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Going for it: My day at U.S. Open sectional qualifying

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U.S. Open sectional qualifying was held at courses across the country yesterday. If the championship is the U.S. Open, then the sectional could be called the U.S. Wide Open, a blank canvas waiting to be filled with a story.

In many ways, sectionals embody the spirit of the USGA even more than the championship event. There is an air of hope and possibility for amateurs and young professionals, and there is also the grinding journey of accomplished PGA professionals to uncover past glory and success. I took the day to check out qualifying and get feel for those who punch their ticket to compete in the national championship.

In my area, the event was held at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, MD., a course that has held a number of USGA qualifyers. The day was about as good as it gets for the Nation’s Capital in summertime, 72 degrees and sunny with puffs of wind just strong enough to give the players something to think about. It felt more like San Diego than Washington, DC and the heavy rains from the night before made the greens as receptive as they could possibly be after being prepared to approximate U.S. Open levels of speed and treachery.

A couple of players took advantage of the conditions to go low in the first of the two required rounds. Mark Lawrence, an amateur playing out of Richmond. VA, took advantage of the second alternate slot to post a 5-under par 67, the low round of the day. Cody Proveaux, a pro from Richmond, VA with an “everyman” body but a swing to die for, put up a 68 in his opening round. Unfortunately, Lawrence followed up with a 76 and Proveaux with a 77. Woodmont giveth and Woodmont taketh away.

Temporary 8th Tee box with regular back tee in front

The list of 68 entrants had names that ring familiar to Tour fans. Robert Allenby, Vaughn Taylor, Dan Summerhays, and Erik Compton have known success on the PGA Tour at some time. None of them were among the four players who went through from the field of 63. It was a demonstration of the difficulty of the conditions on a course set up to be a test of the best. The course had been stretched and hardened to USGA standards; in one case the temporary 8th tee was moved so far back I was actually on the fringe surrounding the adjacent 9th green. Past glory meant nothing on a day that was all about what happens in ten days time.

It’s always good sport for spectators to spot a player that isn’t known and go “all in” in support of his effort. Standing on the range I saw a lanky young man who for all the world looked like Memorial champion Patrick Cantlay, striping low-flighted drivers under the wind and puring 7-irons that landed within a beach towel’s distance of each other. The golfer was Trevor Werbylo, who had just completed his sophomore year at the University of Arizona. He put himself in competition with a first round 71.

I asked if Open qualifying felt different than other competitions. “Well, you have to stay patient. It’s two rounds of golf, so that’s different from a lot of qualifiers. I put myself in a good position, and I think I need to get to 3- or 4-under to have a chance.” Werbylo played some impressive golf, hitting driver/7-iron for an easy birdie and almost driving the 350 yard 4th. Werbylo fell short, 4 shots shy of a playoff. But he definitely showed that he is a young player with the tools to make his mark in the game someday.

Trevor Werrbylo

Standing on the first tee waiting or the first round begin I saw a familiar figure approaching. It was Steve Wheatcroft, a PGA Tour professional who I had played with last year at the Humana Challenge (formerly the Bob Hope Desert Classic). Wheatcroft had impressed me that day with his play and even more so with his friendly and helpful attitude. Playing in that event I was very aware of being in their “office”, but he went out of his way to read putts and give tips to me during the round.

He was disappointed in his first round 75, but his 320-yard drive to open the second round displayed his ability to right the ship. He at 146, but was undaunted. As soon as the last show was struck, he was packing the car and getting ready for the car trip to the next event with his caddy. Such is the life of the journeyman pro, a far cry from the private jets and entourages of the top names.

Steve Wheatcroft

The winners were Billy Hurley III (141), Connor Arrendell (141), Joe Bramlett (142) and Ryan Sullivan (142). Hurley is a well-known player on the PGA Tour and in the Washington, DC area. He looked comfortable and confident, like an Olympic sprinter who knows that he has enough to make it past the qualifying heats. His game showed the full-set of skills available to a PGA Tour winner, including a lovely up-and down on the Par 5 3rd that had the crowd buzzing.

All four advanced to one of the most prestigious events in golf on one of its iconic courses, Pebble Beach Golf Links. The Latin phrase “carpe diem” means seize the day; four golfers did just that. For the rest, it’s off to the bar for a beer, then back to the range to look for the shot will make the difference for them in 2020.

