The Slipper Almost Fit
It would be remiss not to first congratulate, the winner of the 2009 US Open, Lucas Glover.
Glover played in the final group for the last 36 holes (over three days) of Golf’s most difficult Major Championship and handled himself and his game perfectly. This quiet, softly spoken, gentlemen from South Carolina outlasted a star studded leader-board to become the Champion of the 109th Open.
Glover was able to endure the monster that is Bethpage Black and the interminable delays which the weather wreaked havoc with. This was the second win on Tour for the 29 year old and certainly not his last. Glover has a classic “older” golf swing in that he relies more on rhythm and timing more than most players, and he produces a fluid and very powerful move at the ball.
The US Open demands of its winners that they are composed and patient and Glover displayed both of those qualities in abundance. After dropping three shots on the front 9, and with the game’s biggest names, Woods and Mickelson, making charges, Glover stayed his course and played perfect, “Open” golf. After dropping out of the solo lead by making a bogey on the hardest hole on the course, the diabolical 15th, he rebounded by making a superb birdie on the 16th and then parring the last two holes for his two shot victory.
This was Phil Mickelson’s fifth runner-up finish in the US Open, which gives him more second place finishes than any other player in history. It appeared for a while that this would be the year that Lefty finally won the event that he has been so agonizingly close to winning, so many times.
With his wife, Amy, recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and who begins treatment in 10 days, being foremost in his mind, the thought was that maybe the “Golf gods” would let this be Mickelson’s year. In addition to which the New York fans have a love for Phil that they reserve for very few athletes. But it was not meant to be as Mickelson faltered by making bogey in two of the last four holes.
But for us, the real memory from this year’s thriller, was the return to prominence of David Duval (see our previous article).
Just as he did at last year’s British Open after contending for the first two rounds, Duval began his day by making a triple bogey, 6 on the par 3, third hole. Comeback over, right?
Showing an immense refusal to give up, Duval made 5 birdies over the next 15 holes and was tied for the lead with Glover at 3-under until Glover made his birdie on the 16th to re-claim the lead that he would not relinquish.
David Duval has had exactly, one Top Ten finish on Tour; in the last 7 years. He has adamantly insisted that his game was on the way back, but had offered no proof of that until this week.
The sheer will and determination that Duval displayed this week, was remarkable. That he has, for almost a decade, wandered the professional golf abyss that comes with not knowing where your next shot will go, and has persevered, is Homeric. Duval would not quit. He would not abandon hope and stop trying to get better.
The character and human qualities that David Duval has shown us far outweigh his skills as a golfer; and those skills are prodigious.