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Crazy happened, and Seve saw it

By Dave Kindred

MEDINAH, Ill. -- This story begins on a sandy beach in the north of Spain. A boy with an old 3-iron. Hitting stones. Severiano Ballesteros, who in time would work magic. Better with a 3-iron out of a greenside bunker than most men with a sand wedge. Seve would win in ways no one else could imagine. To call him beautiful is to be precise, for he came to the world with looks and charm and with a gift of talent that he shared with us all.

He died a year ago, 54 years old, a cancer in his brain.

He was in Chicago this week.

Photo: Montana Pritchard/Getty Images

Sunday morning , before anyone struck a golf shot in this Ryder Cup, the European captain, Jose-Maria Olazabal, told a reporter, "I felt Seve in the team room last night." They'd been friends and partners, Ballesteros and Olazabal. Both won the Masters. They won and lost Ryder Cups together. They shared life. Sewn into the left sleeve of the European team's shirts for the Sunday singles competition, Olazabal had asked for the iconic image of Seve, an arm raised, Seve triumphant.

This was the kind of day Seve Ballesteros lived for. It was a day when something gets done that no one thought could be done. To win the Ryder Cup, the Europeans needed an historic, unprecedented comeback. They needed to win 8 of 12 singles points on the other team's home course. They won 8.5.

Related: Five biggest Ryder Cup Goats

They won those points against an American dozen that had nearly turned the thing into a rout in the first two days. As the shadows lengthened at Medinah Country Club late Saturday afternoon, the U.S. led, 10-4. With 14 points available, needing only 4 ¿ to win, a certain confidence settled on the Americans -- until, in Saturday's last two four-ball matches, the Europeans produced unlikely victories. Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald defeated Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker. Then came Ian Poulter, the fire-breathing Englishman, "a cross between Rod Stewart and Sid Vicious," broadcaster Peter Jacobsen called him. Came Ian Poulter with five straight birdies on the last five holes to beat Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson.

There, in Poulter's work, was the turning point in this story. Poulter recognized it. "It was amazing to see the atmosphere change in that team room," he said. "The spirit, I mean, it just changed. ... All week we'd been beaten quite clearly, and we just felt there was that little glimmer of hope."

Two hours into Sunday's rounds, the glimmer had grown to a glow. Midway through most of the 12 matches, the Europeans led three and were all-square in seven. Suddenly, the game was afoot. On a golden autumn day, with Medinah's thousands of trees blazing orange, red, and yellow, the Ryder Cup became the best sports event in America. Better than any World Series spread over two midnight-oil weeks ... better than any NBA Finals, because, really, Oklahoma City? ... better than any Super Bowl because Mother Nature's spectacle is better than anything the NFL can create ... better, mostly, because the Ryder Cup is golf, and golf, more than any sport, gives us real narratives that, in the best of its stories, cause us to wonder how in hell anybody can breathe let alone draw it back for a shot over a pond the approximate size of the Atlantic.

Related: Winners & Losers from the 2012 Ryder Cup

Then the blue went up on the scoreboards, the European blue. The Scotsman, Paul Lawrie, defeated Brandt Snedeker, 5-and-3. That wasn't supposed to happen. Then Rory McIlroy defeated Keegan Bradley, 2-and-1 -- this after McIlroy had lost track of Illinois time and needed a state-trooper escort to reach Medinah 12 minutes before his tee time. Next, Poulter defeated Webb Simpson, 2-up, and he talked, haltingly, of "this good man on my left sleeve right now that's going to pull us through this."

A fantasy, that. But the signs were there for those who would see.

It turns out that McIlroy can make six birdies in Ryder Cup play without warming up, unless stuffing a breakfast sandwich into one's mouth while putting on one's shoes is warm-up enough at age 23. Soon enough, three Europeans had chipped in for birdies from distances as great as 100 feet. Lee Westwood heard silence and knew what it meant during his match with Matt Kuchar: "Quiet... then you knew that when you start hearing fans, 'Matt, we need you, they are under pressure."

The story is things we didn't know. "A Ryder Cup is not for the faint of heart," Poulter said, and the Belgian Nicolas Colsearts said, "It gets you through the guts." The Canadian sportswriter Bruce Arthur, in a tweet, called the developing story a mash-up of "Happy Gilmore and an Idiocracy Presidential convention." Meaning, let's guess, that Arthur liked the goofy improbability of it all. "It's what golf is all about," U.S. team captain Davis Love III said.

Now we have seen Keegan Bradley on fire. We have seen Jason Dufner impervious. Tiger Woods, the ultimate soloist, came down the first fairway this morning to cheer for a teammate. Zach Johnson has iron in his spine. All those Europeans, with their stout hearts, earned this Ryder Cup; with the Cup at stake, they made 51 birdies to the Americans' 44. This after trailing in birdies the first two days, 99-74.

Related: Memorable Ryder Cup celebrations

Whoever wrote this implausible story foreshadowed its end early. The fourth American out, Phil Mickelson seemed to have a critical point won only to see the Englishman Justin Rose steal it by rolling in three straight putts on the last three holes, the last two for heroic birdies.

And Rose said of his last stroke, "As soon as I holed that putt, and as soon as I came off the green, my first thought was of Seve."

There were groups behind, the story moving quickly to its end now.

"He's been an inspiration for this team all week long, and who knows, if something crazy happens today, I know that were are going to be looking upwards."

Crazy happened. Seve saw it.

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News & Tours

The key to Ryder Cup success? Lighten up

By Dave Kindred

MEDINAH, Ill. -- If Ian Poulter knows anything, the Englishman knows a moment when he hears it. So, at 7:20 a.m. on the second day of this Ryder Cup, fully 11 hours before he became supernatural, he turned to the folks in the bleachers behind the first tee, most of them Americans, and invited them to come on with the noise.

Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty IMages

The idiosyncratic American, Bubba Watson, had not encouraged such noise the day before -- he had demanded it. For a few centuries, witnesses have been confined in a cone of silence when a professional golfer was at work, the flop shot as brain surgery. But here the reigning Masters champion ordered the paying customers to get loud. And get louder WHILE he hit a tee shot.

Bubba's explanation: the Ryder Cup ought to be fun. Poulter had learned of the heresy, and when the Saturday pairings put him with Watson on the first tee, he decided Bubba had a bloody good idea there.

