OAKMONT, PA. — After playing in his second U.S. Open, Kenneth Ferrie is now almost famous.
“Some people recognized me a bit from being on the cover of Sports Illustrated,” said Ferrie, whose face was featured amid a flower arrangement for the Golf Plus Masters’ preview issue. “It’s nice to be recognized a bit and stand out. I signed a few Sports Illustrateds, too.”
Ferrie, from Ashington, England, is best known for sharing the 54-hole lead with Phil Mickelson last year at Winged Foot. You know how Mickelson’s Open turned out. Ferrie, who would’ve had the 54-hole lead to himself if he hadn’t three-putted the 18th green, closed with a 76 and tied for sixth.
Things didn’t go quite as swimmingly this week for Ferrie, who barely broke 300 — he shot 299, 19 over par, and managed only five birdies. Like a lot of players, he struggled with Oakmont. He shot 72 Sunday and was paired with Anthony Kim, who shot 67.
Ferrie said the course was playing its easiest for the final round.
“This is the first time I’ve played a golf course where it didn’t rain and the course has gotten softer every round,” Ferrie said. “It was like concrete Thursday and Friday. It was softer yesterday and today it was more so. Two over was the absolute worst I could’ve shot today, and I played with Anthony Kim and three under was the absolute worst he could’ve shot.
“It’s mind boggling, really. Thursday and Friday you’re trying to bounce the ball up onto the greens. Today, I actually had a few shots hit the green and spin back.”
Asked his opinion of Oakmont, he said, “It’s a nice golf course but a little too quirky. There’s too much luck involved on the greens. Two balls can land in almost the same spot and wind up in completely different places. That’s true at the Masters, too, but the Masters’ greens have plateaus, so if you’re on the right plateau, you’re OK. Whereas here, you’ve got slopes all over the place.”
Which would you rather play, Winged Foot or Oakmont? Ferrie laughed at the question.
“I mean, fourth-from-last at Oakmont or tied for sixth at Winged Foot? You figure it out,” he said. “Yeah, I’d take Winged Foot every time.”