But What About Those Wyndham Rewards Points, Brooks? Koepka Says Canadian Result Doesn't Matter

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Well, doesn’t REALLY matter, if that makes the folks ponying up millions for the FedExCup and Wyndham Rewards chases. (I’d tell you the leaders, but I know you’ve been studying the races and it would be redundant).

Either, the point is, majors are really that all that matter to the stars. Good for the majors, good for the game, not so great for points chases. From Ryan Lavner’s GolfChannel.com story from the RBC Canadian where Brooks Koepka is tuning up for Pebble Beach’s U.S. Open.

“I could care less what happens,” he said. “I just want to feel good going into next week. As long as I can leave feeling confident, striking the ball very well, starting it where I want to, finishing where I want to, hitting some good putts ... it doesn’t matter if they do go in or not. I just want to feel confident leaving.”

Koepka has played the week before all four of his major victories, and he pointed to the fact that he’s won back-to-back U.S. Opens despite finishing 30th or worse in each of his tune-up starts at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.

“The result doesn’t really matter this week,” he said. “It’s just how I feel I’ve played. Am I hitting enough good shots and really finding a rhythm?”

But think of the points Brooks! For the children. And the VP’s whose bonuses depend on them.

Pebble Beach Flyovers: Ninth And Tenth Holes

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Anyone who doesn’t stop and ponder their fortunate fate when on the 9th hole is missing out, as the view toward Carmel and beyond never gets tiresome.

That said, the 9th as a piece of architecture, has some issues.

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Players in last summer’s U.S. Amateur were less than enthralled with the new 526-yard tee leaving an awkward decision. Many actually hit 3-wood and even a few irons late in the day, leaving their ball atop the hill instead of an undesirable hanging lie and stance. There is a definite advantage for bombers here to play the hole as it had been attacked before the latest tee was added to offset the amazing modern athleticism delivered by Trackman.

Originally the fairway spilled down to the right next to the ocean. It would appear the tees were positioned to hit into that fairway and a lovely spot exists to restore such a tee. But the hole would play very short in a world where players better manage their rest to hit the ball longer than the geeks of yesteryear.

Either way, the 1929 renovation of Pebble Beach by Chandler Egan appeared to present a far more interesting and complicated hole.

The USGA’s flyover:

The 10th is far less complicated but beautiful in the simple way it fits the landscape. It’s as demanding as they come but also sadly missing some great hole locations back left and front/middle right near the water’s edge.

Mark Broadie's New Scoring Volatility Measure And Tiger's 2000 Season In Perspective

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Strokes Gained founder Mark Broadie has developed another stat called scoring volatility and introduces it at Golf.com.

Now, you may say this one tells us what we already knew: some people make a lot of pars and play steady, boring golf. Like Ryan Moore and Billy Horschel, two recent leaders in non-volatility. Others make plenty of birdies and plenty of bogies.

But as with Strokes Gained, Broadie’s managed to craft a statistic allowing us as fans to put the magnificence of a performance into perspective, while also highlighting what may or may not be holding someone back.

So Broadie went back to Tiger’s epic 2000 season and made some amazing calculations. Certainly read the piece for full context, but this is amazing in terms of putting the greatness of a season-long performance into perspective:

That season, Woods made bogey or worse on a mere eight percent of the holes he played. (The PGA Tour average was 19 percent that season.) Tiger also comes out on top on the birdie side of the ledger—again during the 2000 season—where he won nine events, including three majors.

That year, Woods scored birdie or better at an astounding 32 percent clip, 12 percentage points higher than the Tour average.

The Thinking Behind Pebble Beach's U.S. Open Has Nothing To Do With The Patriots Logo, Really

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Even though Pebble Beach Company CEO Bill Perocchi calls himself the “biggest Patriot fan in California” and worked with the agency developing this year’s U.S. Open logo, I’m sure there was not Patriots influence whatsoever in the crafting process. None!

According to Golf.com’s Jessica Marksbury, the Hooray Agency’s Steve Seghers was looking to design a logo that “captured the legacy, the commitment to national pride, and the passion of golf and sport enthusiasts around the world".

Apparently the “wavy embellishment” under the lone Cypress “represents the crashing waves off Pebble’s 7th and 8th holes, as well as the wing of America’s national symbolic bird, the bald eagle,” and NOT the Patriots logo.

Furthermore, Marksbury writes, “each stripe on the wave embellishment represents a year that Pebble Beach has hosted the U.S. Open. There are six total: 1972, 1982, 1992, 2000, 2010 and 2019.”

And it’s just a coincidence that the Patriots have won….drum roll please, six Super Bowls since 2002.

Loopers! Outstanding Documentary In Theaters Friday, Narrated By Bill Murray

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It’s in the hole!

Loopers hits a hole in one!

Carl Spackler is back as a grizzled narrator!

Cannes, you missed out not showing Loopers.

Sorry, doing my worst KFRQ-TV movie ad blurb tryout.

We don’t get many great golf films so run out and see this wonderful look at all things caddie. Here’s the list of theaters and just some of the cameos include: Ben Crenshaw, Michael Greller, Carl Jackson, Rick Reilly, Nick Faldo, Greg Puga, Curtis Strange, Fanny Sunesson, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Steve Williams and Fuzzy Zoeller, plus rare footage from Augusta National!

Josh Sens with a rave review at Golf.com,

The full trailer:

For Immediate Release:

“Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk,” Narrated By Bill Murray, Debuts in U.S. Theaters Friday, June 7

CLEVELAND, OH, USA (June 4, 2019) – “Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk” (www.loopersmovie.com, @loopersthemovie), the most thorough feature-length film documentary ever developed on golf’s historic caddie profession, will make its nationwide theatrical debut on Friday, June 7, with approximately 100 locations in 30 states across the United States.

