Connect with us

News

5 things we learned on Thursday at the U.S. Open

Published

on

Golf at Pebble Beach is different, especially in the U.S. Open. For the professionals, it is a known commodity, a course that they see on multiple occasions each February. For the viewers, it represents an accessible (albeit expensive) public option, a course hard against an ocean, as we have been told golf should be. For the association that conducts the event, it is the ideal course on  which to hold this championship. It allows each qualified golfer to hit driver as often as he dares, yet lay back as often as he desires. Pebble Beach offers familiarity at the end of the continent, a destination sought by most, and a journey measured by an elite few. The first round of the 2019 United States Open championship reminded us of these insights, and it gave us five things worth remembering.

5. Brooks Koepka has a wide-right that he needs to fix

For a guy from Buffalo, wide right has an especially painful significance for this scribe. For Brooks Koepka, it nearly cost him an opportunity to defend his consecutive victories in this event. On #16, Koepka’s drive finished in the right rough, as did his approach to the green. The result: a near-bogey. On #17, his 4-iron flared once again to starboard, finding the first of two greenside bunkers. The result? Bogey. At the 18th hole, Koepka opted to lay back with a fairway metal from the tee, then bombed the ball again to his right, nearly out of bounds. His 2nd was played from the macadam path that borders the hole, and he escaped with another par. Our point? Koepka played the closing stretch in +1, which should have been better and could have been worse. To contend over the next 54 holes, wide right needs to go away.

4. Tiger Woods is … somewhere

Forget Ted Talks. Forget Master Classes. Follow Tiger Woods around Pebble Beach, or any U.S. Open venue, and you’ll witness a golfer who squeezes every ounce of opportunity from himself and the golf course. On Thursday, Woods’ round started with 3 birdies in the first 7 holes. Only an inexplicable double bogey at 5 kept him from a run at the top. 11 consecutive pars followed, some conjured in the mysterious ways of a magician. The 2000 champion at Pebble Beach made an improbable par from beyond the 14th green, after blading a sand shot from the fronting bunker. On 17, he again saved par from the sand, while a 3rd trip to a bunker at the home hole was also fraught with difficulty. Somehow, some way, he managed 70 on the day, a mere 5 strokes behind the leader.

3. Xander Schauffele lies in wait

The X Man has two runner-up finishes in major championships. He tied for 2nd at the 2018 Open championship, and did the same at this year’s Masters. Every facet of his game lends itself to major competition. On Thursday, Schauffele made eagle at the last to reach five-under par, tied with Rickie Fowler, Louis Oosthuizen and Aaron Wise (at the time) for 1st place. As do Woods and Fowler, Schauffele hails from California, and his west-coast familiarity might be what pushes the 4-time PGA Tour champion into the realm of major champion. Whether he hoists the trophy on Sunday or not, Schauffele will certainly be in the mix.

2. A golf course might just survive US Open criticism-does it matter?

Let’s see, Oakmont had bad officiating, Chambers Bay had bad grass. Erin Hills had wide fairways. Shinnecock Hills had Phil Mickelson. Raise your hand if you want to host a U.S. Open. What’s that? No one? (cue crickets chirping.) It’s a tough gig, being the site for a pre-eminent event in the USA, subject to the scrutiny of multiple elements, the carping of unsatisfied competitors. Would Oakmont have been vestal without the DJ affair? Would Chambers have received its due if the greens hadn’t apparently died? What might we have done with the Hills twins, Erin and Shinny? The point is, fans, media and history demand that each playing exceed the previous ones. That shouldn’t be the case. yet here we are. As demonstrated in the introduction to this piece, Pebble is many things to many people. Let’s raise a glass to how a tournament course can be prepped, and an event can be conducted … oh, wait, we still have 54 holes left.

1. Justin Rose is a major player

We found this out in 1998, when the English lad holed from 50 yards out at the last, on his way to a 4th-place tie and low amateur status. In 2013, Rose established himself as a major champion at Merion, winning a U.S. Open in Hogan-esque fashion. In 2016, Rose became the first golfer in over 100 years to capture an Olympic gold medal. Buoyed by an eagle at the 6th, Rose added five birdies to counteract his lone misstep, a bogey at the treacherous 8th. Just as Pebble is a long way from emerging unscathed as an Open site, Rose has three rounds left to prove himself worthy of a 2nd title in the event. His lead is one slim stroke, but the composure and assurance he demonstrated in round one, makes Rose a worthy contender this week, on the California coast.

