With all due respect to Mack Brown's Texas football team, the next great Longhorn sports dynasty may belong to, um... golf.
Even golf novices, those who wouldn't watch golf on TV for money, tuned in to watch something special — the best 54 hole performance by an amateur in the United States Open since Jack Nicklaus.
Beau Hossler, a confident 17-year-old golf prodigy from Mission Viejo, California, put himself in contention for the U.S. Open Championship. Going into the final round he had played himself into eighth place (he outplayed Tiger Woods but then again who hasn't lately) and into position not just to be the first top 10 amateur in 40 years, but to compete for the Championship.
Texas Longhorn fans, even those who don't know a birdie from a cover 2, tuned in all over the world to see the future of Texas golf.
You see, Beau Hossler, a rising high school senior, playing the final round at the US open in burnt orange, has committed to become a Texas Longhorn in the fall of 2013. He will join Jordan Spieth, another golf phenom on the 40 acres.
Spieth, a rising college sophomore, led the 2012 Texas Golf team to its first National Championship since 1972. That year a couple guys named Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite took Texas to its second straight National Championship. It's been a long drought ever since.
Going into Sunday, Hossler was all NBC Sports could talk about. For those who don't watch golf regularly, amateur golfers are generally also-rans in the big pro tournaments. Only Jack Nicklaus, perhaps the greatest golfer in history and Tiger Woods had managed to play themselves into headlines like this.
The stress is unimaginable during the championship round on American golf's greatest stage. Hossler began his round with a three over par 213, tied with Nicklaus for the best 54 hole amateur score ever. He ended his day at nine over par, the U.S. Open course at Olympic in San Francisco teaching him a thing or two.
In the end, Spieth finished even on the day, seven over for the tournament, and won the low amateur championship. But it was Hossler who won the hearts and minds of golf fans despite his disappointing six over par final round.
“There’s so much, so many positives for the week,” Hossler said after his round on Sunday. “I played well. Out of 72 holes, I probably played well on 60 of them. I made some crucial mistakes, missed some on the wrong side of the holes, but just like from last year, it’s only a learning experience and I still have some time before I come out and start doing this for a living.”
Texas Longhorn fans should not be concerned. Beau Hossler and Jordan Spieth are both the real deal, and Longhorn golf, the pride associated with Kite and Crenshaw and Golfweek Coach of the Year John Fields, returns to its place as an elite program.
Hossler and Spieth will keep Longhorn fans satisfied for the next few years.