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A lot to be learned from Sunday at Oakmont

July 12, 2010

I know not everyone is a golf fan, but it was sure fun watching the final round of the United States Women's Open Sunday at Oakmont Country Club.

Any athlete could learn a lot from Sunday afternoon at Oakmont.

After eventual champion Paula Creamer butchered the 12th hole to make a bogey 6, she went 3-3-3-3 and it really could have been 2-3-3-2.

She looked forward to the task at hand and not back to what just happened.

What's done is done and there is no changing that.

You only learn from it and go back to your game plan.

Ask Brittany Lang.

"I got a little nervous coming down the stretch," said Lang, who admittedly did not look at the leaderboard. "I got to 4-under (on the day), got a little ahead of myself ... I just got a little bit nervous. I knew I was probably near the top ... But something to learn - stick to my process and not get outcome-focused."

After Lang made birdie on Nos. 12 and 13, she missed a makeable birdie on No. 14 and then bogeyed Nos. 15 and 16, before making about a 15-footer for par on 17, the second-easiest hole on the day.

As I have said before, it's about the process, not the outcome.

As for the stats, it backed up why Creamer won.

She tied for eighth in greens hit in regulation, tied for third in fairways hit and birdies made and finished third in total number of putts with 121.

Suzann Petterson, who tied for second, four back, hit three less fairways, seven more greens and had 15 more putts than Creamer, who played the last six holes two-under par.

"With my eyes close I probably putt better," said Petterson, who had 34, 35, 34, and 33 putts. "I've been hitting the ball great. But I must say I have found it awfully difficult with the speed and the lines this week. Obviously we don't play on these type of greens too often, so obviously getting more and more familiar and more comfortable with the speed.

"But, just so many tough putts. I mean, it breaks so much because of speed. If the speed is just fractionally off, you are never gonna make it."

Creamer had surgery to repair ligament damage in the MCP joint of her left thumb on March 30.

"I just had to be patient," she said. "Yesterday (Saturday) I said these last couple of months were the most crucial months I think I've ever had to go through. You know, they were just maturing, learning how to handle adversity, learning how to, I guess, become more of an adult in a sense, and you have to really count your blessings every day.

"You know, I had my surgery, and yes, there was a time before my surgery where I thought, 'oh, my gosh, I may never play golf again' or, you know, if the surgery goes wrong ... but it was what I had to do, and here we are with a U.S. Open championship next to me. So it's been pretty cool.

"I don't even think I'm 80 percent. Jeez, I've said this whole time I think I'm about 60. It just shows how much the mental side of golf can really take over.

"I believed I could do this. I believed I could do this when I had a cast on my hand. That's what I just kept thinking about was Oakmont, Oakmont, Oakmont. And here we are, and it's amazing how, when you put a plan together how sometimes it works out.

"Sometimes it doesn't, but for the most part, when it does, it's the greatest feeling.

"But for my fourth week out, I'll take it. I will take it."

LeBron James, meet Art Modell.

I have never been the biggest LeBron fan, ask Ashley Newman.

And, I have now become even less of a fan, if one at all.

I did agree with a few things Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert said of James (although I really think Gilbert acted like a 14-year-old who just lost his first love).

James backed out of Cleveland like a coward.

He didn't even have the guts (or respect) to call Gilbert of his decision before the owner saw the answer just like us commoners.

Nice respect there, LeBron.

Gilbert said James had not returned a phone message or text since the end of the season and the Cavaliers were not informed of his decision until he went on the air.

The owner said Rich Paul, one of James' business partners, called the Cavs moments before the announcement.

"LeBron James needs to go to another team with two superstars already so he can win a championship," Gilbert said. "We will win a championship before (the Heat) do."

If the Cavaliers have yet to win an NBA title, I just cannot see them winning one without James. Although, it would be great to never see the Heat win one, either.

That owner pretty much did everything he could do to bring you players and a winner to the city.

It's not his fault no one wanted to come to Cleveland to play with you.

This is not about the fact that LeBron left, it is about how he left.

Not like a man.

I am of the opinion this was decided two years ago when LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh played together in the 2008 Olympics.

I think the trio then decided it would be great to play together and that place was Miami - no state tax and all.

I think Wade's two meetings with Chicago recently were farces.

I think Bosh's announcement he would not play with LeBron in Cleveland was predetermined.

I think LeBron knew all along he was gone and heading south.


I think all the meetings with all the other teams were nothing more than jokes to James.

The show was a mess that was first brought up by Jim Gray to James and his handlers somewhere around Game 2 of the NBA Finals. This was not something put together at the last minute.

James then went on national television and drove a stake in the heart of Cleveland fans.

The Drive.

The Fumble.

The Shot.

The Choke.

The Coward.

Gilbert called James a quitter in five playoff games. I don't think it was five.

But, it was one and it was obvious and it was disgusting.

"The whole process left the Cavs in a difficult position," Dallas owner Mark Cuban wrote in an e-mail to "Free agency had run its course and the Cavs had to sit and wait. I would be mad too if I was kept in the dark like that."

I do find it rather funny, though, that LeBron could not get superstars to come join him, he had to go somewhere else.

Would it really have been that hard to be respectful to every team in the sweepstakes - especially the hometown team?


James has gone from hero to villain and it was all his choice.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at

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