So the Olympic Club curse continues. The 112th US Open coughed up another unheralded champion.
Webb Simpson closed out major champions Graeme McDowell, Jim Furyk, David Toms, Padraig Harrington, Ernie Els – and Tiger Woods.
Webb Simpson is the new Scott Simpson (winner in 1987). Or the new Lee Janzen (1998). His one over par total ensured not a single player finished in red numbers.
“I never felt nerves like I did today,” said the 26-year-old from Raleigh, North Carolina. “A couple of times I had to hit my legs because I couldn’t feel them.”
There was a Brit on the winner’s podium at the end. But unfortunately it was just an idiot who ran on sporting a tea cosy chicken hat with a Union Jack pattern. He was quickly ushered away to no doubt have his neck rung.
McDowell’s 24-foot birdie put at the last slid by the hole, which meant the 2010 champion finished joint runner-up with American Michael Thompson rather than forcing his way into an 18-hole Monday play-off.
Furyk needed a birdie at the last, too. But his approach plugged in a greenside bunker. He needed to hole it. He shanked it.
Harrington finished tied fourth at three over par and it was yet another top 10 for Lee Westwood (tied 10th at five over par) but he is now 0 for 57 in the Majors, as they like to say in the States.
His wretched luck ran out at the 5th as his drive and his chances of winning went up a gum tree. His ball disappeared into the top branches never to be seen again. Westwood’s challenge went the same way.
Meanwhile, Woods got lost in the fog that enveloped the Olympic Club throughout the final round. All the good work and promise of the first two rounds just drifted away over the weekend on a Pacific sea breeze.
Starting five shots behind the leaders, he needed a steady start on the treacherous first six holes. He played them in six over par. But while his game may still be a work in progress, his mental fortitude seems to be back in the groove.
He never gave up. Woods played the next 12 holes in three under par to finish seven over par. Tied with him in 21st place was Jordan Spieth, winner of the low amateur prize. He claimed that honour courtesy of a double bogey at the 18th by Beau Hossler.
The TV cameras zoomed in on Simpson and his wife, Dowd, as they watched nervously as McDowell and Furyk played the final hole. So the 112th US Open ended up as yet another zany episode of The Simpsons. “Dough,” as Webb, not, Homer, might have said. And first prize was indeed a lot of dough – £900,000, to be precise.