the most bizarre. The longest par 5 in U.S. Open history, the
16th played at 671 yards in the third round. Stretched as it
was, the aerial view of the hole gave it the appearance of the
crooked smirk on Indiana Jones’ face. For the final round,
however, the tees were moved some 101 yards forward.
Instead of giving the players eagles and birdies, it gave them
grand mal seizures. Having carried the weight of the lead
most of the day, Furyk’s tee ball was a stunning snap-hook
3-wood. “The rest of the field had that same shot to hit today, and I’m pretty sure no one hit as [awful] a shot as I did,”
said Furyk. “I did the worst job of handling it, and I have no
one to blame but myself.” The resulting bogey dropped him
to two over par. When he failed to birdie the short par- 5 17th
and then buried his approach in the bunker on the short
par- 4 18th, a chance at a second Open title had slipped away.
McDowell got back to two over with a birdie on 17 but
couldn’t make the 25-footer for 3 at the last—there were
only six birdies all day to the nearly impossible hole location.
“I kind of got out of position early. I fought my way back into
it and then threw it away again,” said McDowell, who hit just
four of 14 fairways.
Despite having a pair of victories last year and a good
shot at winning the Wells Fargo Championship in May in
his hometown of Charlotte, Simpson came to San Francisco
off back-to-back missed cuts at the Players and Memorial.
Olympic will beat you senseless when you’re playing well.
Pity the poor fool who comes in
“Today was different than the two
we won last year,” said Simpson’s
caddie and teacher Paul Tesori. “He
was a different animal out there.
He was calm, confident, assured
of himself.” Simpson had the lead
going into the last round at Wells
Fargo but didn’t have his best stuff
that Sunday, fighting all the way to
the 72nd hole where he still had a putt to get into the playoff
eventually won by Rickie Fowler. “We learned from that,”
said Tesori. “His rhythm got quick. We tried to fix it at TPC
[Sawgrass] and Memorial, and we developed another bad
habit. After Memorial, we went right back to fundamentals.
We gotta start getting to our left side. We hammered it,
hammered it, hammered it. And he swung it great from the
day he’s been here.”
Simpson took time off before the Open to play golf with
friends at the CC of North Carolina in Pinehurst. When he
and his wife, Dowd, arrived in San Francisco, having left
their 16-month-old son, James, at home with the grandpar-
ents, they did the tourist thing, driving the switchbacks of
Lombard Street, enjoying views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
“We had a week, just the two of us,” said Simpson. “I needed
Olympic trials: (from
felt trapped at times;
Els, in search of his third
U. S. Open title, was a
few putts shy; Hossler,
the Texas-bound teen,
seemed braced for
recalling a close call in
2007, showed his first
round was no fluke.