Billy Hurley III

Below are the results from the other 10 sites (courtesy USGA).

COLUMBUS, OHIO

Brookside Golf & Country Club / Scioto Country Club (121 players for 14 spots)

• Qualifiers: Luke Guthrie, Anirban Lahiri, Sam Saunders, Jhonattan Vegas, Rory Sabbatini, Jason Dufner, Chesson Hadley, Erik Van Rooyen, Luke Donald, Aaron Baddeley, Brandon Wu, Ryan Fox, Collin Morikawa and Kyoung-Hoon Lee

• Notable non-qualifiers: Cameron Champ, Kevin Tway, Danny Lee, Harold Varner III, 2011 U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein, 2018 Latin America Amateur champion Joaquin Niemann, three-time USGA champion Ryan Moore, Cole Hammer, Steve Stricker, Bill Haas, Bobby Clampett, 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur runner-up Akshay Bhatia

SPRINGFIELD, OHIO

Springfield Country Club (73 players for 5 spots)

• Qualifiers: Zac Blair, Chip McDaniel, Brian Stuard, Nick Hardy and Brett Drewitt

• Notable non-qualifiers: Troy Merritt, 2016 U.S. Amateur runner-up Brad Dalke, 2014 U.S. Amateur runner-up Corey Conners, Dylan Meyer

SURREY, ENGLAND

Walton Heath Golf Club (Old and New Courses), (109 players for 14 spots)

• Qualifiers: Dean Burmester, Sam Horsfield, Marcus Fraser, Clement Sordet, Matthieu Pavon, Lee Slattery, Marcus Kinhult, Rhys Enoch, Adri Arnaus, Justin Walters, Daniel Hillier, Thomas Pieters, Merrick Bremner and Renato Paratore

• Notable non-qualifiers: Lee Westwood (missed by three strokes), 2005 U.S. Amateur champion Edoardo Molinari, 2016 U.S. Junior Amateur champion Min Woo Lee and 2010 U.S. Open runner-up Gregory Havret

PURCHASE, N.Y.

Century Country Club/Old Oaks Country Club, (73 players for 14 spots)

• Qualifiers: Cameron Young, Matt Parziale, Andy Pope, Rob Oppenheim

• Non-qualifiers: 2011 U.S. Amateur champion Kelly Kraft, 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion/2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball champion Scott Harvey, 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Michael McCoy, PGA Tour winners Johnson Wagner, Jim Herman and J.J. Henry, and Gary Nicklaus, son of 18-time major winner Jack Nicklaus

MILTON, ONTARIO, CANADA

RattleSnake Point Golf Club, par 72 (37 players for 4 spots)

• Qualifiers: Tom Hoge, Sepp Straka, Nathan Lashley, Alex Prugh

• Notable non-qualifiers: Two-time PGA Tour winner Harris English (141) shot the low round of the day in the morning (5-under 67), but an afternoon 73 put him into the 3-for-2 playoff. He is the first alternate. Fabian Gomez of Argentina (142) is the second alternate.

BALL GROUND, GA.

Hawks Ridge Golf Club, (67 players for 4 spots)

• Qualifiers: Oliver Schniederjans, Noah Norton, Chandler Eaton, Roberto Castro

• Notable non-qualifiers: Jaime Lopez Rivarola, of Argentina, earned the first alternate; Joey Garber went 4 over on his last four holes and is the second alternate. Robert Karlsson, an 11-time winner on the European Tour; Alex Smalley, who played in the 2017 U.S. Open and has a Duke record 25 top 10 finishes; PGA Tour pros Brendon de Jonge, Jason Bohn, and 2000 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion D.J. Trahan.

STREAMSONG, FLA.

Streamsong Resort (Black Course), (56 players for 3 spots)

• Qualifiers: Callum Tarren, Luis Gagne and Guillermo Pereira

• Notable non-qualifiers: Tyson Alexander (missed by one stroke), Tyler Strafaci (missed by four)
• Alexander, 30, of Gainesville, Fla., is the first alternate

NEWPORT BEACH, CALIF.

