PGA Tour Confidential: Rory McIlroy wins 2011 U.S. Open

Rory McIlroy, 2011 U.S. Open champion
ROD LAMKEY JR./Landov
World No. 1 Luke Donald finished tied for 45th place at the U.S. Open.

WILL THE OPEN RETURN TO CONGRESSIONAL?
Gorant: Will we ever see Congressional host the Open again?

Shipnuck: Let's hope not. This course is criminally boring.

Morfit: Todd Hamilton was telling me this didn't feel like a U.S. Open course. He added that every hole on the back nine called for him to hit the same 4- or 5-iron into the green.

Lipsey: If the answer is yes, it's only because it's near D.C., and that is a cool place to play a U.S. Open. The course is definitely not Open worthy, though.

Herre: Yes, if for no other reason than D.C. is a terrific golf market.

Van Sickle: Yes. The Washington market is big and lucrative and desirable. The fans here brought a definitive buzz. Still, the late weekend finishes saw streams of fans leaving for the shuttle buses after 7 p.m. because they'd had enough golf for one day.

Garrity: I've always described Congressional as unmemorable, but this Open changed my mind. The new par-3 10th hole, and making the old 17th the new finishing hole, gives it a character it didn't possess before.

Herre: Yes, John. That bowl around 10 and 18 is awesome. It rivals the area around the 17th at Sawgrass.

Godich: The view from behind the 10th green was spectacular. Just wish they'd have found a way to bring the water more into play there.

Garrity: Phil found a way.

Van Sickle: Garrity is right on. The new 10th hole, with the theater around that green and the 18th, is one of the most exciting spots in major championship golf. There's electricity in the air there, a real buzz. Plus it looks great on TV.

Morfit: I was standing on the tee when McIlroy almost aced the 10th. Very cool scene. In his presser he called it the biggest moment of his round because Yang had just birdied nine to close the gap. (Okay, he only closed the gap to eight, but ... oh, never mind.)

Wei: I was standing by the green too, and I thought for sure it was going to roll back in the hole. The atmosphere was incredible. I had chills!

Tell us what you think: Should the U.S. Open return to Congressional?

AMERICANS COME UP SHORT AGAIN
Gorant: What happened to the young American studs? Is Matt Kuchar the top homeboy currently playing?

Wei: Americans Who? We can always count on Kuchar to roll in with a top 10, but it is about time he seriously contends in a major.

Morfit: I loved Robert Garrigus's reaction to making that par putt on 18 to finish tied for fourth. Maybe it was the putter he stole from Toys 'R' Us, but it made me laugh. He's great. America's best hope may be that Cantlay kid who won low am. Talk about a gorgeous swing.

Lipsey: There were no young American studs, just guys with lots of hype. Studs win titles, and the non-Americans are winning all the major titles.

Shipnuck: Kuchar ain't that young. I could see him winning one major, but no more. Same with Stricker, who's running out of gas. The only Yank out there with Rory's kind of talent is Dustin Johnson, but we have reasons to doubt how much he wants to be The Man. All I can say is thank goodness this isn't a Ryder Cup year.

Herre: The hard truth is that the current crop of Americans are terrific players, but they're no longer world-beaters. I am optimistic about some of the young American amateurs who played so well at the Open. The game may be global, but the stardom thing is cyclical. We'll be back.

Dusek: Right now Kuchar is the best, most consistent American player out there. I could see his Georgia Tech mojo giving him a little boost at Atlanta Athletic Club for the PGA Championship. Anthony Kim, Dustin Johnson and the other American young guns just haven't shown their best games in the majors.

Walker: I agree with everything said about the Americans, but I find it just as compelling, and maybe more compelling, to watch McIlroy, McDowell and Yang as it is to watch Kuchar, Stricker and Johnson. These international players have done a great job of connecting with an American audience. That's fortunate, because we're going to be seeing them win a lot of majors.

Tell us what you think: What happened to the Americans at the U.S. Open? Who's the best American golfer today?

AMATEURS WITH PROMISE
Gorant: The "young stud from UCLA" no longer refers to Shipnuck. How much hope should we place on some of the real youngsters we saw this week, Patrick Cantlay of UCLA and Russell Henley of Georgia in particular? And is Kevin Chappell, also of UCLA, the real deal?

Shipnuck: They're all nice prospects, but they have a long, long way to go. Although being Bruins should stand them in good stead.

Lipsey: Good players, all of them, but I don't see any global studs among them. Not yet, anyway.

Godich: I'll give them this much: they didn't blink on one of the game's biggest stages.

Wei: I think Kevin Chappell is the real deal, but he needs a few more years of experience on Tour. Golf Channel's Jerry Foltz, aka Mr. Nationwide, thinks so, and he's the expert. Last fall at the end-of-year dinner, Foltz said there would be five players who would either win or never play on the Nationwide again: Keegan Bradley, Jhonattan Vegas, Kevin Chappell, Jamie Lovemark and Chris Kirk. Not bad.

Tell us what you think: Cantlaey, Henley, Chappell ... anyone a future star?

EUROPE'S BIGGEST STARS FIZZLE
Gorant: And what about the much-hyped Euro stars? Whither Donald and Kaymer and Casey and the rest? The Italians? Even McDowell was never really in it.

Herre: How can you diss the Euros when one of them won? Westwood looked pretty good in his bridesmaid way, and Sergio had a nice Open, too.

Godich: Good point, Jim. And lest we forget, nobody else was really in it by Friday night.

Van Sickle: Right. Only one player was in contention all week, and that was McIlroy.

Shipnuck: As of last year, a Euro hadn't won a U.S. Open since Tony Freaking Jacklin. Now they've won two in a row and three of the last five majors overall. So I'd say the week was a success for the boys from across the Atlantic.

Dusek: The biggest-name Euros may not have come through, but Rory won, Fredrik Jacobson was around the top for a while, and Henrik Stenson was spotted on the leaderboard for a while on Sunday. Europe's depth was certainly on display.

Gorant: Everyone was handing the trophy to Donald two weeks ago, and 10 months ago we were talking about Kaymer the same way we're now talking about McIlroy. McIlory's win doesn't make their performances irrelevant.

Walker: Jim, I can't hear you. The "Rory! Rory!" chants are too loud in here.

Tell us what you think: Westwood, Donald, Kaymer, McDowell ... who was the biggest disappointment?

 

 

Forecast
PGA Tour News
Trips
Travel & Courses
Lessons
Tips & Videos
The Shop
Equipment News & Reviews