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Showdown In Charlotte



Just how hard will it be for Tiger Woods to fight for a consolation prize? No disrespect to the Quail Hollow Championship but following the great build up to The Masters can there possibly be as much anticipation for a Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods showdown this week?

Likely not but hardcore golf fans know that with a warm-up tournament under his belt Tiger Woods could possibly be a force to be reckoned this week in Charlotte. That’s not to say that 2010 Masters Champion Phil Mickelson can be dismissed as contender but would you blame him for not being quite as pumped up to take on Quail Hollow? 

An elite field, including Woods and Mickelson, are in the Queen City this week to seek the title at one of the tour’s most prestigious “regular” events. The players love both the treatment they receive, the quality of the golf course, and the knowledgeable fans that come out to see this event, making it a popular annual stop.

Eight of the top ten players on the FedEx Cup Points list will tackle the 7442-yard  layout at the Quail Hollow Club, a grouping that does not currently include the World’s #1 player. But all those on that elite list certainly hear his footsteps.

Tiger has made four appearances at Quail Hollow (2004, 2005, 2007, and 2009) and won in 2007. In sixteen rounds played only two were over par and seven have been in the 60’s. His finished fourth last year after an opening round 65. He was just two back of the winner Sean O’Hair who came from three back to start the final round to catch and pass the overnight leader, Zach Johnson, for the win.

Speaking of the defending champion, O’Hair has played solid golf this season but certainly nothing of a spectacular nature that would indicate a good chance to repeat this week. In nine starts on the Tour in 2010 he has made eight cuts but has just one top ten to his resume. He has had a week off following The Masters where he tied for 30th.

 Whoever wants to take the title and the $1.17 million winner’s cut of the $6.5 million purse up for grabs this week will not only face a tough field but a golf course that will push games to the limits.

Although the tournament record is 16 under par (Anthony Kim, 2008) that is hardly a true indication of the U.S. Open like setup at Quail Hollow.

Even if players manage to get past the first fifteen holes each day certain body parts may start to tighten up a bit as they head for the 16th tee. In 2009 no final three holes on Tour played tougher than the closing trio in Charlotte. In fact, in 2009 alone the 18th hole was the 2nd toughest closer on tour. Players averaged 4.374 on the par four, effectively making it a par four and a half.

And don’t forget the water laden par three that is #17. In 2008 it was the toughest par three on tour with an average score of 3.418. Almost 250 balls have been rinsed in its lake since the tournament started in 2003.

 A few things are certain at Quail Hollow: the last three holes will shape the tournament outcome, and chances are the winner will be a quality player that has already proven his ability to perform at the top levels of the tour. Look to past winners David Toms, Joey Sindelar, Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk, Tiger Woods, Anthony Kim, and Sean O’Hair as proof of that.

As per usual Golf Channel will have early coverage while the CBS Team pick it up on the weekend. Be sure to check out the fabulous bag and tournament photos on

This report provided to by Flagstick Golf Magazine (

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WATCH: Phil Mickelson purposely hits the ball while moving at the U.S. Open (updated with Phil’s response)



Update: In a post-round interview, Phil had this to say: “I took the penalty, no disrespect to the game, I didn’t feel like going back and forth and I’ve always wanted to take the two-shot penalty, and I finally did… It’s meant to take advantage of the rules the best you can. I’d gladly take the two shots over continuing that display.”


You don’t see Phil Mickelson lose his cool very often, but that’s seemingly what happened on Saturday — his 48th birthday — at the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.

After blowing his bogey putt by the hole on No. 13, Phil ran after his ball and decided to hit it while it was still moving. Phil finished out the hole in 8 shots; adding in the two-stroke penalty for hitting the golf ball while moving, and it was a 10 on the scorecard.

Check out the bizarre scene that Phil Mickelson put on at the 13th hole below:

Phil was four-over par in the round going into the 13th hole, and exited the 13th hole at 10-over par after the fiasco. He is currently continuing his third round as regularly scheduled.


