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Mike Davis will no longer be in charge of U.S. Open course setups

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After 13 years in the role, CEO of the USGA Mike Davis is stepping down from his position as head of course set up at the U.S. Open.

Speaking to Jaime Diaz at Golf Channel, Davis was quick to stress that the voluntary decision had been made before last year’s U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, which saw a baked-out course in windy conditions during the third round of the event wreak havoc on a day where several players vehemently complained about the unfairness of the test.

“This decision has been in the works for more than two U.S. Opens. Whether people want to believe that or not, that’s for them to decide.”

Shinnecock Hills is not the only U.S. Open where Davis has come under fire in recent years. At the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, the shocking conditions of the greens were brutally criticized by players who compared the putting surfaces to “broccoli” and “cauliflower.” While at Erin Hills in 2017, Davis’ late decision to shave the rough down caused controversy, leading (in part) to the joint lowest winning U.S. Open score in history.

For Davis, it was that U.S. Open at Erin Hills which proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“I was frankly stretched too thin, and especially stretched too thin U.S. Open week for other things I needed to be doing in my position.”

Despite stepping down from his role as head of course setups at the U.S. Open, Davis plans to move further into his CEO role of the USGA, and he will still be involved in the course set up team, though just in an advisory role.

Davis’ successor in the role will be John Bodenhamer, who will run all 14 of the organization’s national championships, including taking charge of the course set up for next year’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

While talking to Golf Channel, Bodenhamer stressed how in his new role, he would be aiming for better communication with the players, while attempting to break the recent tradition of the golf course being the main story of the U.S. Open.

“We aren’t going to make all of them happy, but they should understand that we aren’t trying to trick up the course or make it ridiculously hard. As set-up people, the last thing we want to be is the story. The last thing. We want it to be about the players and the golf course.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Gianni is a freelance writer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts as well as a Diploma in Sports Journalism. He can be contacted at gmagliocco@outlook.com. Follow him on Twitter @giancarlomag

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. IMO

    Jan 8, 2019 at 12:44 am

    ABOUT TIME!!!

  2. Sedge

    Jan 7, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    [disclaimer: this rant is a bit of a tangent to the original article, I understand]

    It begs the question as to why these courses need to be [in the words of Zach Johnson] “manipulated” in such a way that the benchmark for winning a golf tournament is EVEN par. I think that the USGA ought to break down their previous model for setting up a golf course with the uniform idea of level par winning the Open and starting rather with the players in mind and putting together a setup that is married to the course through the use of data in this era of abundantly useful “strokes-gained” metrics. From there, let the winning score be what it is, so long as the winner is clearly the best that week.

    It’s such an unenviable task to say the least and to be in an executive role, no-less the CEO of the USGA AND have to set up the golf course is bizarre. Well, I say “have to” when in fact this is clearly something that should have been delegated by Davis a long time ago.

    That said, playing devil’s advocate to my aforementioned rant is this. If the goal of the US Open is to have the greatest of champions, let’s look at the last 8 winners: Brooks Koepka x 2, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Martin Kaymer, Justin Rose, Webb Simpson, Rory McIlroy. Not a bad group.

  3. Dill Pickelson

    Jan 6, 2019 at 7:41 am

    The clown show at the USGA will still figure out a way to mess up the course setup.

  4. 2putttom

    Jan 5, 2019 at 11:44 pm

    John Bodenhamer, he’s a good guy

  5. Peter

    Jan 5, 2019 at 6:03 pm

    I didn’t watch the US open last year for the first time in 15 years. It is by far my least favourite major. Instead of doing their job they let the equipment manufactures run the game and now that the ball flies crazy long distances, the USGA now tries to combat it by making their set-up unplayable. They should have done their job and not let the equipment manufactures ruin our great game.

  6. scooter

    Jan 5, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    “Stupid is as stupid does” … Forrest Gump

  7. Speedy

    Jan 4, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    What took them so long?

  8. A. Commoner

    Jan 4, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    Hey boss, the kitchen gets awfully warm, doesn’t it? True; especially for those ‘who stay too long.’

  9. Patricknorm

    Jan 4, 2019 at 11:46 am

    Good news if you’re a fan of golf , especially the U.S. Open and most certainly for those competing as an amateur or pro. A major golf tournament shouldn’t be a test to see who hand handle unplayable conditions which were brought upon by a committee. And why does the USGA think that par is the benchmark of good golf? Shine o i is one of the best courses in the world, yet I’ve never seen how good it can be because the course was baked out by the committee. Ideally, the USGA should let the PGA Tour assist in the U.S. Open set up. I am allowed to dream.

