Tampa Bay Sports Day

A Whale of a Last Day at Bethpage

BETHPAGE, NY – Even after four days of disappointing weather, and tough golf, the U.S. Open did have a gem in it.

A holdover Monday finally gave the Long Island crowd something to cheer about and also something to groan.

First you had Lucas Glover, who fought through and won his first major. A 29 year-old South Carolinian, who grew up a Yankee fan showed more heart than his favorite team has in the past month.

“It just played hard, bottom line,” said Glover, who shot a 73 on the final 18 to take the Open with a minus-4 for the tournament.

But as good of a story Glover is, Phil Mickelson made the final day.

Through the first 12 holes, the Lefty – who was playing for his wife, diagnosed with breast cancer – was dropping darts on the course. And then on the 13th, Mickelson looked like he had the momentum to take the elusive tournament with eagle on a par-5 to tie Glover.

“It put me right in position,” Mickelson said. “I thought I needed to play most likely under par to have won outright. As it turned out, that’s what I needed to do.”

But then Mickelson went down hill. Bogeys on the 15th and 17th was too much to overcome for the fan favorite, who was treated like a rock star by the Bethpage crowd, finishing at par for the final 18 and 2-under for the tournament.

“Certainly, I’m disappointed, but now that it’s over, I’ve got more important things going on,” he said.
“Oh, well.”

No one will blame Mickelson for not caring, his family comes first, yet his whale of a last day saved this tournament from being a total washout. The USGA tried to screw the fans after Thursday’s washout, but then gave gave those ticket holders Monday and, ultimately their money’s worth, as the long course at Bethpage did not disappoint once again.

“I don’t know if I have enough energy to do anything crazy,” Glover said. “It was a long and crazy week with the delays and the weather and the back-and-forth to the course and all that. And that’s the first time I’ve contended in a major. Mentally, I was done.”

And thus closes another chapter at Bethpage Black.