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WATCH: Ian Poulter, sitting 1 back of the lead, completely butchered his 17th hole



The majorless Ian Poulter was coming off birdies on hole nos. 4, 5 and 7 — his 13, 14 and 16th holes of the second round of the 2018 U.S. Open — when he came to the 8th hole (his 17th hole) sitting at 3-under and just one shot back of leader Dustin Johnson (4-under).

Then, he bladed one from the greenside bunker, soaring the ball into the fescue over the green.

Yikes. But not a disaster. He drew a great lie… just get it on the green, make the putt and take your bogey — or make double at the very worst. But then he laid the sod over his fourth shot, sending it into the real thick stuff. Three shots later, Ian Poulter made a triple-bogey 7, and back to even par for the event.

Watch it unfold below (or click here if the Twitter embed doesn’t work for you).



Poulter then finished his round with a closing bogey, and currently sits at 1-over through 36 holes (T4). By no means is Ian Poulter out of this tournament, but finishing triple-bogey, bogey was definitely not what Ian Poulter had in mind sitting in the greenside bunker on his 17th hole just a stroke off the lead.

Can Poulter get back on track and win his first? Will Dustin Johnson run away with his second U.S. Open victory? Or will Stenson, Rose, Koepka or Fowler (each sitting at 1-over par) make a run? Regardless, the champion will need to avoid late-tournament triple bogeys and costly mistakes that can happen so easily at the penal Shinnecock setup.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: US Open strikes back | Pro shoots 92 | Marquee carnage



Good morning, GolfWRX members. As most of you are signed up for our newsletters, you likely already know that I’ve been sending this little Morning 9 roundup of nine items of note to start your day.

In case you’ve missed it, or you prefer to read on site rather than in your email, we’re including it here. Check out today’s Morning 9 below. Feedback is always welcome–send everything from news tips to complaints (hopefully more tips than complaints)!

If you’re not signed up for our newsletters, you can subscribe here.