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Q2Q: Johnny gets a hand from Claude Harmon III

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In this episode of the Q2Q brought to you bu GolfWRX and Cobra Golf, Johnny and performance coach Nick Starchuk travel to West Palm Beach to see Claude Harmon III at his performance center. It’s a Golf IQ reality smackdown with CHIII breaking down the truth that the Arccos system has shown Johnny.
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Morning 9: Lowry leads | MJ on TW | The Tour’s secret cut-making machines

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

April 19, 2019

Good Friday morning on this Good Friday, golf fans.
1. Lowry leads
AP report…”The Irishman admittedly had started the year off on a strong note with a win in Abu Dhabi in the season-opener on the European Tour. But he simply hadn’t been able to build on that momentum – on either side of the Atlantic — in the weeks following his third career win”.
  • “In fact, Lowry hadn’t broken 70 in four stroke-play events on the PGA TOUR since he missed the cut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am back in February. He was a combined 24 over par in those tournaments and had only made the weekend once.”
  • “On a blustery morning at Harbour Town Golf Links, though, Lowry was back in control — firing a bogey-free 65 that earned him a one-stroke advantage.”
  • “Pretty much my whole game felt good,” Lowry said. “… I haven’t had that feeling in a while. So, it’s kind of nice.”
2. Augusta’d!
The Golf Channel Digital Team…”Beginning on the 10th hole Thursday, Spieth played his opening nine holes in 2 over par, with one double – after hitting his tee shot short, into the water at No. 14 – and eight pars. He recovered on the front side with three birdies compared to one bogey.”
  • “For the day, he hit 15 of 18 greens in regulation but needed 33 putts.”
  • “”I really got Augusta’d out here. What I mean is, I was still putting to the speed of Augusta. I haven’t fully made the transition away from that,” Spieth said after his even-par 71. “And as we are expecting high winds I’m sure the greens will slow down even more to make it fair. I’m really going to need to dial in my speed on the greens. Just tough out there coming off last week to this week, to get yourself to pop it harder than you really want to.””
3. Berger resurgent
Golfweek’s Roxanna Scott…
  • “After taking significant time off late in the year, Daniel Berger has to like what he sees in his game after an opening-round 5-under-par 66 in the RBC Heritage.”
  • “A finger injury forced Berger to take more than four months off after withdrawing from the BMW Championship in September. The 26-year-old Floridian was among a group of five tied for second Thursday, one shot behind leader Shane Lowry. Dustin Johnson, No. 1 in the world rankings, shot 3-under 68 in the afternoon.”
  • “”It’s just been kind of touch and go here,” Berger told reporters after the round at Harbour Town Golf Links. “And finally got a full week of practice where I actually got to play golf every day. That’s just the biggest difference. When you’re going to a golf tournament and you’ve played one round of golf in two weeks, you don’t feel very good. To be able to put the work in and be rewarded it makes me feel like I’m ready to go when I get out here.”
4. Meanwhile, in Hawaii…
AP Report…”Eun-Hee Ji rebounded from a bogey on the par-4 18th with a pitch-in eagle on the par-5 first and shot a 7-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead over Nelly Korda on Thursday in the Lotte Championship.”
“Ji had a 15-under 129 total to break the tournament 36-hole record by five strokes.”
5. MJ on TW
Golf Channel’s Will Gray rounds up a few MJ quotes from The Athletic and expands…
  • “I took two years off to play baseball, but nothing like that,” Jordan told The Athletic. “I’m pretty sure he questioned himself, whether he could get it back, and he had to put a lot of work in. But he took it head-on. He had to change his game; he had to change his perspective a little bit. To me, it was the greatest comeback I’ve ever seen.”
  • “I never thought he’d get back physically,” Jordan said. “He didn’t think he’d get back physically. But he did it. No one expected him to be back the way he is now. He’s probably the only person who believed he could get back. To me, that’s a major accomplishment. To me, it’s unbelievable. Mentally, you always think you can. But you can’t answer to what your body has to deal with.”
6. USWO entries
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…”Rolex world No. 1 Jin Young Ko and defending champion Ariya Jutanugarn topped the list of players qualified for this year’s U.S. Women’s Open at Wednesday’s close of entries.”
  • “Forty-seven of the top 50 players in this week’s world rankings are qualified for the event, scheduled May 30-June 2 at the Country Club of Charleston (S.C.). (Click here for the full exempt field)”
  • “Sectional qualifying begins later this month.”
7. Secret cut-making wizards
Shane Ryan, in the course of Tiger’s Masters triumph, got to thinking about the tour’s cut-making maestros, reaching out to Mark Broadie for data…
“Broadie disappeared into his secret temple of statistics (I imagine it looks like the House of the Undying in Game of Thrones), and came out bearing a bounty of figures. For the last two seasons, beginning in the fall of 2017, Thomas and Johnson were indeed the leaders, with Thomas in front by percentage points. But there were a couple surprises in the top ten”
Justin Thomas – 19/20 – 5.0% missed cut rate
Dustin Johnson – 17/18 – 5.6%
Tommy Fleetwood – 16/17 – 5.9%
Bryson DeChambeau – 24/26 – 7.7%
Hideki Matsuyama – 18/20 – 10.0%
Tiger Woods – 17/19 – 10.5%
Emiliano Grillo – 25/28 – 10.7%
T-8. Justin Rose 16/18 – 11.1%
T-8. Rafa Cabrera-Bello 16/18 – 11.1%
Rickie Fowler – 21/24 – 12.5%
“Grillo is the one of that group you might not expect, and there’s a couple more in the next 10, from An to Keegan Bradley to Charles Howell III. The inspiration for this post, Tony Finau, clocked in at 12th.”
8. Talking to a D, C & P finalist
Our Brendon Elliott spoke to Briel Royce, a finalist in the Drive, Chip and Putt.
So how cool was it driving Down Magnolia Lane?
  • Briel: “Driving down Magnolia Lane was awesome.  Usually, you do not get to experience the scenic ride unless you are a tour player or a member. Everyone got extremely quiet upon entry. There were tons of security along our slow ride. Seeing the beautiful trees and the Masters Flag at Founder’s Circle in the distance was surreal. Having earned the right and opportunity to drive down this prestigious lane was breathtaking. I would love to do it again someday.”
  • What was the coolest part of your time at Drive, Chip and Putt at Augusta National?
  • Briel: “Everything was cool about the DCP. Not too often do you see people taking walks in the morning with green jackets on. We were not treated like kids. We were treated like tour players, like we were members at Augusta. The icing on the cake was when they took us to the practice green and we were putting alongside Zach Johnson and Charl Schwartzel. Everyone was confused when we first got there because we weren’t certain we should be putting on the same green around the pros. Again, we were treated like we were tour players. Where else would I be able to do this? Nowhere other than DCP at Augusta. One of my favorite reflections is having Bubba Watson watch us chip and congratulating each of us for our efforts. He did not need to do that. He took time out of practicing for a very important week in his career to support the DCP players. I think his actions show what the game of golf is about: the sportsmanship, the camaraderie, and support.”
9. Trophy gallery
Here’s something interesting and easily digestible: a look at all the trophies handed out on the PGA Tour this season. Some are…interesting…
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Michael Jordan describes Tiger Woods’ comeback as the greatest he’s ever seen

