This is going to be knockdown 220-yard four-iron into a cross breeze hard.
That’s the conclusion I’ve come to after a day or two of looking at the past 13 major championships and their 13 different winners. How do you rank them? Is there a measurement system? Is there any way to quantify dominance?
These are the questions I’m wrestling with as I shuffle and reshuffle the names of the 13 champions. Each of them did something incredibly impressive. I feel awkward trying to tell them who did something incredibly impressive slightly better than the other. But, from the day I was given the moniker “The Mouth That Roars,” I knew there was no sense in being anything but bold…so here’s #10
#10 Lucas Glover – 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black
U.S. Opens are designed to beat the tar out of golfers. The tournament welcomes the suggestion that it’s the toughest test in golf. That’s why you rarely see anybody but some of the top handful of players winning it.
There are some who argue that 2009 didn’t hold to form in that sense because Glover won a water-slogged event. Call Long Islanders who went to the event and they still might be wringing water out of their socks. Weather caused multiple delays and lengthened Bethpage Black considerably. The toughest test in golf was also an experiment in playing in brutal weather conditions.
Here’s where that theory doesn’t hold up…the best players still were right there at the end. Phil Mickelson charged and tied for the lead at one point on Monday (weather pushed the event). Tiger Woods threatened the entire back nine on Sunday. David Duval, Hunter Mahan, Sergio Garcia – they all found their way into the top 10. This was a far cry from golf that didn’t reward great shots.
Here’s where I struggle with putting Glover any higher, he and his playing partner Ricky Barnes both moved backward in the final round. Barnes brought a lead into the final round but faltered by bogeying five of the first nine holes. The man playing with Glover applied zip, zilch, zero pressure on him during the final round. Glover went from -7 to -4 during the final round of a major championship and still won by two.
You add up the weather issues, Barnes’ collapse, Glover’s backwards moving final round and that’s how this falls to #10.
(I reread this and just thought “you just put Glover outdueling Woods and Mickelson on one of the toughest golf courses in the world for a U.S. Open as the 10th most impressive thing that’s happened in the last three years? It made me nauseous. This is going to be brutal.)