MILLER TIME: HOGAN AND TREVINO TRIBUTES
Like we did for the Masters, GVOTW will dedicate major week to the U.S. Open to get us in the mood ... in addition to the Clubhouse Kitchen's comprehensive philly cheesesteak analysis and how-to-at-home guide.
First, it's the 40th anniversary of the greatest round ever at the U.S. Open. While some people ocassionally poke Johnny a bit for being so proud of that round, the numbers show it is well deserved and earned pride. Johnny not only shot an unheard of 63 that day, it was on the notoriously difficult Oakmont.
People also often mention there is less pressure when you are not at the top with the leaders. While this may be true, that does not mean people come from behind to win the U.S. Open. In fact, it is very rare. In the 40 U.S. Opens since Miller's 63, no one has come from further back in terms of number of strokes from the third round leader (6 strokes back). Only Hale Irwin coming from T20 in 1990 was further back but it was only 4 strokes back on a very crowded leaderboard. Someone had to win that year. The lowest a winner has shot in the final round since 1973 has been a 67 (4 times). While Irwin in 1990 shot a 67 to come from behind on that densley packed leaderboard, it just doesn't match Miller's 63 at Oakmont.
It is also the 42nd anniversary of Lee Trevino's win at Merion Golf Club, the host of this year's U.S. Open. In a two for one special, here's a great little video of Johnny Miller imitating Trevino's swing and finish.
Of course Merion is also where Ben Hogan hit his famous one-iron on the 18th to clinch his second of four U.S. Open Titles (and also the source of the greatest photo in golf). Miller also has a very interesting analysis of Hogan's swing on that hole and what the modern player may be (wittingly or unwittingly) adopting from Hogan.
To quote Johnny: great stuff (btw, SI.com's golf section has a good bit on Johnny Millerisms -- which is another highlight of the U.S. Open coverage).
Speaking of Hogan and great one-irons to win the U.S. Open, there was also this tidbit from the Memorial a couple weeks back showing Jack's actual one iron he used to win at Baltuserol in 1967 and Pebble Beach in 1972.
Okay, now to a bit more recent history to get is warmed up for the Open. Here's the best attempt at memorable moments from the last five Opens.
Webb Simpson's win with the long putter may have been the shaft that broke the camel's back for the USGA. ESPN still has on line a good summary of the tournament and we forget that Jim Furyk looked like he was on his way to at least a playoff until the final several holes.
Of course the most memorable part of the tournament was the trophy ceremony (you'd think Bob Costas would have been more pro-gun after this guy).
Rory McIlroy dominated this U.S. Open so thoroughly that there is not much to remember in the highlights department. In hindsight, Sports Illustrated may have gotten a bit carried away with this headline.
Although it was a dominating performance, the cover looks have been a bit of hyperbole. Consider that two of the next five major champions were in their 40s. In fact, since that headline, the average age of the champion in the seven majors held since has been 32 years old (that's even including McIlroy's PGA Championship last year win at age 23).
2010 U.S. OPEN
As likeable as Graeme McDowell is, it is Dustin Johnson's fourth round collapse that sticks in my head. I am obviously not alone based on this gut wrenching video [especially starting at minute 2:45] of DJs collapse. It's still like a car accident -- tough to look away.
Excruciating for DJ.
It;s fairly impressive and dramatic video and music by this YouTube poster and admit I forgot how close Gregory Havret was to winning this or at least forcing a playoff.
2009 U.S. OPEN
Lucas Glover won this rain soaked event at Bethpage Black and may stick in my memory (I was in attendance on the Sunday which was not the last day) as the last gasp of the golf career of David Duval.
2008 U.S. OPEN
In my mind, Tiger's win in 2008 was the most electric and exciting golf as a spectator in the past 10 years. Tiger's putt on 18 to force the playoff still gives me the chills.
It should not be forgotten that Woods' third round had its crazy moments that put him in the position to be at the top on Sunday. The playoff with Rocco was of course no disappointment even requiring an extra sudden-death hole. Amazingly, you can watch the entire playoff online if you really need to celebrate the 5th anniversary in full.