Retief Goosen; Photo: John Mummert/USGA

Retief Goosen entered the final round of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock yesterday with a two stroke lead over Phil Mickelson and ended it with a two stroke victory. Of course, finishing the final round was not that easy, but Goosen shot a one-over 71 to finish at 276 for the tournament.

The victory yesterday was Goosen's 2nd U.S. Open Championship. His first one came in 2001 at the Southern Hills in Tulsa. Sunday, Goosen was perfect on the impossible greens, notching 11 one-putts in the final round and 32 for the Championship. Goosen's putter needed to be on because his approach shots and shots off the tee were off for much of the round. Mickelson made things interesting with birdies on 13, 15, and 16. After his birdie on 16, Mickelson had sole possession of the lead, but faltered on 17, three-putting for a double bogey.

After the tournament, criticism of the USGA and the impossible greens was widespread. The greens were described as "asphalt-like" by The Times and when combined with the hole placement, the final round was extremely difficult. Several players echoed that sentiment. On 17, where he three-putted, Mickelson said, "I hit it very easy because I knew it was quick. It was downwind. And when the wind gets hold of it on these greens, it just takes it. It just wouldn't stop. I played some of the best golf of my life, and still couldn't shoot par. You tell me."

Tom Kite was even more critical of the course:

"I think when you have the absolute best players in the game playing a golf course, it's probably supposed to give up a few good scores," said Kite, who shot a final-round 84. "I think our national championship is the premier event in golf. I think it's a shame when they push the golf course to the limit as much as they have in this particular case. I was going for 90. I might have been going for 100. I had a stretch where I had seven holes where I had four double bogeys and a triple bogey. I can't remember doing that even when I was 6 years old. It was just absolutely horrific."

The course was so difficult that nobody finished below par in the final round - the first Open since 1963. Robert Allenby was the only player that finished at or below par during the final round. While there is no doubt in Gothamist's head that the course was difficult, it also played the same for every player. Sure, the good shots weren't rewarded, but the course affected everyone equally. Retief Goosen's play in the earlier rounds and his performance on Sunday was good enough to beat Shinnecock and the rest of the field, which is all that matters in the end.

Check out all of Gothamist's coverage on Shinnecock.