Below those cheering thousands with their flags and raucously declared loyalties, anyone about to hit an opening tee shot in Ryder Cup competition is amped up already, even if at address the only sound is a squirrel at breakfast. "I knew Bubba was going to do it again, so why not join him?" Poulter said later. "My heart rate went from, I would say, 100 to 180 pretty quickly. ... it was a great buzz."

Related: Is teeing off to cheers the next big thing?

Where Poulter's tee shot went, no one cared. (Into a fairway bunker.) Watson followed with a reprise of his first-day act, only with the noise ratcheted up six turns. And when he left the tee, he left the long way, walking a hundred yards along a gallery fence, all the way slapping hands with fans.

What an idea, a game as fun. Golf's favorite wit, David Feherty, a Ryder Cup player himself before becoming a teevee idol, made notice of the concept in a morning tweet: "Bubba and Poulter are what the Ryder Cup is all about! Magic on grass, joy in sport, love to the fans. You've got to love them."

It's silly to say Ryder Cups give more love to the funsters. But make of this what you will: in Ryder Cup play, Tiger Woods is 13-17-2 lifetime. Ian Poulter is 11-3-0. The game's new main man, Rory McIlroy, is 3-2-2, a touch better than Bubba Watson's 3-4-0. As to why Woods, arguably the best player ever, has been beaten more often than not, here's a guess: he has flown solo for so long -- driven by abnormal forces that shut him off from humankind -- that he never learned to play well with others. For Woods, it is brain surgery, and without anesthetic.

Related: Ryder Cup birdies & bogeys

It is not silly to say the Ryder Cup creates more pure fun than the Masters, the Opens, and the PGA Championship do combined. Those events are freighted with history, even burdened by history, and they demand payment in pain from any player who would make their history his. Next to those exercises in masochism, the Ryder Cup is a dawn-patrol tee time with your buddies.

It's Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson on fire. It's Jason Dufner caught smiling. It's Bubba being Bubba. It's Poulter flat-out on his stomach at green's edge, lining up a putt for his partner. It's all that, and it's a wizened veteran of Ryder Cups, Jim Furyk, saying of the crowd at Medinah Country Club, "They were loud and rowdy ... you show up on a Tuesday and you've got people chanting, 'USA,' and you're still three days from putting it in the ground." It's a rookie, Brandt Snedeker, saying, "It's just crazy out there. Keegan and Phil have got this crowd going absolutely nuts, and if you can give them anything at all to get excited about, they're going to."

Before Watson teed off for his Saturday afternoon round, he caused such commotion at the first-tee amphitheater that the noise reached the putting green. It told Keegan Bradley what he had to do. He hurried over to watch Bubba be Bubba. "And it was one of the most exciting moments of my week so far. I mean, I was freaking out. For me, personally, I'd probably miss the ball. I'm already so jacked up on the first tee that if they started doing that, I don't know where it would go."

Related: 10 burning Ryder Cup questions

Bradley's emotional level had risen to that usually associated with persons who paint their faces. He said that coming from behind to win the 2011 PGA Championship and "having my life change overnight" created the most emotional week of his life. "But this is a different type of emotion ... It's just a great atmosphere for me" -- he's a New Englander -- "because I love watching the Patriots and Celtics play, and I love when they get the crowd going. I love when they run up to them and get them excited, and for me that was kind of my mentality this week."

Most likely, though records are unclear on the matter, Bradley set an all- time record for hugs/embraces/crushes applied to one's Ryder Cup partner, for there seemed to be seconds, not minutes, separating Bradley-Mickelson celebrations Saturday morning. They won, 7-and-6, over Lee Westwood and Luke Donald, Englishmen having none of that Poulter fun. It's also true that Bradley, on the occasion of important shots done well, to pump up the crowd, struck a dozen different flex-poses of a kind normally associated with linebackers who have sacked Tom Brady.

He's 26 years old. He's 3-0-0 in the first Ryder Cup of his life. He's a star in what has become an American rout of the invading Europeans. He's a kid having fun.

Ian Poulter is 36, old enough to know better but still a kid, too. He's 3-0-0 in this Ryder Cup. What he did Saturday morning -- help make four birdies in a 1-up victory -- was only a whispered suggestion of his implausible afternoon -- five-straight birdies on the last five holes for a 1-up victory over Woods and Steve Stricker.

Each birdie putt brought from Poulter a symphony of screams, yowls, and howls that caused his handsome face to appear so ferocious, even deranged, that, if a photograph from those moments is not on the front page of every English newspaper tomorrow, Rupert Murdoch will ask for editors' heads on a platter. "Incredible," Poulter's partner, McIlroy said. "A joy to watch."

Ah, there is David Feherty's word again. Joy. Keegan Bradley and Ian Poulter brought the joy. You gotta love 'em.

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News & Tours

Bradley embodies Ryder Cup passion

By Dave Kindred

MEDINAH, Ill. -- It's always fun to be present at the birth of a star. So come to the 13th tee the first morning of this Ryder Cup.  There, on the 245-yard hole, Keegan Bradley struck a 4-wood tee shot.  It left Phil Mickelson a 15-foot putt for birdie.

keegan_300.jpgBradley is a Ryder Cup rookie, 26 years old. He was proud of what he'd done. He handed the club to his caddie and took his place at the back of the tee. He stood there admiring the work.

Next to him was Mickelson. One of the game's best ever, 42 years old, the Ryder Cup veteran stole a sideways glance at the kid, a kid who'd won big things, who has said he learned to win in early-week money games with Mickelson, once his mentor, now his friend and partner.

Then Mickelson did a little thing that makes the Ryder Cup what it is.

He reached over and patted the kid on the butt.

You know what Bradley did?

Nothing.  He kept looking at the distant green, chin up, eyes alight, unblinking. Tell you what, Bradley Keegan was INTO that moment.

Yes, yes, the Ryder Cup is the whole patriotic deal, red, white, blue, USA USA USA.  It's the United States' best 12 players against Europe's 12.  All that patriotic balderdash, you can have it if you need it.  But what makes the Ryder Cup worth seeing are moments when the best players in the world reveal themselves to be something other than money-grabbing robots.

