On Golf: At U.S. Open, an Upstart-Friendly Course Favors Wisdom, for Now, Over Youth


Lee Westwood, 43, above, during the first round of the United States Open. He fired a three-under par 67.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

OAKMONT, Pa. — For an old, cantankerous blue blood of a course, Oakmont Country Club has shown a surprising tolerance of youth. It has accommodated a 22-year-old Jack Nicklaus’s coronation at the 1962 United States Open at the expense of the older, more popular Arnold Palmer; a 26-year-old Johnny Miller’s crowning in 1973; and a 24-year-old Ernie Els’s major title baptism in 1994.

The deep-bunkered, hunchbacked dowager’s patience for golfers who got to the top in a mad rush has apparently worn thin. In the first round of the 116th United States Open, which took two days to complete, Oakmont smiled on the field’s elders and spanked some young stars.

The Englishman Lee Westwood led the 40-something brigade with a three-under-par 67. Westwood, Henrik Stenson, Angel Cabrera, Jim Furyk, Retief Goosen, Phil Mickelson and Els average 44.9 years. Their first-round scores averaged 71.3.

Westwood, whose sense of humor is drier than…

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