Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)

The Loop

The U.S. Open's first real touching moment

June 16, 2011

BETHESDA, Md. -- Pay attention long enough, you'll see everything -- even in a game played since a thousand years of winds swirled dunes against the village of St. Andrews and Old Tom Morris (or somebody) declared, "Aye, 'tis a golfe course."


So it came to pass in the first round of this U.S. Open that the British Open champion and the U.S. Open champion hit layup shots from 220 yards and the balls finished on the same three inches of Congressional's 150 acres, touching each other, as if they were eggs in a nest -- "which I've never seen before," said Graeme McDowell, the defending champion here. The British champ, Louis Oosthuizen, said, "Yeah, that's something that you probably will never seen again."

It happened on the ninth hole, a 636-yard par-5. McDowell laid up his second shot with a hybrid, Oosthuizen a 3-iron. "You know, on the green, you see it now and then," Oosthuizen said, "but I've never seen it on the fairway." McDowell's ball was in front, so he marked and hoped Oosthuizen didn't gouge out a divot that would require McDowell to place his ball in the resulting hole. "Louis had to go first," McDowell said, "and I'm thankful he didn't remove a huge piece of turf." Oosthuizen: "It was quite a funny moment."

Once the conjoined balls were separated, both players made par. Oosthuizen finished at 69, McDowell 70.

-- *Dave Kindred