McIlroy looking forward to U.S. Open title defense

By Associated PressApril 30, 2012, 8:37 pm

SAN FRANCISCO – Even though he has yet to play at The Olympic Club, Rory McIlroy already knows what to expect this June.

All he has to do is look at his scorecard from last year.

After a record-setting performance at rain-softened Congressional, the defending champion is counting on the U.S. Open to truly return to ''golf's toughest test'' on the San Francisco shoreline. Just listening to U.S. Golf Association executive director Mike Davis explain the Lake Course's layout Monday from three time zones away made McIlroy chuckle.

''I feel like I just played a practice round listening to Mike,'' McIlroy said on a conference call from Charlotte, N.C., where he is playing in the Wells Fargo Championship this week. ''I'm expecting this to be a tough and tricky test.''

So is everybody else.

McIlroy finished at 16-under 268 last year in Bethesda, Md., where rains dampened the course and created conditions that befuddled USGA officials. Twenty players turned in scores under par; seven total finished under par in the previous six national championships.

A repeat of those low numbers is unlikely.

At least that's the USGA's goal.

When players tee off June 14 in the serene setting across the street from the Pacific Ocean, weather should be dry in Northern California and the narrow fairways should be fast and fickle. That could turn an already demanding course known for its unlevel lies and tiny greens into a stress machine.

''We are incredibly bullish on how good a test this is going to be,'' Davis said. ''This is going to be a great shot-making course.''

The par-70, 7,170-yard course is 373 yards longer than the last time it hosted the national championship in 1998 – including the 670-yard 16th hole that will be the longest par 5 in the event's 112-year history.

Windy conditions and the threat of the city's famous fog – especially unpredictable along the coast – also could make the thick, tree-lined course even trickier. Davis, who is adamant that the first six holes will ''absolutely be the toughest start to a U.S. Open,'' still wants to reward well-executed shots while penalizing poor ones.

''It will be a firm and fast golf course. Length will not be as much of an issue this year,'' Davis said.

The only repeating Davis couldn't care about is the champion.

That seems something he shouldn't worry about.

Not since Curtis Strange in 1988-89 has there been a back-to-back U.S. Open winner. And Olympic, historically more famous for the legends who lost than those who won, figures to give McIlroy its latest run.

A graveyard for champions, Olympic has hosted the national championship four times previously. It's where Jack Fleck, Billy Casper, Scott Simpson and Lee Janzen were crowned; the runner-ups those years were Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Payne Stewart.

The world's new No. 1 promised that there was far more pressure to perform a year ago than anything he will face entering this season's second major.

McIlroy's Master's meltdown in 2011 – when he entered the final round ahead by four strokes and finished 10 strokes behind winner Charl Schwartzel after carding an 80 – had everybody wondering how Boy Wonder would respond. After winning the U.S. Open in record fashion for his first major, life is far less stressful now for the 22-year-old from Northern Ireland.

''It makes people view you a little differently,'' he said. ''Maybe gives you a little more respect, you're sort of part of the club.''

Becoming a member of Olympic's exclusive major championship club won't be easy.

More than half of the holes have doglegs, including four where the fairways – many some of the most narrow anywhere – will go in opposite directions. Eight of the 14 holes with approach shots have unlevel lies.

The elevation, while not changing as some might expect with San Francisco's unending hills in the backdrop, could still prove particularly perplexing. The front nine will play at a par 34 and the back nine a par 36, and controlling speeds and position will be paramount.

''There's not a player in the field who can't curve it both ways,'' Davis said. ''The trick is, can they do it when it counts?''

Getty Images

Rose leads with play stopped in Indonesia; Snedeker withdraws

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.