PINEHURST, N.C. - The practice green was much more crowded Sunday than it normally is for the final groups in the last round of the U.S. Open. Some LPGA golfers were just starting to warm up for the Women's Open while the men were preparing to finish.
That was a product of the unprecedented back-to-back scheduling of the two national championships on the same course. The women were allowed to register at noon Sunday -- the customary time -- and were allowed to use the driving range and putting green as soon as they did.
"This is a real, cool special event," Natalie Gulbis said as she hit wedge shots on the same range at the same time as Steve Stricker and other PGA Tour players. "You can feel it when you walk in. I'm a fan of the game, a fan of the history of the game and I can't discount that this is really awesome."
Then, looking at a bunch of reporters who had gathered around her, she added, "Look at you guys."
While Phil Mickelson was out on the course, there were fewer reporters following him than were surrounding Gulbis. Sunday was a public-relations triumph for women's golf, attracting coverage during one of the men's majors.
It didn't escape the attention of fans or TV cameras that Yani Tseng, Sandra Gal, Brittany Lincicome, Brittany Lang and Belen Mozo and others took advantage of inside-the-ropes passes to walk along with the final men's twosome of Martin Kaymer and Rickie Fowler.
An ace for Zach
Zach Johnson finished at 9 over par, but he did have one big moment. He made a hole-in-one on the 172-yard ninth hole with a 7-iron. It was his first ace in competition.
"It makes a pretty sour-to-average week a little sweeter, right? Especially on Father's Day," he said.