Winners and losers from an action-packed U.S. Open week

Devil Ball Golf

SAN FRANCISCO — Another U.S. Open is in the books. As expected, the tournament came down to the wire, with an up-and-coming twentysomething coming from behind to win his first major championship. Of course, Webb Simpson wasn't the only name making noise, good or bad, on Sunday afternoon. Here's a look at the winners and losers from Olympic Club.


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Webb Simpson — Simpson was clearly the biggest winner of the week, but it's worth taking a closer look at what the 26-year-old managed to do over the last 36 holes to make the win possible. A non-factor for much of the early week, he played his last two rounds in 4-under (68-68), which is an incredible feat considering how difficult Olympic Club was playing this week. Not only that, there was a point five holes into his final round where he was six shots back of then-leader Jim Furyk. Six shots. He managed to play his last 13 holes in 4-under to post a comeback even Billy Casper would've been proud of. And the up-and-down on the 18th hole? Well, that's the kind of heady stuff you expect to see from a major champion.

USGA's Mike Davis — Forget Webb Simpson's come-from-behind win, having Mike Davis on the winners list could be the biggest surprise of all. At the beginning of the week, holes like the 670-yard par-5 15th, and the par-3 13th hole (with its shaved left bank) led you to believe a bloodbath could take place at Olympic Club. It wouldn't have been the first time after what transpired at the 1998 U.S. Open. But USGA executive director Mike Davis didn't trick the course out. If anything, it was one of the best setups we've seen from the USGA in years. Sure, Olympic Club was difficult, but it's the U.S. Open ... it's meant to be a grueling test. Davis gave players accessible pins and made them feel like even though the course was a beast, there were spots where you could pick up a couple birdies on the inward stretch. It was a tough but fair test that produced a star-studded leader board. No doubt about it, Davis and his crew should be proud.

Michael Thompson — Thompson will likely be remembered for the short birdie putt he missed on the 17th hole that would've forced a Monday playoff, but let's look at everything else he did right this week. In just his first major championship as a professional, the up-and-comer proved he could be a force in the future. He already had one top 10 and four top 25s on the PGA Tour before the week, but we really got to know the 2007 U.S. Amateur runner-up at Olympic Club when he opened the tournament with 4-under 66 on Thursday. He struggled in between with rounds of 75-74, but when push came to shove on Sunday, he brought his A-game to the course, closing with 67 for the low round of the day. Give the guy some credit for bouncing back and putting together a great week on a stout track.

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David Toms — Toms wasn't on anyone's radar at the beginning of the week. After missing the cut at two of his favorite events on the tour schedule (Colonial and the FedEx St. Jude), the 45-year-old arrived at Olympic Club looking like a likely MC. But after opening with round of 69-70, he found himself in the second-to-last group on Saturday. Toms floundered with a 6-over 76, but he put it all together in the final round, going 3-under over his final 12 holes. His T-4 finish -- which allowed him to book a spot in next year's Masters field -- was the best U.S. Open finish of his career

Jordan Spieth — The soon-to-be University of Texas sophomore wasn't even the most talked about amateur in the field this week. That title went to 17-year-old Beau Hossler. Spieth, however, didn't seem to mind the spotlight being on someone else, because he quietly put together a solid week, posting rounds of 69-70 over the weekend to grab low amateur honors. An alternate who got into the field when Brandt Snedeker withdrew, he certainly made the most of his opportunity on such short notice.


Jim Furyk — He may be one of the most consistent golfers in the world, but when the pressure started to rise on Sunday afternoon, Jim Furyk crumbled. He's won a U.S. Open before, so he knows what it takes in the final round, but he had to feel like he let this one get away. While the rest of the field was making a move on the back nine, he was struggling to keep the ball in play with wayward shots that cost him on Nos. 13 and 16. And when he failed to make birdie from the bunker on the par-5 17th hole, his fate was sealed. No doubt this loss will haunt him for years to come.

Lee Westwood — You have to feel for the guy. He's been so close in the last five years at the majors that you have to wonder if he's snake-bit. It sure looked that way on Sunday, as Westwood suffered some awful luck on the par-4 fifth hole when his ball got stuck in the "Janzen tree." When it never fell out, he had to go back, re-tee and ended up carding a double bogey that nixed his tournament chances. All in all, it was a rough week for one of golf's top players.

Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald — It'd be easy to pick on Luke Donald's game and question his poor play at Olympic Club, but Rory McIlroy should also be lumped in with him as well. He is, after all, the second-ranked player in the world. Like Donald, McIlroy had his struggles this week and never really found a groove . Donald was off as well, posting 9-over 79 in the first round to miss out on the weekend. When the top-two-ranked players in the world don't make the cut, red flags usually go up. There's no question Donald and McIlroy are both incredible talents, but when they can't even make it to Saturday at a major, you can't help but feel like the questions about their staying-power in the sport are warranted.

Ernie Els — Let's get this out of the way right now: Ernie Els deserves a lot of credit for posting a top-10 finish this week. However, he blew a perfect opportunity to win his fourth major championship with a poor back nine that proved once again that he has some trust issues with his swing. Closing with two bogeys in his final three holes on Sunday, Els wiped out a great opportunity to pick up a couple late birdies and apply the pressure.

Tiger Woods — We save the best worst for last. Following rounds of 69-70, it looked like Woods was a lock for the "winners" side of this article at the midway point of the tournament. He was leading the field in driving accuracy and seemed to be in control of his game. But something happened on Saturday afternoon. Instead of grabbing the tournament by the throat, Woods struggled with his distance control on approach shots and never could quite get the ball to the cup, shooting a 75. Sunday was more of the same, as he shot 73 and finished the week T-21, the second-worst U.S. Open finish of his professional career. After the win at the Memorial and the early week success, it's hard to put a finger on where it all went wrong for Woods. Needless to say, his game is still a giant question mark.

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