The film, narrated by famed actor and former caddie Bill Murray, has drawn critical acclaim in early 2019 with positive reviews and best documentary awards from the Cleveland International Film Festival in early April and the Newport Beach (CA) Film Festival in early May. The film concluded the film festival circuit last Sunday with the Greenwich, CT, International Film Festival.

The “Loopers” U.S. theatrical release begins on Friday, June 7 – the week before the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. A listing of locations, to be continually updated throughout June, is included at https://www.loopersmovie.com/see-the-movie.

Reviews of the film have touted the film’s accuracy and interest beyond just golf: 

  • “… wishing ‘Loopers’ could be a series with each vignette an episode. Better yet, with striking panoramics of St. Andrews, Pebble Beach, Bandon, Carnoustie and other world-renowned courses, “Loopers” is reminiscent of the BBC’s “Planet Earth” series, educating while aesthetically captivating.” – Golf Digest (March 2019)

  • “(Bill Murray) does not have a demanding part – he narrates the 80-minute long documentary and makes a short on-camera appearance – but it is sure to be regarded as one of his finest films.” – Chicago Tribune (June 3, 2019)

  • “I’ve only played a handful of rounds of golf in my life, and I don’t particularly care about the sport. Still, I found ‘Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk’ compelling. Any time you get somebody talking about their life’s work you’re probably going to get some good stories.” – Filmthreat.com (February 15, 2019).

  • “Loopers charts the history of golf from its origins in Scotland to modern times. Traditionally, the caddie’s mantra was to ‘show up, keep up and shut up.’ They were banned from the clubhouse and treated poorly. However, they became an important part of the sport, acting as the player’s technical adviser, psychologist and confidant.” – Sunday Times, Ireland (February 2, 2019).

 

Also, private viewings for clubs or organizations can be made by going to www.loopersmovie.com/request-a-screening. An international debut in Europe is scheduled for June 21 at the Edinburgh (Scotland) International Film Festival – www.edfilmfest.org.uk/edinburgh-international-film-festival.

Dates/Times: June 7 throughout the summer.

Locations/Tickets: https://www.loopersmovie.com/see-the-movie

Trailer: Go to www.loopersmovie.com

Directed by Jason Baffa (@jasonbaffafilms)

Produced by David Brookwell, Jim Packer, GEM Pictures, Clark Cunningham, Ward Clayton

Written by Carl Cramer (worked with Baffa as film editor on his previous films)

Narrated by Bill Murray

80 minutes 

Five Families Slow Play Talks To Resume At The Open, Center On Ways To Make Slow Golfers Go Faster

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If there is one thing to like about the youth obsessed Five Families of golf, it’s that they recognize the kids do not dig watching people stand around. At least, let’s hope that’s what the children of executives are saying since that amounts to their focus group testing.

With that in mind, Alistair Tait looks at the European Tour’s efforts and potential for more as they recognize the urgency more than any other golf organization. Slow play hater Edoardo Molinari was called into the headmaster’s office and says we may see action soon from Chief Executive Keith Pelley.

“I obviously can’t tell what was said in that meeting, but something will be put in place,” Molinari added. “There will be something coming through in the next month.”

Pelley told Golfweek that steps are being taken.

“What has to happen is we collectively as administrators have to get on the same page on slow play because it isn’t just a European Tour issue,” Pelley said. He added that administrators from the European Tour, USGA, R&A and PGA Tour met in April in Augusta, Ga., to discuss the issue. Talks will resume at the British Open at Royal Portrush.

“There is a will to tackle this issue across the game,” Pelley said.

Pebble Beach Flyovers: Seventh And Eighth Holes

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I won’t bother with the 1929 look as we focus on the present, but I had to grab the 1972 version (above) so you can see how much of the green had been lost by then. And yet, there was a nicer shape on the right side defining the back right peninsula.

Either way, with shape and character or more circular, the 7th is arguably golf’s most dramatic location and dramatic shot, and one fine place to hang out during next week’s U.S. Open.

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Regarding the 8th, modified by Alister MacKenzie in 1926 and again by Chandler Egan and friends for the 1929 US Amateur, the fairway has been narrowed substantially since this flyover, rendering the aiming rock into a left side rock. The scenery is spectacular, so I’ll save the architectural quibbling until after the flyover…

As for the state of the 8th, the green is down to a small area for hole locations and severely limits the USGA’s options at US Open green speeds.

There was some spectacular work down here in 1929, including that bunker down the cliff! From the USGA’s 1929 Amateur gallery:

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And today…note how much of the left portion of the green is gone.

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The Polls Close On Golf's Longest Day: 2019 US Open Sectional Results In

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So many great stories and all in one day! The USGA Sectional page for those who want to do their own navigating.

JuliaKate Culpepper at Golfweek has a one-stop page of just qualifying results for those needing to just know names.

Here is my story on the Newport Beach qualifier where as diverse group with a couple of crazy longshot stories took the five spots in a very efficiently run SCGA affair, with brisk pace, no penalties and only a couple of WD’s.

Before filing on the final four, I contributed this item on Stewart Hagestad qualifying to Golfweek’s Sectional blog. He did so on his home course for the third straight year. He becomes the first amateur in 34 years to qualify for three straight years. (Nice catch on that by AmateurGolf.com’s Chris Brauner).

Hey only 20 WD’s this year at the Walton Heath qualifier. I had the over 23…

Web.com Tour players dominated, patiently, at Woodmont’s longest day, Roxanna Scott reports.

Todd Kelley reports on the top college players who made it, including Duke’s Chandler Eaton. Uh, 90 years ago, Chandler Egan unveiled a redo of Pebble Beach and reached the 1929 U.S. Amateur semifinals on the course he designed. Just saying…

Callum Terren posted a Streamsong Black course record 64 en route to qualifying from Florida, reports Beth Ann Nichols for Golfweek.

