U.S. Open Winners (from 06.19.06)

[This is originally from 06.19.06 (the Monday following the U.S. Open)]

Okay…big golf tourney this past weekend. It’s only our national Championship Tournament. Anyway, much hoopla surrounding the U.S. Open entering it for several reasons: Phil’s quest for 3 in a row (the so-called Mickelslam); Tiger’s return from his father’s passing (would have been a wonderful Father’s Day if he would have won); the most difficult course (Winged Foot) for an Open in many years.

Here’s who won, in case you didn’t hear: Winged Foot. The winning score was +5. I can sometimes go 3 or 4 holes and still shoot less than +5. It was hard…it was probably too hard. But, it’s always fun for us amateur golfers to see these golf machines struggle like we do. Congrats Winged Foot, you conquered the world’s best.

Now to a more interesting story: Tiger Woods also won. Huh? He missed the cut though. Yeah, yeah, I know he came out and had the worst two rounds in a major of his professional career. Follow me though:

Reason 1 — Phil Mickelson’s collapse on 18 shows us exactly how awesome Tiger’s Slam was in 2000-2001. Tiger never buckled under the pressure of winning his 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th majors in a row. Winning a major is tough stuff. Hats off to Phil for winning 2 in a row. Hats off to him for playing so well this weekend; many notable names and former major champions were sitting at home (or on their yachts like Tiger) while Phil was digging through trash and hanging out by the hospitality tent. Because Phil lost it–if only momentarily–Tiger remains the standard for major excellence. When Tiger is on, everything is on: body, mind, emotions, clubs, caddie, crowd, swooshes, cutaways to mom, commercials, etc. Phil’s a great American story; Tiger’s the American standard.

Reason 2 — Tiger’s apparent “failure” shows us that he is in fact human and that he can’t actually win every tournament in which he plays. Maybe he wasn’t prepared and focused because he was too busy consoling his grieving mother, or being consoled by his wife, or spending time with his brothers. Maybe that’s how I want my heroes. Sure, sports’ writers wanted to put together that emotional piece about Tiger winning the Open for Dad on Father’s Day. While that thinking is an attempt to weave sports and life together, it fails to do it accurately. Life is unpredictable, hard, and doesn’t always end in smiles and “happy tears.” Here’s the deal, Earl Woods raised Tiger to be the best. Being the best doesn’t always mean winning. Thanks again Tiger for inspiring us. This will last longer than the title of 2006 U.S. Open Champ.

Reason 3 — Tiger got to spend more time with Elin on their amazing luxury yacht.

And of course…real props to the guy who took home the trophy: Geoff Ogilvy. Even though he has not one, but two weirdly spelled names, he managed to sign both of them correctly on the winning card. He had some amazing shots, check out the re-broadcast if you have a chance.

Can’t wait til the British…

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