Tiger Woods struggled yesterday thus falling from the leader board. Going into the final round of the US Open, Woods was the topic of conversation at the famed Olympic Club but for the wrong reasons.
Woods started the day tied for first, but after limping home with a 5+ over par 75 he saw his name steadily move way down the leaderboard.
Could Woods come back from a five-shot deficit and claim another US Open? Could Tiger summon the greatness he had in recent years past to make a historic comeback for the ages?
The short answer is no.
Woods, sporting his familiar red shirt with a black vest, opened his day with by carding a bogey and a double-bogey on his first three holes, which put him at 8+ over par for the championship and virtually no chance of winning. His day was over really before it started.
Would the steady Jim Furyk hold on to the lead? Would the co-leader at 1-under par win his second US Open title?
Furyk struggled with his putter last year but he’s more than held his own on the rugged greens at Olympic Club. He got his round off to a great start by simply finding the fairway and consistently putting himself in position to score pars.
But at days end he made too many miscues coming down the stretch to hold the lead he held much of the final round.
How about South African Ernie Els? Could he resurrect his game to championship form and raise his third US Open trophy over his head?
Els has struggled in recent years but he’s proving he still has enough game to rekindle the days of old and slide up the leaderboard into contention. Could the big South African know as the “Big Easy” make a run and win his third US Open title?
Els played very solid on the first nine. He eagled the par-four seventh hole to get within two shots of the lead. Down the stretch Els made a critical mistake on the 16th hole that cost him a chance to resurrect his winning ways.
Could Lee Westwood—quite possible the best player on tour to have never won a major championship—find a way to break and finally win the US Open? Westwood entered the final round at 2+ over par and tied for fourth place.
At days end, let’s just say Westwood remains the game's best player to have never won a major championship.
Could amateur Beau Hossler—the 17-year-old junior in high school from southern California—win the title?
Hossler was rock steady for most of the tournament. Despite being an amateur, he displayed the poise of a wily old veteran. Hossler made four bogeys at one point in the third round but quickly followed each of his miscues with birdies.
Yesterday Hossler entered the final round with a good chance to win the tournament. Had he finished first he would have bested Jack Nicklaus’ best finish in US Open history when he finished second at the 1960 US Open.
Hossler dropped two strokes on the front nine to turn the corner at 5+ over par before finishing 9+ over the tournament.
But when the dust settled and all was said and done it was the steady 26-year-old American Webb Simpson who outlasted everyone and took home the trophy.
Simpson was not a threat to win by most experts. In many ways this victory was a total surprise.
It wasn’t like Simpson was playing lights out entering this year's US Open. In his last appearance prior to the tournament he missed the cut at the Memorial.
Simpson was pleased with his effort which consisted of a lot of prayer, especially coming down the stretch. He stated, “I probably prayed more on the last three holes than I've ever done in my life, and that kept me calm and got me home in 2 under."
But as the saying goes, it doesn’t matter how you start, just how you finish.
Dexter Rogers is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.
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