Wednesday, March 7

Gary Van Sickle: 'Revising History with USGA's 2-Hole Playoff'

IMAGINE IF THE USGA HAD BEEN USING the new two-hole aggregate playoff throughout U.S. Open history instead of the 18-hole playoff (and earlier the 36-hole playoff).

That's what veteran golf writer Gary Van Sickle did in a clever piece for MORNING READ.

Sickle rewrote U.S. Open history based on the two-hole playoff. It turns out that bridesmaid Sam Snead won the U.S. Open after all. Sorry, there was no miracle at Merion for Ben Hogan. Arnold Palmer recovered from his epic collapse to edge Billy Casper at the Olympic Club. And more.

Here's one fun snippet from Van Sickle's revisionist history:
Amateur hour … almost: The best underdog story that never was belonged to caddie-turned-amateur Francis Ouimet. He beat long odds to wind up in the 1913 U.S. Open playoff against two of golf’s biggest names, Britons Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. If the 21-year-old kid would’ve knocked off those kingpins, he might have been hailed as the father of amateur golf in America. Instead, the two-hole playoff format meant Ray was eliminated by the third hole. Ouimet gamely took Vardon to the sixth, where his par wasn’t good enough to beat Vardon’s birdie. Ouimet won a pair of U.S. Amateurs and played in eight Walker Cups, but he missed his chance at what could’ve been the greatest game ever played, had he won.

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