SA golfers fail to shine at Merion

2013-06-21 00:00

IF you watched the final round of the U.S. Open on television, which was played at Merion in Philadelphia on Sunday, and managed to stay awake until the end, you would have put your head down and closed your eyes at about 1.45 am. Luckily, we had a public holiday the next day, so a lie-in was quite in order.

Thousands of South African golf fans would have thought that we had a good chance of witnessing another South African Major win. Charl Schwartzel birdied the first hole and he looked set to be among the leaders right to the end. But the brutal Merion course proved to be more than he could handle. Only five golfers had a worse final round than his 78.

One never likes to be critical of a golfer when he falls away out of contention, but it was the way that he dropped shots that was so disappointing. Even on the first nine, he had poor body language; he seemed negative and looked a beaten man.

He wasn’t alone though, others up there at the top of the leaderboard also melted away. Mickelson, Mahan, Stricker, Horschel and Donald could have won, but didn’t have what it takes.

Ernie Els will see this Major as a missed opportunity. He played solid golf, finishing tied for third and only four shots behind the winner.

Englishman Justin Rose was obviously delighted with winning his first Major title. He held his nerve better than the other front- runners. He holed a number of those clutch putts, remained positive throughout and in the end, he deserved to lift the trophy.

Spare a thought for Phil Mickelson. There can only be one winner of a golf tournament and it seemed that everything was pointing to him. He had never won a U.S. Open, but had been runner-up five times. He was leading the tournament after three rounds on one under par and the final day was not only Father’s Day but it was also his 43rd birthday. Sadly, it wasn’t to be. He shot an agonising final round of 74, lost by two strokes and was runner-up for the sixth time.

The good news for Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy (number one and two in the world golf rankings) is that they both made the cut but the bad news is both Tiger and Rory were as poor as each other.

Tiger finished +13 in 32nd place and Rory was +14 in 41st place. Let’s hope for an improved performance from them at the (British) Open Championship next month.

From the 19th hole:

A man brings one of his mates home for dinner.

His wife screams at him, “My hair is a mess, I have no make-up on, the house is a mess, the dishes are not done, I’m still in my pyjamas and I can’t be bothered with cooking tonight! Why the hell did you bring him home?”

The man replies: “Because he’s thinking of getting married.”

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