Related: Keegan Bradley Swing Sequence

It's not so much that we see them suffer with poor shots born of frazzled nerves, though we saw that quickly. The day's first tee shot, by Graeme McDowell, went way left. The second tee shot, by Jim Furyk, went left of that, and Tiger Woods's first drive went left of the left that we thought was way left. All morning, in the alternate-shot foursome competition, Steve Stricker peered from behind trees, left in jail by Tiger's errant missiles; as they came off the seventh green, so miserable was Woods, Stricker reached out to encourage the poor guy with a pat on his butt. (Who'd have ever thunk?)   

Still, we see nerves in every U.S. Open. The difference here is that we also see what we never see in an Open or a Masters. We see the players as jocks. We see the wonderful Jason Dufner, famously stoic. We see him leave a putt on the right edge of the 9th hole, maybe close enough that a whisper would move it over the cliff's edge. We see Dufner tighten those already tightened lips. And he takes a step toward the hole. Will the ball fall in? He takes another.  "And, to be honest with you," he said later, "I almost felt like the roar of the crowd ... actually willed that ball into the hole because it felt like the crowd's cheer came from the right and the ball kind of fell into the hole." Here, Dufner smiled. Really. Smiled.  And bumped fists with his partner, Zach Johnson, and they birdied the 10th, too. They defeated Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari, 3 and 2, and, if U.S. captain Davis Love III had done the imaginative, bold thing, he'd have sent Dufner/Johnson out for the afternoon four-ball instead of Woods/Stricker.

We saw the Dufner fist-bump. Then we saw Mickelson slap Keegan's ass and we loved it all because we've seen a zillion sweaty, dirty baseball players do it out of habit but here, in golf, where everything is manicured, it's the last thing we expect to see. Would Hogan slap Snead's ass? Nicklaus Watson's? Woods Mickelson's?

Then, on the 13th green, Mickelson knocked in the birdie putt.

Related: Viral GIF: Phil encouraging Keegan

Know what Keegan did this time? He sprinted toward the old man, leaped into a chest-bump, hugged him, knocked his cap sideways, and generally left Mickelson happier than he'd been since the Ryder Cup gala when his wife, Amy, eagled the runway in a gown spun from gold (looked that way).

The 13th was the second of four straight holes that Mickelson and Bradley won. Once 1-down, they went on that streak to beat Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia, 4 and 3. For Donald and Garcia, it was their first defeat in 16 Ryder Cup foursomes matches. For Mickelson and Bradley, it was the beginning of a partnership that Love liked so much that he sent the pair out again in the afternoon.

Mickelson was all but giddy after the morning round. "We were just so ready to get on the first tee," he said. Of Bradley, he said, "He played some of the best golf and to be his partner was an awesome experience. I love -- love playing with this man. He's just so much fun, loves the game, and plays with such excitement. And, man, can he roll the rock."

Bradley made four putts for winning birdies. He said, "I feel so comfortable out here with Phil because I know, wherever I hit it, he's going to be able to get it up-and-down, or close for me."

Comfortable they were, even thrilled. At the 13th, where Bradley had put it close and Mickelson had knocked it in, they left the green trading hand-slaps done with such enthusiasm that the sound must have frightened small animals for miles around.  The hand-slaps evolved into another embrace that -- forgive me this excess if excess it be -- that seemed to be a transfer of energy from the kid to the old man. (Yes, excess. But there you go.)

Energized, they were, this twosome, and they did a fabulous encore in the afternoon four-ball, winning 2-and-1 over the Euro's best, McIlroy and McDowell. Bradley, on fire, contributed six birdies the first 16 holes -- and then became Mickelson's lead cheerleader on the par-3 17th, a 193-yarder over a pond.

McIlroy had put his tee shot to within 15 feet, seeming to give his side some hope of escaping with a half-point. But Mickelson did what Mickelson can do -- he dropped a high floater two feet from the cup. "Just hit a solid, penetrating iron shot," he said, "and that baby was all over the stick."

The partners embraced coming off the tee, arms around each other's shoulders, and Keegan said later, "That last shot showed why Phil Mickelson is a Hall of Famer."

After the morning round, the game's newest star called it "one of the most memorable days of my life ... so far."

And at day's end, asked if he had any energy left, Bradley Keegan said, "Oh, baby. I wish I could go 36 more."

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News & Tours

The Ryder Cup: Where a little trophy looms large

By Dave Kindred

MEDINAH, Ill. -- This week, it's about the little trophy.

Once upon a time -- say 1927 when English seed merchant Samuel E. Ryder commissioned his little trophy -- American golfers were a species all but unique. The Atlantic separated our multitudes from Great Britain's handful of brilliant players. Australia? Convicts and kangaroos. Asia? Even Christopher Columbus couldn't find Asia.

For a long time, the Ryder Cup sent strangers against strangers, Us against Them, so much so that in 1991, at Kiawah Island, our guys showed up in Rambo camo gear to drive back the invaders. As if the event were promoted by the boxing impresario, Don King, we called it the War by the Shore. We won. We rioted. It was shameful.

No more. Now we're all in this together. Now, in the ever-shrinking world of professional golf, this week's 24 Ryder Cup players are friends, colleagues, business partners. They travel together, eat together, practice together. They know wives' names, kids' names. They know the other guy's story, as the every-inch-an-American, Bubba Watson, said about the every-inch-an-Englishman, Ian Poulter:


"Love Ian Poulter to death. It's amazing, watching where his career started and where it is now. It's amazing to listen to him talk about where he picked up range balls, worked in the pro shop, did everything, and now he's at the Ryder Cup. So I love his passion. I love, I respect him very much, and I love how passionate he is about winning it."

Related: Pride, raw emotion make matches special

It's the little trophy. Watson, the Masters champion, met the press Thursday morning. He spoke for 15 minutes. Early on, he mentioned "that little trophy." Five minutes later: "It's just for the love of that little trophy." Winding down: "And again, it's the little gold Ryder Cup." Wrapping up: "Any golf tournament we play in, we don't care who we're playing against, we just want to win whatever trophy there is. If it's a green jacket or if it's a big trophy or a small trophy, we're trying to win that trophy. So our passion is for that trophy."

The Ryder Cup trophy is 17 inches high. It's nine inches across. It weighs four pounds. The golfing figure on top was modeled after Abe Mitchell, one of Great Britain's leading professionals in 1927, once a gardener and Samuel Ryder's personal instructor. It's a miniature alongside the PGA's 27-pound, 28-inch high Wanamaker beer barrel. It's an understatement next to Augusta National's clubhouse replica (the green jacket gets the glory, but the silver piece is ineffably elegant). Ryder's cup is even smaller than the claret jug, 21.65 inches tall.