Big Canyon Country Club and Newport Beach Country Club (99 players for 5 spots)

• Qualifiers: Chun An Yu, Hayden Shieh, Richard Lee, Stewart Hagestad, Andreas Halvorsen

• Notable non-qualifiers: 2018 U.S. Amateur semifinalist Isaiah Salinda, 2002 U.S. Junior Amateur champion and PGA Tour winner Charlie Beljan, PGA Tour professional Brandon Harkins, 2015 U.S. Amateur semifinalist Sean Crocker, amateur world No. 2 Justin Suh, three-time PGA Tour runner-up Cameron Tringale

WALLA WALLA, WASH.

Wine Valley Golf Club (55 players for 3 spots)

• Qualifiers: Eric Dietrich, Matthew Naumec, Spencer Tibbits

• Notable non-qualifiers: Mackenzie Tour-Canada competitor Alistair Docherty (first alternate); six-time U.S. Open competitor and three-time Web.com Tour winner Michael Putnam (second alternate); 2016 U.S. Open competitor Matt Marshall; 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur quarterfinalist Joe Highsmith; PGA Tour winner Kevin Stadler

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Williams has a reputation as a savvy broadcaster, and as an incisive interviewer and writer. An avid golfer himself, Williams has covered the game of golf and the golf lifestyle including courses, restaurants, travel and sports marketing for publications all over the world. He is currently working with a wide range of outlets in traditional and electronic media, and has produced and hosted “Sticks and Stones” on the Fox Radio network, a critically acclaimed show that combined coverage of the golf world with interviews of the Washington power elite. His work on Newschannel8’s “Capital Golf Weekly” and “SportsTalk” have established him as one of the area’s most trusted sources for golf reporting. Williams has also made numerous radio appearances on “The John Thompson Show,” and a host of other local productions. He is a sought-after speaker and panel moderator, he has recently launched a new partnership with The O Team to create original golf-themed programming and events. Williams is a member of the United States Golf Association and the Golf Writers Association of America.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. carl

    Jun 6, 2019 at 10:33 am

    Michael Williams content is by far the best on this site.

  2. Chris

    Jun 5, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    Nice user name, loves to Troll about Rules apparently

  3. rules

    Jun 4, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    “…he went out of his way to read putts and give tips to me during the round.”
    this is against the rules of golf, specifically 10.2a.

    • Geoffrey Holland

      Jun 5, 2019 at 4:00 am

      Clearly he’s talking about a Pro-Am where pros help the amateurs. Get a clue.

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Tour Photo Galleries

Interesting photos from the 2019 Sanderson Farms Championship

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GolfWRX was on site at the 2019 Sanderson Farms Championship at the Country Club of Jackson in Jackson, Mississippi.

In addition to the usual spread of range photos from Monday and Tuesday, we also got a look at a new flatstick from Bettinardi, a few of Matt Jones’ Scotty Cameron putters, new wands from PXG, and some new shafts from Mitsubishi.

Check out a few highlights below and find the links to all our galleries after that.

2018 Scotty Cameron Hula Girl cover sighting!

A look at the unique tee markers

New Callaway staffer Akshay Bhatia’s awesome Callaway Apex MB irons

“Furby Boy” Joaquin Niemann’s 56-degree wedge

New Mitsubishi Tensei AV shafts spotted

One of the several new PXG Gen2 putters we got an in-hand look at

Sam Ryder with a little weight taken out of his Cleveland RTX-3 wedges

One of Matt Jones’ prototype Scotty Cameron putters

An in-hand look at the limited Bettinardi QB8 that launched in The Hive this week

All our photos from the Sanderson Farms Championship

WITB

General galleries

 

 

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Morning 9: Hoage! | Another Romo sponsor’s exemption | First foreign-born U.S. Mid-Am winner | Skins game details

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

September 20, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Another bite at the Hoge 
Sean Martin at PGATour.com…“Tom Hoge couldn’t keep pace with Joaquin Niemann over the final holes of last week’s A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier, but now Hoge finds himself atop the leaderboard in the second event of the PGA TOUR season.”
  • “Hoge, who finished second to Niemann on Sunday, shot a bogey-free 64 on Thursday to lead the Sanderson Farms Championship before first-round play was suspended due to weather.”
  • “Hoge temporarily tied Niemann at The Greenbrier’s Old White TPC after making birdie on the 12th hole. Hoge bogeyed on two of his next three holes, though, and Niemann made six back-nine birdies to win by six strokes.”