The USGA has posted 41 images from all qualifiers here, capturing the essence of a day when more than half of a major field is filled out.

Ratings: 2019 Memorial Scores 1.7 Final Round, U.S. Women's Open's .6 Pushing All Time Low

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Tiger Woods in contention helped bump up the Memorial ratings 33% over last year, with a 1.7 overnight according to Sports Business Daily.

The U.S. Women’s Open’s overnight from CC of Charleston was a .6, up just a tiny bit over a similar .6 last year and continuing a trend of hovering around record lows since the move to Fox. This, despite being commercial free broadcasts.

Getting In The U.S. Open Mood: 1972, Jack And Pebble

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This is spectacular in so many ways, including out of the chute with stock 70s music and graphics. But gosh is there some fun viewing in here for those looking to get even more excited about the U.S. Open’s return to Pebble Beach.

And just to further the mood-setting, check out my Q&A with the late great Frank Hannigan from 2010 on some memories of early U.S. Open’s at Pebble: Bing Crosby asking for a cart, Vietnam war protesters on 18, etc…as only Frank can recall.

Best Of 2019 U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying Storylines

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With apologies to those named by the USGA’s communications department, but deleted below, the most interesting players to follow during Monday’s Sectional Qualifying. The low scores will turn up June 13-16 at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links.

The venues, and main USGA page following the action.

Golfweek’s live coverage blog, which I’ll be contributing to from the Newport Beach qualifier.

Fox Sports 1 will wrap up the day with an 11 pm ET show.

RattleSnake Point Golf Club (Copperhead and Sidewinder courses), Milton, Canada
Walton Heath Golf Club (New and Old courses), Surrey, England
Big Canyon Country Club & Newport Beach Country Club, Newport Beach, Calif.
Streamsong Resort (Black Course), Bowling Green, Fla.
Hawks Ridge Golf Club, Ball Ground, Ga.
Woodmont Country Club (North Course), Rockville, Md.
Century Country Club & Old Oaks Country Club, Purchase, N.Y.
Brookside Golf & Country Club & Scioto Country Club, Columbus, Ohio
Springfield (Ohio) Country Club
Wine Valley Golf Club, Walla Walla, Wash. 

Ok here goes…

RattleSnake Point Golf Club (Copperhead and Sidewinder courses)
Milton, Canada

  • Ricky Barnes, 38, of Stockton, Calif., tied for second in the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course. He also qualified for the 2000 U.S. Open as a 19-year-old amateur, one of six Opens in which he has competed. Barnes won the 2002 U.S. Amateur Championship, defeating Hunter Mahan in the final at Oakland Hills.

  • Cameron Davis, 24, of Australia, is attempting to qualify for his first U.S. Open after tying for 39th in last year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie. Davis has won on the Web.com Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia. He helped Australia win the 2016 World Amateur Team Championship by 19 strokes and was the individual leader (269). Davis also won the 2015 Australian Amateur.

  • Dylan Fritelli, 28, of South Africa, is attempting to play in his second consecutive U.S. Open. He missed the cut at Shinnecock Hills last year. Fritelli, who has won twice on the PGA European Tour, has also competed on the Asian, Sunshine and Challenge tours. He helped the University of Texas claim the 2012 NCAA Championship.

  • Padraig Harrington, 47, of the Republic of Ireland, won the 2007 and 2008 Open Championships, conducted by The R&A, and the 2008 PGA Championship. He has competed in 16 U.S. Opens and has posted five top-10 finishes. He tied for fourth in 2012 at The Olympic Club. He was chosen 2007 European Tour Player of the Year and 2008 PGA Tour Player of the Year. Harrington will captain the European Ryder Cup Team in 2020.

  • Scott Langley, 30, of Scottsdale, Ariz., has competed in four U.S. Opens and tied for low amateur with Russell Henley in 2010 at Pebble Beach when they tied for 16th. Langley, who won the 2010 NCAA individual championship as a member of the University of Illinois team, claimed his first Web.com Tour title last year. He is the first alumnus of The First Tee to play on the PGA Tour.

Walton Heath Golf Club (New and Old courses)
Surrey, England

  • Sam Horsfield, 22, of England, has played in 13 USGA championships, including the 2015 and 2016 U.S. Opens. Horsfield, who reached the Round of 16 in the 2016 U.S. Amateur, was the medalist in 2017 PGA European Tour Qualifying School. A two-time All-Southeastern Conference selection at the University of Florida, Horsfield was chosen first-team All-American and SEC Freshman of the Year in 2016.

  • Min Woo Lee, 20, of Australia, is in his first year as a professional and plays primarily on the PGA European Tour. Lee, who competed in three U.S. Amateurs, defeated Noah Goodwin to win the 2016 U.S. Junior Amateur. He became the fourth international champion and the first male Australian in 10 years to win a USGA title. His sister, Minjee, captured the 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior and has won five LPGA Tour events, including this year’s LA Open.

  • Andrew Johnston, 30, of England, has played in three U.S. Opens, finishing 62nd last year at Shinnecock Hills, tying for 42nd in 2017 at Erin Hills and tying for 54th in 2016 at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club. Johnston, known as “Beef” since his youth, has won once on the PGA European Tour and twice on the Challenge Tour.

  • Edoardo Molinari, 38, of Italy, is the older brother of reigning Open champion Francesco Molinari, who has competed in nine U.S. Opens. Edoardo won the 2005 U.S. Amateur at Merion Golf Club and became the first Italian to win the championship. He has played in three U.S. Opens, with his best finish a tie for 47th in 2010. Edoardo has won a combined nine titles on the PGA European, Challenge and Japan tours.

