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U.S. Open: Birdies & bogeys

While printers are busy churning out copies of the rewritten U.S. Open record book, there's time to consider what happened last weekend at Congressional Country Club, both good and bad.


Rory McIlroy: There was a beautiful moment in McIlroy's championship news conference Sunday evening when he was asked about all that was written and said about him after his back-nine flameout at the Masters in April.

Asked if there was a moment or a specific something that helped him get past it, leading to his first major championship, McIlroy shook his head.

"I felt like I got over the Masters pretty quickly," he said. "I kept telling you (media) guys that and I don't know if you believed me or not. But here you go ..."

McIlroy had his hands on the silver U.S. Open trophy and a smile on his face.

"Nice to prove some people wrong," he said.

Jason Day: The young Australian has finished second in both major championships this year, but his play has been largely overlooked because of all that happened on Sunday at the Masters and how McIlroy obliterated the field at Congressional.

In what feels like a generational shift in professional golf this year, Day is one of the leaders of generation next.

Webb Simpson: He hit his first shot in his first major championship into the water but kept his cool and wound up tied for 14th after shooting 66-70 on the weekend. Plus, he pulled off wearing pink pants, as did Davis Love III.

USGA accepting the score: No one saw 16 under par coming at Congressional, but it happened because McIlroy was brilliant and the course was soft. Not only were the greens soft - ball marks and the U.S. Open rarely go together - but the fairways were, too. That allowed players to be more aggressive than U.S. Open set-ups typically allow.

To the USGA's credit, it didn't try to trick up the course to protect par. Executive director Mike Davis and his crew appreciated how good the best players in the world are.

Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel: They might have been surprise major championship winners, but both finished in the top 10 at Congressional. Nothing fluky about that.


American golf: Kevin Chappell and Robert Garrigus - is that the best American golf can do in the U.S. Open?

It was at Congressional where they tied for third, the only American flags in the top 10 on the final leader board. Needless to say, this is not the golden age of American golf. Nor does it appear likely to change any time soon.

The good news? This isn't a Ryder Cup year.

Phil Mickelson: He wasn't a factor at Congressional and looked like a man who was confounded by his own golf game. He was losing tee shots to the left through much of the tournament, and once he got his driver straightened out Sunday, there was still a dull edge to everything else.

He seemed almost disengaged at times during the Open and, at age 41, won't have many more chances to win the tournament he most wants to win.

The Golf Boys: Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan and Ben Crane got far more attention for their video than for their play at Congressional. Only Watson made the cut and Fowler tweaked his knee, forcing him to pull out of the Travelers Championship this week.

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