Sunday's Birdies and Bogeys

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Sunday's Birdies and Bogeys

June 16, 2012

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Birdie : Webb SimpsonPerhaps it's fitting that a man who attended Wake Forest on the Arnold Palmer Scholarship would break through on a course that was the site of the King's most crushing loss. Simpson fired a second-straight 68 and posted the winning score ahead of the final group when he got up and down from a horrific lie in the greenside rough. A two-time winner on the PGA Tour in 2011 when he finished runner-up in the FedEx Cup race, Simpson certainly isn't a surprise winner. But in extending the streak of first-time major winners to nine, he reinforces an era of parity in golf.

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Bogey: Jim FurykAlready with a win in 2003, Furyk can hardly be considered a tragic figure in the national championship. What he is, though, is a guy who has seen three other Opens slip through his fingers. Whether Sunday was as painful as 2006 at Winged Foot or 2007 at Oakmont is up for discussion, but in its immediate wake, Furyk was kicking himself for fumbling away a tournament he led most of the day. "I have no one to blame but myself," he said.

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Birdie: Belly puttersTheir fate still hangs in the hands of the USGA, but it's hard to argue with the results. At one point on Sunday, Simpson had a streak of six-consecutive one-putts. Now he joins PGA champ Keegan Bradley as the second player to win a major with an anchored putter. Is a ban by golf's governing bodies far behind? One can only guess. What we know for sure is you'll be seeing a lot more of them in golf bags until they are.

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Bogey: DawdlersAs fine players with impeccable manners, Jim Furyk and Webb Simpson represent golf well in nearly every facet. One exception, though, is that both play deliberately, which is a nice way of saying they are slow. Perhaps we shouldn't care as long they finish before daylight. But since golf fans are known to mimic what they see on TV, here's hoping they don't add a Furyk's back-off move into their repertoire anytime soon.

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Birdie : Mike DavisAnd we thought the USGA executive director's most aggressive move of the day was moving the tee up on 16. But along with with a bold setup change that played a direct hand in Jim Furyk's costly bogey on 16, there was Davis' intervention with a heckler in the post-round ceremony -- all captured on national television. In the midst of Simpson's interview with NBC's Bob Costas, a man in Union Jack colors jumped in front of the camera and started oddly squawking. Call security? No! Just call Davis, who literally took the issue into his own hands by yanking the guy away from the camera to allow the ceremony to continue.

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Bogey: Tiger WoodsNo matter how big a disappointment the previous day had been, there was at least a glimmer of hope that Woods, five shots back to start, could make some noise in the final round. Then came bogeys on the first two holes, followed by double bogey on the third. After two sharp rounds to start the Open, Woods sputtered badly on the weekend. His seven-over par finish was the most convincing argument yet that his real problems stem not from swing mechanics, but a crisis of confidence.

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Birdie: Michael ThompsonWe know the second-year PGA Tour player entered this week with plenty of local knowledge having finished runner-up in the 2007 U.S. Amateur at Olympic Club, but a bank shot off the trees and into the fairway on 18? OK, so that wasn't planned, but it embodied the magical week that the 27-year-old had. With just three previous top 10s in 46 career tour events, Thompson's T-2 -- highlighted by bookend rounds of 66 and 67 -- was arguably the biggest surprise of the week. Maybe he should approach Tim Finchem about the tour making an annual stop in San Francisco.

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Bogey: Lee WestwoodIt was a crummy break when Westwood's tee shot on the par-4 fifth hole disappeared into the trees, never to be seen again. Then again, they don't have many trees in the fairway. Three shots off the lead at the time, Westwood's double bogey dropped him out of contention, ensuring he'll be wearing the tag as the best player in the world without a major a little while longer.

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Birdie: Ernie ElsThe South African had the worst year of his career in 2011 with just one top 10 in 21 events. In fact, he sank so low that he didn't even qualify for 2012's first major at Augusta. But at Olympic Club, Els proved that he can still perform on the big stage. He briefly pulled within one shot after his field-leading third eagle of the week at the drivable par-4 seventh. That was as close as he'd get, but the solo-ninth finish showed this Hall of Famer still has some mileage left.

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Bogey: BombersWhat does it say when no one near the top of the PGA Tour driving statistics was in contention at Olympic? It says that length off the tee, an asset every other week, was hardly relevant at the Open. With so many fairways sloping into trouble, many of the longest hitters in the game were handcuffed this week. And it's not like it gets any better from here. Next year, remember, we're going to Merion.

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