  • Thomas Pieters, 27, of Belgium, played in his lone U.S. Open in 2017 at Erin Hills. He has won three PGA European Tour events and has three top-25 finishes on the PGA Tour this season, including a tie for 23rd in the PGA Championship. Pieters had a celebrated career at the University of Illinois and won the 2012 NCAA Division I individual championship. In 2013, he claimed the Big Ten Conference title and led the Illini to a runner-up finish in the NCAAs.

  • Alfie Plant, 26, of England, earned the silver medal as the low amateur in the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. Plant, who is in his second year as a professional, won the 2017 European Amateur Championship with a birdie on the fifth playoff hole. He was a member of the 2017 Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup Team. Plant, who helped England finish second in the 2016 World Amateur Team Championship, has run a marathon, parachuted from a plane, bungee jumped and gone cage-diving among great white sharks.

  • Richie Ramsay, 35, of Scotland, has played in three U.S. Opens, including last year at Shinnecock Hills. Ramsay, who has won three times on the PGA European Tour and twice on the Challenge Tour, claimed the 2006 U.S. Amateur. He became the first Scot since 1898 to win the championship. He was a member of the 2005 Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup Team.

  • Lee Westwood, 46, of England, has played in 18 U.S. Opens and has recorded nine top-25 finishes. He tied for third in 2008 at Torrey Pines Golf Course and in 2011 at Congressional Country Club. Westwood, who has competed on seven winning European Ryder Cup Teams, has compiled 24 victories on the PGA European Tour and has 43 professional wins overall.

Big Canyon Country Club & Newport Beach Country Club
Newport Beach, Calif.

  • Sean Crocker, 22, of West Palm Beach, Fla., tied for 47th in last year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie. He has competed in three U.S. Amateurs and two U.S. Junior Amateurs. He was twice chosen All-American and was a three-time All-Pac-12 Conference selection at the University of Southern California. Crocker, who was born in Zimbabwe, learned the game from his father, Gary, a professional cricket player.

  • Stewart Hagestad, 28, of Newport Beach, Calif., won the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship and was a member of the winning 2017 USA Walker Cup Team. In his Mid-Amateur triumph, he produced the largest comeback victory (4 down with five holes to play) since a 36-hole final was introduced in 2001. Hagestad, who was the low amateur (T-36) in the 2017 Masters Tournament, has competed in 17 USGA championships, including reaching the Round of 16 in the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach last year.

  • Kaiwen Liu, 19, of People’s Republic of China, posted five top-20 finishes, including a tie for 14th in the NCAA Myrtle Beach Regional, as a sophomore on the University of California-Berkeley golf team. Liu has competed in five USGA championships, including two U.S. Amateurs. Liu, who attended Torrey Pines High, advanced to match play in three U.S. Junior Amateurs.

  • Isaiah Salinda, 22, of South San Francisco, Calif., advanced to the semifinals of the 2018 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Salinda, a senior on the Stanford University team, earned first team All-Pac-12 Conference recognition and helped the Cardinal win its third consecutive Pac-12 championship, the NCAA Stanford Regional title and NCAA Championship. Salinda, who won last year’s Pacific Coast Amateur, tied for sixth in the 2019 NCAA individual championship.

  • John Sawin, 34, of Pebble Beach, Calif., carded a 67 to share medalist honors in the Santa Cruz, Calif., local qualifier at Pasatiempo Golf Club. Sawin is the vice president and director of golf at Pebble Beach Golf Links and moved to the position after a decade in financial services. Sawin has competed in six USGA championships, including two U.S. Amateurs. He won the 2014 Pennsylvania Amateur with a 25-foot putt on the final green at Oakmont Country Club.

  • Justin Suh, 21, of San Jose, Calif., earned first team All-Pac-12 Conference honors for the third consecutive year. He tied for fourth in the 2019 NCAA individual championship. In 2018, Suh helped the University of Southern California win the Pac-12 Championship and was the conference individual champion. He was chosen Pac-12 Player of the Year. Suh qualified for the 2016 U.S. Open and advanced to match play in three consecutive U.S. Amateurs (2016-18). His sister, Hannah, played in the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open.

  • Jeff Wilson, 55, of Fairfield, Calif., won the 2018 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club. Wilson, a general sales manager for an automobile dealership, tied for 31st in last year’s U.S. Senior Open and became the second player to earn low amateur in both the U.S. Open and U.S. Senior Open, joining Marvin “Vinny” Giles III. Wilson has competed in four U.S. Opens and was the low amateur in 2000 at Pebble Beach Golf Links when he tied for 59th place, Wilson has competed in 32 USGA championships, including 10 U.S. Amateurs.

Streamsong Resort (Black Course)
Bowling Green, Fla.

  • Canon Claycomb, 17, of Bowling Green, Ky., was the runner-up in the 2018 Class 1A state championship after tying for third the previous year. Claycomb, who reached match play in last year’s U.S. Junior Amateur, helped Circle Christian High claim the 2017 state title. He splits time between Kentucky and Orlando, Fla. Claycomb has played on the Greenwood High team in Bowling Green since fourth grade and, in 2016, he led the team to a second-place finish in the state championship while tying for second individually.

  • Luis Gagne, 21, of Costa Rica, shared low amateur honors with Matt Parziale in the 2018 U.S. Open, tying for 48th at Shinnecock Hills. Gagne, a senior on the Louisiana State University team, also advanced to the Round of 32 in last year’s U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Gagne, who earned All-Southeastern Conference recognition for the third consecutive year in 2018-19, tied for 10th in the NCAA Stanford Regional. He has competed in three U.S. Amateurs, reaching the quarterfinals in 2016, and two U.S. Junior Amateurs.