Even the most gimlet-eyed cynic has to admit, well, OK, maybe it is the trophy because it can't be about the money when there isn't any to take home. In the name of each U.S. player and the team captain, the PGA of America donates $200,000 to charities.

Related: How the two teams stack up where it really matters

It really is about the players' instinctive sense of competition amped up by thousands of home folks -- all of it there at Medinah Country Club when the players arrived from their money grab at the Tour Championship (where the winner took home $11.4 million and last place was worth $686,000).

Webb Simpson, the U.S. Open champion, said he didn't get out to Medinah on Monday. "But Tuesday, first practice round, we get to the first tee and there's 10,000 people," he said. "I felt like I was in the final group of a major . . . ." He played with another Ryder Cup rookie, his buddy Keegan Bradley, "and we were laughing about that first-tee feeling. We've been on tour now for awhile, and you don't really get butterflies in practice rounds or pro-ams. But it was a different story Tuesday."

For Matt Kuchar, this is his second Ryder Cup, the first two years ago at Newport, Wales. He said, "I think walking to the first tee on Tuesday, I knew we weren't in Wales. That was just such a big difference to me. It was so exciting knowing that we were on home turf and there was such an eruption of excitement when we got to the first tee. It was an awesome feeling."

Bubba Watson again: "The first day, going up on the first tee, I had a pretty big roar, and that was pretty special to know that the crowd was behind us, behind me. It was very nice to see that Chicago and all the fans that traveled here that like me as a person, I guess, cheered for me that loud. . . . I might have teared up a little bit. . ."

Related: 10 Burning Questions for the Ryder Cup

So there'll be fans in the gallery who've painted their faces red, white, and blue, just as there'll be folks wearing purple fright wigs in honor of their unbarbered boy hero, Rory McIlroy. There will be cheering for American successes that rises to decibels matching those from airliners en route to nearby O'Hare International. And there will be tears -- for that, we have a promise from Watson.

"I'm probably going to cry at some points this week because I just cry every week, it seems like," he said. "So there's going to be good shots I'm going to cry about. There's going to be bad shots I cry about. . . "

They're not tears of war. No, no, it's not about hatin' on them durn furriners.

"It's just," Bubba Watson said, " that trophy."

Stay tuned.

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News & Tours

With second major, McIlroy announces his arrival among the greats

By Dave Kindred

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- Off the 16th tee, cruising, Rory McIlroy chose to hit a driver. Kids love to hit it big and here's the greatest kid player anybody has seen this century. (Tiger was so 20th century.) Because it's a monster hole, 581 yards, McIlroy could use his elastic body, "the double-hip snap or whatever the hell he calls it," to quote his fellow Irishman Graeme McDowell. What it means is, when he wants to, he flat kills the tee shot.

And you shoulda seen this one.


Photo by Getty Images

A rocket. Rising toward the clouds. A draw to a fairway turning left. In the air forever, then running out down a slope. It was as if God Herself had said, "Let there be Rory and let him move men, women, and children to stand in awe of his work." Let's say the shot covered 340 yards. What happened next was nice -- up and down from a wasteland for birdie -- but it was that divinely beautiful drive that reminded us all we had been witness to McIlroy's arrival at greatness.

Related: The shots that defined the PGA

Only 23 years old, he now has won two major championships, last year's U.S. Open and this PGA, and has won them both by eight shots. This is the kind of separation from mortals that once was the hallmark of Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Do this often enough, people start writing purple prose (guilty) and talking in melodramatic phrases. Here's another Irishman, Padraig Harrington, who sees fate's hand on McIlroy's shoulders: "He's only doing what he was destined to."

He came to Sunday's afternoon round with a goal. "I said, 'Look, if I get to 12-under par, nobody is going to catch me." Here we should pause. We should consider the audacity of the young man's hope. To get to 12-under, he needed a 67 -- that's 67 -- that's five-under on a Sunday in a major playing in the last group on a 7,676-yard golf course that Woods himself feared: "You can take a double and a triple in a heartbeat without hitting bad shots."

So here's what McIlroy did.

He made six birdies, none on a putt longer than the 20-footer at the 18th. He made no bogeys, knocking in four putts inside 10 feet to save par. He shot 66. He finished 13-under par. And reminded us again that the wonder of sports is that we see ordinary people do extraordinary things, and we see extraordinary people do unimagined things.

"Just an incredible day," McIlroy said in the media conference after, sitting alongside the Wanamaker trophy. "To sit up here and see this trophy and call myself a 'multiple major champion,' I know I've talked about it in the past, and not many people have done it . . .I'm very privileged to join such an elite list of names."

Such was McIlroy's mastery that he allowed himself only the occasional glance at a leader board. He saw, early, that Ian Poulter had birdied six of the first seven holes -- and yet trailed McIlroy by three shots. Later, cruising, knowing this was his to win, McIlroy thought to look at the boards to see if anyone might be charging from behind -- perhaps, even Tiger, who started the afternoon round at two-under-par.

"On the back nine," McIlroy said, "I looked a couple times and saw that his name wasn't there," and if that doesn't serve as a definitive signal of times a-changing, it serves until something better comes along. Woods, the co-leader at 36 holes, finished with rounds of 74 and 72 (to finish T-11, one shot ahead of another 20th century star, John Daly).

It was on that back nine that McIlroy knew it was done. He knew it, really, at the 12th hole, a 412-yarder turning right and downhill. There he killed a 3-wood tee shot -- that double hip-snap thing is a killer -- 40 yards past his playing partners. From 140 yards, looking at a pin with water five steps to its right, McIlroy dropped a wedge eight feet left of the cup. My scribbled notes greenside: "Win it w/this." He made the putt, and, for the first time all day, thrust a fist at the hole in strong, silent celebration.

Related: The winners and losers from the final round

"I think there I was 6 shots up with 6 holes to play," he said, and he was right about that, and he was cruising then, past the impossible 14th hole, carried along with that drive on the16th, and then he found himself, seven shots to the clear, walking up the 18th fairway. Twice, three times, four, he took off his cap and rubbed his hand through his extravagant hair. From the green's edge, 20 feet, he could seven-putt and still be in the playoff. On the walk up, "I was just taking the whole thing in. . . .I allowed myself the luxury of walking up 18 knowing that I was going to win. I enjoyed the moment, just let it all sink in."

