The 2023 U.S. Open was played near Hollywood, and there was a Hollywood ending, just not one that was expected but definitely has the makings to be made into a movie.
Wyndham Clark (Titleist Pro V1x) won the U.S. Open on Father’s Day at the Los Angeles Country Club with a 10-under par score. A mere month before he recorded his first PGA in 134 starts on Mother’s Day in the Wells Fargo Championship.
Kind of crazy, but Rory McIlroy (TaylorMade TP5x), who finished second to Clark at 10-under par, won his first career PGA Tour event in the Wells Fargo (overall he’s done it three times) in 2010 and won first major in the U.S. Open in 2011.
McIlroy, incidentally, was born in Holywood, County Down, Northern Ireland.
So it was almost a Hollywood/Holywood moment. The gallery was certainly cheering for McIlroy.
After Clark won the Wells Fargo Championship, he talked about his mother, Lise, who died 10 years ago due to breast cancer. It devasted Clark, who was in university and nearly gave up on golf. He rebounded by taking to heart something his mother told him, “play big.” He paid tribute to her when he won the Wells Fargo and reiterated that after the U.S. Open victory.
“I just feel like my mom was watching over me today,” said Clark. “I miss you, Mom. I just feel like I’ve worked so hard and I’ve dreamed of this moment for so long.”
His father, Randall, is a former professional tennis player. In an article in Golfweek, he said his son metaphorically “fell off a cliff” in university because of the emotional loss of his mother. But he pulled it together and it’s become one of those pleasant stories in sports and life.
And I’m sure some more material for Netflix’s second series of Full Swing.
RORY’S STORY: McIlroy has now gone 3,295 days since his last major, the PGA Championship in 2014. According to information in the NBC broadcast of the tournament, McIlroy won four majors in his first 25, but has gone winless in 32 since then. He is one of three players to win four majors by age 25.
The last major of the season is the Open Championship, starting July 20 at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, Wirral, England. McIlroy won it in 2014, the last time the tournament was played at Royal Liverpool. This is the 13th time the Open Championship will be played there. Could 13 be lucky for Rory?
THE MULLET MAN: Cam Smith (Titleist Pro V1x) is the defending Open champion. It was the last tournament he played on the PGA Tour before defecting to LIV Golf. Smith finished fourth in the U.S. Open at six-under par and three-under on the round. He was one of the few players to make some ground on the back nine, which was far tougher than the front nine.
SCOTTIE TOO HOTTIE: World number one Scottie Scheffler (Titleist Pro V1x) finished third at seven-under par. As has often been the case in recent months, his putting let him down. But he has consistently been in contention in every tournament.
WORLD NUMBER TWO: Jon Rahm (Callaway Chrome Soft X) left the course on Saturday noticeably upset and frustrated, but he rebounded on Sunday shooting five-under par and finished tied for 10th at three-under par.
FOWLER GOES COLD: Rickie Fowler (TaylorMade TP5x), who was born a mere 90 miles from the Los Angeles Country Club and was tied with Clark for first at 10-under par going into Sunday, finished at five-under after shooting five-over par. It was a huge blow for Fowler Nation, which was cheering for the California native.
THE XAND MAN: Xander Schauffele (Callaway Chrome Soft X), another California native, was tied with Fowler after the first round shooting a U.S. Open course record eight-under par. He shot two-over par on Sunday to finish tied for 10th at three-under par. To put this into perspective, he shot five-over par in his last 54 holes after his sizzling opening-round start.
FLEETWOOD FLEETS WITH HISTORY: Tommy Fleetwood (TaylorMade TP5x), who came into the tournament fresh off a tough loss in the RBC Canadian Open won by Nick Taylor (Titleist Pro V1x), finished tied for fifth at five-under par. He shot seven-under par, becoming the first player to shoot 63 twice on Sunday at the U.S. Open. He did it five years ago, finishing second to Brooks Koepka (Srixon Z Star Diamond).
“After coming off disappointed (last week) it’s pretty cool to be the first ever to shoot two 63s on a Sunday at the U.S. Open,” he tweeted.
QUOTE UNQUOTE: “He was an athlete, man. He had the intestinal fortitude and put it all together in his head.” NBC broadcast Paul Azinger explaining why Clark won.
QUOTE UNQUOTE TWO: “He took down all the stars to win the U.S. Open.” NBC broadcaster Dan Hicks on Clark’s win.