  • Retief Goosen, 50, of South Africa, won the U.S. Open in 2001 (playoff with Mark Brooks) and 2004, a two-stroke victory over Phil Mickelson at Shinnecock Hills. Goosen, who was struck by lightning as an amateur, has seven wins on the PGA Tour and 12 victories on the PGA European Tour. He has played in 18 U.S. Opens and will compete for the first time in the U.S. Senior Open, held at the Warren Course at Notre Dame, in South Bend, Ind., on June 27-30.

  • Tyler Strafaci, 20, of Davie, Fla., earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors and helped Georgia Tech win the 2019 ACC title. He is the grandson of Frank Strafaci, who won the 1935 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship and went on to become the executive director of the Florida State Golf Association and director of golf at Doral Country Club. Tyler’s mother, Jill, played golf at the University of Florida from 1976-79. Tyler competed in last year’s U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills and advanced to match play in the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Hawks Ridge Golf Club
Ball Ground, Ga.

  • Stephen Behr, 26, of Atlanta, Ga., was stroke-play medalist and reached the Round of 16 in last year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur. He also advanced to match play in the 2018 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach. Behr earned his undergraduate degree in accounting from Clemson University and became a risk consultant for Ernst & Young. Although he was a second-team All-American and a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection for the Tigers in 2016, Behr chose not to turn professional. His father, Steve, is the head golf professional at Florence (S.C.) Country Club.

  • Doug Ghim, 23, of Arlington Heights, Ill., qualified for last year’s U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills and has played in eight USGA championships. He was the runner-up in the 2017 U.S. Amateur and was a first-team All-American at the University of Texas. Ghim, who has two top-25 finishes on the Web.com Tour in 2019, was a member of the winning 2017 USA Walker Cup Team and posted a 4-0 record. He was also the 2014 U.S. Amateur Public Links runner-up to Byron Meth.

  • D.J. Trahan, 38, of Kiawah Island, S.C., has played in four U.S. Opens, with his best finish a tie for fourth at Torrey Pines Golf Course in 2008. Trahan, a four-time All-America selection at Clemson University, has two PGA Tour victories. He won the 2000 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. His father, Don, is a master golf instructor and is known as “The Swing Surgeon.”

Woodmont Country Club (North Course)
Rockville, Md.

  • Joseph Bramlett, 31, of San Jose, Calif., was the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Amateur when he competed at age 14 in 2002. Bramlett was later sidelined for two years due to lateral spine dysfunction and returned to golf in 2018. He was an All-America and All-Pac-12 Conference selection at Stanford University and earned his PGA Tour card through qualifying school in 2010. He has five top-20 finishes on the Web.com Tour this year.

  • Erik Compton, 39, of Coral Gables, Fla., was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy at age 9 and has since had two successful heart transplants. Compton, a member of the 2001 USA Walker Cup Team, has played in three U.S. Opens. He tied for second at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014.

  • Billy Hurley III, 36, of Annapolis, Md., has played in three U.S. Opens, with his best finish a tie for 48th at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014. Hurley, who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and was the 2004 Patriot League Player of the Year, was a member of the winning 2005 USA Walker Cup Team. He rose to the rank of lieutenant and served on U.S. Navy destroyers and cruisers.

  • Drew Kittleson, 30, of Scottsdale, Ariz., was the runner-up to Danny Lee in the 2008 U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst No. 2 and competed in the 2009 U.S. Open and Masters. He has played in seven USGA championship, including five U.S. Amateurs. Kittleson, who was reinstated as an amateur four years ago, is a sales manager for a kitchen and bathroom remodeling company.

  • Garrett Rank, 31, of Canada, became a full-time National Hockey League official in 2016-17 after working for several years in the American Hockey League. He qualified through local and sectional play and competed in his first U.S. Open last year at Shinnecock Hills. Rank, who overcame a cancer scare at age 23, was the runner-up in the 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur. He has competed in 17 USGA championships, including seven U.S. Amateurs. He advanced to match play in the 2018 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach.

  • Nick Sorkin, 28, of Rockville, Md., signed as an undrafted free agent in 2014 with the National Hockey League’s Montreal Canadians after totaling 20 goals and 21 assists as a senior at the University of New Hampshire and leading the Wildcats to NCAA Tournament play. Sorkin, who qualified for the 2016 U.S. Amateur, split time this season with the American Hockey League’s Binghamton Devils and the East Coast Hockey League’s Worcester Railers.

  • Karl Vilips, 17, of Australia, has played in two U.S. Amateurs (2016, 2017) and advanced to the Round of 32 in last year’s U.S. Junior Amateur at Baltusrol Golf Club. He tied for fourth in the 2019 Junior Invitational at Sage Valley on April 27. In 2018, he won the Wyndham Invitational and was the runner-up in the Western Junior. In 2017, he captured the Southern Amateur title and matched Bob Jones (1917) as the youngest champion in tournament history. Vilips, who was born in Indonesia, has used fund-raising activities to travel to tournaments.

Century Country Club & Old Oaks Country Club
Purchase, N.Y.

  • Brett Boner, 45, of Charlotte, N.C., was the runner-up to Kevin O’Connell in last year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur final at Charlotte Country Club. In 2016, he advanced to match play in the U.S. Mid-Amateur and played with his brother-in-law, Stephen Woodward, in the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball at Winged Foot Golf Club. Boner, a financial advisor who is a member at Carolina Golf Club, last year’s Mid-Amateur stroke play co-host course.

  • Michael McCoy, 56, of Norwalk, Iowa, has played in 58 USGA championships. He was the low amateur in the 2014 and 2015 U.S. Senior Opens and won the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, the second-oldest winner. McCoy, who was a member of the 2015 USA Walker Cup Team, reached the semifinals of last year’s U.S. Senior Amateur and is scheduled to compete in his seventh consecutive U.S. Senior Open in 2018.

