Pinehurst, N.C. – A week at the U.S. Open left Clayton Rask feeling on top of the world and yet, as he put it, “at the bottom of the totem pole.”
By qualifying for the Open and then making the cut, Rask essentially beat golfers like Bubba Watson, Luke Donald, Jason Dufner, Charl Schwartzel, Angel Cabrera and Geoff Ogilvy, Lucas Glover and Y.E. Yang, all major champions or former world No. 1s.
By making the cut, he found himself playing the best golfers in the world on the toughest setup in the world. He shot rounds of 73, 71, 77 and 77, leaving him tied for 63rd.
He was left with the most powerful mixed emotions of his life, wishing he had played better, yet savoring every moment of the week.
“I’m taking it all in, having a great time,” he said. “It was just kind of a bummer.
“It was all great. Family, friends, fiancée, sharing it with all of them. I couldn’t have asked for anything better, except winning.”
On Father’s Day, he felt compelled to say, “Sorry, Dad.”
No apologies were necessary. Rask, 29, plays on the PGA Tour Canada. He yearns to qualify for the PGA Tour. A week of competing under pressurized conditions on a difficult course only heightened his ambition.
“I’m very encouraged,” Rask said. “I know I can do it. It’s just honing a couple of things in, and getting the ball in the hole. If I could have made some putts early, who knows how that might have changed things?
“First three holes today, I had 5 feet, 12 feet, 12 feet, and I didn’t make any of them.”
He had planned to spend this week playing in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Playing in the U.S. Open changed his schedule. “By the time I got there from here, I’d probably be worthless,” he said. “I’m going to take a week off and then get back at it.
“Week off, work on my game, get ready for Saskatoon.”
Those words weren’t uttered by many players at the U.S. Open.
“This week, I hit it awesome, and didn’t make any putts,” he said. “Story of the week. I know I can play better.”
He played four rounds on a difficult course, under unique pressure, but didn’t look tired.
“No, not at all,” he said. “I was probably running on adrenaline. I don’t feel tired in the least. I’m taking it all in, having a great time. It’s just kind of a bummer.
“I wanted to play better, but it was still great to be here. What a great week for me and all the people who were here with me.’’