Ray Ainsley may have been one of maybe a golf cart full of people who would have appreciated what we all just saw at the U.S. Open at Olympic Club over the weekend: bad golf.
OK, so that last part is a lie. A bad lie.
It was good golf made to look bad by a ridiculously unforgiving track that left not one of the world’s best golfers at par or under for the tournament.
Question is: Was it any fun to watch?
Answer is: Only for the sick and twisted.
Afterward, as Webb Simpson was about to collect his trophy for having won the thing from his seat in the clubhouse, after everyone else had been reduced to rubble, USGA president Glen Nager proudly crowed that the U.S. Open is the "toughest test in golf."
Of course it is.
If it had been any tougher, half the field would have simply disemboweled themselves and called it good. A few moments later, some loon known as "Jungle Bird" interrupted the trophy presentation by video bombing it, stepping between NBC’s cameras and Bob Costas as the broadcaster interviewed Simpson and screeching like a peacock.
You’d think NBC would have appreciated the impersonation of its longtime logo in front of a national television audience. At least the sparse part of what was left of a national television audience after all of Sunday’s carnage.
Tiger had fallen off, succumbing to Olympic’s brutal opening holes.
Graeme McDowell, playing in the final pairing with Jim Furyk, tried to hang on, going for his second U.S. Open championship in three years, but failed at the end, shooting a 73.
And Furyk. Poor Jim Furyk, the 42-year-old veteran who looked to be in control for a couple days — until he snap-hooked that drive at 16 into oblivion and bogeyed three of the final six holes.
Lee Westwood, currently ranked third in the world, hit a drive that flew into a tree and never returned to terra firma. It was gonzo, swallowed whole. It reminded me of playing golf with my buddies, none of whom is a single-digit guy. One of them once hit a ball into a tree and, instead of his Titleist dropping out, a Coke can fell to the ground, as though he had deposited four quarters into a soda machine.
I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch any of those idiots play golf. Now, Westwood, and most of the golfers at Olympic, looked just like them. We always said we wanted to play golf like Rory McIlroy or Bubba Watson, but this isn’t what we had in mind.
It wasn’t riveting action, no thrill a minute.
Watson, the reigning Masters champion, conceded after an opening round 78 that the Lake Course was flat-out over his head. "It’s a lot better than I am," he said. "That golf course is too tough for me."
Simpson confessed later that he was just trying to survive by shooting par: "I told myself, don’t get too excited, don’t try to win."
Don’t try to win?
I used to enjoy watching the U.S. Open because the way the USGA set up the courses, whether it was Shinnecock Hills or Oakmont or Winged Foot or Pebble, watching the finest golfers on the planet get sliced and diced, watching them bleed and suffer the way the rest of us do when we play the neighborhood muni, gave me some kind of crackbrained satisfaction.
Why would I want to watch Tiger Woods play 18 holes during which he felt compelled to leave his driver in the bag all but three times? If the fairway is that narrow and slanted and the rough is that deep and punitive, where’s the payoff? When the greens are measured to a 13 on the Stimpmeter, which is about the same as putting down your driveway, where’s the joy in that?Next Page >
Copyright 2013 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.