PGA TOUR: Closing Thoughts of the US Open Golf 2010 at Pebble Beach

Andy Reistetter@GolfWriter59Analyst IJune 21, 2010

PEBBLE BEACH, CA - JUNE 20:  Graeme McDowell (L) of Northern Ireland celebrates with the trophy alongside his father Ken on the 18th green after winning the 110th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 20, 2010 in Pebble Beach, California.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Featured Columnist Andy Reistetter was on site at the United States Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California and is now waiting patiently in the San Jose airport for a flight back to thunderstorm-infected Chicago. Here are his thoughts on the recently concluded United States Open won by Graeme McDowell on the Pebble Beach Golf Links.

 

It is much too early to fully comprehend the experience of being at the US Open, especially this one at Pebble Beach.

 

I am still overwhelmed by the experiences of the week and grateful to so many people who made this week truly a memorable experience for me.

 

I was proud to be a foot soldier for NBC Sports walking the course a full seven times over the four days of the tournament.

I personally witnessed 18 different players up close and personal.

 

The lowest round was a 69 by Brandt Snedeker early on Saturday. On moving day he combined  his score with his Sunday 71 and he went from T66 after starting with a 75 to finishing T8.

 

With one win on the PGA Tour in 2007, at Wyndham, look for this amateur darling of the 2004 Masters to win again soon. As surely as Rose's rose bloomed at the memorial, Snedeker has the game and mindset to win the big one someday soon.

 

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The best round I saw was DL3's (Davis Love III's) Sunday 71.

 

With any fortune on the short grass, Love could have easily won this thing.

 

The host of the McGladrey Classic on his beloved Sea Island later this year in the Fall Series missed a handful of birdie putts within 15-20 feet.

 

Love three-putted the 10th and 12th holes and bogeyed the infamously diabolical par- 5 14th after being hole high in two strokes.

 

Even after all that, he still had the Mo-Jo going with a chance to win his second major until a pulled 4-iron left on the breath-taking and championship-denying par-3 on the 17th .

 

I was willing to go onto the rocky ledge to comb the tall grass in hopes of finding his ball but caddie Jeff Weber did not acknowledge my finger point to my chest and then down into the hazard.

 

Which, by the way, reminds me of the biggest disappointment of the tournament...

How could ESPN Radio go off the air? First it happened Thursday at 4 p.m. local time with Tiger Woods on the 9th tee  and then again on Friday with Phil Mickelson putting for a 30 on the 9th green?

 

Come on, say it isn't so but it was… The Golf Channel would never do that!

 

Okay, I do realize ESPN is an all sports network and their guy Rick Reilly is out there covering and writing books about wacky, wild, and who-cares-about alternate sports but seriously you get the nod to cover the United States Open please cover it!

 

Hey I use to live in LA—I understand there are other sports...did the Lakers win Game 7?

 

And one more thing about ESPN Radio—if I had to hear that Scott Van Pelt stupid game-recognize-game a.k.a whoever I don't really care commercial one more time I would have tied a weight (it would have to be ready) and jump off the 18th tee to end it all.

 

Anyways, back to the golf. DL3 had a legitimate chance to win the U.S. Open but failed to get it done with the flat stick.

 

I wonder if Dustin Johnson had a guy like DL3's Jeff Weber, Furyk's Mike Cowan, Mickelson's Jim "Bones" McKay, Els' Ricci Roberts or Woods' Stevie Williams…on the bag if he could have recovered and won the major that seemed destined to be his after a Saturday 66?

 

No disrespect to Bobby Brown who caddied at Pebble Beach for the likes of you and me in the early 2000s before making it as a tour caddie and progressing to Dustin's Johnson's bag and winning the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am the last two years.

 

Pedigree golfers like DJ with the right attitude and interaction with their caddies don't go triple, double, and bogey early in the biggest round of their career.

 

Fanny Sunesson knew how to keep Nick Faldo loose with questions out of the blue like "So I heard you are thinking of getting a dog?"

 

Though she failed to keep Henrik Stenson fully clothed (remember the strip club?) a few years ago at Doral, caddies like her know how to win the big one as much as their golfers do.

 

Was Garrigus' caddie willing to put his job on the line at Memphis two weeks ago and say "we have a three stroke lead, here, hit with this club?"

 

Dustin Johnson, with caddie Bobby Brown, will likely win a major sometime soon as I am sure the experience of a Sunday in the hunt in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach is priceless and will be put to good use.

 

On Thursday, I saw the best golf of the day with Ricky Barnes going birdie-birdie-eagle on holes No. 4-6 after a frustrating first nine on the back nine.

 

That guy is still building on his T2 at the Open at Bethpage Black last year as evidenced by his strong finish at Jack's Memorial Tournament and a T27 finish at Pebble Beach.

 

Jerry Kelly's Friday 70 was very impressive, though he followed it with 81-77 on the weekend.

 

Coming to the 7th tee, there was a state trooper with a young boy who had become separated from his father. In the heat of the battle, Kelly took several moments to reassure the kid, sign a ball for him, and turned a worrisome time into one his father likely will not believe happened.

 

Together, anything's possible and these guys are really good. They may not be far from the mark when it comes to PGA TOUR players.

 

The golf links and the way they were set up by the U.S.G.A.'s Mike Davis were nothing short of extraordinaire.

 

The rough was brutal, the tall fescue around the bunkers scenic, and the fairways and greens "firm and fast."

 

Tough conditions—hard but fair to put a premium on skill to win the national championship.

 

If you don't know by now, the greens at Pebble Beach are tiny and the probability of hitting them and holding them was minuscule.

 

The "niner" hole, the par-5 14th is remarkably difficult especially the green complex.

 

So named for its christening in the 2010 AT&T National Pro-Am when Paul Goydos in the heat of battle on Sunday afternoon took a "nine" there as did Bryce Molder.

 

When Tiger managed to birdie the hole coming home on Sunday afternoon I thought he still had a chance to pull his 15th major out of the hat.

 

As it turns out his triple birdie finish on Saturday would have earned him another U.S. Open Monday playoff spot.

 

If someone would have said that a Woods' even par round of 71 or an Els 1-under 70 or a Mickelson 2-under 69 would win them the 2010 U.S. Open outright would you have believed them?

 

Sad but true.

 

As it turned out a Woods' Sunday 75 and a Mickelson Sunday 73 locked the two best players in the world into a tie for fourth place in the 110th rendition of our national championship.

 

Mickelson, after a fast start with birdie on No.1, never birdied again and suffered his fate with three back nine bogeys.

Els' fate was sealed on the beach at No. 10 resulting in a double bogey.

 

A back nine 40 still earned him a solo third place finish on a difficult weekend where scores averaged 75 and did not noticeable improve after the cut was made.

 

Gregory Havret, a Frenchman, had an excellent result in his first ever start at the U.S. Open—a solo second place.

 

The last player to win the Championship in his inaugural start was American Francis Ouimet in 1913.

 

Havret, at age 33, is no newcomer to the international golf scene having defeated Phil Mickelson in a playoff at the 2007 Barclays Scottish Open at Loch Lomond.

 

Though only with seven career starts on the PGA TOUR this finish certainly tops a T15 finish at the 2008 WGC at TPC- Blue Monster at Doral.

 

Graeme McDowell shot a 3-over par 74 on Sunday to win the 2010 U.S. Open Championship.

 

Though it wasn't pretty score wise it was even par and by the U.S.G.A. standards even par is pretty darn good.

 

Slow and steady McDowell shot 71-68-71-74 to win the four-day last-man-standing marathon called the US Open.

 

McDowell, a native of Portrush, Northern Ireland, and a five-time winner on the European Tour , proved  it is not only an English Invasion occurring on the PGA TOUR.

 

Englishmen Justin Rose (Memorial) and Lee Westwood (Memphis) won the last two events on the PGA TOUR.

 

In only his 64th PGA TOUR and 19th major start, the 30-year old golfer became the first European to win the U.S. Open since Tony Jacklin in 1970.

 

Congratulations, Graeme McDowell for a job well done!

 

I am still taking in what just happened on the beautiful Monterrey Peninsula!

 

Oh by the way, Happy Father's Day!

 

 

 

Andy Reistetter is a freelance golf writer. He follows the PGA TOUR volunteering and working part time for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, and The Golf Channel.

 

He resides in Jacksonville Beach, Florida near the PGA TOUR headquarters and home of The PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach.

 

He enjoys pursuing his passion for the game of golf and everything associated with it. He can be reached through his website www.MrHickoryGolf.net or by e-mailing him to AndyReistetter@gmail.com