Surprises at the Pebble Beach US Open

Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland holds the winner’s trophy after his par victory at the 2010 US Open. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

The 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach didn’t have a Tom Watson-esque memorable moment on the par-3 17th hole, nor did it have a Sunday surge with a red Tiger leading to a Monday playoff.  But it proved to still be one of the most formidable tests of golf today, with the little-known winner Graeme McDowell surprising the world winning the United States Golf Championship by shooting par over 72 holes. Even Woods and Mickelson, the world’s #1 and #2 players respectively, could only muster a 3-over par performance tying them for fourth. They, as most of the field, found themselves going backwards and dropping strokes in the high rough, challengingly long par-4’s, and the ridiculous slopes on the 14th hole that ruined many a pro’s day with triples or quads. I had an enjoyable week working with a great Getty Images team, with relatively good weather and some ok pictures to boot. I even managed to get a little surf session in with Golf Digest DOP Christian Iooss thanks to the loaner boards from local photographer David Royal. But the highlight of a hard week of work came as a surprise on sunday morning on the final round of the US Open, which normally falls on father’s day, making it an even harder assignment to say “yes” to with my little boys waiting at home for daddy. As I was setting up my remote cameras on the 18th green as is customary before the final round, David J. Phillip of the Associated Press says,”Looks like we’re teeing off in the same group tomorrow!” It took me a second to register what he meant, but then I realized that we had been chosen in the media lottery to play Pebble Beach on Monday! The only reason I started to golf a year or so ago was for an opportunity like this, and to play Pebble the day after the Open was a once in a lifetime experience. I immediately felt my adrenaline rush with the excitement of teeing off the 7th hole, mixed with the fear and anxiety over the fact that I’ve hit the range about as much as I’ve cleaned my garage over the past month. The last time I played was in Palm Springs about a month ago with a bunch of buddies, and I nearly quit afterwards playing the worse round of golf in recent memory. But none of that mattered now, and I kept my fingers crossed that the US Open would finish in a regulation 72 holes, or my Monday tee time would be bumped and this opportunity would pass me by. So after Graeme McDowell’s final putt fell in the cup on the 18th, I couldn’t be happier for the little-known man from Northern Ireland and I immediately felt the urge to go hit balls and hope to fix my slice before the morning.

A detail of the scoreboard on the 18th hole on Father’s Day during the Final Round of the US Open in Pebble Beach 2010 (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

In the end, playing Pebble was as unbelievable experience even if I only parred a couple holes and crawled back to the clubhouse with a 115. Big thanks to the Getty Team for having me including Travis Lindquist, Scott Halleran, Maxx Wolfson, Harry How, Andrew Redington, Ross Kinnaird, Jeff Gross, Steve Dunn, Jamie Lawson, Shannon Lindquist and Evonne Laskey. And a special thanks to my playing partners David J. Phillip of the AP, Tom Boswell of the Washington Post and John Paul Newport of the Wall Street Journal for the much needed golf tips and showing amazing patience with my errant and lost balls. Here are some favorite pictures from the week as well as pictures from my round on Monday, I hope you enjoy and always your feedback it much appreciated!

Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland celebrates his final putt during his par victory at the 2010 US Open. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Giving his dad the best father’s day present…(Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

2nd Place finisher Gregory Havret of France finds himself in the bunker on the 8th. Scott Halleran made the classic  call on the radio,”The frog is on the beach!” (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Tiger hits out of the heavy rough on the 3rd hole during the final round. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Graeme McDowell tees off in screaming light going towards the clubhouse on the 18th hole during the 3rd round. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

DJ hits out of the gallery and rough on the 13th hole during the third round of the US Open. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Graeme McDowell hits off the 11th fairway during the third round of the 2010 Pebble Beach US Open. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

DJ tees off the 8th hole near a boat during the third round of the 2010 Pebble Beach US Open. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Phil Mickelson hits off the 14th fairway as a crow flies overhead during the 2010 Pebble Beach US Open. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Y.E. Yang of South Korea plays a shot on the ninth hole during the first round of the 110th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 17, 2010 in Pebble Beach, California. This is one of the hole I parred during my round there in homage to Steve Dunn’s famous photo of Payne Stewart in the 90’s. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Mike Weir of Canada hits off the edge of the cliff on the 8th fairway. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

The Getty Team (top row) Ross Kinnaird, Jamie Lawson, Shannon Lindquist, Evonne Laskey, Steve Dunn, Andrew Redington. (bottom row) Jeff Gross, Donald Miralle, Travis Lindquist, Harry How, Scott Halleran.

That’s me swinging my 58 degree hoping to keep it on dry land. I landed in the left bunker. (Photo by David J. Phillip)

One of two strokes I lost in the 7th green bunker (Photo by David J. Phillip)

Hitting my approach shot on the 9th hole. Sunk my put for par after this shot. (Photo by David J. Phillip)

Tom Boswell of the Washington Post split many fairways during his round including this one on the 9th. (Photo by Donald Miralle)

John Paul Newport of the Wall Street Journal tees off the 18th. (Photo by Donald Miralle)

David J. Phillips celebrates his great par on the historic 17th green. (Photo by Donald Miralle)

Tom and David both did the 17 in three. I made a double…(Photo by Donald Miralle)

I haven’t been on a beach that big since I was in Hawaii last year. The monsterous fairway bunker on the 18th. (Photo by Donald Miralle)

David, John Paul, Tom and I pose for one on the 18th green (Photo by Darren the caddie)
Standing next to the leader board on the 18th green. (Photo by Darren the caddie)


Comments

  1. Bill Coleman says:

    Would that be Darren Carroll, the caddie/photog?

    I cured my son’s slice in about 3 minutes. Let me know when you’re ready to cure yours.

  2. Ready to cure my slice ASAP. I was so frustrated I about put my clubs on ebay after the last round I played…

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