USGA pleased with Chambers Bay after US Amateur

By Associated PressAugust 31, 2010, 4:08 pm
UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – Until Chambers Bay morphed from an everyday public course into championship conditions, Mike Davis didn’t know what to expect.

Davis, the U.S. Golf Association’s director of rules and competition and responsible for developing the setup used at the U.S. Open, had some preconceived ideas of how Chambers Bay would play during the U.S. Amateur that ended on Sunday.

And after a week of watching the best amateur golfers in the world try and solve the hard fairways and sloping greens of the links course, Davis came away excited for what awaits five years from now when Chambers Bay hosts the U.S. Open.

“It’s very fun to set it up,” Davis said.

Fun seemed to be the overwhelming word players and officials used to describe the way Chambers Bay played during the Amateur, won by Oklahoma State’s Peter Uihlein. Shot making was at a premium, as was imagination, taking away the idea of shooting right at pins or playing the hole exactly as it appeared.

Uihlein had a perfect example in Sunday’s final against David Chung. Knowing his downhill putt on the drivable par 4 12th hole had no chance of stopping near the hold, Uihlein rolled his putt past the hole, up a slope and watched it inch back toward the cup, settling just a couple of feet away.

“You can’t really get close to the flags by hitting them at the flag. You’ve got to use the slopes and be creative,” Uihlein said. “You’ve got to hit every shot with a certain spin and height. You’ve really got to control your ball.”

Chambers Bay was awarded the Amateur and the 2015 Open within a year of the course first opening. It’s unique fescue grass, large footprint and setting on the shores of Puget Sound was the setting the USGA had been hoping to find to finally bring it’s national championship to the Pacific Northwest for the first time.

That meant the Amateur was a dress rehearsal for five years from now. The discoveries last week were plentiful.

For example, Davis learned that even with hard, brown fairways and greens, the grass at Chambers still needed sufficient water. During the stroke play portion of the Amateur, the firmness of the golf course got out of hand, Davis said.

The discovery: because of its sandy base, the golf course needed adequate water six, 12, 18 inches below the surface to maintain a level of fairness for players.

“There were some things that we did anticipate we thought might work really well. We had some questions about some things and there were some things that being very candid, we never had an idea, nor did the architects or any of the Chambers Bay people,” Davis said.

Davis said there will be plenty of adjustments to the golf course by the time it’s next in tournament conditions five years from now. Some fairways will be narrowed, others will be widened, and even others will be moved one direction or another. One major benefit for the USGA staff was seeing various weather conditions during the week and seeing winds blowing from three different directions.

Outside the ropes, there are issues with spectator transportation, crowd flow and fans climbing on the steep and slippery dunes around the course to be addressed.

“I think we’ll spend the next few years trying to get that right because this was a dry run,” said the USGA’s Tom O’Toole. “That’s why we came here. … A lot of notes this week (and) it will really help us in preparation for ’15.”

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

 

 

Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.