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“I just can’t believe how

difficult this golf course was. I kept my head down pretty much until I bogeyed 10; I had a little peek at the leader board to see what was going on and no one was going crazy,” the Portrush, North- ern Ireland native said. “I couldn’t believe that. I really just tried to stay calm on the back nine and I really did. I did a great job of it.” After carding an even-

par front nine, McDowell played the back at three- over, including a costly four on Pebble’s penultimate hole, but was able to close the deal with a solid par on the 18th. Of the six players in the last three groups, no one broke par, and out of the top 10 on the leader board at the end of the tournament, only Matt Kuchar finished in red numbers for the day.

McDowell’s title fails to

extend Pebble Beach’s Open legacy of identifying the dominant player of the era as past U.S. Opens at Pebble have done, Jack Nicklaus (’72), Tom Watson (’82), Tom Kite (’92) and Tiger Woods (’00), but his victory is no accident or surprise. Earlier in June, the 30-year- old won the Celtic Manor Wales Open and was ranked 37th in the world coming into the championship. Gregory Havret of

France took second, one shot back of the champion while Els finished third solo and Woods and Mickelson shared fourth place. Woods bogeyed the first hole and would go on to bogey the short par-four 4th and drive it in to the water on the par- five 6th to take himself out of contention. After a birdie on the 1st, Mickelson would go the rest of the round without making a signifi- cant putt, losing three more strokes to par. After a front nine 33, Els seemed in the best shape to make a move, but a disastrous double bo- gey on the 10th stopped the South African’s momentum and a four-foot birdie miss on 15 shut the door. “It’s a pretty surreal


feeling right now, I have to say. It hasn’t really sunk in.

I don’t think I’ve put this thing (the trophy) down since they gave it to me,” McDowell reflected after the round. “To win the U.S. Open here at Pebble Beach is a special feeling. The scen- ery here at Pebble, it’s a great way of taking your mind off what was going on. Anytime I felt nervous or felt like I was getting ahead of myself I just had a look around and just took in the scenery and really just tried to use that to bring me back into the pres- ent. It’s just a special place to play golf.” Defending champion

Lucas Glover finished at +15 for the championship, with rounds of 77 and 76 over the weekend killing any chance he might have had. Tom Watson, granted a special exemption by the USGA, provided one of the best moments Sunday, finishing perhaps his final round in a U.S. Open in tears as the crowd gave him a standing ovation.

$ 12,000



Pebble’s greens made headlines due to Tiger’s “Poa annua pout” after Thursday’s opening round, when the three-time Open champion called the putting surfaces “awful” (such criticism was ab- sent after his third-round 66). USGA Executive Direc-

tor David Fay responded on television, saying, “As far as the greens are concerned, he’s wrong. That old state- ment that you’re entitled to your opinion? He is entitled to his opinion, but he’s off on his facts. These putting surfaces have never been better.” Fay was smart to draw

a comparison between comments from Woods and Mickelson; the left-hander shot 75 in the first round after going cold with his putter. “I think two players used the word awful on Thursday,” Fay said. “Phil said he putted awful. Tiger said the greens were awful.” The course was in champi-

onship condition due to the efforts of Superintendent Chris Dalhamer and his crew. Fay even went on to say, “They (greens) are much truer than we had in 2000, ‘92 and ‘82. They wanted them fast, firm and smooth. And I think they have accomplished that.” Many spectators saw brown splotches on the greens (ac- centuated on television) and figured they were unhealthy in the wake of Tiger’s comments. Portions of the greens reacted differently under the stress of championship conditioning (rolling and cutting them twice a day) and resulted in spotti- ness but were not indicative of poor quality. The spots, a result of different biotypes within the putting surfaces, developed as the greens became firmer and faster. Poa annua (Annual Blue- grass) is a grass species that excels in cooler conditions and is most commonly found on layouts along the West Coast, upper Midwest, mid-Atlantic states and East Coast.

SUMMER 2010 / NCGA.ORG / 27

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