By Ben Alberstadt (
Good Friday morning, golf fans.Yesterday, in discussing the PGA of America’s president’s DUI, I made an inappropriate remark about past president Ted Bishop based on rumor rather than established fact. it was a poor choice, and I retract my comment about his state of sobriety during the “lil girl” tweet.
1. Is this U.S. Open you were looking for?
Only four players broke par on a day when winds gusted as high as 32 mph, and the course dried out from the one-tenth of an inch of rain that fell on the property on Wednesday.
  • Players got around Shinnecock Hills in an average of 76.47 strokes during round one.
  • Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson, combined to shoot 25 over par.
  • The opening-round scoring average made this the toughest U.S. Open first round since the 1986 USO at Shinnecock.
  • Combined over par total for the World Top 10:.+52
2. Putting troubles continue for Tiger
One of the longest and strongest player-putter relationships has to be under some serious strain. Tiger Woods carded an opening-round 78 that saw him throwing away strokes on the green.
  • “It’s tough out there,” Woods said. “But, I mean, I shouldn’t make two doubles and a triple and a four-putt.”
  • The doubles in question can be traced directly to poor putting; obviously, so can the four-whack. Woods started his round with a triple bogey that saw him try to putt a ball from off the green that didn’t make it to the putting surface.
  • Woods: “So it was pretty evident nobody was making any birdies in the morning. Lots and lots of bogeys and higher in others. And so I — my game plan was not to make any others, and I made three of them. So didn’t do very well there.”
3. Carnage among the top class
Things didn’t exactly go well for the morning’s marquee group–which will doubtless give featured group truther, Rory McIlroy, more ammunition.
  • Kevin Van Valkenburg dug into the trio’s troubles: “McIlroy shot an 80, which at 10 over is the worst round of his career in relation to par at a major. Spieth shot a 78, a big chunk of that coming courtesy of a triple-bogey he made on his second hole of the day. Mickelson’s 77 was, improbably, the low round of their group, but it still likely means his quest to complete the career Grand Slam, barring a miracle, will have to wait another year. Together, they were a combined 25 over par.”
4. Hope lives for Mickelson
While Phil Mickelson didn’t speak with the media following his opening-round 77, Tim Rosaforte was apparently able to catch up with Lefty later…probably thanks in part to how bad the afternoon scores were.
  • “I played really well,” he said. “I hit 13 of 14 fairways. I didn’t make single double bogey, I’m going to go out tomorrow and try to do the same thing.”
  • “It was the highest score of Mickelson’s major championship career when hitting 13 fairways or more.”
  • “I’ve got no complaints,” he said. “If I play the next two rounds in par-par, I’m right back in it.”
5. The cruelty of No. 11
While all eyes were trained on No. 7 following 2004’s mishandled treatment of the hole, No. 11 actually merits further examination this time around (which isn’t to say it’s being mismanaged…just really hard).
  •’s Alan Bastable writes: “Give a 15-handicapper a bucket of range balls from this tee – with the same 15-20 mph crosswinds the players battled in the first round – and he or she might not stop a single shot on the putting surface.
  • “Three-quarters of the hacker’s shots would be batted down by the wind and into one of the bunkers in front of the green, a handful would come in low and hot and run through the green into a collection area that leaves a petrifying clip-it-clean-or-else pitch, while the remaining swings would result in a motley collection of nervy tops, chunks and snap-hooks.”
6. 92!
Scott Gregory turned in an opening-round 92 at Shinnecock–the first opening round in the 90s in a U.S. open in 26 years. Since World War II, there have been 43 scores of 90 or higher in the championship. John Battini’s 96 in 1955 is the highest.
  • The previous highest opening round in a U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills was an 88 by amateur John Daly.
  • E. Michael Johnson points out: “Of course, all this pales in comparison to the all-time Open record for inefficacy, set by J.D. Tucker in 1898 at Myopia Hunt Club. Tucker took 157 blows in the first round before “rebounding” with a 100 in the second round. W. Collins, in the same event, shot 154 but had the decency to withdraw before his second go-around.”
7. Notable quotable
The USGA’s official remarks on the course in round one.
“The golf course is in excellent condition. We are extremely pleased with the agronomics and presentation. Today’s setup reflects the challenging wind conditions that have been forecast.  Green Speeds – With the heavy wind forecast, putting greens have been appropriately prepared from a speed and firmness perspective. We expect putting green speeds to be in the area of 11 feet 6 inches by midday.  Firmness – Damp conditions Wednesday resulted in a more receptive golf course for Round 1.”
CHARLES HOWELL III: I was most impressed with how the golf course was set up, to be honest. I thought this morning, with as hard as the wind was blowing, the balls would start kind of oscillating and moving by the middle of our round, and they didn’t. I think a lot of credit goes to the USGA and Mike Davis for what they’ve done today. I was here in ’04, my last competitive round here. I’ve still got some scar tissue from that. But they did a heck of a job today.
8. The Unfortunate Case of Johnny McDermott
Deviating from this U.S. Open in particular to U.S. Opens in general. Or, more specifically (confused yet?) the first American-born U.S. Open winner.
  • A longform piece well worth a read, especially if you’re unaware of McDermott’s story. Steve Eubanks profiles the great and troubled  McDermott for Global Golf Post.
9. Burmester
Playing in his first major, South African Dean Burmester stood on the 18th tee at seven over par. Burmester bypassed all trouble on the 18th, obliterating his drive 411 yards at the downwind 485-yard hole-he had but a finessed wedge left to the back left pin.
  • He finessed it right into the hole for an eagle two.
  • Q. What were you thinking? DEAN BURMESTER: Well, when it went in, I was relieved. I was having a long day, you know, 7-over. Ended up 5-over, not too bad. It was a lovely way to finish.
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19th Hole