US Open 2015 Review

Someone Special Has Arrived

golfnutter - us open 2015 review 2

His “endorsement” value, rated 2 in sports, trails only Michael Jordan – and that was before he won the US Open

When Dustin Johnston three-putted the 72nd hole of this year’s US Open, thereby failing to qualify for the 18-hole playoff that would have followed, Jordan Spieth was confirmed as winner. This follows his very impressive 4-shot victory in the year’s first major, the Masters.

After winning at Augusta, this column used the heading Someone Special Has Arrived. That same heading needs repeating, if only to emphasize how special this guy really is.

In winning his second major, on the trot, Spieth showed his character during that drama-charged final round. Whilst he was tied 15th against the field in total putts, he was best when it really mattered; getting up and down on eight of nine attempts on Sunday and holing an impressive 16 of 18 final round putts from inside ten feet. As was noted at the Masters, this guy knows how to get the ball into the hole – better than any other.

Spieth’s efforts put him alongside some of the game’s greats. He joins Craig Wood, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as one of only six players to win the Masters and US Open in the same year. At just 21 years old, he is the youngest US Open winner since Bobby Jones in 1923, and the youngest to claim his second major since Gene Sarazen won the 1922 PGA Championship at age 20. He also joins Tiger Woods as the only players to have won four times on the PGA Tour before turning 22.

Spieth will no doubt spare a thought for fellow Texan Ben Hogan, who won the Masters, the US Open and Open Championship in 1953. Alas, he couldn’t complete the Slam as the PGA was, at that time, played at the same time as the Open. At two from two, Spieth has to be thinking about St Andrews and next month’s next major. If he isn’t, the world’s golfing media certainly is.

Spieth showed he has grit and determination in spades, and a huge ability to concentrate when it really matters. After the double-bogey on 17, his penultimate hole, he then split the 18th fairway with his drive. Under the circumstances he had to go for the par-5 18th in two, a high risk and reward shot on a treacherous layout. Remember, this guy has not the length of a McIlroy or Jason Day. And certainly nowhere near the power-hitter Dustin Johnston, who was lurking immediately behind Spieth, on the same score and waiting to bomb it on to 18 with something like a five-iron.

That Spieth managed to make the green in two, then two-putt for his birdie was testament to his grit, following what to many would have spelt disaster – that double-bogey on the previous hole. He then waited while Johnston, following a massive drive down 18, hit 5-iron to within 13 feet. His eagle attempt went some 4-plus feet past. He missed the return and with it the chance of a play-off.

As is usual with US Opens, there was much debate about the course, its set-up, quality of putting surfaces and so on. Some have been vociferous in their condemnation:

Ian Poulter: “Mike Davis the head of the @USGA unfortunately hasn’t spoke the truth about the conditions of the greens. They were simply the worst most disgraceful surface I have ever seen on any tour in all the years I have played. The US Open deserves better than that.”

Sergio Garcia: “I think a championship of the calibre of @usopengolf deserves better quality green surfaces than we have this week but maybe I’m wrong!”

Colin Montgomery: “The greens are extremely poor. A course of this demanding nature had to be in perfect condition and unfortunately, it is not.”

Gary Player: “The worst golf course I might’ve ever seen in the 63 years as a professional golfer.”

Personally, I side with the USGA who gave us a memorable Open once again. To those who said “the luckiest golfer, not the best could win this thing”, consider the following:

A final day leader board showing names such as Spieth, Johnston, Day, Scott, Oosthuizen and McIlroy is not half bad. Twenty-one under-par rounds on day one and a winning score of five-under par suggest this course was not unplayable. It gave the TV viewer a marvellous spectacle as well as a thrilling finish, gripping. Yes the greens were suspect, but overall, well done USGA.

As a final word on this US Open, we repeat what this column stated following Spieth’s Masters win, just two months ago. What really makes Jordan Spieth stand out is the quality of the man. His character seems a mixture of humility and self-assuredness, mental toughness and empathy. His lack of hubris is marked, yet so is his confidence. His willingness to acknowledge his competitor’s good play, his mental strength and character, and the way he carried his 21-year-old self throughout the week, on and off the course, mark him as someone special.

