Eric Adelson: ‘Both Those Putts Were Makable’

Dustin Johnson had one of the most frustrating finishes to a major you’ll ever see, missing a birdie that would have forced a playoff against Jordan Spieth at the 115h U.S. Open at Chambers Bay on Sunday. Johnson three-putted from 12 feet, allowing Spieth to win his second consecutive major.

Johnson has now finished in the top six at all four majors, including runner-up finishes at the U.S. Open and Open Championship.

Just how brutal was that final sequence on 18?

“Oh, man, I could never have made either of those putts,” Yahoo! Sports writer Eric Adelson said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I probably would have four-putted, actually. I think I would’ve putted five or six times. We’ve seen these kind of things before in the history of golf, but this one is so brutal because both of these putts were makable. It would have been an incredible win. It was an incredible tournament, and then you have to factor in the greens that were just poor in this tournament. If I’m Dustin Johnson, I wonder, if it had been another surface, would he have made the putt? He said that he read it the way he wanted to, and really, almost nobody had been making putts the whole week. So there’s sort of the double whammy of the gut punch of missing the putt, but also, at least for me, wondering if that putt would have gone in if it was at another course.”

But does knowing that make Johnson feel any better?

“No,” Adelson said. “No, I don’t think anything could possibly make him feel better other than holding his child on Father’s Day, which would make any dad feel better. But no, I just think there have to be so many questions: Did I read it right? Did I read the second one right? Did I take too much time? Did I take too little time? And then the question about, well, maybe it wasn’t my fault at all. Maybe it was the greens. Maybe they shouldn’t have been played on this course. And the more questions you have when you look back on this, the worse it is.”

Johnson shot a 70 on Sunday to finish tied for second with Louis Oosthuzien with a 276. Spieth, meanwhile, shot a 69 to finish with a 275 and become, at 21, the youngest U.S. Open champion since Bobby Jones in 1923.

So, which is the bigger storyline: Johnson’s blunder or Spieth’s brilliance?

“That’s a great question,” Adelson said. “In the moment, it’s always the loser because the loser is sort of the more human of the drama. I think we all sort of identify – especially in golf because the course always beats us when we play – but I think that overall the bigger story is certainly Jordan Spieth. He’s so young, (and) he’s won these two tournaments.”

Spieth is only the sixth player to win the Masters and the U.S. Open in the same year.

“I was at the Masters, and those greens were borderline impossible,” Adelson said. “Those were incredibly difficult greens. He read them brilliantly, and these were completely impossible greens too for a totally different reason. He read those brilliantly. These were extreme circumstances that he won in both cases. And at this age with all the pressure and two majors, this is historic. And now he goes to St. Andrews for a possible three in a row. That’s certainly, to me, the jaw-dropper. He’s one of the sports stories of the year, and he’s only halfway through the year.”

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