Monday, June 22, 2015

Jordan Spieth’s win was sort of anticlimactic but great for golf

Even though Jordan Spieth won the US Open Championship Sunday when Dustin Johnson three-putted from about 12 feet on the final hole at Chambers Bay, the finish was somewhat of an anticlimactic end to the golf tournament, but his victory, whether it came yesterday or today in an 18-hole playoff may be the best thing to happen to golf in a long time. It will help remove the need for Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson to be part of the winning conversation, for one; and, because Spieth won the Masters, it sets up great anticipation of his play in the (British) Open Championship next month. Spieth is halfway home to winning the Grand Slam of golf, capturing the Masters, the US Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship all in one year.

After watching nearly every televised second—about 40 hours—of the US Open and just then getting used to the layout at Chambers Bay and understanding more about where and how the players were to successfully complete shots, another 18 holes, especially between Spieth and Johnson, would have been a better finish than the next to the last putt falter of Johnson which made Spieth the winner by one shot. Though a game of my own is scheduled for today, and surely over the objections of my wife, the VCR would have been capturing the broadcast for replay at my leisure.

On the other hand, that would have meant spending more time listening to the awful coverage by FOX Sports. It would have meant more of football/baseball announcer Joe Buck telling us over and over again that he’s sitting next to “the Hall of Famer” Greg Norman as if those watching the broadcast didn’t already know that Norman was once the greatest golfer on the planet. And, we learned that Greg Norman adds little to nothing to the broadcast of golf except that he’s a close friend with Jason Day who suffered through a bout of vertigo to complete the tournament. With his dizzying conversation, or lack thereof, maybe it was Norman who had vertigo.

And, now a note about Chambers Bay: It had some interesting holes and some puzzling undulations on the greens, and fairways for that matter. There were too many short par 4s and the course didn’t reward risky shots as much as such attempts were penalized with bounces in odd directions, sometimes with the ball stopping further away from the pin than from where the shot was just taken. The collection of holes may have been good, with 18 individual holes laid into a sand pit to create a championship course worthy of a US Open Championship, but the layout was confusing, there was little room for spectators to get close to the action, and the conditions of the course were not just hard to play but awful to follow on the FOX broadcast. Will the US Open return to Chambers Bay? Maybe, but if so, expect some major changes to the greens, spectator spaces and the FOX effort, hopefully.
-------------------- word of the day
clepe (verb) [kleep] to call; name

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