Then he knocked in the 20-footer, raised his arms in triumph, sought out his father for a long, sweet hug, and later, when asked by the assembled literati what he could have done better this week -- driving, iron play, putting? -- he answered with a great smile and a single word.

He said, "Nothing."

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News & Tours

Weeks removed from heartbreak, Scott giving himself another shot

By Dave Kindred

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- How strong was the wind? Flags cracked like bullwhips. Rain moved sideways. Sand lifted off the beach. Above the 16th hole, 22 pelicans in formation thought to fly east toward the Atlantic only to stall before asking headquarters for a new flight plan. Even as the birds banked west, Adam Scott, from deep in a bunker, flew a wedge shot that clunked off the flagstick, easy birdie.

120810_scott_290.jpgScott is the Aussie charmer, 32 years old, handsome as an ocean sunrise, who gave away the British Open a month ago. He played brilliantly for all but the final four holes at Royal Lytham & St. Anne's, but in major-championship golf it's never good to hear a "but" after "brilliantly." Four successive bogeys left him a shot behind the winner, Ernie Els, and as nice as it was for the great man Els to win, even he felt a twinge of sympathy for Scott, of whom so much has been expected for so long.

Related: Unfortunate final-round flameouts

Quickly now, Scott has put himself in the hunt again for his first major. He did it with a first-round 68 in this PGA Championship followed by Friday's 75, a number that's not as bad as it sounds, for this was a day nearly gone with the wind, "a matter of survival," to quote his playing partner Hunter Mahan, whose 80 was as bad as it sounds.

Scott's birdie at the 16th was one of only three he managed Friday. Still, he was fine with the day's work. "I consider 75 kind of a par round of golf out there today," he said. "It's really very tough. I did a lot of good things. I hit a lot of fairways again. . . . But it is hard when you miss the greens. There are some severe spots, and I made a couple errors, but it's going to happen on a day like today. You've just to stick with it, keep grinding. . . .I'm not disappointed with 75."

Related: Rich Lerner's Q&A with Adam Scott

The Ocean Course was angelic Thursday. It was devilish Friday. All those ledges and cliffs and slopes that didn't matter Thursday mattered a lot Friday when a ball's flight depended on both the striker's skill and the wind's caprices. Though hard by the sea, this piece of architect Pete Dye's genius is only a distant relative of British Isles links courses. Those you can play on the ground, running the ball low under the wind. This one, with elevated greens, must be played through the air. In trade, Dye provides the kindnesses of wide fairways and big greens.

The place is so subtly treacherous that each of Scott's six bogeys Friday came without a shot that a layman would consider poorly struck. The fine line between birdie and bogey, as drawn on Dye's satanic blueprints, was best illustrated Friday at the 12th hole. It's a nice, little hole, a drive and wedge -- except there's a wetlands at the right edge of the green, and the flagstick was four steps from that edge, and that pelican-paralyzing wind came whooshing across from the left.

Related: America's 20 Toughest Courses

So Scott's wedge shot, poorly struck, no doubt, by his standards, drifted offline and into the water provided there as penalty for anyone so bold as to accept the architect's dare and fail.  Scott then dropped along the line of flight, put his fourth to 6 feet, and made the bogey putt -- the kind of shot-saving work that may not win majors on Friday but may help you come to Sunday's final four holes with a chance to win.

The weekend is in Scott's mind. "I'm not feeling, now, the way I felt at Lytham," he said. There he felt in absolute control. The tournament was his to take. Not that he said any such thing, but he must have imagined -- who wouldn't? -- the claret jug in his hands, against his lips, his name engraved there forever. "But," he said here Friday, and this was a "but" of hope, "the feeling might come around on the weekend."

It's 72 holes, it's four days, it's 280 shots, maybe a few less, maybe more. Winners can study how they won and find something important in every shot. Scott's bogey-making wedge at the 12th would be one of those.

Another would be the 2-iron off Jean Otter's head.

Jean Otter stood along the right side of the seventh fairway, Scott's 16th hole of the day. She's a middle-aged golf fan from Silver Spring, Md. She didn't see the Titleist headed her way. "If she'd seen it," her friend, Sue McNamara, said, "she'd have moved." Instead, Scott's shot, his second on the par 5, came down in the middle of Otter's head. It knocked her flat. For three or four minutes, Scott stopped play and crouched beside her, asking after her, apologizing, signing a golf glove for her.

A doctor there, Kenneth Thomas, told Otter, "He owes you."  Had the ball followed its apparent flight plan, it would have bounced down a hill, across a walkway, and . . .

"You saved him from going in the lagoon," McNamara said.

Otter, on her back, blood on her forehead and arm, her eyes closed, said, "I told him, 'At least make a birdie.'"

Scott left his third shot short (he said Otter's blood was on the ball) and made bogey. Still, he said, "It was a good break for me, because it kicked it just in the rough." It might otherwise have come to rest in that lagoon, a dismal swamp, home to double- and triple-bogeys.

"I hope she's going to be okay," Scott said later.

Medics wrapped her head in a gauze bandage from the top of her hairdo to her chin. She walked to a cart and was taken to a first-aid station.

"I'll find out if she's all right," Scott said.

He had her name and address.

"I'll send her a bunch of flowers," he said.

And, come Sunday, if Adam Scott goes to the final four holes with a chance to win, Jean Otter might be asking him, again, for a birdie.
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News & Tours

Why Els and others have turned their backs on the drinking life

By Dave Kindred

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- The subject is drinking in golf. Yes, we'll get to John Daly. But let's start with Ernie Els.

Els has said he stopped with the wine and beer a month before the British Open. He has offered no explanation beyond he just felt like it. As for any cause-and-effect relationship between the abstinence and his first major championship in a decade, he has shrugged. Maybe. Maybe not. Who's to know?


It's not as if the dry spell cured the putting yips that have long bedeviled him; even with the belly-putter crutch, he ranked 71st in the putting statistics at Royal Lytham. Nor has Els ever been a public nuisance and menace to himself. Still, if a man changes his ways and near immediately becomes the player he used to be, witnesses can believe what Mike Hulbert believes.

