It wasn't supposed to end like that. Not at all. Phil Mickelson was supposed to claim the US Open title for his wife Amy. David Duval was supposed to give the 1980 USA hockey team a run for its money on underdog stories. And heck, we haven't even gotten to Tiger Woods and his first-round collapse that ended up costing him the tournament.
Nope. It wasn't supposed to go the way it did, but the US Open never does. Lucas Glover, the 29-year-old that married his soul mate and reads a book a week, came out of nowhere to claim the 2009 US Open title on great drive and gutsy putting. Glover had never finished in the top-10 in any major and had missed the cut in all of his previous US Open appearances, but this was Bethpage Black and Glover can do one thing better than anyone ... drive the golf ball.
That didn't come without fireworks from his competitors, however. Mickelson, who seemed to have the whole world slapping him on the back throughout the week, made a birdie on the par-4 12th hole and followed that up with what was, at the time, the shot of the tournament. Lefty stuck his second shot on the par-5 13th to five feet, and calmly rolled that in for an eagle and a share of the lead at 4-under. But that was as close as Phi would get, as he stumbled on the way in with bogeys on 15 and 17, one being a three-putt and the other a missed up-and-down from the tall grass short of the 17th green.
You'd like to think that Mickelson is eventually going to win one of these U.S. Opens, but Bethpage is now his record fifth runner-up finish, one more than Jack Nicklaus had in his career, and just another example of how close Phil can get without being able to come through.
Then comes Duval. There is bad luck, like when Hunter Mahan hit the flagstick on the 16th hole, only to have it ricochet off the putting surface, leading to a bogey, and there is really bad luck like Duval's opening tee shot on the par-3 third hole. Just short of the green, Duval's ball plugged just under the lip, leading to a triple-bogey. Instead of giving in to the golf gods, Duval played the rest of the day 3-under par, coming just short of his second major title.
You also can't shake your head at Ricky Barnes. The young, flashy American could have folded down the stretch of his final round -- a round in which he played a stretch of eight holes at 6-over -- but he hung in there and was a rolled-lip on 18 away from finishing in second place by himself.
Finally, we have to focus on the week that would have been for Woods. Tiger's first-round 74, when he played the last four holes 4-over, was what we will all look at over the next few days. Needing some things to happen on the back nine, Tiger's putter couldn't come through and he will leave another U.S. Open with that "if only" look on his face.
Sure, it might have been a week of "what ifs," but make no bones about it. Glover won this tournament. Nobody lost it.