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Former NBA star Michael Jordan is no stranger to legendary comebacks, but according to the six-time NBA champion, there has been no greater comeback in the history of sport than that of Tiger Woods.

Jordan, who was speaking to The Athletic, talked about the monumental journey which Woods, who Jordan is a close friend of, traveled to reach this point, of which perseverance and self-belief played a significant role.

“I took two years off to play baseball, but nothing like that. I’m pretty sure he questioned himself, whether he could get it back, and he had to put a lot of work in. But he took it head-on. He had to change his game; he had to change his perspective a little bit. To me, it was the greatest comeback I’ve ever seen.”

Three years ago, Jordan told ESPN that he thought Woods’ best days were behind him,  with the golfer’s ailing back contributing to much of that belief. Mentally, Jordan never doubted the 81-time PGA Tour winner, but the basketball legend admitted his surprise at his friend overcoming his chronic back issues.

“I never thought he’d get back physically. He didn’t think he’d get back physically. But he did it. No one expected him to be back the way he is now. He’s probably the only person who believed he could get back. To me, that’s a major accomplishment. To me, it’s unbelievable. Mentally, you always think you can. But you can’t answer to what your body has to deal with.”

As for what’s next for Woods, Jordan believes the sky is the limit, firing this warning to the 43-year-old’s rivals.

“They got problems. His confidence is only going to build from here. The unknown is the biggest thing. He’s won a Tour event, he’s won the Masters, he’s won a major.”

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