Full piece.

2. Meanwhile, in Europe…
Round one at the BMW PGA…“Rory McIlroy made six bogeys and a double bogey in his last 11 holes to shoot 4-over 76 at the BMW PGA Championship, leaving the world No. 2 already 11 strokes off the first-round lead held by Matt Wallace on Thursday.”
  • “McIlroy’s round fell apart after his birdie at No. 5 that followed an eagle at No. 4, as he shot 42 in his back nine in glorious conditions at Wentworth.”
  • “One over for his round arriving at the 17th tee, he pulled his drive and wound up making a double-bogey 7. Another wayward drive led to a bogey at the 18th and he didn’t talk to reporters after his round.”

Full piece.

At the time of this writing, Danny Willett has an -8 second round going and is ahead by three at -12.

3. Romo planning to make the cut?
“The Forecaddie perused the Safeway Classic field next week and saw former quarterback Tony Romo will be playing on a sponsor invite. This was hardly earth-shattering given the former Cowboy’s appearance in three PGA Tour events and his passion for competitive golf.”
  • “But The Man Out Front also remembered Romo’s job with CBS where his uncanny ability to predict play calls has rapidly made him America’s most beloved football analyst. So what happens if Romo makes the cut in Napa when he and Jim Nantz are penciled in to work that Sunday’s Vikings-Bears game?”
  • “The Forecaddie hears CBS is just fine with Romo’s appearance and a backup plan is in place should he have the rounds of his life.”

Full piece.

4. First foreign-born U.S. Mid-Am winner
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…“Australian Lukas Michel rallied to win the U.S. Mid-Amateur final, 2 and 1, to punch his ticket to next year’s Masters and U.S. Open.”
  • “The 25-year-old from Melbourne trailed Joe Deraney for much of the 36-hole final at Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colo., and Deraney held a 1-up advantage with just nine holes to play. But from there Michel turned the table, closing with birdies on four of his final eight holes. That included a birdie on No. 15, which gave him his first lead in 29 holes, and another on No. 16 to push his opponent to the brink.”
5. Stadium’s a goin’ up!
Golfweek’s Todd Kelly…”The Waste Management Phoenix Open is more than four months away but construction at TPC Scottsdale has already started.”
  • “The Thunderbirds House and Grounds Crew got things going on Monday, Sept. 16, the earliest the construction has ever started, but workers need to get going now because of the time and material it takes to build the luxury suites, grandstands, bleachers and all the other infrastructure for the tournament that draws the largest crowds in golf.”
  • “In 2018, tournament organizers announced a weekly attendance mark of more than 719,000. Close to 217,000 fans were tallied on Saturday that year, always the most highly attended day of the year for the Phoenix Open.”

Full piece.

6. ZJ takes advantage
PGATour.com’s Sean Martin…”‘Opportunity’ is a word used often at the Sanderson Farms Championship. The second event of the PGA TOUR season provides new players fresh off the Korn Ferry Tour the chance to gain experience, get a head-start in the FedExCup race and even earn that maiden victory and all the trappings that accompany it.”
  • “The PGA TOUR’s newest members aren’t the only ones who can change the trajectory of their career during this time of year, though. Veteran players, the ones with majors and FedExCups on their resume, also appear on the tee sheets of these early events. Many are trying to recapture that winning feeling or at least gain some confidence before the calendar changes to a new year.”

Full piece.

7. Hovland’s “home” debut
Golf Digest’s John Huggan…”Viktor Hovland has never failed to shoot in the 60s on the European Tour. Not even once.”
  • “Of course, the three-under-par 69 with which the 22-year-old Norwegian began the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on Thursday is also his first round as a professional in a European Tour event. Which did not go unnoticed.”
  • “Interviewed by Sky Sports and the BBC after his seven-birdie, four-bogey trip around the famous old Burma Road, which left him four off the lead of England’s Matt Wallace, Hovland was then surrounded by a posse of the U.K.’s print media. And still then he wasn’t done. Three journalists from his home country-one from VG, the biggest-selling newspaper and another from NRK, the most-watched television station-are here to cover his debut on the Old World circuit.”

