As the last few pairings began their final rounds in yesterday?s US Open I received a text message from my Scottish friend Doug. It read: ?Whatever happens, at least we won?t go to bed seething this year.? In 2006 we were both ludicrously excited at the prospect of big Monty winning his first Major. I was pacing around my sitting room in a state of nervous agitation ready to unleash the biggest cheer since the fall of the Berlin Wall. But then my hopes were dashed against the rocks as “The Mont” played the worst shot of his professional career into the 18th green. I haven?t felt such disappointment since the last time Monty just missed out on a Major.
We were spared a repeat of such agonies at Oakmont as Colin crashed out, missing the cut by eight shots. But there was (as there now always seems to be) British interest going into the final round. This time the duo designated to try their damndest but fall just short were Paul Casey and Justin Rose. Displaying levels of grit roughly equivalent to those found in the average bottle of Johnson?s Baby Oil, both slumped to 76?s and a share of tenth place. Well done to Nick Dougherty who finished well with a 71 and got into a tie for seventh thereby securing a spot in next year?s Masters.
I was delighted to see Angel Cabrera win. A talented and powerful golfer full of spirit, he played a fabulous final round and thoroughly deserved the victory. I loved it when he nonchalantly rolled in a twenty foot putt for a two at the eighth. 300 yard par 3? Piece of cake. I?ve already forgotten who won the Masters this year but ask me in 2015 who took the 2007 US Open and I?ll have no trouble recalling. Cabrera made this US Open a memorable one.
Performing admirably then capitulating within site of the finish line is a very British trait. Tom McKean the 800m runner had it down to a tee. In qualifying races he used to dominate the field for the first 770m then slow down as the line approached to try and ?conserve energy.? Three men would invariably overtake him and he?d miss out on the final by a place.
I feel a bit like Tom McKean today as this weekend I?ve royally screwed up two competitive rounds. In the first round of the John Marr Trophy on Saturday I was cruising at -2 with two holes left and finished bogey, bogey. In the Inchmarlo Open yesterday I was +2 with three to play (not bad given the wet conditions,) I doubled the 16th and bogeyed the 17th to finish two shots behind the winner. All in all a very unsatisfactory weekend of golf.
I was disgusted to learn on Saturday that Martin and Ross, my regular playing partners in the medal, don?t read this blog. In an attempt to get my weekly readership into double figures I promised I?d give them a mention if they have a look, so here?s a bit about them:
Martin is a three handicapper with an uncanny ability to hit his poor shots straight. He?s a great scrambler and is skilled at constructing a good score without anyone noticing. If he shouts ?good strike? in an ironic tone the ball will probably end up three feet from the cup.
Ross (handicap four) is an elite squash player and as such has a very strong right arm. He can hit the ball a country mile. He used to be prone to the odd rogue shot that flew an inexplicable distance. I once saw him hit a nine iron that carried 200 yards. But he?s got a new set of clubs with stiff shafts so those days are gone.
The Club Championship starts this Wednesday and the competition looks to be wide open. I?ll probably get myself into a good position with one round to go and then do a Tom McKean.