Notes Open Headed Back to Olympic

By Associated PressJune 15, 2005, 4:00 pm
PINEHURST, N.C. -- The U.S. Open is heading back to the Olympic Club.
 
The USGA announced Wednesday that the course near San Francisco would host the tournament for the fifth time in 2012 -- and the first time since 1998.
 
That year, Payne Stewart and others complained mightily about the hole location at the 18th hole in the second round. Stewart three-putted from 8 feet -- his attempt at birdie left him with a 25-footer for par -- and Kirk Triplett stopped his ball with his putter as it rolled down the slope, incurring a two-stroke penalty.
 
But Walter Driver, the president of the U.S. Championship Committee, denied the USGA asked the club to change the green.
 
'Olympic is a great venue, has a wonderful history of national championships and it's a fine golf course, and the membership and the community are very much in favor of having the Open there,' Driver said. 'We're pleased with the changes they made at the golf course in terms of opening it up for air movement. But we don't
dictate changes in the golf course usually as a condition for having the Open.'
 
Olympic's Lake Course opened in 1927 and has hosted nine USGA championships, including the U.S. Junior Amateur last year.
 
GETTING FUNKY:
When he's playing well, Fred Funk enjoys mingling with the gallery, and his fun was on display during his final practice round Wednesday.
 
He went to the 18th tee well ahead of his playing partners, and when the marshals continued to allow fans to use the crosswalk about 150 yards up the fairway, Funk jokingly acted annoyed. Then he took out his driver and punched his ball just short of where they were walking.
 
'I like having fun and letting them realize they're appreciated out there and they're recognized,' Funk said. 'When I'm like that, that's when I'm playing my best, too, when I'm having fun with the gallery. Sometimes, you're so frustrated or so focused you don't interact as much, and you can't turn it on and off sometimes when the gun sounds.'
 
Assuming he's on form, the winner of this year's Players Championship should have little trouble keeping his ball in play, a premium in every U.S. Open. He leads the PGA Tour in driving accuracy, hitting 76 percent of the fairways, and several players have mentioned him as one of the favorites.
 
Funk finished sixth last year at Shinnecock Hills.
 
'I would believe I would be one of the favorites if I'm playing as good as I can off the tee,' he said. 'If I'm hitting the ball solid off the tee and hitting it as straight as I normally do, I can be in the fairway a little bit more often than some of the other guys. Then if I can do the other part of my game, it'll just give me ... more options to get in the green and have some scoring opportunities.'
 
LOCAL RULES:
It isn't quite the winter rules most golfers find at their local muni, but the USGA will allow players to move their ball this week if it's within two club lengths of a sprinkler that also is within two club lengths of the green.
 
'That's a standard local rule, and we have looked at it here and we think that there are positions around the greens where if we did not give that customary relief, you would take away one of the options that the players might otherwise have,' said Walter Driver, the president of the U.S. Championship Committee. 'We want them to have the option around the green of putting, using the fairway wood, bumping the ball into the hill or taking a wedge and trying any of those shots they want.'
 
The same relief won't be available from the areas around the putting surfaces sodded recently. A few players have complained about the inconsistency of this grass, but Driver isn't worried. 'Generally, we think it's fine,' he said. 'Those have been closely mowed, rolled. And most of those areas we think will play without any difficultly for the players, although we recognize that it's not going to be perfect. But we think it's very playable.'
 
GETTING IN SHAPE:
Pinehurst Resort, home of the famed No. 2 course, will open a golf fitness lab at its learning center in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, giving players a chance to study how their conditioning affects their swing.
 
'Pinehurst has spent years developing a teaching method personalized to each golfer -- regardless of the equipment they use,' said Matt Massei, director of golf at the resort. '... We've created a total golf education approach that can't be found at another golf resort. It is a groundbreaking step.'
 
Cost of the new fitness lab range from $25 for a swing mechanics evaluation to $950 for a full swing and fitness test, a 3- or 4-hour program including biomechanics testing, exercise review and swing instruction.
 
Related links:
  • Full Field Scores - 105th U.S. Open
  • Full Coverage - 105th U.S. Open

  • Tee Times - U.S. Open

  • Photo Gallery from Pinehurst

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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.