Lots of major winners and losers
To use a golf term, it was a loose impediment that broke into Webb Simpson's awards ceremony Sunday night. That is how you could describe the person who jumped into the TV shot and started cawing. Lucky for Simpson and viewers, U.S. Golf Association executive director Mike Davis hustled the guy off and took him down.
The interloper was a loser and Davis was a winner in that scene, topping a standout week for the latter and his organization. The USGA restored a tough dignity to the U.S. Open and renewed its reputation as the hardest test in golf.
Here are some other winners and losers from what is arguably golf's biggest event:
Winner: American golf. Less than a year after the Yanks appeared in crisis, they have won the past three majors and 22 of 26 PGA Tour events.
Loser: Sergio Garcia. At the Masters, he admitted he doesn't have what it takes to win a major. At the Olympic Club, he continued to prove it, petulantly whacking a microphone.
Winner: Youth. Simpson, the 26-year-old champion, said the "Tiger Effect" has encouraged golfers to excel at a younger age. Beau Hossler (17), Andy Zhang (14) and low amateur Jordan Spieth (18) stole the show.
Loser: Experience. Ernie Els, for instance, gave it all he had, but it didn't look like he had enough to give. Maybe the British Open is where the 40-ish set has the best chance?
Winners: Cypress trees. Caught Phil Mickelson's and Lee Westwood's errant tee shots and didn't give back the golf balls.
Losers: Mickelson and Westwood. The former never got it going after his first tee shot Thursday, the latter never recovered from his brush with the tree on Sunday.
Loser: Jim Furyk. As much as he mentioned the fact the USGA inexplicably moved the tee box up about 100 yards on No. 16 (the longest hole in Open history), he really did not play well Sunday. An Open co-leader can't afford to get zero birdies.
Winner: Graeme McDowell. Had a chance to tie on the 18th green despite not having his best stuff. Also used the word "conundrum" to describe the tee on No. 16.
Winner: Parity. Each of the past 15 majors has been won by a different golfer. Each of the past nine has been a first-time champion.
Loser: Dominance. Wouldn't it boost interest in the game if someone could be just a tiny bit consistent in majors?
Loser: Tiger Woods. No matter which way you slice it (or hook it), Woods, coming off that impressive flop shot at the Memorial, was a flop on the weekend.
Winner: Tiger Woods' achievements. Simpson said all he could think during the daunting back nine Sunday was, "How could Tiger win 14 of these things?"
Winner: Michael Thompson. Dismissed as a one-day wonder after his 66 Thursday, he bounced back with a strong 67 Sunday and lost by only one stroke.
Loser: Rory McIlroy. Defending champion was never a factor and barely a presence.
Winner: Casey Martin. Probably a classy swan song for a nice guy who has had to deal with a lifelong bad break.
Loser: Official world golf rankings. No. 1 position just made it more embarrassing for Luke Donald to badly miss the cut.
Winner: West Coast golf. USGA loves putting the Open on in prime time for much of the country and the fact it rarely rains in California this time of year.
Loser: Time zone golf. Isn't 10:30 at night a tad late to expect a youngster to be watching golf? The newspaper deadlines are murder. Here's looking forward to Merion, outside Philadelphia, next year.