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U.S. Open: Sports Media Getting Dorky with Beau Hossler's Braces

Sun, Jun. 17, 2012 Posted: 12:30 PM


Tell me to pick the piece of broccoli from between my teeth and you’ve emotionally traumatized me for a good hour.

Thirty-eight years after graduating from high school it’s still pretty easy for someone to mess with my psyche.

That’s why I am in complete awe of Beau Hossler, the 17-year-old whose even-par 70 during the U.S. Open on Saturday left him four shots off the lead — and whose mention by the sports press must apparently be always qualified with “the high school kid with braces.”

Going into Sunday’s final round at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, Hossler, has a 3-over 213 total, one shot better than Tiger Woods and five better than one of his heroes, Phil Mickelson.

UPDATE BELOW

Pardon me if you were in the "cool crowd" in high school, but, if you can remember, it’s bad enough to have your peers call you a dork. And granted, I’m not saying that Bob Costas and the entire rest of the sports media world is necessarly teasing Hossler, but to have the whole world join in on the “metal mouth” joke would have sent me over the deep end — even if I were four strokes back in the U.S. Open.

Nope. Not Hossler.

After his round on Saturday and during his live TV interview, Costas joked with the kid (a San Diego Chargers fan) that QB Philip Rivers just called asking for his autograph. Without missing a beat, Hossler replied, “Sure, but he’s going to have to play a round of golf with me.”

Are you kidding me? I would have been inaudibly mumbling something that made no sense by now.

Woods' agent briefly met with Hossler's dad outside the scorer's room after Saturday’s play, shook his hand and said, "This is unbelievable. He can win this thing," AP reported.

After signing his scorecard, Hossler was in full agreement.

"Absolutely," said the senior from Santa Margarita High School in Orange County, Calif. "There's not a doubt in my mind. Got to go out there and do everything right mentally and physically. But it's definitely out there for me."

Yes, I’m still shaking my head.

Yes, I realize sports journalists have some leeway when reporting “the news.” But this is ridiculous.

From ESPN.com:

“...but Woods can't afford a repeat of Saturday. He bogeyed two of the first three holes, three of the first six and four of the first eight. Or to put it another way: He's now a stroke behind a high schooler with braces.”

Coming out of the mouths (and keyboards) from sports jocks everywhere it doesn’t stop with the braces.

From columnist Gene Wojciechowski: “Hossler wears a visor the size of a poolside umbrella,” and “Hossler has every shot but very few expressions. He acts as if he's playing for his Rancho Santa Margarita High School team, not at a major. If he keeps this up, there's an outside chance he could kiss the U.S. Open trophy before he kisses his date at senior prom.”

Associated Press:

“Hossler, at 17, isn't even old enough to celebrate with an adult beverage, and the most adult thing he's done recently was ask his mom if he could drink coffee to help him stay up to study for finals.”

However, AP went on to report:

“On the golf course, his poise belies his youth … Thousands on TV saw what dozens of family members and friends following him around Olympic Club already knew.

The kid can play.”

You know, come to think of it, I’m grateful I did not become famous in high school – even though my braces came off in junior high.

UPDATE:

"I'm not taking the SAT again, that's for sure," Hossler said after completing the final round at the U.S. Open on Sunday with a 76 (6-over par), making him 9-over for the tournament. Webb Simpson scored 1-over after trailing to win his first major.

And so, Hossler returns to Mission Viejo, never to be the same, but still a kid whose braces will someday come off and a bright golf future that's already begun.

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Twitter: @AlexMurashko

Alex Murashko