He's the guy who had the best score when the U.S. Open That No One Wanted to Win finally came to an end. The field was backpedaling faster than that Texas representative who apologized to BP, but McDowell made a ton of putts and did just enough to hang on for a great victory.
Man, did it look beautiful on TV, especially at dusk. The 14th green needs to be bulldozed, but the course proved that 7,000 yards can still offer a tough test. And it's only $495 to play, about what you'd spend on a few hats and windshirts in the USGA merchandise tent.
The top cat at the USGA—everyone's favorite whipping boy—struck back when Woods petulantly griped about the greens by comparing Tiger to his archnemesis, Mickelson. Fay stopped just short of swiping at the air and making the sound of a hissing feline in the process.
For 45 minutes or so on Saturday night we remembered what it was like to have Woods in the hunt. That electrifying sense that he could do anything at any time and lift us all with him replaced the creepy knowledge that he could do anyone at any time.
Five years into his tenure as the USGA's setup man, Davis has turned the Open on its head, using imagination and flexibility to create difficult but not diabolical tests with more options than a Wall Street CEO.
Night golf was a smash hit, with Saturday's 4.5 rating up 22% from last year while Sunday's tune-in rose 35% to 6.9. Sadly, Tiger and Phil in prime time might be the best one-two punch the Peacock's had since Friends and Seinfeld.
He's most definitely back, and considering where his game has been, Els is having a great season with two wins and a top three at the Open, but the Big Card Table pushed it to three under at one point on Sunday and then collapsed as if the Tiger Woods of days gone by was closing in on him.
Tiger and Phil
Is it too much to ask the two best players in the world to shoot even par in the final round of the Open? Once Dustin Johnson imploded, there was no pressure to post a score. Yes, the course was hard, but it didn't make Tiger hit a snap hook into the trees or Phil three-putt from 15 feet. No one likes potty humor, but Woods and Mickelson played like No. 1 and No. 2.
He woke up on Sunday with the chance to become king of the world, a 25-year-old three-time winner and U.S. Open champion. Then he coughed up six shots in the first four holes and wobbled home, meaning that he woke up on Tuesday morning as the 26-year-old king of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
He went Buddha to Buddha with Tiger at last year's PGA, wearing all white (calm) to trump Woods's red shirt (strength), and won, but the inside-out Skittles bag he sported on Friday looked like it was stolen from the Menudo museum. Maybe that's why the Buddha is so often depicted laughing.
Let's assume this Golf Channel talking head (the nerdy uncle Golf.com prefers not to acknowledge) donned the neckwear at Pebble to differentiate himself from the sea lions, but his whining about the Open being too exciting was indistinguishable from the cawing of the gulls.
It may seem tiring and beside the point to continue ripping Boomer for his failures as a golf announcer—Dust in the Wind Johnson?—but he's tiring and beside the point, and if ESPN's going to persist in this silliness, why shouldn't the rest of us.
GOLF.COM • SIGOLFNATION.COM
JOHN BIEVER (MCDOWELL, ELS, COURSE)
KOHJIRO KINNO (WOODS)
AL TIELEMANS (YANG)
COLUMBIA TRI-STAR (SEINFELD)
KENNETH E. DENNIS/ICON SMI (BERMAN)