Jon Rahm broke away from a pack of decorated challengers on the back nine on Sunday to win the 121st U.S. Open by one shot over Louis Oosthuizen. At one point on Sunday afternoon, shortly after the final pairing made the turn, there were at least eight players within striking distance, including Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy and Louis Oosthuizen. And so we check in with our on-site writers one last time: which player should feel the worst about failing to capitalize on his opportunity?
Michael Rosenberg, Sports Illustrated: There is no doubt it is Oosthuizen. He needed to shoot a 1-under 70 to force a playoff. He was 6 under with eight to play, two strokes ahead of Rahm, the eventual winner. He arrived at the 17th tee figuring he would have a sand wedge into his green for a chance to make birdie, but he pulled his tee shot and made bogey. Then, on the par-5 18th, he needed eagle to force a playoff, but he hit his drive into the rough and felt he had no choice but to lay up and try to hole out for a tying eagle. Oosthuizen inadvertently showed why he has finished second so often. He is a wonderful player. He is not a wonderful closer in major championships.
Alex Miceli, Morning Read: Louis Oosthuizen had the best chance to win his second major because he could see the entire championship developing in front of his eyes from his spot in the final pairing. When he went birdie-bridie on the 9th and 10th holes, he grabbed a two-shot lead.
Even after a bogey on the 11th, he still had a one-shot lead, which was hardly safe since there were two par-5s left for most of the those on the leaderboard. But Oosthuizen was still in position to adjust and react while everyone else needed to make something happen to catch him. Which is exactly what Jon Rahm did with birdies on the 17th and 18th holes.
More Final-Round Coverage From 2021 U.S. Open:
- Rahm wins U.S. Open for First Major Title, by Gary Van Sickle
- How Rahm Finally Learned to Keep His Cool, by Michael Rosenberg
- Daily Question: Which Contender Should Feel Worst About Missed Opportunity?
- How Much Did Luck Play a Role on Sunday? by Alex Miceli
- Phil Mickelson Slumps on Weekend, Now 0-for-30 at U.S. Open, by Mike Purkey
- Mackenzie Hughes Gets Bad Bounce, Worse Break, by Mike Purkey
- Sights and Scenes From Final Round
- Olympic Qualifying Complete, but Top Players Mixed on Participation