  • Gary Nicklaus, 50, of Jupiter, Fla., is the son of four-time U.S. Open champion Jack Nicklaus. Gary, who has competed in 10 USGA championships, including the 1997 and 2001 U.S. Opens, advanced through the Jupiter, Fla., local qualifier. He qualified for last year’s U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach Golf Links, where his father won the 1972 U.S. Open and 1961 U.S. Amateur.

  • Matt Parziale, 31, of Brockton, Mass., won the 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur and became the first champion to earn a full exemption into the following year’s U.S. Open. He and Luis Gagne were the low amateurs in the 2018 U.S. Open, tying for 48th at Shinnecock Hills. Parziale, who also competed in the 2018 Masters, has played in 13 USGA championships.

  • Jack Wall, 18, of Brielle, N.J., has won back-to-back individual state championships and has helped Christian Brothers Academy win three consecutive state crowns. Wall, who advanced through U.S. Open local qualifying for the second year in a row, was the 2018 NJ.com Golfer of the Year and finished second in last year’s New Jersey State Amateur. His older brother, Jeremy, is also in this sectional field.

  • Jeremy Wall, 23, of Brielle, N.J., was involved in Loyola University (Md.) capturing three Patriot League championships during a four-year span. Wall, who works in sales for a car dealership, earned first-team all-league honors twice. He won last year’s Philadelphia Amateur and is competing in his seventh USGA championship. His brother, Jack, is also in this U.S. Open sectional field.

  • Cameron Young, 22, of Scarborough, N.Y., earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors for the third consecutive year as a senior at Wake Forest University. He has competed in nine USGA championships, including five U.S. Amateurs. Young became the first amateur to win the New York Open when he shot a final-round 64 at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course in July 2017. His father, David, is the head professional at Sleepy Hollow Country Club.

Brookside Golf & Country Club & Scioto Country Club
Columbus, Ohio

  • Akshay Bhatia, 17, of Wake Forest, N.C., was the runner-up to Michael Thorbjornsen in the 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club. He also advanced to match play in last year’s U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach. In 2019, Bhatia made his PGA Tour debut at the Valspar Championship and tied for 42nd in his first Web.com Tour event. Bhatia, whose sister, Rhea, competed as a member of the Queens University of Charlotte women’s golf team, aced the 17th hole at Pinehurst No. 2 at age 12.

  • Jamie Broce, 42, of Indianapolis, Ind., recently competed his second season as head golf coach at IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis). Broce spent the previous five years at the University of Toledo and was an assistant at Indiana University. As a player, he earned All-America recognition at Ball State University. He qualified for the 2014 PGA Championship.

  • Bobby Clampett, 59, of Bonita Springs, Calif., shot a 68 in Naples, Fla., local qualifying and survived a 6-for-5 playoff to advance. Clampett, who was born in Monterey, Calif. and attended the Stevenson School, has played in seven U.S. Opens, including a tie for third in 1982 behind Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Clampett, who works as a TV golf analyst, won the California State Amateur in 1978 and 1980, both at Pebble Beach.

  • Cole Hammer, 19, of Houston, Texas, was the third-youngest player to compete in a U.S. Open when he played at Chambers Bay in 2015. Hammer advanced to the semifinals of the 2018 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach and reached the semifinals of last year’s U.S. Junior Amateur. Hammer, who won the 2018 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball with partner Garrett Barber, has played in nine USGA championships. Hammer, who is a freshman at the University of Texas, tied for third in the Big 12 Conference Championship and tied for first in the NCAA Austin Regional.

  • Max Homa, 28, of Valencia, Calif., won his first PGA Tour event, the Wells Fargo Championship, on May 5. He is attempting to qualify for his second U.S. Open, having played in 2013 at Merion Golf Club. Homa, an All-American who won the NCAA individual title at the University of California-Berkeley, has two Web.com Tour victories. He was a member of the winning 2013 USA Walker Cup Team and reached the quarterfinals of the 2010 U.S. Amateur.

  • Collin Morikawa, 22, of La Canada Flintridge, Calif., was named the 2019 Pac-12 Conference Golfer of the Year after winning the Pac-12 individual championship as a member of the University of California-Berkeley team. He was chosen All-Pac-12 first team for the fourth consecutive year and tied for sixth in the 2019 NCAA individual championship. Morikawa helped the USA win the 2017 Walker Cup Match. Morikawa, Maverick McNealy and Doug Ghim became the first trio of USA players to record perfect 4-0 Walker Cup records.

  • Steve Stricker, 52, of Madison, Wis., has played in 20 U.S. Opens and has 13 top-25 finishes. He advanced through sectional qualifying in 2017 and 2018 and tied for 16th and 20th, respectively. He best finish was fifth in both 1998 and 1999. Stricker, who has 12 PGA Tour victories, was an All-American at the University of Illinois before starting his pro career in 1990. He is fully exempt to play in his first U.S. Senior Open at the Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame, June 27-30.

  • Braden Thornberry, 22, of Olive Branch, Miss., won the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the world’s top-ranked amateur. He is in his first year as a professional and has competed on the PGA Tour and Web.com Tour. Thornberry was a member of the victorious 2017 USA Walker Cup Team. He won the 2017 NCAA Division I individual title as a sophomore at the University of Mississippi. He received the Fred Haskins Award as the top college golfer and earned All-America and All-Southeastern Conference recognition.

Springfield Country Club 
Springfield, Ohio

  • Zac Blair, 28, of Orem, Utah, qualified for his lone U.S. Open through both local and sectional play. He tied for 40th at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014. Blair, an All-America selection at Brigham Young University, has posted two top-10 finishes on the Web.com Tour and made one start on the PGA Tour this season.

  • Will Grimmer, 22, of Cincinnati, Ohio, has competed in two U.S. Opens (2014, 2018). He tied for 66th last year at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club and advanced after earning medalist honors (66-69) in the Springfield, Ohio, sectional. Grimmer, a senior at Ohio State University, is a two-time All-Big Ten Conference selection. He helped the Buckeyes finish second in the 2019 NCAA Myrtle Beach Regional.

