ARDMORE, Pa. — Steve Stricker was attempting to become the oldest champion in US Open history. Luke Donald was trying to become the first US Open winner from Britain in 43 years — although that’s no longer the case. Both were sidetracked by errant shots early in the final round that inflicted some damage.
In Stricker’s case, it was psychological. Starting the round one shot back and playing at Merion Golf Club in the next-to-last group, he made a routine par at the first. Then his day blew up. His drive on the par-5 second sailed right, over the fence and out of bounds. His next drive found the fairway, but the next swing — his fourth shot — produced a stone-cold shank. Also over the fence, also out of bounds. He worked hard to make a triple-bogey 8, but that kind of score, especially in the final round, simply isn’t made by the eventual champion.