U.S. Open notebook

Tom Watson sheds tears in his likely final competitive U.S. Open round at Pebble Beach

The world's best golfers vie for the chance to win the 110th rendition of the tournament.
By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 21, 2010

PEBBLE BEACH, CALIF. -- When Tom Watson rattled in a par putt at the 18th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links, he hugged his son, who served as his caddie, thanked the galleries who had urged him on all week, then flung his ball into Stillwater Cove -- exactly what he had done 28 years ago, when he won the U.S. Open in this same spot.

"You give the ocean its due because you never know when it's going to take it from you," Watson said. "I've hit it into that ocean off the tee a few times, and throwing the ball in the ocean is kind of a thank you for not taking it one more time."

Watson's final-round 76 was marred by six bogeys in his last 10 holes, and it left him, at 60 years old, tied for 29th at 11 over. He walked to the 18th green doffing his cap and tearing up, because he knew it might well be his last U.S. Open -- and almost certainly his last here, because when the tournament returns in 2019, he will be 69.

"There's a lots of sadness today, a lot of sadness," Watson said. "Yet it's based on a lot of memories and great memories that I've had here, and it very well may be my last time playing Pebble Beach in a championship of this caliber, probably. Probably so."

That sadness, Watson said, might have prevented him from finishing with a birdie. He played a beautiful bunker shot to within a few feet of the hole -- and missed the putt.

"I drew a blank on the putt and pushed it out there," he said, "and made it coming back, fortunately. But the emotions are pretty high."

Short but not sweet

A day after the par-3 seventh hole played at 99 yards for the third round, the United States Golf Association moved the tee up even more for the final round, in which it played at 92 yards -- the shortest par-3 in an Open since World War II. The pin was placed in the back right of the green, meaning players had to flirt with the ocean over the back side, and the tee box was widened to 13 yards -- up from the normal five -- to give players more angles from which to attack it.

On the two days the hole played under 100 yards, it yielded 17 birdies, 35 bogeys and three double bogeys.

A good walk unspoiled

Pablo Martin shot 83 in Saturday's third-round for a three-round total of 19-over 232, tied with Mike Weir -- who was in contention with an opening 70, then shot 79 and 83 -- for worst among the 83 players who missed the cut. Because there was an odd number, Martin played Sunday by himself -- finishing in two hours 39 minutes.

"Me and my caddie, it was a nice walk, checking [out] the course," Martin said. "Pretty cool. It's so nice over here in Pebble Beach. I'm glad we get to play for free." . . .

University of Virginia grad Steve Marino, a Fairfax native, finished his second U.S. Open -- his first in which he made the cut -- with a tough 79 that he opened bogey-double-bogey-par-bogey. He finished 16 over for the tournament, tied for 63rd. . . . First-round co-leader Shaun Micheel, who fell out of contention with a 77 Friday and a 75 Saturday, holed a 239-yard 3-iron on the 523-yard par-5 sixth for the only the second double eagle in Open history. The other: T.C. Chen in 1995 at Oakland Hills. Micheel followed that 2 with a double bogey 5 at the 92-yard par-3 seventh.

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