Jordan Spieth going head to head with the Open’s defending champion, Rory McIlroy, at St Andrews next month – bring it on.

Golfnutter

About golfnutter

Born in Wellington, New Zealand over 60 years ago. Introduced to golf - Thailand style - in 2004 and never recovered. I believe Thailand, Pattaya particularly, offers a unique and wonderful golfing experience for all golfers, whatever their handicap. If I can help embellish that experience, I will.
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8 Responses to US Open 2015 Review

  1. Simon HIrst says:

    The cream did indeed rise to the top. Jordan is very special, has talent in spades and is a nice young man to boot. But even he criticised the course and the greens and I stand by my statement that the luckiest guy won – there were far too many bad bounces out there to say otherwise. One drive of Dustins which was well up the left still managed to finish in deep rough on the right.

    It was a mickey mouse course and a mickey mouse set up moving tees around by as much as 100 yards. The result may be the one the USGA wanted (and the golf world needs) but how they got there was all wrong. Imagine playing the world snooker championship at the Crucible with a torn cloth? Or racing round Monte Carlo with pot holes and traffic calming sleeping policemen?

    After the event the media go into a ballot and get a round of golf. They played it at a shortened 7000 yards. Gary Player said a 10 handicapper wouldn’t break 100. He was almost right as an 8 handicapper managed a 98. Would you pay $350 for a round or would you go to Pebble Beach?

    If you asked in the bar tonight I bet you would get 100% going to Pebble and that says it all really.

    • golfnutter says:

      Hello Simon,

      Many valid points in your response. Some observations; I believe the best golfer won, as opposed to the luckiest. Your point regarding Dustin Johnston’s drive undeservedly finishing in rough becomes redundant when it is realised he lost the tournament through bad putting. The USGA gave us another thriller, notwithstanding some aspects of the course were not up to standard. Poa, the noxious weed that pervaded the greens, and grows at a faster daily rate than grass, is ubiquitous right the way down the west coast of the US, and that includes Pebble Beach.

      Thanks for your response.

      Golfnutter

  2. Simon HIrst says:

    I believe Dustin is heading for the land of Sergio Garcia and no majors to his name.
    3 jabbing the last is going to haunt him for a long while.

    So. The Open. Will the wind blow and will Jordan survive the hype? Will Tiger make a cut?
    Right now I cannot decide where to place a bet. But if you’re up for another bet I’m betting on Rory beating Jordan (if not the actual Open) and for a winner I’m going on Louis.

    To be paid in November when I’m out again (if you can stand to see this ugly mug again)

    Simon

    p.s. What happened to the staff after the Elephant bar closed?

    • golfnutter says:

      Hello Simon,

      I wont accept the Rory vs Jordan bet, but I will offer my selection of Adam Scott against your Louis Oosthuizen; paid in November.

      Golfnutter

    • golfnutter says:

      Hello Simon,

      Well done on picking Louis. Possibly the most hard-done-by golfer in the field. That he went as close as he did showed the quality of his play. He will win another major soon, I have no doubt.

      A superb Open, and one that I can’t remember being bettered in terms of final day excitement. What a leader board.

      I look forward to paying my dues in November!

      Golfnutter

  3. Simon HIrst says:

    Done!
    I wish Adam would drop that long putter – he looked so much better without it earlier in the year.

  4. Simon HIrst says:

    Well Rory is going to be watching it at home. I’m not going to say this throws it open to anyone as the draw you get the first 2 days (and the wind) can make or break your Open despite your talent.

    St Andrews is course that goes out on the right and comes back on the left. John Daly remarked when he first saw the course “I can hook all day and still be in play” I still like Louis.

    Simon

    • golfnutter says:

      Hello Simon,

      And I still like Adam, and Shane, and Tommy, and Rafael, and Justin, and Jordan, and Henrik, and Paul, and Sergio. Oh, I forgot Ernie.

      Golfnutter

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