Well, that was unexpected. Six of the world’s top-10 players are headed home after missing the cut at the 117th U.S. Open. Say goodbye to Dustin Johnson (1), Rory McIlroy (2), Jason Day (3), Henrik Stenson (6), Alex Noren (8) and Jon Rahm (10). Among these names, who are you most surprised is leaving?
Sean Zak: The easy answer would be DJ, but Rahm had displayed all year an elite level of consistency. He showed patience throughout much of the spring season that, even when things weren’t going well, he would right the ship. Attitudes are funny things, though. His seems a bit volatile.
Alan Bastable: Agree on Rahm. He has been obliterating every course he sets foot on and was a trendy pick all week. Did not see his swoon coming. DJ, you could argue, was distracted by the birth of River, and Rors simply needs more reps (not in the gym, on the course). I’m intrigued by Day’s assessment of why he couldn’t hit the mile-wide fairways. “With everything so large,” he said, “your target is larger and your misses get even more extreme.” Torn over whether that makes good sense, or no sense at all.
Josh Sens: Well, DJ was the defending champ, the pre-tournament favorite and the top ranked player in the world. So clearly the answer is Alex Noren.
Jeff Ritter: DJ was a surprise, but I give him a pass because of his early-week off-course excitement. But how does Rory MC three days after daring the USGA to make Erin Hills as tough as possible? This course is letter perfect for a big hitter, but he had no control on Thursday and was only slightly better Friday. That was a shock. I wonder if his rib injury, or at least the rust from it, is affecting him more than we realize.
Sean Steinemann: Alen Noren. A lot has been said about Noren’s rise up the rankings, with some saying he shouldn’t be quite so high as he plays predominately on the European Tour, and not against the game’s best, week-in and week-out. Nonetheless, Noren is coming off a four-win season in 2016, finished 10th at the Players and recently fired a magical 10-under 62 to win the BMW PGA. I had him on my short list for winners and really thought the U.S. Open was going to be his coming out party in front of the U.S. Fans. (Not that he really needs one — in my opinion, anyway).
Michael Bamberger: I’m ordering off the menu here. To me the biggest surprise was that a 94-year-old gent/golf fan came out to watch the golf. While it’s true that he did not make it home, all-in-all not a bad way to go out. Bing Crosby died on a golf course, too, in Spain. He holed out on 18 and said, “That was a great game of golf, fellas,” climbed some steps to the clubhouse and met his maker. Rest In Peace, 94-year-old unidentified golf fan. I admire your spirit.
Marika Washchyshyn: I’m with Jeff. Maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that Erin Hills served up Rory a big slice of humble pie, but it seemed Rory was chomping at the bit to get back to form this week. I’m not surprised that he might have stumbled — I am that he’s totally missing out on the weekend. I’m also gobsmacked that Danny Willett WD’d with a back injury (after a first round 81).