-- Pinehurst No. 2 holds more meaning for Mike Hicks than any of the golfers who played in the 105th U.S. Open. Hicks was the caddie for the late Payne Stewart, who won the event when it was last here in 1999. Stewart died four months later in a plane crash.
Hicks now is on the bag for Lee Janzen, a two-time winner of the U.S. Open, and said he was relieved to be done with this year's championship.
"A little bit of closure to the whole thing," Hicks said. "It doesn't hide the fact that we miss him, and I've been thinking about him all day. I've been looking forward to it, but I'm glad it's finally over."
Janzen shot 4-over-par 74 in the final round and wound up 16-over 296 for the tournament.
"Payne loved being the center of attention," said Janzen, who closed with a birdie at No. 18. "He's not even here with us physically, and he's still grabbing a lot of headlines. He was that kind of personality, I guess you could say. He was more than just a golfer."
Rory Sabbatini would have been pleased with the pace of play from the first group off in Sunday's final round of the U.S. Open. Chris Nallen, who regularly plays on the Nationwide Tour, and amateur Trip Kuehne completed their round in exactly three hours.
In the final round of last week's Booz Allen Classic, Sabbatini could been seen berating playing partner Ben Crane for his slow pace as they walked off the 18th green. Sabbatini issued an apology the next day after arriving at Pinehurst for the U.S. Open.
"I don't think we even thought about the pace we were playing," said Kuehne, who missed the cut after shooting two rounds of 75 and stayed in the area to watch the rest of the tournament.
Nallan, who was scheduled to play by himself because an odd number of players made the cut, shot 5-over 75 and finished 21-over 301 for the tournament.
"Playing with Trip, it was nice," Nallen said. "We played Walker Cup together, and it was nice to have him out there kind of just keeping me loose. He was gracious to me, courteous, and we had a good time. We talked the whole way around. I was pretty loose out there. Obviously, I would like to have played better. Just kind of struggling, but I had a great time. It was a great day."
Matt Every finished the tournament as the low amateur, shooting a final-round even-par 70. Every will be a senior at the University of Florida in the fall. He made the golf team as a freshman walk-on and since has been an all-American twice, including first team this past season.
"If I had a dollar for how many times I heard 'Go Gators' this week, I'd make more money than the winner this week," Every said. "I had a lot fun out there, the whole week really."
Next for Every is the Northeast Amateur in Rumford, R.I.
"Talk about a buzz kill," Every said. "I'm not knocking the Northeast Am; it's an awesome amateur tournament. But [this] is the U.S. Open."
Every estimated that it cost roughly five or six thousand dollars for him to play in the U.S. Open. That included lodging, transportation, meals and miscellaneous items.
"It wasn't my money; it was my dad's," said Every, whose father owns a construction business in Daytona Beach, Fla. "I'll pay him back one day, I swear."