Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Making The U.S. Open Is A Matter Of Heart

What do Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Rocco Mediate, Kevin Sutherland, Jonathan Byrd, Bubba Watson, Bill Haas and J.B. Holmes have in common?

They're among the PGA Tour regulars who failed to qualify for the U.S. Open on Monday. Rose had just won The Memorial, beating Fowler in another event that demonstrated the youth movement in full charge on the PGA Tour. But it wasn't enough to earn either Rose or Fowler a spot in the Open, though both leaped into the top 35 in the world rankings, a few days too late for that to earn them an exemption into the field.

Some people argue that the U.S. Open is too open, meaning its qualifying process costs too many guys who might realistically challenge for the trophy on the outside looking in while allowing guys you've never heard of to play themselves in if they get hot at the right time. Both Fowler and Rose would have been players to watch had they made it -- but they didn't.

I like that about the U.S. Open. They had their chance to get in and they didn't play well enough. Just getting there may be tougher than the Open itself.

Charlotte's Joe Jaspers came within a stroke of making it to Pebble Beach. Imagine the thrill it would have been for him had he earned one of those precious spots. The same goes for Quail Hollow Club assistant Charles Frost, who tied for fifth in his qualifier but needed to be among the top two to quailfy.

It makes you wonder about some of the PGA Tour players who decided to sit out the qualifying process, skipping the Open. Sure it's a grind but if they don't care about playing in the national championship then what do they care about?

Then you see Erik Compton, living with his third heart, playing his way to Pebble Beach, enduring a grueling 36-hole day that had to test him to the limit. That's what the U.S. Open is about.


Anonymous said...

OK Ron, do us and yourself a favor and write an article about that kid in the K-Town tournament who plays with only 6 clubs and putts with a driver. Providing he can post a decent score with that setup.

That would be more interesting than any Jack, Arnie, Tiger kiss up stories that we have seen 1,000 times.