Your Reaction?
  • 11
  • LEGIT2
  • WOW2
  • LOL1
  • IDHT1
  • FLOP2
  • OB2
  • SHANK4

Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. L

    Jun 14, 2019 at 10:37 am

    The USGA caved and set the course up like the AT&T and it’s fairly innocuous. Not like a tough major. Quite a snooze fest. Greens are way too receptive.
    Lets have some wind

    • dat

      Jun 14, 2019 at 11:32 am

      Yes, the USGA told GOD HIMSELF not to let the wind blow so the course would play easy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

News

Lightning strike at Tour Championship injures six spectators; play to be resumed Sunday morning

Published

on

The third round of The Tour Championship was suspended this evening and won’t be resumed until Sunday morning after lightning strikes caused injuries to six spectators.

Play was suspended at East Lake approximately 30 minutes before the serious incident occurred. A lightning bolt is said to have struck a tree near the 15th green/16th hole, and according to reports, debris from the strike has caused the injuries to the six spectators.

According to the Tour, none of the injuries appears to be life-threatening after EMT tended to those hurt immediately and transported them from the property via ambulance for further medical attention.

Speaking on the incident, a PGA Tour spokesperson stated

“The safety of our fans, players and partners is of the utmost importance. We will provide further updates as they become available.”

The third round of the Tour finale is set to resume at 8 AM ET on Sunday.

Your Reaction?
  • 1
  • LEGIT2
  • WOW6
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

News

Morning 9: Tour Championship | Brooke Henderson | Decline of cookie-cutter swings

Published

on

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

August 23, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1 New normal
After 1…Xander Schauffele, Brooks Koepka, and Justin Thomas are all tied at the top.
PGATour.com’s Mike McAllister…
  • “I guess it was a little bit strange,” said Casey when asked about teeing off eight shots behind. “It was nice once everybody was on the golf course.”
  • Unlike previous TOUR Championships in the FedExCup era, there’s only one leaderboard needed this week. Once the leaderboard started to fill up Thursday, and players knew exactly where they stood, it seemed, well, a bit normal.
  • “It didn’t feel that much different, to be honest with you,” said 2016 FedExCup champ Rory McIlroy, who started five shots behind Thomas but shot a 66 and is now just a stroke off the lead. “… I sort of had the mindset this week that I’m starting on even par, and I’m going to try to shoot a good four-round total and see where that leaves me at the end of the week.”
  • Said Koepka: “You could say I played it like a five-day event. I knew I was three down and … by the time the turn comes, try to get back to all square.”

Full piece

2. Brooks in the buff
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard on BK’s ESPN Body Issue shoot…
“Koepka said the photos were taken at The Floridian in the spring and prompted him to lose 22 pounds in four months. Although he was pleased with the photo shoot he did acknowledge that there were some strange moments.”
  • “Getting naked is a bit weird; the first time you actually pull that robe off in front of 30, 40 people,” said Koepka, who was tied for the lead at East Lake after an opening 67.
  • “He said the weirdest moment came on a tee box as the photographers attempted to get a “face on” shot while Koepka’s swing coach Claude Harmon III was giving a lesson around the corner.
  • “I see Claude teaching this maybe 12-year-old kid, and his mom is just over here. I’m like, this is awkward. And Claude’s peeking around the corner laughing,” Koepka laughed. “You know, it’s fun. I’m pretty sure everybody that was at the golf course saw me that day, but whatever.”

Full piece.

3. Women’s Canadian Open
Defending champ, national hero is one back…
Golf Channel’ Randall Mell…”Henderson, 21, picked up right where she left off a year ago.”
  • “With a 6-under-par 66, she seized sole possession of the lead through the morning wave at Magna Golf Club. A strong gallery was there early to support her bid to win the national women’s open in back-to-back years.”
  • “To get a solid round like this in in front of them I think is really a confidence booster for me,” Henderson said. “Gives me a lot of momentum going into the next three days.”
  • “Henderson’s ball striking was sharp. She hit all but two fairways and all but two greens in regulation and converted seven of the birdie opportunities she gave herself, against a single bogey.”

Full piece.

4. Mr. East Lake?
Golf Channel’s Carson Williams…”There’s something about East Lake that seems to bring out the best in Xander Schauffele.”
  • “Just the style of this tournament being a limited field. It’s pretty exclusive,” Schauffele said. “It’s very relaxed. For how important and how topnotch this tournament is, it’s a very surprisingly relaxed week.”
  • “Schauffele certainly looked relaxed in Thursday’s opening round of the Tour Championship. He began the day at 4 under, six back of leader Justin Thomas, but quickly made up the ground and ultimately signed for a bogey-free, 6-under 64 to take a share of the lead with Thomas and Brooks Koepka.”
5. Scandinavian Invitation
AP report…”Wade Ormsby holed a 4-iron from 196 yards for eagle on his way to shooting a bogey-free, 8-under 62 at the Scandinavian Invitation, giving him the first-round lead in the European Tour event on Thursday.”
“The Australian’s eagle at the par-4 14th hole came in an opening-nine 28, after starting his round at No. 10. He also rolled in six birdies, including three straight from the 16th hole.”
6. Grayson! 
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Former PGA Tour winner Grayson Murray opened the Albertsons Boise Open with a 7-under 64 to grab a share of the lead in the second leg of the Korn Ferry Finals.”
  • “Murray won the 2017 Barbasol Championship, but his PGA Tour exemption for that win expired earlier this month. He was sidelined for much of the summer with an injured back, not playing on Tour after withdrawing from the Valero Texas Open in April. But Murray made a pair of rehab starts on the Korn Ferry Tour, including a T-2 at the Rex Hospital Open, and is participating in the three-event Finals as part of a medical extension.”

