SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -- The U.S. Open returned to one of its historic venues, and Shinnecock Hills did not disappoint. The Long Island course was every bit the brute -- and then some -- that was expected, drawing cheers and jeers from players and producing an impressive champion in Brooks Koepka.
That is not to say the week sailed by without incident. There were plenty of missteps, led by the United States Golf Association, which got its Saturday setup wrong, leading to cries of complaint. Phil Mickelson had a Saturday to disremember as well, and four of the game's top-10 players didn't make it to the weekend.
It was also the 40th major championship since Tiger Woods won his last one in 2008. While expecting him to win this year was perhaps unrealistic, his inability to make any putts -- or the cut -- was a disappointment in his comeback.
There were plenty of highs and lows this week on Long Island. Here's a rundown.
He became just the seventh player to win back-to-back U.S. Opens and the first since Curtis Strange in 1988-89. That he did it on two wildly different venues in Erin Hills and Shinnecock Hills is a testament to his skills. He was 7 over following 22 holes and managed to play the remaining 50 in 6 under. Koepka missed the Masters due to a serious wrist injury that kept him out for nearly four months. He hardly looks worse for it today.
The Englishman had a chance to shoot the lowest round in a U.S. Open, but he settled for a 63 that put him in the clubhouse lead and saw him wait out the finishers and come up one shot short. Last year, he played with Koepka in the final round at Erin Hills and finished fourth. Now he has a runner-up finish in a major after starting the day six shots back. He also became a piece of history, as he is just the sixth player to shoot 63 in a U.S. Open.
The Masters champion gave himself a serious shot at a second straight major when he birdied five of the first seven holes to gain a share of the lead, but he could not keep up the pace. A back-nine 37 meant a 68, with a very respectable fourth-place finish. Reed now has three straight top-10s in majors after not having any before last year's PGA.
The reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion shared co-medalist honors with Luis Gagne, a college golfer who is from Costa Rica and plays at LSU. Parziale has a full-time job as a firefighter in Brockton, Massachusetts. After missing the cut at the Masters, he made the most of his opportunity here, shooting a final-round 74 to tie for 48th with the likes of Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker.
There is a reason the course is so revered. One of the five founding members of the United States Golf Association and one of the oldest courses in the country, it again offered a stern test in which the elements played a big role in the outcome. Wind lashed the course on Thursday and Saturday and kept the players on edge. Even with the easiest scoring conditions of the week, just 15 players broke par on Sunday, and only four went lower than 2 under.
Executive director Mike Davis pledged a few weeks ago that there would be no reprise of the 2004 debacle at Shinnecock, in which the ruling body lost the course -- and considerable respect from players. But it happened again. A miscalculation of wind, not enough water on the greens and some crazy golf ensued Saturday, leading to just three scores under par, a scoring average north of 75 and some raised blood pressure. Tony Finau and Daniel Berger played early, shot 66s, then sat back and made up 11 strokes to tie for the lead. To Davis' credit, he admitted that the organization made a mistake. It set up a fairer course on Sunday.
It is still hard to comprehend Lefty chasing after his rolling golf ball on the 13th hole and hitting it while it was moving. The Saturday fiasco led to a two-shot penalty and all manner of takes on either side of the issue, from Phil being Phil to Phil being labeled a cheater. The truth is somewhere in the middle, but there's no doubt that it was a bad look, and the Hall of Famer with five major championships doubled down on his intentions instead of admitting he erred. This shall pass, but it was a bizarre set of circumstances that saw Mickelson shoot his highest score, 81, in a U.S. Open since 1992.
Does Johnson face the possibility of criticism for not pouncing on his opportunities at majors? There was the 2010 U.S. Open and PGA, the 2011 Open, the 2015 U.S. Open. DJ led by four strokes through 36 holes and then was 7 over on the weekend to finish two strokes back of Koepka. In his defense, he got the worst of the over-baked setup on Saturday and did not play poorly in shooting a 77. But on Sunday, he took 35 putts. Ouch.
The top 10
Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Jason Day -- all ranked in the top 10 -- flamed out and didn't make it to the weekend. Rahm and Day seemed out of sorts from the beginning. McIlroy shot an opening-round 80. Spieth made a spirited rally on the back nine Friday, only to excruciatingly bogey the last two holes and miss the cut by one. After what happened to the course on Saturday, he had to be seething watching the proceedings, as a good round would have put him right back in the tournament.
The three-time U.S. Open champion came in off the best ball-striking tournament of his comeback at the Memorial -- and then airmailed the first green and made a triple-bogey 7 on his way to a 78. He never really recovered. He doubled the hole on Friday and simply didn't make enough putts, missing the cut by two shots after a second-round 72. Although Woods should not be expected to contend every week or make every cut, that was a setback in the scheme of world ranking points, Ryder Cup points and FedEx Cup points.