When Phil Mickelson made his birdie attempt from off the green on the opening hole yesterday, the gallery roared its approval. The fans were prepared to see Lefty charge. They did the same every time Ernie Els or Tiger Woods made a move, creating a rumble of energy through Pebble Beach at the US Open. By the end, those roars were reserved for unknown Graeme McDowell on the 18th green as the new US Open champ. Lefty, Ernie, and Tiger were nowhere to be found. Key bogeys had dropped the big names out of the running.
McDowell's final round of 3-over 74 had the consistency that Woods, Els, and Mickelson lacked. He shot even par on the front nine, then withstood Pebble's treacherous back nine. Behind him came not the big three, but Gregory Havret. "I was surprised," says McDowell, "No disrespect to Gregory, he's a great player, but when you have Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els obviously there, you're not expecting Gregory Havret to be the guy you've got to fend off."