Three slow days

Saturday was fantastic. The final day of my stay and I wish it could have gone on forever. I got to spend almost 10 hours with Brittany and Raymie, and five with Liz. If I did not drive back to Russell the next morning, I would have stayed until closing time at 1 a.m. There will be a weekend for that coming up.,

I miss Brittany, Liz, Raymie and everyone else already. I’m sad I didn’t see Lisa, but I will very soon.

I left Kansas City at 7:30 Sunday morning. I stopped at the Topeka Hy-Vee, and again at the Quik Ship in Salina on I-135 and Crawford to use the restroom and get a frozen Pepsi. Got home right at noon, in time to eat salmon with my parents for Father’s Day. It was delicious, although I was sad to leave my friends. I didn’t get to see Alexandra Mullinax, who didn’t come back from her vacation and back to work until Sunday night.

I watched the U.S. Open most of Sunday evening, simply because there was nothing else on. Jordan Spieth did the unthinkable, bouncing back from a double bogey on 17 to birdie 18 and eventually win the tournament win Dustin Johnson choked with a three-putt on 18. He had an eagle putt to win and missed, then missed a short birdie putt which would have forced an 18-hole playoff Monday. Louis Oostheizen shot 67 Sunday to move into contention, but he ended up tied at 3-under with Johnson and Adam Scott, he of the illegal putter (at least as of January 1) and the arrogant caddie, Steve Williams, who was fired by Tiger Woods.

I like the fact the U.S. Open has refused to let go of the 18-hole playoff if it is still tied after 72 holes. To me, it is the fairest way to determine the champion of a major tournament.

The Masters stinks in this regard, because it has been sudden death since 1976 (the first sudden death playoff was 1979, when Fuzzy Zoeller defeated Ed Snead (?) and Tom Watson in two holes). The last 18-hole playoff was in 1970, when Billy Casper won by five strokes over Gene Littler.

The sudden death playoff is fine for minor tournaments, but it absolutely sucks for a major. Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros found this out in 1987, when Larry Mize chipped in from 43 meters (47 yards) on the second playoff hole to win the Green Jacket.

The PGA Championship was the first major to use a sudden death playoff, when in 1978, John Mahaffey topped Jerry Pate and Watson at Oakmont on the second hole.The sudden death playoff was used five more times, the last in 1996, when Mark Brooks left Louisville and local hero Kenny Perry hearbroken by winning on just one hole at Valhalla. Perry would redeem himself in 2008 when he helped the United States win the Ryder Cup on the same course.

Beginning in 1997, the PGA adopted a three-hole format, which was first used in 2000 at Valhalla, when Tiger topped Bob May. It has been used three more times, most recently in 2011 when Keegan Bradley bested Jason Duffner at the Atlanta Athletic Club.

The last 18-hole playoff at the PGA was in 1967, when Don January topped Don Massengale by two strokes at Columbine Country Club, not too far from the site of the Columbine High School massacre 32 years later.

The Open Championship did not move away from the 18-hole playoff until 1985; however, the last time a fifth round was needed to determine a champion was 1975 in possibly the most famous golf tournament ever played.

Tom Watson and Jack Newton were tied through 72 holes at Carnoustie, as each finished at 9-under par 279. The playoff of July 13 was played in a driving, blustery rain, not unusual for the east coast of Scotland in mid-July. With the golfers tied at 1-under heading to the 18th, Watson, the native of Kansas City, hit his second shot to within 25 feet of the hole, while Newton’s approach found the front left bunker. Watson made par and Newton could not, and Tom had the first of his eight major championships.

The Open Championship did not test out its four-hole playoff format until 1989 at Royal Troon, when Mark Calcavecchia won by three strokes over Wayne Grady and Greg Norman.

Watson was involved in the most recent playoff at the Open Championship, bowing to Stewart Cink only 46 days shy of his 60th birthday. Tom had the lead going to the 72nd hole at Turnberry, but he bogeyed to give Cink new life.

Not much has gone on since Spieth’s victory. It’s too hot to do anything anyway. A little work, some Shark Tank, some college baseball, and some The O.C., where I am beginning my review of all 92 episodes, which I have done every summer since 2010.

I have an appointment with Crista Thursday at 9. Looking forward to that.

Today is the 43rd anniversary of the signing of Title IX, the infamous amendment to the 1964 Civil Rights Act which guarantees women the same opportunities as men in education. That has been largely interpreted to mean women deserve as many sports as men at colleges and high schools.

Tomorrow is a much more tragic anniversary, at least as far as New Orleans is concerned.

About David

I am a sportswriter for a group of weekly newspapers in small towns across northern Kansas. I grew up in New Orleans, went to college at LSU and wandered in the wilderness until Hurricane Katrina finally put me on the path to my current job.

Posted on June 23, 2015, in Golf, Personal and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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