Glover Wins Rain-Soaked U.S. Open

Lucas Glover won the U.S. Open Monday, edging out Phil Mickelson, David Duval and Ricky Barnes. Glover is a 29-year-old South Carolinian who had won just once before on the PGA Tour.

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DAVID GREENE, host:

When the rain finally cleared up at the 109th United States Open Golf Championship yesterday, the unlikely champion was Lucas Glover. He's a 29-year-old from South Carolina and had won just once previously on the PGA Tour. He'd never before made the 36 hole cut at a U.S. Open.

Glover hung on through five days of rain and rain delays at Bethpage Black on Long Island to win by two strokes. Commentator John Feinstein was at Bethpage and joins me now.

Good morning, John.

Mr. JOHN FEINSTEIN (Author): Good morning, David.

GREENE: Have you dried off?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. FEINSTEIN: It'll take me a few more days. I don't want to say that it was wet there, but there was a point over the weekend where I thought the best bet to win the Open was Michael Phelps, because it was going to be whomever could swim 72 holes first was going to be the champion. That's how wet it was.

GREENE: Well, seriously, I saw all the TV images of umbrellas. It was all we were seeing. I mean, did that become the big story, sort of overtaking the actual champion?

Mr. FEINSTEIN: Well, it was certainly an ongoing story throughout. It started Thursday morning when they had to call off most of the entire day. They had rain all day on Saturday. They obviously had to go into Monday in regulation play for the first time since 1983. Players were getting up at 5:00 in the morning to go back to the golf course to resume rounds.

Tiger Woods said it very well yesterday. He said he didn't know what day it was or what round he was playing. And that's all the more credit to Lucas Glover for being the last man standing at the end.

GREENE: Well, the most popular winner probably would've been Phil Mickelson. What happened to him?

Mr. FEINSTEIN: Well, you're absolutely right. I mean, Phil Mickelson's wife Amy is facing surgery for breast cancer in 10 days. He's been a runner-up at the Open now five times. That's a record. He's hugely popular in the New York area with the fans there. It almost sounded like a hockey games sometimes when Mickelson hit a good shot.

And he was right there, David. He got tied for the lead when he made an eagle at the 13th hole. But then his putter, which has always been his Achilles heel under pressure, let him down again. He missed two short putts - one at the 15h, one at the 17th. And that cost him and he ended up as a runner-up yet again.

GREENE: I guess putting can always kill you in the end.

Mr. FEINSTEIN: (unintelligible)

(Soundbite of laughter)

GREENE: Well, the other two runner-ups they had some interesting stories as well.

Mr. FEINSTEIN: Really stories of redemption. David Duval, who was once ranked number one in the world and won the British Open in 2001 was ranked 882nd in the world coming into the tournament. He hadn't had a top 10 in any tournament anywhere for six years and literally came out of nowhere to qualify for the Open, just to get to play. And then hung in there and was actually tied for the lead at one point yesterday with Mickelson and Glover before falling just short. And

Ricky Barnes, again a star seven years ago when he won the U.S. Amateur, hadn't even been playing on the PGA Tour 'til this year and had no finish higher than 47th. And he ends up tied for second in the U.S. Open.

GREENE: Well, there is this name I've heard once or twice before - Tiger Woods. You haven't mentioned him yet.

Mr. FEINSTEIN: Yeah. Tiger lost the tournament on Friday morning. Finishing up his first round after the rain he played the last four holes in four over par. And he never recovered from that. He tried. He got to within a couple of shots late yesterday, but he just never could recover from that terrible start and ended up in sixth place. And, of course, now all the questions will come again. Is Tiger losing it? And believe me, he's not losing it, David.

GREENE: His name will certainly stay out there.

Mr. FEINSTEIN: He will be back. He will win major championships again. It just turns out he's human like the rest of us, just better than the rest of us.

GREENE: These have been the comments of John Feinstein, whose new book is "Are You Kidding Me: The Story of Rocco Mediate's Extraordinary Battle with Tiger Woods at the U.S. Open."

John, thanks for being here.

Mr. FEINSTEIN: Thank you, David.

(Soundbite of music)

GREENE: This is NPR News.

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