Ten things to know about the 2014 US Open
Martin Kaymer was immense but so were Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton. Oh, and the Payne Stewart tributes were all pretty perfect.
The 2014 US Open wasn't dramatic but it did include one of the great US Open performances we've ever seen from a golfer. To do that at a historic course like Pinehurst is pretty special.
The entire week was filled with cool tributes to Payne Stewart, odes to one of the great American courses, and tremendous golf.
Here are 10 things to know about the 2014 US Open.
1. Martin Kaymer hyperbole: It's hard to overstate what Kaymer did in blowing away the rest of the field by eight strokes this year. It's hard enough to win a US Open but to sleep on the lead every night is another feat altogether. He went wire-to-wire for the eighth time at a US Open.
"It's very, very exhausting," he said. "It's very tiring because you have to speak a lot. You have to do a lot of interviews. You have to answer a lot of questions. And people bring thoughts into your head. So it's very difficult to handle all that from the first day on."
He nailed every part of it with aplomb.
Henrik Stenson summed it up best.
"He kind of killed the event in the first two days."
Nothing but standing ovations from me.
2. The Payne Stewart tributes were just the best: Two of them stood out above all the others. First, Justin Rose's pose on No. 18 on Sunday.
This is awesome - pic.twitter.com/OtiMCdLtcL— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) June 16, 2014
And this from Rickie Fowler on Thursday.
Well done, sirs.
3. Jason Day was top five...again: I would be more shocked if Jason Day didn't win a major in the next five years than if Tiger Woods didn't win one. He finished with his third (!) top five finish in the last four years at this tournament.
I mean, look at this career majors graphic:
Impressive stuff from the Australian.
4. The two most impressive lists: Of all the lists Kaymer put himself on this week the two most impressive to me are these:
Third golfer since 2000 to win two majors before turning 30 (Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy)
Second golfer ever to win two majors, 10 European Tour events, and be World No. 1 before turning 30 (Seve Ballesteros)
Kaymer has a lengthy runway laid out before him and he's already teetering on hall-of-fame status. I can't wait to see what he does in his 30s.
5. This Kenny Perry hole-out was the shot of the tournament: From that spot, with that hook on the ball. I can't believe it went in.
He couldn't believe it, either.
"I thought it was going to go over the green and then all of a sudden people started jumping up in the air and it had perfect speed on it," he said. "That's the longest shot I've ever made ever in my life, period, from 220 out of a bunker with a hybrid."
6. The putt Erik Compton hit on No. 18 was chilling: Compton's story is now well-documented and he played tremendously on Sunday afternoon. I could smell a 79 from him after a semi-shaky first hole but he hung in there and parred the last to a thunderous roar.
He pumped his fist and looked at his caddie who was doing the same. I can't imagine that feeling. He said the crowds buoyed him all week:
7. Not many under par: There have now been 468 entries into the US Open at Pinehurst spanning three tournaments. Of those 464 have finished even or over par, three have finished at 1 under, and one has finished at 9 under. That's some good perspective on what Kaymer did this week at Pinehurst.
8. Rickie Fowler's quest: It's a little odd that somebody with one PGA Tour win says he's pretty much just focused on the majors but that work is certainly paying off.
He and Jimmy Walker are the only two golfers to finish inside the top 10 at both the Masters and US Open and only Fowler has top five finishes at both. He'll likely play on the Ryder Cup team this year and the US will need his moxie to have any chance at Gleneagles.
9. There should be a US Open rota and Pinehurst should be in it: That is, there should be an official US Open rota and it should include No. 2. Alan Shipnuck mentioned this on Sunday in passing but why isn't there an official US Open rota? You could include Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines, Oakmont, and others but you would definitely have to include Pinehurst No. 2.
Donald Trump made a buffoon of himself on Sunday when he tweeted that Pinehurst wasn't green enough for his liking. It was a tremendous course that played the way Donald Ross meant for it to play. Bravo to the redesign.
10. Where art thou, Tiger Woods: I don't need Tiger Woods and you might not need Tiger Woods but if golf wants to be at the forefront of the American sports scene then it definitely needs Tiger Woods.
He wouldn't have made much of a difference this week -- unless we could have somehow teleported 2000 Tiger to Pinehurst -- but he would have at least brought some punch to an Open that lacked a lot of it.
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