That's what the 112th U.S. Open delivered.
On Sunday, the best place to be was the leader in the clubhouse, round complete, watching everyone else contend with the major tournament pressure and funhouse setup at Olympic Club in San Francisco.
After firing the best round of the day (67), that honor belonged to Michael Thompson, a little-known PGA Tour player but the kind of putting wizard who is often left standing at the end of golf's most diabolical tournament.
Orville Moody, Michael Campbell, Steve Jones, Ed Furgol, Dick Mayer and Jack Fleck are just some of the undistinguished names on the U.S. Open trophy, one-and-done grinders who never factored again in a major championship.
On Sunday, Thompson -- a qualifier at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville -- threatened to join them as he watched former Open champions Ernie Els, Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell fall through all the trap doors installed at Olympic. But one contender, Webb Simpson, avoided enough of them to win.
Make no mistake: Simpson is a worthy major champion. At 26, he is one of golf's rising stars. Simpson won twice last year on the PGA Tour, and it would have been three victories if his ball hadn't wavered in the wind on a slick green in New Orleans and cost him a penalty stroke.
Simpson earned it this weekend. He shot back-to-back 68s on Saturday and Sunday, tying for the second-best score both days. On Sunday, he played the final 13 holes in 4-under par.
Simpson was a hero in more ways than one Sunday. He saved the Open from a winner like Thompson. And he saved the Open from another of the antiquated traditions to which it clings -- the anticlimactic 18-hole Monday playoff.
- Kevin Dunleavy