  • Dylan Meyer, 23, of Evansville, Ind., advanced to his first U.S. Open through the Springfield, Ohio, sectional last year. He tied for 20th at Shinnecock Hills. Meyer, who competes on the Web.com Tour, helped the University of Illinois claim its fourth consecutive Big Ten Conference Championship in 2018. He tied for fourth individually in the NCAA Championship after finishing tied for sixth the previous year. Meyer, who reached the quarterfinals of the 2016 U.S. Amateur, was the 2017 Big Ten Player of the Year when he won the conference individual title.

Wine Valley Golf Club
Walla Walla, Wash.

  • Wil Collins, 40, of Rapid City, S.D., is attempting to advance to the U.S. Open through both local and sectional qualifying for the third time. Collins, who qualified in 2005 and 2013 through both stages, has competed on the PGA Tour, Web.com Tour and PGA Tour Canada. He won the 2001 Ben Hogan Award as college golf’s top player while at the University of New Mexico.

  • Joe Highsmith, 19, of Lakewood, Wash., was chosen 2019 West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year as a member of the Pepperdine University team. Highsmith, who was also a first team All-WCC selection, tied for eighth at the conference championship, was fourth in the NCAA Austin Regional and tied for 24th in the NCAA Championship. He reached the quarterfinals of last year’s U.S. Junior Amateur and qualified for the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

  • John Murdock, 22, of Laramie, Wyo., advanced to U.S. Open sectionals for the second consecutive year with a 70 in the Fort Collins, Colo., local qualifier. Murdock, who has played the classical violin since third grade, tied for fifth in the 2019 Mountain West Conference Championship as a senior for the University of Wyoming. He was a four-time all-state high school selection at Laramie High.

  • Kevin Stadler, 39, of Denver, Colo., is the son of 1982 Masters champion Craig Stadler, who competed in 18 U.S. Opens. Kevin has played in three U.S. Opens, with his best finish a tie for 63rd in 2014 at Pinehurst No. 2. He has won on the PGA Tour (2014 Waste Management Phoenix Open) and the PGA European, Nationwide (now Web.com) and Challenge tours.

  • Sam Tidd, 19, of Meridian, Idaho, is a freshman on the University of Oklahoma golf team. He and partner Carson Barry have competed in two U.S. Amateur Four-Balls and were semifinalists in 2018. Tidd captured the 2017 5A state high school championship and was runner-up the following year. Tidd helped Rocky Mountain High claim two Idaho 5A state titles.

LaCava On Tiger's Memorial Prep: "An Absolute Clinic"

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Tiger Woods appeared to calm those concerned after his PGA missed cut at Bethpage with birdies on 7 of the first 12 at Muirfield Village en route to a 2019 Memorial final round 67 and T9.

From Steve DiMeglio’s story for Golfweek and from Woods bagman Joe LaCava.

“First 12 holes were an absolute clinic,” said Joe LaCava, Woods’ caddie. He still hit some decent shots coming in. It wasn’t like he played poorly, he just didn’t get anything out of it the last five or six holes.

“He’s certainly going in the right direction with good momentum. I thought the iron play was top-notch today. Definitely some good momentum and positive vibes from both (weekend) days. The quality of shots on a scale of one to 10, I would say were a nine.”

Driving was a strength for the week, reports Bob Harig in his assessment for ESPN.com.

Woods hit 12 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens Sunday, needing just 26 putts. For the week, he ranked ninth in strokes gained, approach to the green and 10th in strokes gained tee to green. For the week, he hit 75 percent of the fairways.

They Love Raynor! Women's U.S. Open Competitors Approve Of CC Of Charleston

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Bob Spear in a special to The State reports a runaway success for Seth Raynor’s CC of Charleston design, which came off beautifully on TV thanks to restoration work and super Paul Corder’s team pulling it all together.

Even the players, who were put through a tough test, raved after a tough weekend where Jeongeun Lee6 prevailed to win the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open.

Lydia Ko, who illustrated the notorious 11th hole can be conquered by making a hole-in-one there Sunday, called the Charleston layout “a great representation of golf courses. It’s not tricked up. It’s right in front of you, but it can play really tough. ... A great venue.” 

“Really tough” proved prophetic to those who started the day within four shots of the lead. Only Lee6 broke par. 

Ford, the general chairman, felt all pieces of the puzzle came together “as close to as perfect as it could have been. We wanted the players to have a great experience, and they have. And the golf course has proved itself to be a great test of championship golf.” 

No doubt about that, Paula Creamer said. 

“The crowds, the venue here, it’s been awesome,” she said. It’s a good U.S. Open venue for sure.” 

Said Gerina Piller, who shared fifth place: “It’s phenomenal. The place is great. The golf course is great.” 

The USGA likes its championship courses to play firm and fast, and Charleston certainly did. Superintendent Paul Corder and his staff drew accolades for the conditioning. 

Pebble Beach Flyover: Fifth And Sixth Holes

Jack Nicklaus watching Gary Nicklaus in the 2018 U.S. Amateur, fifth hole

Jack Nicklaus watching Gary Nicklaus in the 2018 U.S. Amateur, fifth hole

At last summer’s U.S. Amateur, I had the surreal experience of watching Jack Nicklaus watch his son play the hole he designed at the course where he’d won the 1961 U.S. Amateur and 1971 U.S. Open. There was a nice wait that day at Pebble Beach’s fifth, so I tried asking the architect if he was pleased with how it was playing. However, he was in full spectating mode and managed to something to the effect of “its done its job.”