Full piece.

8. Molinari speaketh
An interesting question for Francesco Molinari in a New York Times interview…”On a personal note, does it bother you that soccer players get more adoration than golfers in Italy?”
  • After last year, I get stopped a lot more often and get asked for autographs and pictures. It’s the recognition of the results I’ve had and things I’ve accomplished in the last two years. And it feels nice. I love it when it’s young kids. Part of what I do is because I was that young kid looking up to Costantino Rocca and all the Italian players that were on tour. It’s great to know that I’m doing the same now with the younger generations.”
  • “But I’m not the kind of guy who looks for too much public attention. Footballers get a lot of love, but they also get a lot of hate as well when they don’t play well. Italians are very passionate about sports. Football is a tough sport to be in. I’d rather golf.”

Full piece.

9. ICYMI: Skins game details
News from yesterday, in case you missed it. Our Gianni Magliocco…”The upcoming skins match in Japan involving Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama is set, with a prize purse of $350,00 up for grabs.”
  • “The opening six holes of the event billed as ‘The Challenge: Japan Skins’, will be worth $10,000 each, with the value of holes increasing as the match continues – with the potential of there being a total of $100,000 on the line on the 18th hole.”
  • “The event is scheduled to finish under the lights, and according to the release, will feature “special in-match challenges and surprises.”
  • “Viewers in the U.S. can watch the skins match live on Golf Channel, while those outside the U.S. will be able to tune into the event on Discovery’s GOLFTV. Viewers in the UK and Ireland will need to pay a subscription fee for the service.”
  • “Coverage of ‘The Challenge: Japan Skins’, which takes place on the week of the Zozo Championship, begins on Oct. 20 at 11 PM ET.”
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Morning 9: Red lights for slow play? | Thorbjorn still suspended | Rory on Solheim slow play

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

September 19, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. Red lights for slow play at Wentworth this week
Golf Digest’s John Huggan…”A lot of the time players are unaware that they are out of position,” said John Paramor, the European Tour’s chief referee. “So we felt that we would like to find a method that would tell them when they are. So we are trialing this week a system where they will have that information on five tees [Nos. 4, 7, 10, 13 and 16]. The previous group’s time will be recorded when they walk off the green. Then that time will be deducted from that of the next group, who will then be able to tell if they are within time.”
  • “Specifically, each monitor will operate a color-coded system, similar to a traffic light. If the number shown is red, then that group can expect to be monitored by the rules team very soon thereafter. If it is green, the players are in good shape and in position with the group ahead. Amber means the group is only slightly out position, but the players should be aware that they are going to have to move a little quicker.”

Full piece.

2. Thorbjorn stays suspended
BBC Staff report…”Danish golfer Thorbjorn Olesen will remain suspended from the European Tour until his court case is finished.”
  • “The 29-year-old Ryder Cup winner made his second appearance in court on Wednesday, charged with sexual assault and being drunk on an aircraft.”
  • “Olesen, of Chelsea, south-west London, has also been charged with assault by beating.
  • “…Olesen, who has been granted unconditional bail, did not enter a plea at a short hearing on Wednesday at Isleworth Crown Court.”

Full piece. 

3. Why Rory re-joined the European Tour…
From a Press Association report…”Everyone has to look out for themselves and next year I’m looking out for me,” McIlroy said during the DP World Tour Championship in November, before describing the European Tour as “a stepping stone” ahead of the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January.”
  • “However, following a meeting with European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley, McIlroy took up his membership before the May 1 deadline and can begin earning points for the 2020 Ryder Cup when qualification begins with this week’s BMW PGA Championship.”
  • “Asked what led to the change of heart, McIlroy said: “My wife. She said to me, ‘what are you trying to do, or what sort of point are you trying to make?’.”

Full piece.

