US Open, a reminder of what really matters in golf

England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick, right, celebrates with Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy after Fitzpatrick won the US Open golf tournament at The Country Club on Sunday, June 19, 2022, in Brookline, Massachusetts. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)Charles Krupa/The Associated Press

A week that began with Phil Mickelson speaking almost nothing ended with Matt Fitzpatrick at a momentary loss for words in his proudest moment.

The US Open was more than just a diversion from the disruption in golf.

He brought meaning to the game.

“Speechless,” Fitzpatrick said moments after a shot that will become part of US Open lore. He hit a 9-iron from behind a lip into a fairway bunker on the 18th hole at Brookline that settled 18 feet behind the pin and led to his one-stroke victory.

“It’s what you grow up dreaming of,” he said. “It’s something I’ve worked very hard on for a long time. First victory in America, and to do it in a major, there is nothing better”.

Sure, there were some money matters mentioned on Sunday. Fitzpatrick won the US Amateur at The County Club in 2013, which came with a gold trophy and the chance to play in three majors. This title brought in US$3.15 million from the largest purse in US Open history.

Scottie Scheffler, the Masters champion and the No. 1 player in the world, finished second to Will Zalatoris and won more than $1.5 million. That allowed Scheffler to set a single-season PGA Tour record at nearly $12.9 million, easily breaking the mark Jordan Spieth set in 2015, with two full months still to go.

Charl Schwartzel won $4.75 million a week earlier competing in the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series. There were 54 holes without a court, a field of 48 men that had only four players from the top 50 in the world ranking.

No one will mistake it for the toughest test in golf.

It took until the first round of the US Open for attention to be diverted from Greg Norman’s money grab and put him back at the highest level of competition. But it was worth the wait. This US Open delivered in many ways.

The Country Club, hosting its fourth US Open and first since 1988, produced an ideal test to identify the best player of the week. There was plenty of length on par fours, a par three that fit the elevation played below 100 yards, and greens that contained only the best shots.

It was the fourth year in a row that there had been a first-time major champion at the US Open, though Fitzpatrick was no surprise. He knew Brookline better than anyone for having come through six matches to win the US Amateur, and this was his fourth top-10 finish in his last five tournaments. He was in the final group at his second straight major.

The contenders featured four of the top seven players in the world over the weekend. He also had three players in the final top 10 who had to pass a 36-hole qualifying just to get to the US Open. One of them was Denny McCarthy, who made the cut on the number and a 68-68 weekend took him to a tie for seventh place.

And this was a week after Rory McIlroy won the Canadian Open, golf’s fourth longest running National Open, in a tense duel with Justin Thomas.

LIV Golf and its theme of being a “force for good” will return. The only thing that swirled more than the wind over the weekend were more rumors about which players will be the last to try to cash in.

Only four players who had been to the first LIV event made the cut of 17 at the US Open. The best result came from Dustin Johnson, who birdied two of his last three holes to tie for 24th.

Bryson DeChambeau was not in London: he signed up for LIV Golf the weekend before the US Open and will be out of Portland at the end of the month. He finished his final round before the leaders teed off and posted three birdies in his weekend rounds of 76-75.

As for Michaelson? It didn’t even make it to the weekend. It is not to worry. His next LIV Series tournament has no cut, just big money and little relevance.

In the meantime, Fitzpatrick was hoping to get some time away from golf to relax and dwell on the idea that he is a great champion, England’s third in the last decade, joining Danny Willett (2016 Masters) and Justin Rose (2013 US Open). . ).

He is number 10 in the world, a personal record, and can finally celebrate a victory in the United States. Zalatoris suffered another close call, his third runner-up finish in the past seven majors, while Scheffler has a Masters green jacket and a US Open silver medal. It’s been a pretty good year.

They meet again in a month in St. Andrews for the British Open, the 150th edition of the sport’s oldest championship in the birthplace of golf.

Can’t get here soon enough.

“You’ve imagined being in this situation your whole life, and now I’ve basically been in it three times in a spec,” Zalatoris said. “That’s why you play the game. There is nothing like that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.