Much like the rain delays this weekend at the 109th United States Open Championship at Bethpage Black course, your truly is a little late in getting in this week’s sports story in.

Yesterday provided some great drama and a great and memorable finish. It became somewhat of a Darwinesque survival of the fittest down the stretch. The last group with Ricky Barnes and Lucas Glover started Monday play on the second hole with a comfortable cushion of 5 shots between them and the next closest competitor.

Only in the US Open, no lead is comfortable, especially when you have not contended in a Major before.

Barnes was the first to falter, giving away a number of strokes early in the round. He started to show signs of this late in the day on Sunday as he missed a very short putt on #18 and then promptly began the fourth round by barely keeping it on the golf course. Barnes has been in a position like this before, albeit while still an amateur. He is a past United States Amateur Champion. That is a Major in my book, and it sure was to Bobby Jones.

Glover leads the PGA this year in total driving statistics which combines length off the tee with accuracy. That is the kind of statistical support you need to find yourself at the top of a US Open Leaderboard. As Barnes faltered, Glover hung in there just a bit better…mainly due the number of fairways he was hitting.

A number of other players made a charge, Mike Weir, who was a magician with the rescue clubs and fairway woods all week. Ross Fischer…Who??? Most had never heard of him, but they will now. And if you watch golf channel coverage of the European Tour you would know a lot more about Ross and his golf game.

David Duval, who had gone the way of Ian Baker Finch, win the Open Championship only to never be heard from again. Duval showed the world that he might be closer than we think to being among the games best again. He had a few horrible breaks early in the round and could have easily faltered, but instead righted the ship and finished tied for second. No one saw that coming. Except maybe Double D himself.

Tiger made a fourth quarter drive, but ran out of holes and out of time. NBC is always pushing for Tiger, and frankly pushes too hard, I think the reason a lot of folks don’t like Tiger is the media is often so slanted to have him win that it turns a lot of folks off. Still it is impressive that he has no putting game at all this week, hits it just average and still can finish tied for 6th. It just proves how good he really is.

The peoples choice, Phil Mickelson once again came up just a bit shy. Too many good story lines here if he did pull this one off. Now we look at his record in U S Opens and see five….count em five second place finishes. This might be like Arnold Palmer and the PGA Championship. Many close calls but he could never win that one. How many more shots will Phil get to be this close.

At the end it was Lucas Glover hoisting the trophy. One of the quietest and unassuming champions you could predict. With now two wins to his credit on the PGA tour, Glover gets a lot more attention, fame, and a smooth ten year exemption on the tour.

A lot of other big stories later this week including the finale of the College World Series and the start of Wimbledon.

Also I would be remiss if I did not mention a good friend of mine says to purchase your Colorado Rockies tickets now….for the playoffs. What a turnaround in Coors!

Until next week- Hit em straight!

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Johnny Goodman writes a weekly sports column for The Soap Boxers. His articles can be found in The Goodman File.

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