Jacksonville Sports News, Sam Kouvaris - SamSportsline.com

US Open Proving Ground

I wasn’t sure who to root for, or against for that matter.

I like to get behind somebody in major golf championships. Sometimes it’s actually Tiger but othertimes it’s just somebody who looks like they need the win or they just got struck by lightning.

At this year’s US Open I was somewhere down in the field with Tiger, Phil and David Duval among the guys I wanted to see play well with Ricky Barnes and Lucas Glover on the other end of the spectrum. Barnes did his job and disappeared easily enough. Duval just about drove me out of my mind with a triple on his first hole Sunday to all but disappear: until he made it back after the turn.

I wanted Tiger to make a run because I wanted to see which one of the guys up front would fold up just seeing him within striking distance.

Phil’s story was easy. Wife Amy wanted him to bring the silver trophy back to her for her hospital room during her recovery from surgery for breast cancer. So Phil definitely had my support, just like everybody else watching. Wasn’t every woman watching rooting for Phil? Of course! But I also wanted David to win. So I was a bit torn, except for hoping that Glover would remember who he was and go away.

And it looked good for a while.

Tiger was lurking (does everybody say “lurking” when talking about Tiger?) and Phil and David were hanging near the lead. Until Glover decided this was the one tournament he was going to hang in there and win. Admittedly, both Phil and David made mistakes coming in, costing them a chance at winning, but wasn’t Glover supposed to have some massive blowup hole somewhere along the back nine?

In the end Glover wins, but Phil and David win too. Right?

Mickelson was the runner-up for a record 5th time and said “Oh well” when asked about another second place finish, further endearing him to everybody watching. Duval said exactly what I expected him to say: “While very happy about how I played, I’m very disappointed as well. When I got up this morning, there was no question in my mind that I was going to win the golf tournament.”


That’s at least what I hope David was thinking because that’s exactly what he needs in order to start being relevant again in golf. What if he hadn’t made triple on that first par three on Sunday? Would he have done that somewhere else? I don’t know but I do want him to play again soon. It just seems to me that he’s been right all along.

“I’m playing better than my scores reflect,” he said before the US Open started. “I still consider myself one of the top ten players in the world.”

That comment drove a lot of the assembled media to distraction, or snide laughter. Of course that was before they all jumped on his bandwagon. I actually hope the tires go flat on that bandwagon soon.

Duval can still play. He has some other priorities in his life and perhaps has lost 10 years of his prime career time. But he’s figuring it out and if he stays healthy, he’ll continue to play well, and win. Soon.