Surviving the Open
by Brian North

The temperatures were hot, the humidity oppressive at times. The US Open was just as grueling a test for fans as it was for the players. But it was well worth it for all who witnessed the beauty of Pinehurst in person. And North Carolina residents should be proud of their state for putting on a great show for the world to see.

Just like in 1999, course number two proved once again why it is one of the toughest and fairest tests in golf. The world's best golfers were humbled by the undulating greens with their lightening quick pace. The top ranked player in the world, Tiger Woods, said he could never get a feel for the speed of the greens his putting kept him from winning. Even the 818th ranked player in the world, crowd favorite Jason Gore, couldn't use the fans' support to get over the top. And two time US Open champ Retief Goosen started leaking oil early Sunday afternoon and shot an 81. But one man was able to survive in the sand hills of North Carolina.

Michael Campbell continued his climb back to the top of the golfing world by winning the US Open. Campbell almost retired in 1998 after suffering a bad wrist injury. He played all the mini tours and got his confidence back and it culminated with the biggest win of his career. It was another great life lesson in not giving up and continuing to pursue dreams.  Campbell is a 36-year-old from New Zealand who used to play rugby growing up. He was the least talked about player on the leader board going into the final round. But now he will go down in golf history as a major champion.

The US Open probably won't return to Pinehurst for another 10 years, so I hope you were lucky enough to be one of the hundreds of thousands who witnessed a practice round or the event itself. If not, check out the stars of tomorrow. Greenville will host the Touchstone Energy Hooters Tour event at Brook Valley this week. It may not be a major, but it's still golf played at a pretty high level.

Brian North