THANK GOD, it’s back. My favorite event in golf is back today as the US Open tees off at 9:45. It’ll definitely be a fun one this year, especially since it’s taking place at Pebble Beach (aka Tiger’s playground). The field has me super excited, and the course is expected to be tough as hell. So it’s basically a recipe for a great tournament.
Normally, I’d go through a preview of the tournament and try to make a few predictions here and there. However, there’s way too much history to look past when talking about the US Open. So instead, I’m going to go through a few of my personal favorite moments from the event over the years.
2008: Rocco vs. Tiger
This US Open, which was held at Torrey Pines, was one for the ages. Tiger Woods was looking like a shell of himself with a left knee that had recently been operated on. He was essentially hobbling around the course, and yet somehow ended up tying Rocco Mediate for the lead at the end of the fourth round. Woods would barely go on to tie the playoff round with a birdie on the final hole, setting up a sudden death. Woods would eventually go on to win the sudden death match on the first hole, defeating the Cinderella story that was Rocco Mediate. It was one of the most gripping golf events of my lifetime, and probably one of my earliest memories watching the game. I mean, just watching the swagger and excitement of Rocco was enough to solidify it as one of my favorite sports events ever.
2016: DJ’s Moving Ball
Quite possibly one of the worst looks ever for the USGA. Back in 2016, the Open was held at Oakmont and Dustin Johnson was taking the golf world by storm. He put on a strong performance, but it would be kind of overshadowed by a questionable ruling from the officials. As he was about to putt on the 5th, Johnson’s ball moved without him touching it. He asked the rules official if he was going to be penalized a stroke even though he never caused the ball to move, and the official agreed he wasn’t responsible for the movement. However, DJ learned that the decision was still up in the air a few holes later. Even though he won the tournament by three strokes, he was still penalized one stroke for the occurrence on the fifth hole, despite having nothing to do with the ball’s movement. The USGA was lucky he was up as many strokes as he was, or else they would’ve heard about it for years.
2000: Tiger SPRINTING Away with the Trophy
There’s really nothing else to say here other than this: Tiger made the course his b***h at Pebble Beach. FIFTEEN SHOT MARGIN OF VICTORY? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This was just the beginning of Woods’ reign of terror on golf, and it would be downright magical to see him do it again on the same course this year.
2006: “I’m such an idiot.”
At Winged Foot in 2006, Phil Mickelson had the US Open basically wrapped up heading into the final hole. All he needed was a par on the par-4 18th hole to win, and a bogey to force a playoff. It seemed VERY doable at the time. However, what happened next was one of the most painful things a golf fan could ever watch. Phil grabbed his driver for some reason and ended up hooking it BIG TIME to the left, hitting a merchandise tent. His second and third shots weren’t much better, and he went on to double-bogey the hole, which lost him the trophy. It was one of the worst collapses in golf history, and it was just another tournament that went on Phil’s “Close but not Quite” list.
2019: Fleetwood Wins His First
Listen, I know Tommy-boy hasn’t won a major yet, but I can just feel this one. He’s coming in with 30-1 odds as of right now. Fleetwood’s been in the mix so many times that I think he’ll finally put four rounds of good golf together. Plus, these luscious locks just need to be in a picture with the trophy come Sunday afternoon. I need it. LET’S GO TOMMY, BRING IT HOME BABY.