The U.S. Open concluded yesterday. It was played at one of the hardest courses in the world, Olympic, in the San Francisco Bay area. The winner, Webb Simpson, seemingly came from nowhere. He posted a score, one over par. The leaders stumbled and that's how Simpson won. As several announcers said during the day, really it was the golf course that won.
Jim Furyk was either in the lead by himself or tied for the lead for much of the last two days of the tournament. He is a cautious player, a grinder. The U.S. Open rewards that type of player. But he's also getting up there in age, for a professional golfer. He's 42. There is a huge amount of pressure on the players in a tournament like this, especially the front runners. For the leader, it's almost too much to bear. It is psychologically burdensome to play from the lead, especially when the lead is only a stroke or two as it was yesterday. There is not much room for error and yet a very high expectation on the player to win the tournament. Further, the choices a player needs to make - club selection, shot selection, line and speed on a putt, are harder at a U.S. Open than at most other golf tournaments, because the player is penalized when having hit a poor shot. The rough is thick and the putting greens are treacherous. It's all very fatiguing. Near the end of the tournament it seemed that Furyk faltered because he was exhausted. He did make a terrible swing at the tee on hole number sixteen. But he made some bad judgments thereafter. It's not the one bad shot that cost him the tournament. It was the additional mistakes that followed. With pressure and fatigue comes anger and frustration, which you can see in the quote below.
There's some irony to all of this. One of Furyk's sponsors is 5-hour ENERGY and they continued to air this commercial through the entire tournament. I wonder if they'll continue to air it now.