Related: The defining shots of the British Open

Hulbert is a veteran pro, 54, three times a winner on the PGA Tour, an assistant to captain Davis Love III on this year's U.S. Ryder Cup team. "It's like my Balance Bracelet here," Hulbert said, touching the hunk of rubber that may or may not bestow magical athletic qualities on its wearer. "If Ernie thinks stopping drinking helped" -- and why would he bring it up otherwise? -- "then it helps."

Other than rugby, which exists solely as an excuse for emptying kegs of beer into men shaped like kegs, golf is the only . . .

Wait. Other than baseball, where major league clubhouses are saloons decorated by nasty jock straps, golf is . . .

Well, other than football, where whirlpools become ice pools stocked with Budweiser . . .

OK, I give up. I was about to say golf is the only sport where drinking is institutionalized; at every country club, doesn't everyone birdie the 19th hole? That would allow me to suggest that pro golfers work in a liquid environment where the temptations of drink are ever-present. But two truths get in the way of that blather. They are: 1) all of SportsWorld is awash in adult beverages, and 2) if golfers ever made the tour a traveling cabaret -- Jimmy Demaret singing! -- it's no longer 1950 money at stake, it's this week's $8 million PGA purse with the winner staggering away under the load of $1,445,000. The cabaret has become a fitness trailer.

Dave Stockton has seen beer guts become six-pack abs. The 1970 and '76 PGA champion said, "There's not a caddie out here today who isn't in better shape than players were in my time."

"Even in my time," said Stewart Cink, a pro 16 years, the 2009 British Open winner, "I've seen the changes. There's waaaay more money, and players are bigger, stronger, healthier." Here he smiled. "We all know the bad things alcohol does. Nobody's figured out yet what good alcohol does for you."

"Among the elite players out here," said Jim Furyk, one of the elite, "it's difficult to believe there's anyone with a drinking problem. We're human beings, no different from anyone else, so there's probably a certain percentage of people who may drink more than others. But anyone who has a real problem is going to fall by the wayside out here."

Hulbert has been out here forever, seen everything. "It's definitely changed, even if we're only talking fitness," he said. "Out in Hawaii once, Stevie (Williams, then Tiger Woods's caddie) ran that golf course, like up a mountain, like it was the Olympics, and maybe Tiger ran it, too." (A pause to imagine, say, Roger Maltbie, even young, ker-lumphing up a small rise. I once asked Maltbie if we might talk about drinking in golf. He said, "Sure, let's go to the bar and do it.")

There's too much at stake now, Hulbert said, to put it at risk. "You don't go out to dinner on Wednesday nights anymore and have six beers," he said. "The next morning, you don't feel too good on the first tee." Hulbert cited Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood as pros who enjoyed beer by the barrel before deciding to mind their waistlines. "They'll still have a beer," he said, "but no one's getting sloshed now."

In that not-sloshed category, Hulbert even includes John Daly. "Did drinking stop him from elevating his game? Yeah. We saw him visibly shaking on the golf course. Did it keep him from making Ryder Cup teams and Presidents Cup teams? Yeah. But he's playing good now. Has he cleaned up his act? I don't know, but he's playing well now. It looks like he might have."

Related: Our ways to make the PGA cooler

Ah, John Daly. The trainwreck of his own whiskey dreams. The 1991 PGA Champion, 1995 British Open winner, five times a winner on Tour, now 46 years old, eight years removed from his last victory. Here, a drinking story: This was at Dardanelle, deep in the outback of Arkansas, a day or two after the unknown Cinderella boy, the ninth alternate, had won the '91 PGA. Way he told it later, he'd arrived at Crooked Stick sleeping in the backseat of a car. Hung over most likely, because he was then, and forever after, as we would learn, a ferocious drinker.

I'd gone to Dardanelle to write up the wonder in his native surroundings. There he was at a card table outside a ramshackle clubhouse, signing autographs between chuggings of Miller Lite. I asked the drinking questions, about the backseat, the hangover, all that country-boy folklore already grown up around him.

Here's what he said, "Nope."

Didn't drink, he said.

Then he lifted for my inspection a can of Miller Lite.

"Just these," he said.

John Daly is here. It's his 21st PGA Championship appearance. Since that '91 victory, his highest finish has been T-29. The last four years, he missed the cut twice and twice withdrawn after the first round. His first-round tee time is 8:20 a.m. Stay tuned.

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News & Tours

Furyk lets another U.S. Open slip away, and he blames no one but himself

By Dave Kindred, Contributing editor, Golf Digest

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jim Furyk stood on the 13th tee looking at a scoreboard among the cypresses. Little more than an hour to play. He saw that he led the U.S. Open by a shot. How must that feel? To have it there, in reach?

Furyk's eyes betrayed no emotion. Thousands of rounds had brought him there, tens of thousands of rounds in a life in golf. Now, six holes to play. He'd just walked off the 12th green. On that hole, he'd done the kind of stuff that wins Opens. After hitting three bad shots -- one caused him to slash a club through the air in anger -- Furyk knocked in a 35-foot putt for par. Men tough enough to turn bogeys into pars win U.S. Opens. Furyk had won the Open nine years ago. A pro 20 years, a Ryder Cup star, he belongs on any list of his generation's 10 best players.


Jim Furyk reacts after hitting his approach shot into the bunker on 18 at Olympic Club. Photo by: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Which is nice. It's good. And with an hour to play in the U.S. Open, on a one-shot lead, it doesn't mean diddly. You gotta hit the shots. Time is a vice, cranked tighter by the minute. Bobby Jones said there's golf and there's tournament golf. He loved the first, quit the second. Sometimes, in that vice, you have to remember. Breathe.

On the 13th, a par 3 playing 199 yards, Furyk saw his playing partner, Graeme McDowell, leave a 5-iron in a bunker short left. Furyk went with a 4-iron. But it, too, fell short. Maybe, on this day, when fog floated across Olympic Club like smoke, and when that fog was heavy with mist, maybe a Furyk 4-iron doesn't fly 199 yards. Then came a weak pitch and a bogey. In the nine minutes since Furyk studied the board, he'd lost the lead that he'd held nearly all day. A half-hour ahead, the young lion Webb Simpson, 26, four years a pro, had moved into a tie.

