Vol. 4

Reflecting on an epic U.S. Open

#AskAlan, The collective pants-wetting and trouser-soiling that occurred (on holes 11 to 13 alone) is a stark reminder of why Tiger is still so revered. Golf yearns for anyone who can forge a lead and keep their underpants clean until the end of a major tournament. @VsTgolf 

Indeed, and that’s what made Rahm’s finish so thrilling – his tighty-whities are surely pristine! (Sorry.) Tournament golf is such exquisite theater precisely because so many players suffer ignominious collapses. Collin Morikawa’s 7 was almost as ghastly as Rory McIlroy’s bunker-bunker-hosel double bogey, each of which proved fatal. And how about Bryson? He was one inch from an instantly iconic ace on the 8th hole; even so, that pure iron shot propelled him into the lead…and then he self-immolated in utterly spectacular fashion. There is nowhere to hide on major championship Sundays and the vast majority of players shrink from the moment. Tiger set an impossible standard. Rahm will not be as efficient capitalizing on all of his opportunities—how could he be?—but that birdie-birdie finish betrayed a ruthlessness that offers hope that golf has finally found its next great closer.

Does the USGA return to Torrey? Architecture snobs aside, it’s given us two good U.S. Opens. @ShoshEAK

 Good?! I would say epic. And I think the excitement of this one, along with pretty much universal praise from the players about the setup, guarantees the USGA will come back. Every dozen or so years is fine for Torrey Pines; it doesn’t have to be a core venue. It is obviously not the most architecturally interesting championship course but it provides a pleasing old-school Open test which brings out blockbuster leaderboards. You have to try really hard not to have enjoyed the two U.S. Opens at Torrey. Alas, there are a few chirpy try-hards in the golf media. 

Golf has a full cast of fun-to-root-against Bond villains: Bryson, Brooks, Patrick Reed. Is Jon Rahm on the list? @PeteViles

Nah, he’s too thoughtful and sincere to be a villain. The guy has the most precious of commodities among pro golfers: soul, which was quite obvious Sunday evening in Rahm’s moving remarks about everything from his young son to his friendship with Phil Mickelson to the to the late journalist José Manuel Cortizas, who mentored Rahm as a young pro. (Cortizas died in February of COVID-19.) Rahm may blow his top every now and then but that’s not villainous; I like to see how hot he burns.

Rahm, Brooks or Bryson in a bar fight- who you got? @BobRoge321

 Oh, Rahm for sure. He’s the guy who tries to play peacemaker, catches a wayward punch and then wipes out the whole bar. Brooks would be the lippy bitch who instigates the whole thing then winds up hiding behind his friends, still talking trash. Meanwhile, Bryson, whilst attempting the crane kick from Karate Kid, would fall down, hit  his head, knock himself unconscious and miss the whole thing.

Did Rahm win it or did Louis lose it? @luke_peacock 


#Ask Alan, What does Rory need to get it done? @HighFades

 An exorcism.

#AskAlan, Is Louie a questionable Hall of Fame candidate? @JStew68129215

Well, as I’ve typed many times before, the Hall of Fame induction is now a made-for-TV spectacle that desperately needs warm bodies to keep the show going, so every borderline candidate is eventually going to get in. Winning an Open at St. Andrews gets any player halfway to the Hall but King Louis simply hasn’t done enough to warrant serious consideration: 9 Euro tour wins but not a single one in the U.S. If he ever manages to snag a second major championship we can revisit this debate.

#AskAlan, Two-parter, probably not important to anyone else, but why do men insist on yelling, ‘Get in the hole!’? And why can’t that be stopped? Thanks, I feel better now. @JLFleming20

I think this is the domain of an anthropologist or perhaps Dr. Ruth, not a sportswriter. I would like to think it is pure, unfettered joy at potentially witnessing history that loosens the vocal cords of so many bros but I fear it may be baser instincts at play.

#AskAlan: 1. ) Is Rahm the best player with one major win? 2.) Why don’t they jump in the water on #18 at Torrey? 3.) Why do we expect a universe full of chaos to be fair? @Ryanlovesgolf93

  1. ) Yes, though Justin Thomas stans may disagree 
  2. ) Dysentery 
  3. ) We don’t need the universe to be fair. It’s not fair that such a pleasant fellow like King Louis can no longer win the big one. But we do want the universe to offer satisfaction, and in Rahm’s artful finish we got that.

Does the PGA Tour need to do something about players like Bryson who don’t yell fore? Basic etiquette. @brando_chris

It’s more than that, it’s a safety issue – just ask the poor woman who lost an eye at the Ryder Cup when Brooks Koepka pegged her with a drive. It is quite revealing which narcissists don’t even bother to signal or shout a warning, as if their misfortune at hitting a bad shot is all that matters, not the well-being of the paying customers who make it possible for them to exist in such a bubble.

Is Jon Rahm going to win the most majors of any European? @BCRafferty

 That’s a tall mountain to climb: it will take six more to eclipse Nick Faldo and would make Rahm one of the dozen or so most accomplished players in history. I think he has the game and the heart to do it but so many things have to go his way over the next two decades. For sure, it will be fascinating to watch his pursuit of the all-time greats.

#AskAlan Should Koepka go back to letting his clubs do the talking? Absurd consistency in majors for sure, but he’s let a few get away after giving DJ a verbal slap and then all this DeChambeau nonsense. Kinda preferred him as the-man-with no-name-gunslinger-who-just-killed. @TheSecretDuffer

Yes, the Koepka brand has taken quite a hit over the last couple of years with his repeated failings in the majors. If you’re gonna be that mouthy it’s a bad look to keep retreating in crunch time. I appreciate that Koepka is a truth-teller but he would be wise to tone down the hubris just a little.

Who do you think will win the Ryder Cup and the score? @robertjstroud

Oh, man, here we go. I still believe the U.S. is going to go on a run and take control of the Cup but it’s gonna be stressful as always, so let’s say 14.5-13.5. Which, of course, means that Europe is likely to win 17-11.

–Alan Shipnuck

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