Every golfer has a story. It's just that some are more interesting than others. Coming into the 2009 U.S. Open, the story was Tiger's potential dominance, Phil Mickelson's family adversity, and whether anyone in the field would be able to challenge either. In other words, it was the same as every other golf major.
It didn't end that way.
Instead, Lucas Glover -- an unheralded, mild-mannered unknown from South Carolina -- outlasted the best golfers in the world in a rain-extended final round on Monday. If you bet on Glover before the tournament, congratulations: you are now a very rich person.
Glover's competition was uniformly more compelling. Even after Tiger faded (and thanks to a rough Saturday for everyone, it took most of Monday for that to happen) Glover was being chased by Mickelson, the week's overwhelming fan favorite. Mickelson's wife, Amy, and her recent bout with breast cancer were the stuff of promos and soft-focus features all week, and the fans at Bethpage responded to Phil in kind.
Then there was David Duval. Duval, once the No. 1 player in the world and a leading Tiger-killer, faded from professional golf almost entirely over the past decade. Duval has put on a few pounds since his prime, but his golf was as good as ever, and he had a chance down the stretch to steal the tournament away.
Glover's main competition came from Ricky Barnes, a very good -- and slightly flashy -- amateur who has yet to turn in a professional performance. Barnes set the 36-hole U.S. Open record this weekend; he entered the final round of the tournament in the lead but choked much of it away on the front nine Monday. Barnes rebounded and got himself within two strokes on 18.
Instead, it was Glover. Khakis, white shirt, white hat, with a fundamentally sound but not otherwise nondescript swing, Glover was about the most boring thing on the leaderboard this week. In the end, he was also its best.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.