Saturday, June 17, 2006

If I Go Crazy Then Will You Still Call Me Superman

Despite the snazzy Superman belt buckle, the hefty build and unshaven appearance makes Kenneth Ferrie look every bit like an Everyman.

Everyman however doesn’t share the lead going into the final round of the 106th United States Open.

Coming into this weekend, no one expected much out of the two-time European tour winner despite the fact he was only two strokes off the lead. To most golf fans, people couldn’t recognize Ferrie if he came in with a big sign on the back of his shirt.

Of course who could blame them?

Ferrie has had his own South Beach Diet…(or I guess we should call it the South Wales Diet) and lost over 60 pounds. Looking at the picture NBC provided for the tee times, you might worry Mr. Ferrie was a victim of identity theft. Maybe he stole Tiger’s missing golf game instead.

Ferrie hit an amazing second shot on the par-five 5th for a kick-in eagle and had only two bogeys on the 9th and 14th going into the 18th. He had made huge putts, solid recoveries from the rough and if it were not for the nervous twitching and fidgeting of his visor, no one could be able to tell our Everyman with the Superman belt buckle wasn't playing a normal round at his local country club. But the 18th green is truly unique and its bedeviled slopes and speed cost Ferrie just like other European contenders Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington. The dropped shot meant he co-leads the championship with thrill seeker Phil Mickleson He still kept his humor however, when asked about what happened on the 18th green:

“I hit three putts,” Ferrie said. “I hit two putts and it went in on the third.”


How about playing with the sharpest golfer on the planet?

“Yeah he’s pretty good, ain’t he?”

Kenneth Ferrie could find a career in stand up, but will he find a U.S. Open trophy?

All the signs would point to no. He has never been in such a migraine-inducing, nerve-testing, bowel-wrecking test of golf as he will endure tomorrow. Not to mention that Phil Mickelson seems to have a better home court (or in this case “course”) advantage than the Miami Heat. The man who looks like the lovechild of Darren Clarke and John Daly will have to deal with an almost Ryder Cup-like atmosphere, inexperience and the toughest golfing conditions he’s ever played. Now that’s some high quality kryptonite Mr. Superman.

Also there is the memory of Jason Gore residing in all our memories. The lovable lug shot over 80 on the final day at Pinehurst after surviving Saturday surprisingly well. Is Ferrie the next Gore…or is he the next Michael Campbell? Campbell won a great deal on the European Tour but struggled mightily coming in to his major victory. Ferrie can relate, not even cracking the top 10 this season. Last year, Campbell almost decided not to try and qualify but he did, at the exact same location Ferrie qualified this year.

Of course, who is to say someone not named Phil or Ferrie can’t win? Granted Lefty looks solid, but someone could make his way out of the woodwork, especially if the wind picks up late in the day. Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk are both major champions but they are also three and four strokes back respectively. If someone does make a charge though, most of them will probably wonder what might have been.

What if Harrington hadn’t whiffed his ball from the rough on 18 en route to a triple bogey?

What if Monty had not started out bogey-bogey-double bogey?

What if Stricker had found a fairway?

What if Ogilvy hadn’t thrown a fit after the 12th hole costing him a few key shots?

If one of these men can make it to the top of the U.S. Open leader board it’ll take one super performance…maybe Kenny would even let them have the belt buckle.


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