Related: What's In My Bag: Jim Furyk

The vice was closing. As Furyk walked to the 16th tee, someone in the gallery shouted to him, "Driver's seat, baby!" Simpson had finished the tournament, one over par. Three holes to play, two of them par-5s, the 18th a short par-4, and Furyk needed to play them in one-under-par to win.

"There were probably six, eight guys today that felt like they were going to win the golf tournament," Furyk would say later. "I really felt like I had a lot of confidence in myself and a lot of belief in myself and you feel like you're going to win...." He also said, "It was my tournament to win."

But you gotta hit the shots.

On the 16th tee, Furyk walked the entire 99 yards that the teeing ground had been moved forward to reduce the hole to 571 yards. The USGA had informed players of the change. And though Furyk knew the shortening made it a different hole, though he knew it presented a different line of flight for the tee shot, he came to the tee confused. "I was unprepared and didn't know exactly where to hit the ball off the tee," he said. He had a 3-wood in hand facing a fairway that made an abrupt dogleg left. "I don't know what to say, other than there's no way anyone else in the field was prepared for the tee to be that far up. I just didn't handle it very well."

In the vice of time, if breathing is sometimes difficult, to hear Furyk describe his thinking on the tee is to understand that thought comes hard, too. "And I'm not sure I hit the wrong club off the tee, but probably hit the wrong shot . . . and that, probably as much as anything, forced me to make a poor swing." He also said, "But the rest of the field had that same shot to hit today and I'm pretty sure no one hit as sh--y a shot as I did. I did the worst job of handling it and I have no one to blame but myself. I should have hit a different shot off the tee, and, if anything, you need to miss that fairway to the right, never to the left. So it makes mine twice as bad."

Related: Jim Furyk's Ponte Vedra

He wanted to turn the 3-wood into the fairway running left. Confused, uncertain, he spun the tee shot into trees no more than 150 yards away. On good shots, the pros pose, holding the follow-through prettily; on this tee shot, Furyk let the 3-wood fall across his shoulders in sad, sudden, collapsing despair. His tee shot flew into the shadows of cypress trees and nearly out of bounds. Furyk wedged back to the fairway, but could do no better than a bogey.

Now, a shot down.

Now, he needed a birdie to tie.

But his 4-iron second shot to the par-5 17th came out weak. "A fluffy lie," he said. His pitch came up short. His birdie putt came up short.

Still a shot down.

With a wedge in hand from the 18th fairway, Furyk pulled the shot left of the green. When he saw what happened, he bent into a crouch, sitting on his heels. He put the shaft of the wedge between his teeth, for no reason and for every reason that a man does anything when he has failed to do what he most wanted to do. The wedge shot left Furyk with an impossible, half-buried lie in the bunker. He had no chance to get a sand shot near the cup. He ran it across the green into another bunker.

McDowell wasn't done. He had a long, downhill putt for birdie that would have gained him a tie with Simpson. As McDowell lined up the putt, there on the green's edge stood the forlorn Furyk. With a putter in hand, he made a full swing. Maybe he was thinking of the 16th tee. Maybe the 18th fairway. Maybe he just wanted to be somewhere else.

He called himself disappointed. "Very. Very." It had been a long, hard day. "You name a U.S. Open on any golf course that isn't hard to hold the lead." But he had it to win. "I'd take that position time and time again. You get me tied for the lead on the first tee on Sunday and give me a good start. Then I've got to make my game about putting the ball on fairways and greens and letting people chase me and have to do something special. And Webb did that."

Then, his voice flat, Furyk said, "I just wasn't able to hit that one good golf shot, that one great golf shot that I needed."

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News & Tours

Woods' Saturday only reaffirms his vulnerability


Tiger Woods watches a shot from the rough on the 16th hole during the third round at Olympic. Photo by: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tiger Woods squinted into the setting sun. He wanted to follow the flight of his pitching wedge shot from the 18th fairway.

Where'd that go?

It was a question he'd been asking all day long. More often than is good for an immortal, he discovered he'd hit shots in places he didn't intend to visit.

You see it, Joe?

Woods's caddie, Joe LaCava, indicated the ball had gone right.


The ball sat atop gnarly grass just past the green's right fringe, 20 feet from the hole.

Now what?

"Brutal lie," Woods said later. "Nasty."

Related: 20 things that have happened since Tiger's last major

On a day filled with questions, Tiger Woods came with no answers. From what was neither a brutal nor nasty lie -- the ball sat up -- Woods hit a chip that flew six inches short of the green. There it bounced in long grass. Unhappily for Woods, it caromed sideways, still 15 feet from the hole, the kind of mess every hacker makes twice a day. Two putts for Woods, another dispiriting bogey -- his sixth of the round after having made only five in the first 36 holes.

On a day when he might have shown us the Old Tiger, he was the Same Old Tiger. He shot 75 and from atop the leader board, he fell to a tie for 14th. He'll go into Sunday's final round five shots behind leaders Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell.

It was 2:45 p.m. Saturday when Woods came to the putting green. As on many days since he collided with karma and that hydrant, he was the object of the golf world's attention. But this day was different -- different because in the Open's first two rounds, he had reminded us of how good he once was. It was different, too, because, for the first time in three years, he came to work having slept on the lead in a major championship.

Hard to imagine, how omnipresent he was -- winner of 14 majors -- and now how long he has been away. He won the U.S. Open in 2008, limping on a bad knee and a splintered leg. He lost the 2009 PGA Championship in the last round, to Y.E. Yang. That was the first time he had lost a major when leading after 54 holes. In the nine majors since -- he missed two of them with injuries -- he has finished no higher than fourth (three times) and has been in contention on a Sunday only once, and then just briefly, last year at Augusta.

Related: Rory vs. Tiger: The new rivalry?

Of all the questions hanging with Woods, there has never been one asking if he could play brilliantly. We have seen those lightning flashes. We saw one in that 2010 Masters when, suddenly, there he was, with four holes to play, facing putts to make the tournament his. There was a time, when it mattered most, Woods rolled them all in; that Sunday in Augusta, they all stayed out. And not until this week's U.S. Open on the merciless Olympic Club course did we see even a glimmer of the Tiger who for so long dominated the majors. As he built a tie for the lead at 36 holes here, Woods had shown such control and resolve that, yes, it could be argued, he was about to make the world his again.

