I don’t know about you but I thought the US Open was terrific, compelling stuff. Any number of people were still in contention with nine holes to play and it seemed that it was anyone’s to win. It also seems like a long time ago now, even though it’s not even a week since Jon Rahm snatched his first major title.
Amazingly, he became the first Spaniard to win the US Open and boy (or nino), did he do it in style. Tiger would have been proud of the ferocity of the fist pumps that followed the birdie putts at the last two holes. And what putts. They weren’t straightforward by any means, fast, downhill, curly jobs that were hard enough to read, let alone hole. Sinking one of them would have been impressive enough but both?….Wow.
(This is where a well-organised blog would have a wonderful photo of Rahm uppercutting madly or beaming broadly holding the trophy. Sadly, I couldn’t get a single one of the appropriate photos to transfer, so I’m hoping you’ve all seen the images somewhere and will forgive the technical ineptitude. I was going to tell you what putter the new champ used but…no pic, no namecheck…)
Instead here’s a pic of Rory McIlroy, who was in contention throughout the championship – shock, horror, hooray – and only fell away over the last few holes. He three-putted the 12th and had an untimely and rather unlucky double bogey at the 13th, to scupper his chances. I think those were the critical holes but I must confess that I dozed off – one minute Rory was on the leaderboard, well in the mix, the next time I looked he’d disappeared. Such are the perils of late-night golf watching. Anyway, a revitalised Rory is scheduled to play in the Scottish Open at the Renaissance Club from July 8-11, along with Rahm and any number of stellar names. Tickets (strictly limited, so hurry, hurry, hurry, as the ads say) are available.It’s the club championship at Whittington Heath this weekend – from the sublime to the slightly more ridiculous, admittedly – and I’m hoping the greens will be less speedy than the ones at Torrey Pines were. My spies tell me that the rough has shot up, so from the sound of things I’ll be lucky to find my ball let alone the greens. I had a club fitting last week but haven’t ordered new clubs yet, so will just have to blame the old ones – and the new trolley Maureen and Brian bought me for my birthday. Hope I can assemble it in time for the first round tomorrow.
The big day was yesterday, so the big yellow Open scoreboard (pictured at the top of the piece I hope) is sheer indulgence but I couldn’t resist it. I also got a video message from Hugo Lloris, the Spurs and France goalkeeper (no name check, though he has been a bit busy not saving Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalties) and the promise of a free Aperol Spritz from my local ASK Italian. I knew there was a reason for signing up to everything and sundry. Thanks also to everyone for their cards and good wishes. Also, belated happy returns to two proper players who were born on the same day a few years after me: Karen Stupples and Juli Inkster.
Another player who is really starting to pack a punch is Leona Maguire, who is now, surely, a virtual certainty to become the first Irish player to play in the Solheim Cup, this year (all being well, pandemic variations permitting, fingers crossed), at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. Leona was a close second to Nelly Korda, who is now the world No 3, in the Meijer LPGA Classic in Michigan last week and yesterday had a solid opening round of 72, level par, in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club in Georgia. Lizette Salas was leading on 67, one ahead of Woburn’s Charley Hull.Still on a bit of an Irish theme (would you expect anything else!), Padraig Harrington has selected Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer as vice captains for the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin in September. They have both won major titles and holed the winning putt at the Ryder Cup and join Luke Donald and Robert Karlsson in a formidable line-up.
Maureen has done a tip this week, the first for a while and she assures me that it’s one of the simplest, most straightforward ones she’s come across. However, a word of warning: it is not quite foolproof, not least because Mo has found a fool uncomfortably close to home. I’ll leave you to guess just who that might be.
If there’s a wrong way to do something, I’ll find it. I’m inclined to think it’s a skill, a God-given talent but suffice it to say that my sister cannot believe that any of you out there can be as clueless….
Finally, apologies to Suzanne Rundle for not naming her last week. I was told off by the coach, who said such a magnificent effort deserved proper recognition. So here’s Suzanne in glorious, free flowing action again, an inspiration to us all.