1. Angel Cabrera. The funny thing is that this titanium-denting basher has a game better suited to the Masters or British Open. Expect him to build on his unexpected breakthrough.
2. Oakmont. As promised, it was a monster, but the wondrous variety of holes and nerve-jangling greens made for great viewing.
3. Mike Davis. The USGA’s setup czar, overseeing just his second Open, made the right call in trimming back the rough and watering Oakmont’s greens on the weekend, preventing a potential Shinnecockization. Now he can focus on Torrey Pines, which one year out is a disaster in the making.
4. Bubba Watson. He proved once and for all he’s more than just a basher with a fifth place showing built on solid work on and around the greens. If you’ve ever wondered what John Daly would be like without the demons, this is it.
5. Tiger Woods. A day after Father’s Day he welcomed the first Tiger cub, a little girl named Sam Alexis. Now he can begin chasing Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 majors while being a dad.
1. Tiger Woods. Things may be swell on the home front, but Tiger has suddenly lost his killer instinct on the course: gagging at the Match Play and blowing it during the final round of both this year’s Masters and U.S. Open. Even during his wins he has looked vulnerable, shooting 38 on the final 9 at each of the last two. Maybe Rory is right.
2. Jim Furyk. Last year he kicked away the Open with a bogey on the 72nd hole, missing a four-footer, and this year he blew it with a bogey on the 71st hole thanks to a series of bad shots. That makes 15 top-10s in the majors but only one win.
3. Paul Casey. His 66 during the second round was testament to his talent, but his front-nine 43 on Sunday was proof of how far he has to go to live up to that potential.
4. Aaron Baddeley. As learning experiences go, it doesn’t get any more brutal than an 80 with the world watching, but there is this comfort: Mike Weir once shot 80 playing with Tiger in the final pairing at a major, and a few years later he came back to win the Masters. May the agreeable Badds be so lucky.
5. Phil Mickelson. He showed a lot of heart playing Oakmont one-handed, but his whiny comments about the “dangerous” setup came off as sour-grapes, and it’s further proof that Phil has become psyched out by the rigors of the Open.