Full piece.

7. Timing Bryson
Joel Beall and the Golf Digest folks kept tabs on Bryson at East Lake…
  • “This comes with a caveat. DeChambeau was often the second player to hit, his drives a good 30 to 40 yards farther than Reavie. As such, he often had a generous amount of prep that wasn’t clocked (we didn’t time him during Reavie’s setup and shot). Even with the asterisk, DeChambeau’s average time of 43.57 seconds is more nuanced than the number conveys.”
“Almost half his approaches took less than 30 seconds, with a personal-best of 20.34 seconds at the par-4 eighth. However, there was no middle ground. If he wasn’t pulling the trig fast, it was a drawn-out process, even on a punch-out at the fifth (one minute, nine seconds) that went all of 30 yards. Aside from the third hole, there wasn’t much wind to calculate, and DeChambeau mostly kept his ball out of trouble. That he spent more than 40 seconds in three instances, including the punch-out, after waiting on Reavie (37.82 seconds average on approach) was somewhat odd. Although it did lead to this gem from a marshal on the fifth: “He’s trying to make Thanksgiving dinner when all he needs is a PB&J.”
8. Cherishing the experience
AP Report…Vancouver’s Michelle Liu was excited about striping her opening tee shot Thursday at the CP Women’s Open, but the 12-year-old left her history-making LPGA debut frustrated.
  • “Definitely wasn’t my best performance, I would say,” Liu said after opening with a 9-over-par 81. “My chipping wasn’t where it needed to be.”
  • Liu became the youngest player to tee it up in the 47-year history of Canada’s national women’s open, but she shed some tears of frustration in the end.
  • “Pretty disappointed about my score,” Liu said.
9. Decline of the cookie-cutter swing? 
 
Golf Digest staff….”We asked four top teachers from Golf Digest’s national and state rankings to discuss how (or if!) this new “freedom” will trickle down into the amateur player’s weekend game.”
What does a player like Matthew Wolff mean for golf?
  • “Rick Silva (Movement 3 Golf, Highland Park, Ill.): If you had walked down the range at a tour event the past 20 years, you’d have seen a lot of the same swings-almost robotic ones. I think the resurgence of individuality on tour is a great thing, and a real opportunity. It’s going to give tour players and recreational players permission to go beyond the numbers they see on a launch monitor or the images in a video to find what works for them.”
  • “Nick Clearwater (GolfTEC Vice President of Instruction, Denver): If I was a casual observer of golf from my couch, I’d be excited about the future of the sport. There are all these young players with fresh attitudes and different swing styles. It’s exciting. But how some of the swing stuff moves down to the average player is going to be terrifying! There are still plenty of people who think that the most noticeable thing is the most important thing, and the starting point for what you should be working on.”
Your Reaction?
  • 11
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT1
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the Albertsons Boise Open

Published

on

GolfWRX bypassed the PGA Tour’s Tour Championship in the early part of the week (we made it there Thursday!) for the road less traveled this week: The Korn Ferry Tour. Specifically, we have a full buffet of photos from the range at the Albertsons Boise Open, including a full plate of WITB looks.

Here are 10 interesting photos from the Albertsons Boise Open.

This spread of Scotty Cameron Circle T putter covers will have enthusiasts drooling

Is this tee marker edible?

Name a better-dressed pro than Morgan Hoffmann…

Brandon Crick’s Pingman-stamped Glide wedge

The TaylorMade Boise Open headcover features a Boise St. blue turf background

D.J. Trahan’s Grateful Dead dancing bear headcovers are money

J-Gore! Cheers to the 2002 champ!

Sweet orange paintfill on Kevin Doughtery’s PXG 0311T 4-iron

Idaho (potato) fries aplenty on Scotty Cameron’s superb Boise Open headcover

I was unaware Will Zalatoris nickname was Beavis. But a look at this wedge and a look at this photo have me pretty convinced it is

All our galleries from the Boise Open

General galleries

WITB, special galleries

 

 

Your Reaction?
  • 4
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB2
  • SHANK1

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending