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Golf Barometer: U.S. Open Recap

David Ferris

Ferris covers the PGA Tour for RotoWire. He is an award-winning sports writer and a veteran fantasy columnist. He also is a scratch golfer.


Rory McIlroy:
The comparisons to early Tiger Woods are appropriate - Tiger's romp at the Masters in 1997 or his rout at the 2000 U.S. Open are the most convenient comparisons to what McIlroy did to the field at Congressional last week. But before we start building a trophy case for the 9-10 majors McIlroy is headed for, we have to remember all the phenoms that had similar expectations and didn't get there. Remember what we said about Sergio Garcia 10 years ago, or Phil Mickelson in the mid-90s or Greg Norman in the mid-80s? Sure, you see McIlory's long, true and straight driving and you fall in love; you love his pace and his quiet confidence; and heck, he sure is likable in the interview room, isn't he? But if he can simply get to 5-6 majors over the next 20 years, he's had a helluva career.

Jason Day:
He's run second in both majors this year, and that's on the heels of a T10 at last year's PGA, so a star is born. Alas, it's hard to totally enjoy Day's game because he's so utterly slow on the course. Most players envision the shot before they line up and hit; Day envisions the next 10 years of his life. But he's got a full collection of skills and a balanced temperament, so I suppose we'll have to get used to him.

Sergio Garcia:
Now we're talking. Kudos for getting to the U.S. Open as a qualifier. Kudos for playing with more conviction and more trust in your swing. Kudos for heading to the course without warming up first - that took some major cajones. Maybe Sergio's learning how to get out of his own way.

Charl Schwartzel:
He was able to fly under the radar as the reigning Masters champion, in part because he's such an ordinary, perhaps boring, guy. His Sunday 66 didn't have the pressure of a normal major since McIlroy was doing a Secretariat on the field, but there's nothing wrong with a T9 to go with your green jacket. Barring injury, you can be sure Schwartzel has more majors in front of him. No weaknesses in his game, no fear in his swing.

Johnny Miller:
He's still the only regular TV voice that will regularly critique and criticize the players. Unfortunately last week, there wasn't much to be harsh on - not many players were kicking it around.


TV Ratings:
Viewership was down 28 percent at the U.S. Open, which makes sense for a number of reasons. Coronations are boring and victory laps are boring, no matter who is out front. And watching a bunch of birdies at our National Championship is boring, too. You can't blame the USGA too much - the weather ambushed it with a dry period (forcing water to the course) followed by regular rain (which softened the greens) - but that doesn't mean we had to enjoy watching a major play like a run-of-the-mill tour stop.

Phil Mickelson:
So much for "the mouse will play while the cat is away" - Mickelson's last four majors are a big yawn: T54, T27, T12, T48. And forget him at the British Open, where he has just one Top 10 his entire career.

Jim Furyk:
He's getting outdriven by everyone, but that's never been a story here. The big news is Furyk on the greens, where he's completely lost all confidence in his putter. Could he be done as a major contender at age 42? The tour keeps getting deeper and deeper.

Matt Kuchar:
We've been singing your praises for a couple of years, but take off your hat when you shake hands, big cat. Everyone else does it.

Holding Steady

Robert Garrigus:
He's longer than Tolstoy, and I don't care if he uses a ridiculous baby putter - it still looks better than the belly instrument. Drive like you don't need the money, chip like you've never missed a cut, putt like no one's watching.

Bubba Watson:
It was sweet to see him birdie No. 18 on Friday to make the cut on the number, but Watson never really figured out Congressional over four days (71-75-74-73). He's made eight cuts in a row but the only big one was the victory in New Orleans. It's a good time for a break.