If you’ve seen me around the course lately, you’ll quickly notice that John Morgan has elevated my style. Being comfortable on the course is always a challenge when you are playing competitive golf, looking good helps ease that pressure. I have JM to thank in that department.
Performance is the other half of the equation. With US Open week upon us, I can’t help but to reflect on that one word. While John Morgan works to improve my performance through the apparel we showcase at our academy, it reminds me of my favorite on course performances over the years. Golf is a game I truly love and have for a very long time. Here are some of my favorite performances in US Open history that remind me why this game is so great.
2011 - Congressional - Rory Mcllroy becomes the youngest ever US Open Champion at 22 years old. This was a bit of redemption after faltering earlier in the year on the back nine of the Masters where he shot a final round 80 to knock him out of contention. With Augusta in his rear-view mirror, the kid from Holywood, Northern Ireland rebounded with a record setting 16 under par performance proving he had the goods to deliver in major championship play start to finish. This victory was the start of Rory’s tremendous rise to be one of the elites in the game of golf.
1982 - Pebble Beach - Tom Watson won his only US Open defeating the great Jack Nicklaus in dramatic fashion for his 6th of eight major titles. Watson birdied the last two holes which included an exciting chip on the 17th, which stands as one of the greatest moments in US Open history at one of golf’s most iconic venues.
1999 – Pinehurst - Payne Stewart leads the way for sentimental moments in US Open archives. He won his second US Open and his 3rd major title with a clutch saving putt on the 72nd hole to beat Phil Mickelson by one stroke. This win served as redemption after Payne lost a 4 stroke 54 hole lead the year before in San Francisco. The 1999 event was the first US Open held at Pinehurst. Sadly, Payne was not able to defend his title as he died in tragic plane crash just four months later. His celebratory pose was bronzed in a statue and sits at the course to this day.
1950 - Merion - Ben Hogan feeds our love of the comeback. After suffering a near fatal car crash 16 months prior to the 1950 US Open, it was thought that he would never play competitive golf again. Known as the “Miracle at Merion,” Hogan proved everyone wrong by completing his comeback with a victory in an 18-hole playoff over Lloyd Mangrum and George Fazio. This was the fourth of Hogan’s nine major titles. Hogan is remembered for one of golfs most celebrated shots, a world class 1 iron into the breeze on the 18th at Merion.
2000 - Pebble Beach - Tiger Woods played the 100th US Open Championship at a level never quite seen before. It was an absolute clinic from tee to green for four straight days leading to the most dominating performance and victory in major championship history. The course played difficult for all but Tiger. He beat the field by 15 strokes, seeing Ernie Els finish second to Tiger’s 12 under at 3 over par. This kicked off the “Tiger Slam” in which he won the next 3 majors. The feat stands as one of the most impressive streaks in all of sports and is largely responsible for the growth of the game during the Tiger Woods era.
Performance matters and these are a handful of my favorites. I look forward to seeing who shines this week at Torre Pines and maybe adds their name to my list as well as the US Open Championship Trophy.
Fairways and greens,