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Hacking it up at Pebble Beach

My fellow hackers, was that fun or what yesterday, watching the world's best golfers ugly up the course at the U.S. Open?

I've never seen so many horrible shots since, well, the last time my buddies and I played at Pine Ridge in Timonium.

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Watching Dustin Johnson, the leader going into Sunday's final round, make a triple bogey at no. 2, was like watching a video of me out there.

The atrocious left-handed chip shot that snagged the weeds in the rough on no. 2, the horrible right-handed flop shot that traveled maybe 18 inches after that leading to an eventual triple bogey -- hey, I've got those shots down pat.

The awful hook on no. 3 that sailed into another zip code, leading to Johnson and a posse of dozens tramping through the high grass to find his ball before time ran out and he returned to the tee and drove another ball for a double-bogey -- that's an everyday occurence when my friends and I hack it up.

And it wasn't just Johnson providing all this entertainment.

Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, the French guy, Gregory Havret -- they were all over the course, too.

I thought Els was going to tumble down a grass-strewn cliff at one point as he searched for his tee shot. Tiger yanked one of his drives into a thicket that was so over-grown it looked like a bear's den.

Great stuff. And it gave heart to duffers everywhere.

Sure, the pros (and a couple of amateurs) were playing at Pebble Beach, one of the most challenging tracks in the whole world -- a course that would chew up and spit out 99 per cent of the world's golfers.

But for one shining Sunday, on any number of holes, these brilliant golfers looked just like weekend hackers everywhere.

It was a sight -- OK, an ugly sight -- to behold.

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