New Generation Gets Shot at Merion

By Associated PressJune 14, 2006, 4:00 pm
U.S. OpenPHILADELPHIA -- Hogan, Jones, Nicklaus and Trevino are part of Merion Golf Club history. Now, a new generation of golfers will get a chance to leave their mark at the venerable club in the 2013 U.S. Open.
 
On Wednesday, the U.S. Golf Association officially selected the historic club as the site of the 2013 national championship. It is the fifth Open for the course in suburban Philadelphia that has held 17 USGA events, the most of any club.
 
The membership of Merion Golf Club is very excited and proud to have been chosen by the USGA as the host site of the 2013 U.S. Open Championship, Merions championship committee chairman Bill Iredale said in a statement.
 
The 120-acre layout was, for years, believed to be too small'in length and size'to accommodate the trappings of the U.S. Open. But the USGA is confident the 6,800-yard Hugh Wilson-designed East Course can hold its own against golfs best. Winged Foots West Course, site of this years Open, will play more than 7,200 yards to a par of 70.
 
We feel that our East Course is a very special venue, a classic golf course which, while lengthened some 400 yards to accommodate modern players and equipment, still retains the same shot angles, bunkering and greens that challenged Bob Jones in 1930, Ben Hogan in 1950, Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus in 1971 and David Graham in 1981, Iredale said.
 
Merions tiny greens, thick rough and lengthened layout proved to be a formidable test for some of the best long-hitting nonprofessionals at the 2005 U.S. Amateur.
 
Theyve always had great holes, a number of great layup holes where you werent using driver off the tee, said David Fay, executive director of the USGA. But theyve been able to make their long, stout holes'the ones that have been known throughout history'theyve made them really long. So I think they have adapted so well to the changing nature of the game.
 
The club instituted a 10-year plan to prepare for the Amateur, and always had an eye on a possible Open. Leading up to the Amateur, hundreds of trees were removed, the East course was closed for a year to re-grass the greens, all bunkers were restored, 14 holes were lengthened and fairways were realigned to bring hazards into play.
 
The result: Only six players scored in the 60s on the par-70 layout during the stroke-play portion of the Amateur.
 
The USGA is also confident Merion can handle the logistics of an Open. While it might mean limiting daily crowds, officials will find space for a corporate village, merchandise tent, trophy room and media.
 
The USGA said the exact number of spectator tickets has not been determined for the 2013 event, but the total should exceed the 18,000 daily tickets sold for the 1981 Open.
 
While Merion is not a huge physical facility, we are confident that well be able to conduct a complete U.S. Open operation outside the ropes, said Jim Hyler, chairman of the USGA championship committee. The cooperation, enthusiasm and resources of the surrounding community remain the major reasons why we are able to do so.
 
Merion hosted its last Open in 1981, which was won by David Graham. The Amateur has been played at the club six times, and the Womens Amateur has been held there four times. The club is also scheduled to host the Walker Cup in 2009.
 
The course renowned for red wicker baskets atop its flagsticks and sand hazards known as the white faces of Merion has been the site of some of golfs most memorable moments.
 
Bobby Jones played his first U.S. Amateur at Merion as a 14-year-old and returned 10 years later to claim his first Amateur title. Seventy-six years ago at Merion, he completed the Grand Slam by winning the 1930 Amateur to go along with the U.S. Open, British Open and British Amateur.
 
Theres a plaque commemorating Jones final competitive hole at Merions 11th tee. It was on that hole he closed out Eugene Homans 8 and 7 in the 36-hole final.
 
Ben Hogan also left his mark at Merion.
 
A little more than a year after surviving a horrible car crash, Hogan came to the 72nd hole of the 1950 U.S. Open needing a par to force a playoff. In one of golfs most enduring photos, Hogan is pictured, from behind, hitting a 1-iron from the 18th fairway to a green ringed by spectators. He went on to two-putt for par and won a three-way playoff the next day.
 
Before the start of a playoff for the 1971 Open, Lee Trevino pulled a prank on Jack Nicklaus, tossing a rubber snake at his feet while on the first tee.
 
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  • Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

    Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

    In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

    "It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

    “Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

    “That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

    Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

    The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

    Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

    Lexi Thompson:

    Baking time!!

    A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

    David Feherty:

    Jack Nicklaus:

    GC Tiger Tracker:

    Steve Stricker:

    Golf Channel:

    Frank Nobilo:

    Ian Poulter:

    Tyrone Van Aswegen:

    Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

    Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

    Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

    By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

    Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

    Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

    Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

    “Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

    Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

    “When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

    Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

    “Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

    In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

    “Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

    Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

    “The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

    Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

    “Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.

    Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

    Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

    LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

    Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

    Christina Kim:

    LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

    LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

    LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

    LPGA pro Jennie Lee: