Cleaning up from a mess at Bethpage Black

By Associated PressJune 23, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 U.S. OpenFARMINGDALE, N.Y. ' Lucas Glover finally found dry ground where he could pose with his U.S. Open trophy, taking it to the top of the Empire State Building on Tuesday.
 
He left behind a U.S. Open that might be remembered mostly as a muddy mess.
 
None of the four rounds started and ended on the same day.
 
Glover didnt play a regulation round of golf on any of the five days at this U.S. Open ' none Thursday, 31 holes Friday, five holes Saturday, 19 holes Sunday and 17 holes Monday.
 
Dan Jenkins wrote from his 200th major championship and was asked if this was the worst major he had ever covered.
 
So far, he replied.
 
It was a thing of beauty to Glover, who played the best golf at Bethpage Black. Even in miserable weather in a week when the most important piece of equipment was a squeegee, the U.S. Open still achieved its goal of identifying the best player.
 
Some random thoughts while cleaning off the mud:
 
Tiger Woods is halfway home to the Grand Slam Eve.
 
He won at Bay Hill in his final tournament before the Masters, then shot 280 at Augusta National and tied for sixth, four shots out of the lead. He won at Memorial in his final start before the U.S. Open, shot 280 at Bethpage Black and tied for sixth, four shots behind.
 
Is it possible he could win all four events he plays before the majors, without winning a major?
 
Woods is the tournament host next week at Congressional in the AT&T National, his tune-up for the British Open. His final event before the PGA Championship is at Firestone, where he has won six times.
 
Public perception of his pursuit to 19 majors depends on the last one. But consider this: Woods has finished in the top 10 in nine of his last 10 majors, and he has had 18 consecutive top 10s in stroke-play events.
 
He keeps giving himself chances, which is what separates him from everyone else.
 
Bunkers and mud topped the list of complaints at the U.S. Open.
 
The USGA refuses to allow players to lift, clean and place their golf balls in wet conditions, and more than a few players were hurt by splotches of mud at Bethpage Black. This is nothing new, although it didnt keep players from whining about it. Ian Poulter even posted a picture of a mud ball on Twitter after the third round.
 
Too much sand in the bunkers? That might be worthy of review.
 
Like other golf organizations, the USGA is trying to make sand traps the hazard they were meant to be. It added sand to create soft lies, although pushing up the sand toward the lip of the bunker is going too far.
 
David Duvals shot was buried under the lip, leading to triple bogey in the final round. He wasnt the only victim ' the same thing happened to Glover on the fifth hole, and it took him two shots to get out.
 
The obvious answer? Dont hit it in the bunker.
 
But this ran opposite of the USGAs concept of graduated rough. Miss the fairway by a little, and you still have a chance. The greater the miss, the deeper the rough.
 
In Duvals case, he missed by a fraction of avoiding the bunker and paid dearly. It would have been better for him to come up well short and be in the middle of the trap, at least giving him a chance.
 
Jack Nicklaus lost a major championship record Monday, courtesy of Phil Mickelson.
 
Along with his record 18 majors, Nicklaus held the distinction of having the most runner-up finishes in every major championship. Mickelson now tops the list at the U.S. Open with five silver medals, achieved in the last 11 years.
 
Four of those second-place finishes looked all too familiar. Mickelson missed putts inside 8 feet on the 16th and 17th at Pinehurst No. 2 in 1999; on the 17th at Bethpage in 2002; on the 17th at Shinnecock Hills in 2004; and on the 15th and 17th at Bethpage this year.
 
Winged Foot is in a league of its own.
 
Having five runner-up finishes wont be looked upon negatively if Mickelson ever wins the U.S. Open.
 
David Duval was tied for the lead with two holes to play.
 
Chew on that.
 
His last PGA Tour victory was the British Open in 2001. He finished within five shots of the lead only one time over the next eight years and 143 tournaments. Despite four bogeys in a six-hole stretch early in his third round, and that triple bogey from a plugged lie in a bunker in the third round, he had a chance to win.
 
Duval sat on the patio at Bethpage Black a week ago Sunday and sized up his chances by saying all the right things. He was hitting it great, just not scoring. Told that he had his share of skeptics, Duval understood.
 
I cant say Ive had good results, he said.
 
Fans needed to see a week like the U.S. Open to believe he could win again. Duval needed it, too.
 
Bethpage Black had the U.S. Open twice in eight years, both times in less than ideal conditions.
 
Sergio Garcia complained about the rain in 2002, and Woods won in the dark because of Sunday afternoon storms. There was so much rain this year that Ricky Barnes set a 36-hole scoring record, and more records might have been shattered without a little wind and a lot of nerves on the final few days.
 
Should it get another chance? Absolutely. It is a complete test.
 
The next opening on the U.S. Open schedule is in 2017. The question is whether Bethpage Black dries out by then.
 
Related Links:
  • Full U.S. Open Scores
  • Full Coverage - The 109th U.S. Open
  • Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

    He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

    Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

    Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

    Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

    Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

    Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

    Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title


    Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

    Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

    Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open


    Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

    Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

    Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59


    Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

    Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63


    Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

    Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut


    Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

    Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club


    Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

    Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth


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    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm
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    Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

    By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

    The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

    They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

    Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

    Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

    Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

    ''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

    The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

    In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

    Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

    Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

    By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

    Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

    Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

    Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

    It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

    The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.