It's Father's Day today (thanks kids), which also means Sunday at the U.S. Open: the final round on what usually plays as golf's toughest track, with a leaderboard cluttered with some of the game's top players, it's going down to the wire...I'll be there, with spikes on.
So when Canada's Mike Weir shot himself out of contention after the front nine, I turned to watch the only other player I really really wanted to win this tournament...England's Colin Montgomerie. For those who don't know, Montgomerie or 'Monty' was Europe's #1 player for seven straight years from 1993 until 2000...Ryder Cup hero, top winner, top money earner, top dawg....except,he's never won one of golf's four major tournaments. Why? Who knows - he's finished second in 3 previous U.S. Opens I believe, lost two in playoff's, second at the PGA Championship...a second at the British Open...but as he grew to be known as 'the best player in the world to never win a major', it hung like an anvil around his neck and practically choked him to death.
I actually followed Montgomerie and Davis Love around for 9 holes back at the 2001 Target World Golf Challenge in Thousand Oaks, CA (before racing back to follow Woods and Singh battle it out for the title)...he was just a regular looking guy with a sweet smooth swing - sort of like your country club champ, not Europe's best player. But he hit some real pretty shots that day...and he did this afternoon as well.
Now 43 and his best days considered behind him (welcome to the club), Monty fought back from 3 strokes back and tied Phil Mickelson for the lead - dropping a bomb sinking a 70 foot birdie putt on the 17th hole. Final hole - Monty hits a perfect drive down the right side of the fairway. I was almost shouting at the tv - I hadn't done that since Weir won the Masters a couple years ago....Mickelson was struggling off the tee, this was looking like destiny...
And then Monty flared one out right of the green... into some deep rough, chunked a chip all the way across the green, and then three putted for a double bogey. I was stunned...and even more so when Mickelson also butchered the final hole to also double bogey...and so the two 'superstars' basically handed the tourney over to young Auzzie Geoff Olgivy (who?), a solid up and coming player who managed to par the final hole. So a lot of credit to him, but he was sitting in the locker room when he won, watching from the clubhouse as everyone else faltered and fell....very anticlimatic.
But poor Colin Montgomerie...he really deserved it, not just for his play today but for his career...and he lost it - and I felt sick for him afterwards, so I can only imagine how shitty he feels right now.
I hope his kids still speak to him tomorrow - say what the hey, happy fathers day!