Cags_SportEagle) and Salman Mitha (@Sal_SportEagle) who will be tweeting during the tournament.