The hole was added in 1998 and was a huge upgrade over the old 5th, a dreadful affair routed uphill because the oceanside property could not be acquired. The new hole plays slightly downhill with Stillwater Cove to the.

The green slopes away from the player, and you’ll notice in the flyover, has already shrunk a bit since the original creation (note the placement of irrigation heads).

The par-5 6th introduces the player to a magnificent meeting of land and sea, maybe one underrated a bit given how often this hole is forgotten in discussions of the best holes at Pebble Beach. The sixth is particularly interesting in the U.S. Open when the firmness heightens the design features off the tee. There has been a tendency of players to bail out way left here in recent events, including the U.S. Amateur, so we’ll see what the modern athletes do here (or what setup measures are taken).

Note in the flyover the juicy back right and back left hole locations lost due to green shrinkage over the years.

Be Careful What You Wish For: Tiger Longs For Old-Time U.S. Open Setups

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I chuckled reading Tiger’s post-third round remarks at the Memorial longing for the old style U.S. Open setups, and criticizing the shifting of tees for variety.

It’s funny how quickly the players have forgotten how much they loathed the Meeks years and high-rough, high-luck setups with little in the way of intelligence required.

From Dylan Dethier’s Golf.com report from Dublin:

“There was a time there where it was a brutal test, and then it became kind of a tricky decision you had to make, trying to bring in more options off the tees or into the greens. The Open has changed. I thought it was just narrow fairways, hit it in the fairway or hack out, move on. Now there’s chipping areas around the greens. There’s less rough. Graduated rough. They’ve tried to make The Open different and strategically different.

“I just like it when there’s high rough and narrow fairways, and go get it, boys.”

Woods singled out Chambers Bay and Torrey Pines as places he did not like the moving of tees from round to round.

Jack: Knee Height Drops Look "Silly"

I’m sure many of you saw this from his early week presser, but if not, add Jack Nicklaus to the list of those who mostly likes the new rules of golf (remember them when they were a thing!).

But about that drop from knee height, it’s not just the young guns who feel foolish taking a drop that way, notes Golf.com’s Josh Berhow:

“I think they’ll change the drop-it-from-knee-height rule,” Nicklaus said. “It looks silly. How about ‘Anywhere between the knee and the waist'”?

Amateur Hit With Slow Pay Penalty In Last Group Of U.S. Women's Open

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Fast and complicated greens mixed with threesomes is a recipe for slow play, yet it was still shocking to see three hours for nine with the last groups of the U.S. Women’s Open. The USGA’s time par system, in use at all championships BUT the men’s U.S. Open, earned Stanford’s Andrea Lee a warning and then a penalty, reports GolfDigest.com’s Christopher Powers. However, there was understandable social media outrage over an amateur getting singled out ala Guan at the Masters, reports Golf.com’s Jeff Ritter.

Full broken record mode here: but you combine modern players with faster-than-normal greens, threesomes, and reachable par-5s, and there is almost no chance of breaking 5:30 hours on any tour.

With 11 players within four strokes of the lead, it should be a stellar final round.

Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols on the improbable final pairing of Dukies and one-back Lexi Thompson’s adjustments that have put her in a great position to win.

Pebble Beach Flyovers: Third and Four Holes

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While we’ll get to the loss of a double fairway at the ninth and two greens offering maybe two palatable hole locations, a case could be made for the third as Pebble Beach’s most architecturally adulterated.

When I first played the course in the early 1990s and attended a U.S. Open there in 1992, the third was always the hole to hold up as an example of Pebble Beach’s inland holes asking top-notch strategic questions. This was before the out-of-scale, out-of-character righthand fairway bunkers were installed by the Palmer design group and today’s athletes began traveling with resistance bands.

Back in the good old days, players were free to bail out away from the corner bunker, trees and barranca. Such a tee shot left a hanging lie in rough to a green best approached from the left side. A flyer might go out-of-bounds.

Best of all, there were rewards for to turning a ball over, shortening the hole, and improving the angle of approach.

The combination of the landing area dynamics and the degradation of the barranca may change the approach at this year’s U.S. Open. Bomb-and-gougers face little trouble just cutting the corner, a play we saw in the U.S. Amateur when tees were at the 404 yardage. Even if the player finds rough, they are approaching from the best angle, lob wedge in hand and yardage under 100 yards.

But hey, enjoy the flyover…

The short par-4 4th is not a hole to drive but it can be a fascinating tee shot thanks to the fairway bunkering and conditions. The green has shrunk a bit over the years and lost a little shape as this 1929 to 2010 comparison shows. The surface is steeply pitched back to front, making it one of the more difficult to navigate from above the hole. Tree diseases have taken out many of the tall woody view-obstructors down the right side, unlocking wonderful views and more influence from the elements off Carmel Bay.

During last year’s U.S. Amateur, I asked Jack Nicklaus if he ever tried to drive the fourth in his youth and he looked at me as if I’d ordered an Arnold Palmer. He did later confess to trying in practice, but made clear it’s an idiotic play in any era, any conditions.

Pebble Beach Flyovers: First And Second Holes

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The countdown to Pebble Beach commences with two-a-days!

So here goes, the par-4 first, with a fairway narrowed and two trees lost this winter at the corner of the dogleg since this flyover was shot. Even then, the design elements here will still lead to a lot of irons off the first tee. In these crazy times, we might see a few players bomb-and-gouge a driver here, though I don’t know if the risk is worth it, particularly with an annoying cart path too close to play and potentially sending a ball in a less-than-appealing direction.

The second is reduced to a par-4 in the U.S. Open, but in firmer-than-February conditions with afternoon breezes, was still a short iron approach during last summer’s U.S. Amateur. The barranca is raked like a bunker these days, prompting some players to take daring goes at the green last summer from the rough or fairway bunkers. But that was match play.

The second green is tiny and one of the more deceptively difficult to read on the course.