Gary Woodland finally broke his winless streak, Viktor Hovland broke a record, the sun never really broke through and the 119th edition of the U.S. Open wrapped up on Sunday after four days of riveting golf—and a little off-course carnage.
Woodland proved too strong for the field, outlasting challenges from Brooks Koepka, Justin Rose, Xander Schauffele and others to claim a 3-stroke win. His 13-under 271 for the tournament was only the time a player recorded double-digits under par at Pebble Beach Golf Links in a U.S. Open.
Tiger Woods notched a 12-under score in his record 2000 performance.
“I’m more nervous right now than I was playing today,” Woodland told reporters after capping an unexpected four days with a 30-foot birdie putt on 18. Coming into Pebble Beach, he had never finished in the top 20 at a U.S. Open. Woodland failed to win the previous seven times he led after 54 holes.
“Gary played a great four days,” said runner up and two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka. “That's what you've got to do if you want to win a U.S. Open.”
Meanwhile, amateur Viktor Hovland finished in a tie for 12th at 4-under for the tournament. His play—especially on Sunday—needs several addendums. He is the first amateur since Michael Kim in 2013 to record a top 20 finish, the first since Matt Kuchar in 1998 to earn low amateur status in the Masters and U.S. Open the same year, his 4-under final round equalled Deane Beman’s 1962 mark and his four-day score of 280 broke the amateur record, held by Jack Nicklaus (282 in 1960).
No surprise that Hovland announced that he is turning pro.
A bizarre incident on Friday morning left two spectators with major injuries and three others hurt.
An unoccupied golf cart parked near the 16th fairway took off, smashing into a group of people near a concession stand before being brought to a stop. An 82-year-old man from Modesto and a 25-year-old man from Texas suffered the most serious injuries, at the time said to be a broken arm and a complaint of spinal pain.
“We were standing in the concession line on the 16th hole when all of a sudden there was a runaway golf cart and one guy running after it, then a bunch of people running after it,” a spectator, Georgi Salant, told Golf.com. “It was actually coming straight for the concession line and then it turned, just on its own, and didn’t stop.”
Salant added that the cart began turning in circles and ran over people.
According to the California Highway Patrol, a vendor had stopped to make a delivery. After he left the cart, a box on the front seat slid to the floor and landed on the accelerator. Some reports indicated the box was loaded with wine.
The driverless cart took off and began tearing across the grass toward the concession area. A CHP report credits the driver for finally catching the cart and removing the box, causing it to come to a stop. Some witnesses believed it was a spectator who dove into the careening vehicle, suffering minor injuries in the process.
Either way, CHP is investigating the incident. There were no arrests made.
Mother nature tricked the USGA. During the unexpected heat wave early in the week, officials had the course watered. Then Thursday came, as did gray skies and cool weather—four days of it.
Normally, wind gusts are the biggest hazard at Pebble Beach Golf Links. During the U.S. Open, however, the days were largely calm. And so the course proved rather tame, drawing complaints (from spectators and commentators, not golfers) that it was all too easy.
Even on the final round, when things had firmed up as much as possible, 33 of the 79 golfers recorded under par rounds. Compare that to the last U.S. Open at the famed course in 2010, when no player was below par. That’s right—zero. And in 2000, when only Tiger Woods ended up under par.
Graeme McDowell won in 2000 at even par.
There were 1,496 birdies and 33 eagles during this year's Open.