When the U.S. Open was over, after Gary Woodland slam-dunked his birdie putt on Pebble Beach’s famous 18th hole, lighting up a gray afternoon, and the silver trophy was on its way to the Tap Room for celebratory nightcaps all around, a quiet peace settled over the Monterey Peninsula.
Thirty-one players had broken par in this U.S. Open with Woodland shooting 13-under par, one stroke better than Tiger Woods had posted in his record-setting victory at Pebble Beach 19 years earlier. And there was no angst.
Woodland’s victory was the finishing touch on a U.S. Open that hit all the right notes, ending a rocky run of national championships staged by the USGA. It was exactly what the U.S. Open needed.
Some will carp that the scores were too low to consider it a proper U.S. Open but they are wrong.
From 2001 through 2010, the combined score of U.S. Open champions was 14-under par, an average winning score of about 1.5-under par. That didn’t happen at Pebble Beach and it didn’t need to happen.
Had it been sunny and warmer as it w...
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