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A Paradoxical US Open

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Greetings Golfers,

I have to talk about last week’s US Open. I’m sure you’ve read articles about it and talked to your friends about it … but, this one deserves a lot of review.

First off – how great is Jordan Spieth? It was a roller coaster finish – especially the last hole. Yet the last three holes were amazing – Spieth’s birdie putt on #16, Grace’s OB drive also on “16, Spieth’s double bogey on #17, and Dustin Johnson’s birdie on #17.

But #18 was mind boggling. Spieth hitting that incredible second shot to set up an eagle putt – which he wisely cozied-up to leave himself a tap-in birdie … and then Johnson hitting a perfect drive and second shot to give himself an even closer eagle putt. And then Johnson rolling his eagle attempt four feet by and missing the comeback putt to lose by one shot. Unbelievable drama!

I have to admit that I’m not a DJ fan. He’s probably my least favorite guy on Tour. And that Jordan Spieth is probably my favorite guy on Tour. But, I wanted Johnson to make that comeback putt for birdie and the tie. I actually felt sick when he missed it. I never want to see someone lose a tournament – I want to see someone win it.

The golf course. The players and the media really went after Chambers Bay. Gary Player’s rant was especially vicious. I liked Player’s comments about the state of golf and golf architecture – but I completely disagreed with his comments about Chambers Bay as a US Open venue. Was the golf course extremely difficult? Yes. But Adam Scott shot 64 on the final round. The best players in the world did rise to the top of the leader board – isn’t that the point of the US Open? And, this was not played for fun – this was a test – a brutal test. Professional golfers need to deal with the conditions. Professional football players sometimes play in terrible conditions … they have to deal with it. Professional golfers should not be exempt from difficult conditions.

Do I want to play Chambers Bay? Not really. Is it a public golf course? Sort of. It was built to host the US Open – not for the golfing needs of the residents of Tacoma. The USGA playing the public course card was a farce – the green fee is $200+ … not exactly your typical muni.

In summary: Jordan Spieth has emerged as a true superstar who is wise beyond his years. Dustin Johnson continues to implode under pressure – I feel sorry for him, but just can’t seem to like him. Chambers Bay was a good venue for a US Open … but a bad golf course for public play.

What a paradox of a US Open.


Tom Abts
GM and Head Golf Professional