Sport

Ball in a tree tops a quirky week

Lee Westwood searches for his ball after it lodged in a tree on the fifth fairway during the final round of the US Open at Olympic Park.
Lee Westwood searches for his ball after it lodged in a tree on the fifth fairway during the final round of the US Open at Olympic Park. Getty Images

NONE would argue that Lee Westwood lost the US Open because his ball lodged in a tree. Yet this bizarre episode on the fifth fairway that stole the momentum from Westwood's challenge on Sunday was representative of a quirky week that gave us the 15th different winner in successive major championships.

The 112th US Open made a proud champion of Webb Simpson, who only 18 months ago stood outside the world's top 200. Simpson negotiated the Olympic minefield with two rounds of 68 across the weekend. He played fine golf and was a worthy winner.

The problem for the United States Golf Association, which takes such pride in the rigorous nature of the US Open challenge, is the number of players who also played great golf and through no fault of their own saw their excellence punished by a course that allowed the random variable too much influence.

Westwood, who closed four shots adrift in a share of 10th, said: "You hit so many good tee shots that don't finish on the fairway and so many good shots that don't finish on the green. You could've understood it if my tee shot [at 5] was way off line, but it was on the perfect line. You've got to cut that corner and try to hold it up against that slope, because the fairway is so severe. So I thought I'd hit the perfect line, but it ended getting stuck up in the pine needles, and we couldn't find it. It was hard to get any momentum going after that."

Graeme McDowell shared the sentiment. McDowell began the final round sharing a two-shot lead with Jim Furyk. In common with most at the top of the leader board, he spent a frantic final day going backwards. With only four players at the top of the field in red numbers, it is fair to argue that the course produced the winner that made fewest mistakes, rather than the most creative, imaginative golf.

McDowell still had a putt at the last to force a play-off but saw it slide by the hole. McDowell said: "I hit three fairways all day. It's not like I drove the ball awful. I just seemed to hit it in the semi-rough all day [but] I was proud of the way I hung in and [gave] myself half a chance on 18. I missed that fairway by a foot and my ball's sitting down so I hit it about as close as I could. And that putt, it was weird, because it bumped left. I hit that putt in practice and it moved right."

Simpson, too, missed the fairway on the last. His approach found the penal rough but providence was smiling on him. His ball landed in a bald patch that appeared gouged by a previous escapee. From there he was able to get the ball close. He was in the locker room with his wife trying not to look when McDowell's putt missed. "I never really wrapped my mind around winning. When Graeme missed and I realised I had won, I just shook my head in disbelief."
 

Topics:  lee westwood, us open (golf)




Winning, and losing, comes at a hefty price

GRASPING GOLD: Excelling at sport is ingrained in the Australian psyche, which isn't necessarily a good thing.

LIFE AS I KNOW IT: The cost of being a sporting nation

Monckton to face Group 2 judiciary

Grafton Ghosts will be sweating on a judiciary decision on Nick Monckton.

Ghosts' five-eighth sent from field for abusing match referee.

Council election candidates clear cobwebs for meeting

Council election candidate Andrew Baker says three other members of the last council: Karen Toms, Jim Simmons and Margaret McKenna should be preferenced after him on ballot paper because of their consistent opposition to plans to slug rate payers with special rate rises.Photo Tim Howard / Daily Examiner

Clarence council election candidates have their first public outing.

Latest deals and offers

Bachelor Richie gives bacon-loving Noni the boot

Noni Janur features on this season of The Bachelor.

TOOWOOMBA swimwear designer still single but focusing on her career.

Chris Hemsworth surprises kids at hospital as Thor

Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston surprised children at hospital

MOVIE REVIEW: War Dogs tells a fascinating true story

Miles Teller and Jonah Hill in a scene from the movie War Dogs.

DARKLY funny film examines the business side of the war on terror.

Folk singer looking forward to her Gympie Muster debut

Alternative country folk singer Fanny Lumsden will perform at the Gympie Muster.

FANNY Lumsden to serenade new fans with her country hall-style show.

Patti Smith, Billy Bragg and Buddy Guy lead the 2017 Bluesfest charge

Patti Smith is one of the headline acts confirmed for Bluesfest 2017.

Patti, Billy, Buddy and more to headline five-day festival

Patti Smith confirmed for Bluesfest 2017

CONFIRMED: US singer Patti Smith performing in Switzerland last year.

Find out who else in the first line up announcement

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m

Guess which Sunshine Coast suburb cracked the million dollar list?

This four-bedroom home at 26 McAnally Dr, Sunshine Beach was for sale for $7 million.

List of Australia's five most-expensive suburbs

Does it get any better than this? Check out this $2M home

LUXURY LIVING: The Coral Cove home built by Steve Coates Constructions that took out the best home over $2 million and the Wide Bay Burnett House of the Year at the Master Builders Wide Bay Burnett Housing and Construction Awards.

Wide Bay's best home is right on our doorstep