Heroes and Zeroes
It wouldn't be a major without SI's roundup of the week's champs
Tiger Woods may have cruised to another major championship, and
Felix Casas may have shot the worst score (a 92 on Friday), but
there were plenty of other winners and losers at the U.S. Open.
Here's our tally.
June 23, 2002
GOLF FANS After a thrilling Saturday, the final round was a dud,
as none of the would-be challengers could make a serious run. In
his last six major triumphs Woods's average margin of victory has
been more than five strokes. Yawn.
SERGIO GARCIA He sounded like a whiny conspiracy theorist on
Friday, then came undone on Open Sunday for a second straight
year, this time because of jittery putting. And don't even
mention those infernal waggles, which hint at a deeper internal
COLIN MONTGOMERIE Despite the manufactured goodwill campaign, he
missed a U.S. Open cut for the first time in his career. Be Gone
TOM MEEKS The USGA's senior director for rules and competitions
launched weeks of pretournament hand-wringing by describing the
Black's greens as flat. So how come they had so much break?
SCOTT HOCH'S FASHION SENSE It's one thing to wear the flag on
your sleeve, but a whole shirt is a bit much. However, that
70-69 weekend was pretty sharp.
DAVID DUVAL Another major, another missed cut.
BETHPAGE REGULARS As if it wasn't already hard enough to get on,
now the whole world is going to want to play this $31-a-round
jewel. Is anybody out there prepared to spend two nights in a
car to snag a tee time?
USGA The blue coats deserve criticism for the over-the-top
carries required on the 10th and 12th holes, but they did have
the vision to bring the Open to Bethpage. Expect the Black to
take its place in the rotation, even at the expense of another
New York-area course.
NOOO YAWK FANS The teeming masses brought an unprecedented
energy to the staid U.S. Open but were restrained and respectful
THE MILLERS Johnny was at his excitable best on Saturday,
drafting on the crowd's energy, while son Andy made the cut and
scored an ace to boot.
NICK FALDO Nasty Nick not only justified his special exemption
by tying for fifth, but he also turned into a jolly fan
favorite, complete with an I [Heart] NY hat.
THE BRITISH OPEN The biggest tournament in the world just got
bigger, with a Grand Slam in the offing for the first time in 30
GIRLFRIENDS Martina and Elin got nearly as much airtime as their
JEFF MAGGERT He reemerged after three years in the abyss. Bonus
points for recovering from a shank on the 3rd hole on Sunday.
SHORT-SLEEVED RAIN JACKETS The newest trend in golf apparel
received prime-time exposure during a stormy second round.
PHIL MICKELSON Yes, Lefty came up short (again), but just as at
this year's Masters, he avoided the big blowup, confirming his
overdue maturation. Throw in the adoring crowds serenading him
with Father's Day greetings and birthday wishes--Mickelson
turned 32 on Sunday--and sometimes even a loser can feel like a
Bruce Fleisher made the right choice by skipping the U.S. Open,
despite the free pass that came with his win at the Senior Open.
His shrillest critic, Hale Irwin, went 82-81 on the Black,
proving the old guys did not belong on such a brutal course. Who
looks silly now, Hale?
Tour regular Jeff Gove didn't get into the U.S. Open as the
first alternate out of the Rockville, Md., qualifying site, but
last week he was part of another exclusive crowd--the audience
for the Late Show with David Letterman. Because alternates
aren't allowed to play the tournament course, Gove and his wife,
Heather, forsook Long Island and stayed instead in Times Square,
enjoying a second honeymoon of sorts. (They were married in
December.) While strolling around Manhattan on June 11, they
happened upon the Ed Sullivan Theatre, which was swarming with a
heavily pierced crowd that had turned out for Dave's guest David
Bowie. Idling in front of the theater, the Goves were approached
by a Late Show representative who was trying to find some
Letterman fans to balance out the Bowie zealots. Heather scored
two tickets when she aced a short quiz on Dave-related trivia.
"It was so much fun to see the insides of the show," says Jeff.
"They film it in an hour, no retakes, no mulligans."
Charles Howell and his fashion-forward wardrobe elicited plenty
of attention from Bethpage's hecklers. The best line Howell
heard? "Hey, the Jesper Parnevik look-alike contest is next week."
Howell bogeyed the final two holes on Sunday to finish 18th, a
tough break since the top 15 earn exemptions to next year's
Open. Jay Haas, 48, birdied the 72nd hole to sneak into a
three-way tie for 12th.
LPGA rookie Candie Kung qualified for last week's Evian Masters
by tying for fifth at the Kellogg-Keebler Classic on June 2, but
there was only one problem--the native of Taiwan didn't have a
visa to travel to France, nor did her mother, father and
brother, who were planning to go with her. Two days after the
completion of the Classic, in Aurora, Ill., Candie's mother,
Chao, visited the French consulate in Chicago, only to be
referred to the consulate in Washington, D.C., which happened to
be near that week's McDonald's LPGA Championship in Wilmington,
Del. After the family drove all night from Illinois, Candie's
brother-caddie, Justin, went to the French consulate in D.C.,
only to be informed that the visas had to be issued in the
family's home state, California. (They reside in Rowland
Heights.) So Chao caught an evening flight from Philadelphia to
Los Angeles, only a day after having been rebuffed in Chicago.
She returned 24 hours later with the visas. For all the trouble,
Candie finished 65th at the Masters.
VOTE AT GOLFONLINE.COM
THIS WEEK: Following Tiger Woods's victory in April at the
Masters, 38% of respondents to this poll said Woods would win
the Grand Slam. What do you think now?
LAST WEEK: As a U.S. Open venue, was Bethpage Black too hard,
too easy or just right?
Too hard...15% Too easy...8% Just right...77%
--Based on 7,201 responses to our informal survey