A bridge walkway brings players from the putting green to Olympics' first tee. It is perhaps 15 feet above the thousands of golf fans gazing up at the heroes. At 2:58 on this afternoon, Jim Furyk crossed the bridge. Hearing cheers and applause, the veteran smiled broadly and waved to the people, happy to be there. Then came Woods, who heard much louder applause and raucous calls of "Go get 'em, Tiger!" He cared only enough to touch the bill of his cap, once. Why so grim? Better than anyone, maybe, he knew there was a harsher question to be answered. Could he keep the flickering flame of brilliance alive?

The answer came quickly.


As precise as he had been with every club in the bag for two days, he was imprecise on this day. He missed the first green, 50 yards short from the left rough. He left his tee shot short on the par-3 third. He left a wedge short on the short par-4 sixth. All bogeys. At the eighth, he three-putted from 35 feet, not even touching the hole with his second from three feet. At the 17th, a short par-5 where birdies must be made, he dumped a 200-yard shot into a bunker 30 yards short and right of the green. An ugly par.

Then came the 18th, uglier yet.

"I struggled on the greens," Woods told reporters. He never could adjust to speeds slower than expected, he said. "It was a tough deal to adjust to." Well. On a day when Woods' iron play was ragged, one is reminded of Ben Hogan's wife, Valerie. The story is, she had grown weary of the great man's complaints about his putting. She suggested, "Hit it closer."

As for Sunday's final round, Woods did his best to portray the kind of confidence that once came naturally. "I'm definitely still in the ball game," he said. "I'm only five back, and that's certainly doable on this golf course." He also said, "It's just patience. It's just a few birdies here and there. It's not like where you have to go out there and shoot 62 and 63. This is a U.S. Open. You just have to hang around."

Hang around?

Never, not once, did Tiger Woods hang around and win a major. Every time, 14 times, he has been on the lead going to Sunday. Common folks hang around, all those guys who might maybe perhaps win if everything falls right.

And there is the answer to all the questions.

This Tiger Woods is just another guy who can win.

-- Dave Kindred

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News & Tours

One year after Congressional, the magic runs out on McIlroy


Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rory McIIroy held his putter against his left shoulder, defeated. He'd missed a little putt, lipping it out from eight feet, when he needed to finish with three-straight birdies -- not to win, just to have a chance to make the cut in this U.S. Open at Olympic Club.

Only last June, the Irish prodigy won the Open when he ran the table at Congressional, winning by eight shots, going 16-under par, better than anything Jones, Hogan, Nicklaus, or Woods ever did. But now, idling at the green's edge, his body arranged in a loser's slouch, despair his countenance, McIlroy slapped himself upside the neck with his putter, three times.

At the next hole, a drivable par-4, he had a 22-footer for eagle. Aggressive on greens rolling fast and furious, McIlroy ran that one eight feet by and made it coming back. Then, on a par 3 that was the last hole of his second round, still believing a birdie might get him two more days here, he missed from 15 feet -- and then, all hope gone, he contrived to miss the three-foot second putt.

"I thought 3-3-2 might make it," he said later.

Instead, he finished 4-3-4.

Related: Rory vs. Tiger: The new rivalry?

Rounds of 77 and 73 had him at his locker telling a gaggle of reporters that he felt he'd played well -- but not well enough for Olympic: "It's just such a demanding golf course and just punishes the slightest shot that's off-line or that's maybe not the right distance. You really have to be so precise out there, and if you're not, you're going to be punished." He is right, of course, about Olympic's sadism but is perhaps too kind in judgment of his game. Briefly No. 1 in the world -- he ascended on 13 top-five finishes in 15 events -- he now is No. 2 and likely to continue his descent after missing the cut for the fourth time in his last five tries.

A year ago, McIlroy's victory in the Open caused a lot of jumping up and down by observers, experts and other soothsayers always on the lookout for Anyone Who Isn't Tiger. They saw McIlroy's masterwork at Congressional as only the first of many. Well. Here's what he has done in the four major championships since: T-25 in the British Open, T-64 in the PGA Championship, T-40 in the Masters, and now, ingloriously, MC in this Open. After the 16 under at Congressional, he is 33-over par in the majors. Not that he was alone in his suffering here. Olympic's greens are firm, not yet concrete but on their way.

Nick Watney, after rounds of 69 and 75, said, "Yesterday it was kind of like playing Ping-Pong out there." Where greens have slopes that can divert an imprecise shot into trouble, those slopes are buzz-cut; if there are no slopes, there are tangles of grass ankle-deep. Fairways are narrow and bordered by a first cut of rough that's sometimes playable and a second cut in which small animals go to escape the sun.

Those conditions are set by the folks who run the Open. The U.S. Golf Association believes par is holy and works to protect it against heretics. Watney again: "After last year at Congressional, you knew the USGA would come out firing -- and they haven't disappointed." Even so, the most unsettling aspect of Olympic may be its radical terrain. To play from a fairway steeply slanted one direction toward a green steeply slanted the other direction is to become disoriented, as on a ship in heavy seas.

Related: The most grueling U.S. Opens in history

Ever walk through a circus funhouse with floors that tilt to and fro under your feet? That, too, is Olympic. And once safely on a green, you must, sooner or later, putt on skating-rink surfaces measured at 13 on Mr. Stimp's meter.

Good question here: after 36 holes, what would an Open champion say to the USGA executive director, Mike Davis, before Davis the Executioner sets up Olympic for the final two days? The 2010 winner, Graeme McDowell, bent at his knees, pressed his palms together, raised his eyes to the heavens, and said, in a whimper, "Be nice to us."

Fat chance. McDowell, in contention again, believes the tournament will be won at near par. "Level-ish," he said. Another Open champion playing well, Jim Furyk, said, "I can definitely see over-par winning."

Alas, that is no longer a concern for Rory McIlroy. He intends to play once more, in the Irish Open at Royal Portrush, before the British Open next month. As he sat at his locker, composed, subdued, he admitted that his poor play over the last six weeks "has made me realize that you just have to keep working hard and that it doesn't always come easy."

Then he was asked how he was feeling -- one of those "Other than that, how'd you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?"questions -- and McIlroy managed to answer politely: "Yeah, obviously disappointed," he said. "It wasn't the way I wanted to play. . . . The thing is, we're just not used to playing this sort of golf course week-in, week-out. . . ."

Which means, though he didn't say so, that week-in and week-out on such courses might drive a man to take up a saner line of work, perhaps defusing bombs.

-- Dave Kindred

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