Notes No Playoff Change at US Open

By Associated PressJune 19, 2007, 4:00 pm
OAKMONT, Pa. -- The U.S. Open is the last major championship to use an 18-hole playoff, and that's not about to change.
The public, television viewers and volunteers were spared a fifth day of the U.S. Open at Oakmont when Jim Furyk took bogey on the 17th hole and Tiger Woods failed to birdie the 18th, leaving Angel Cabrera with a one-shot victory.
'Given the importance -- not to say the others aren't important -- we're comfortable with 18 holes,' USGA executive director David Fay said. 'We're dug in on this point, resolving it with a complete round of golf.'
The British Open, golf's oldest championship, has used a four-hole playoff the last 20 years. The PGA Championship switched from sudden-death to a three-hole format in 2000, while the Masters continues to use the sudden-death format seen at regular tour events.
The U.S. Women's Open had an 18-hole playoff last year at Newport between Annika Sorenstam and Pat Hurst that was sparsely attended and packed as much drama as a rerun on The Food Channel. The USGA changed it this year to a three-hole playoff, and some thought that meant the men's tournament also would change.
Why is three holes good enough for the women but not the men?
'It's a very good question and I don't have a snap answer,' Fay said. 'We discussed the women's issue and voted differently on it.'
'Because of the severity of the golf course, someone can come from way off, finish his round early and suddenly you have these train wrecks out there. We really want people to start with a clean slate,' he said.
The choice of a playoff format is subjective.
If the USGA wants a full test, why does it allow sudden-death when the 18-hole playoff ends in a tie, as happened with Ernie Els and Loren Roberts in 1994 at Oakmont.
And what constitutes a full test? In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the U.S. Open playoff was 36 holes, and when Billy Burke and George Von Elm tied in 1931, they came back the next day for 36 more holes. Burke won by one shot, and it remains the longest major in history (144 holes).
When Angel Cabrera became the first Argentine to win a major in 40 years, Robert De Vicenzo was cheering him on.
De Vicenzo won the 1967 British Open at Hoylake. Now 84, he watched from home every day as Cabrera took the U.S. Open.
'Cabrera is now a hero in Argentina,' De Vicenzo said. 'He's my hero. I'm very happy for him, because I didn't want to leave this world before I saw something like this.'
There were some similarities between the two Argentine majors. De Vicenzo had to hold off Jack Nicklaus in the final round at Royal Liverpool, whole Cabrera held off Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk.
'The biggest different is that when he won the U.S. Open, many more people saw it on television,' De Vicenzo said. 'When I won the British Open 40 years ago not as many saw it. Millions saw Cabrera win.'
The USGA says scores are irrelevant as it tries to provide the toughest test in golf, but one thing has been made perfectly clear recently -- par is a tough score to find.
For the second straight year, the winner finished at 5-over 285. The last time a score of at least 5 over won the U.S. Open in consecutive years was in 1950-51, when Ben Hogan won at Merion and Oakland Hills.
And it was the third straight year no one broke par over 72 holes at the U.S. Open (Michael Campbell won in '05 at even par), the longest streak since six straight U.S. Opens from 1954 to 1959.
Some other tidbits:
  • Cabrera had two of the eight sub-par rounds at Oakmont, but his 76 in the third round made him the first U.S. Open champion with a 76 or higher since Johnny Miller in 1973 in the third round at Oakmont.
  • It was the highest winning score at Oakmont since Sam Parks Jr. had a 299 in 1935.
  • Cabrera's victory means Americans cannot make a sweep of the majors. The last time they won all four was in 1982.
    Halfway through the PGA TOUR season, it might be time to sound warning bells for Chris DiMarco.
    Barring a quick turnaround, the guy who holed the winning putt at the Presidents Cup two years ago can forget about playing for captain Jack Nicklaus at Royal Montreal. He is 32nd in the standings, and it would be hard to imagine Nicklaus taking someone as a captain's pick who hasn't finished in the top 10 all year.
    But look before and beyond the Presidents Cup.
    He is 113th in the FedEx Cup, meaning he might not be eligible for only the Barclays Championship. And that could mean playing in the fall to keep his card, for DiMarco has no other exemption available to him except for taking a one-time exemption for being in the top 50 in career money. He is 102nd on the money list.
    DiMarco has only one top 10 in a stroke-play event since 2005, his runner-up finish at the British Open last summer at Hoylake.
    Five players have recorded top 10s in both majors this year, down from 10 at this point last year. The five are Tiger Woods, Justin Rose, David Toms, Paul Casey and Jerry Kelly, who until this year had never finished in the top 10 at any major. ... Woods earned $611,336 for his runner-up finish at Oakmont, pushing his career earnings over $70 million. ... Another Singh is headed for the Hall of Fame. Jeev Milkha Singh -- no relation to Vijay Singh -- found out recently that he will be inducted this fall to the Sports Hall of Fame at Abilene Christian University in west Texas. Singh led the Wildcats to the NCAA Division II title in 1993, winning the individual title. ... The Royal & Ancient received 2,425 entries for the British Open at Carnoustie, down from three last year when it was at Royal Liverpool.
    For the first time since 1956, no one broke par at either the Masters or the U.S. Open.
    'They both stink.' -- Jim Furyk, on the difference between finishing second at Winged Foot and Oakmont.
    Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.