I'm Friends With U.S. Open Champion Graeme McDowell


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Monday, June 21, 2010

It's true! I'm friends with Graeme McDowell, along with 4834 other people on Facebook, but we're friends none the less. Over the past four days we looked at the keys to winning The U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Michael Breed of The Golf Fix outlined four areas of the golf game that needed to be in top form in order to navigate this scenic but difficult track.

The four areas were:

1.)Drive the fairways.
2.)Know how to hit a knock down shot.
3.)Have a good wedge game.
4.)Make the putts.

McDowell did everything on this list well in order to win the championship. He drove the ball fairly well hitting sixty six percent of his fairways. He found himself amongst some of the bombers of the modern game. Dustin Johnson crushes the ball off the tee. We all know how long Tiger Woods can be when he wants to show it. Phil Mickelson has been hitting the ball further than at any other time in his career. Ernie Els still puts it out there a ways with "easy" swing motion. He often found himself thirty or forty yards behind his playing partner.

McDowell, however, played the course. He played "position" golf. When he missed the fairways he left himself in a good position to recover and save par. His wedge game was excellent. He played a variety of sand shots and showed great touch around the greens. He always left himself with a chance at a good putt.

The wind, as always, came into play at Pebble Beach. During the third round, the pros were having fits over the pin placement on the par 3 7th hole. The hole was only playing to 99 yards, but with wind at there backs, the hole on the very front of the green, it made it almost impossible to stop the ball anywhere close to the hole.

Ian Poulter, who is my friend too(on Facebook), had the highlight of the day, not for his shot tee shot on the 7th, but for his reaction after the shot. Poulter had a mini-meltdown and looked directly into the NBC cameras asking how anyone was supposed to hit a spot that small and have it stop. Johnson seemed to be the only one to have the solution when he stuck his shot within inches of the cup for a tap in birdie.

In the post round press conference, Tiger repeatedly said that he left himself on the wrong side of the hole. He was always above the hole having to make putts going downhill. Poana greens are difficult to read and caused some to play the blame game. It grows in all kinds of directions. If you are below the hole you can be more aggressive to take out some of the break. When you are putting downhill, it becomes much more of guessing game. With the greens running as fast as they were, any little bump would send the ball offline and racing past the hole.

Of the four points that Breed talked about, putting definitely played the biggest part in the outcome of the championship. We have all heard the quote, "Drive for show, putt for dough." Nothing was truer this past weekend. while everyone started missing their putts, McDowell kept his composure and made his.

Putting wins championships. Hands down. In my own little rivalry with my buddy Mario, the reason I took home the trophy was because I made my putts. He is clearly the better ball striker and he hits it a ton, but around the greens, I have him beat. I kept the three-putts to a minimum and finally outlasted him.

I'm off to the putting green before I watch tonight's episode of The Golf Fix. I'll leave you with this limerick by Mike Southern of the Ruthless Golf blog. It pretty much sums up the 2010 U.S. Open. Congratulations to Graeme McDowell. If the world didn't know who you were before, they do now.

Hear the legend of Graeme McDowell:
While Pebble’s greens caused men to growl,
Graeme did his rebutting
By calmly outputting
Them all, till they threw in the towel.

Mike Southern - Ruthless Golf

Have a good one and always hit your target.

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