4. Rory on Solheim slow play
Martin Dempster at The Scotsman quoting McIlroy…”I think it’s a start,” said the world No 2 of a GPS tracking devices being used to monitor each group’s position on the course, with the data to be displayed on five tees to inform players where they stand in relation to the groups around them.”
  • “Get all the latest news, analysis and expert opinion with an online subscription Subscribe Today”
  • “Look, it’s not a great thing for our game. I don’t want to single out particular people, but I watched a lot of the Solheim Cup at the weekend, and it was really slow. As much as you want to sit there and watch and support the European girls, it’s just hard not to get frustrated with it. If I’m a fan – and I am a fan of golf – I want the best for the game. It’s hard because there’s different scenarios where you have to take your time. It was tough conditions up there. It was windy. It was tough.”
5. The PGA Tour is also using GPS slow play tracking…
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”The PGA Tour began using GPS tracking devices this year at “numerous” events, including The Players in March, as well as information provided by ShotLink.”
  • “We’ve used ShotLink data for some time to work with players over the years and maybe show them areas of their game where they might take a little more time,” said Tyler Dennis, the Tour’s chief of operations. “These [GPS] devices are the last missing piece. How long does it take to reach a tee, how fast do they walk. These are things that we can now see.”
  • “The Tour announced last month a plan to review its pace-of-play policy using data generated by ShotLink and Dennis explained that players have been asked at various events this season to test the tracking devices, which are simply placed in a player’s golf bag.”

Full piece.

6. Vice captain Karlsson 
Via RyderCup.com…”European Captain Padraig Harrington has named Robert Karlsson as his first vice captain for The 2020 Ryder Cup against the United States at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin next September.”
  • “The 50-year-old Swede twice represented Europe in The Ryder Cup – including partnering Harrington twice in foursomes at Valhalla in 2008 – and he will return to the backroom team in the biennial contest having been vice captain to Thomas Bjørn at Le Golf National in 2018″
7. Distinguished service
Via the PGA.com staff…”Barbara Nicklaus, one of the game’s most successful ambassadors and admired advocates for the healthcare of future generations in addition to being the wife of the greatest champion in golf history, has been named recipient of the 2019 PGA Distinguished Service Award.”
  • “Nicklaus, 79, will be honored Tuesday, Nov. 5, at the PGA of America’s 103rd Annual Meeting in West Palm Beach, Florida. Since 1988, the PGA Distinguished Service Award honors outstanding individuals who display leadership and humanitarian qualities, including integrity, sportsmanship and enthusiasm for the game of golf.”

Full piece. 

8. Jack discusses the Concession 
And in news related to her husband…the Golden Bear recently discussed the most famous gimme in pro golf history…
  • USA Today, Golfweek’s Steve DiMeglio...”Jacklin left his putt two feet short, while Nicklaus ran his attempt five feet by the hole. But Nicklaus drained his comebacker and then extended his hand in a gesture that was criticized by a few at the time but heralded by many more ever since.
  • “I knew going down the 18th hole as long as I didn’t lose the hole, we would retain the cup. Jacklin had a 25-footer and I had a 17- or 18-footer. He ran it up close and I ran it five feet by the hole and thought ‘Oh what an idiot,'” Nicklaus said. “I had a downhill left-to-right slider that I made, and I knew the match was essentially over from the standpoint of losing. I didn’t think of all this at the same time, but Tony had been the first hero that England had had in a long time. If he would’ve missed that putt, the British press would’ve barbecued him.”
  • “Instead of Jacklin facing a knee-knocker to earn the first tie in Ryder Cup history, Nicklaus bent over and picked up his opponent’s marker and conceded the putt. The two finished equal and the matches ended up 16-16. “

Full piece. 

9. Bhatia ready for the big time
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”At just 17 years old, Bhatia bears the fresh face and thin frame you might expect of a typical high school senior. His golf game, however, is ready for the big time. At least that’s the assertion of Bhatia and his close-knit team, as the teen sensation gets ready to make his pro debut this week at the Sanderson Farms Championship without ever setting foot on a college campus.”
  • “Bhatia’s game is well-regarded in the amateur ranks. He won the prestigious Jones Cup, was ranked No. 5 in the world and just this month helped the U.S. to a Walker Cup victory at Royal Liverpool. Bhatia received social media well-wishes Wednesday from former world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, whose academy in South Carolina has been a frequent destination for the bespectacled southpaw as he honed his game.”
  • “Bhatia’s fast track to the pros has not been an overnight decision. When he made his PGA Tour debut in March, missing the cut with rounds of 74-72 at the Valspar Championship, he told reporters that he and his parents had talked about his option to skip college since he was in the eighth grade.”

 

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