Risk-reward possibilities at Pebble Beach for US Open

By Doug FergusonMay 12, 2010, 2:39 am
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Despite its reputation of turning par 5s into par 4s for the U.S. Open, the USGA has tried in each of the last four years to have at least one par 4 in which players are tempted to drive the green.

Pebble Beach has a couple of candidates, although Mike Davis might not know which will work – if any – until the tournament begins.

“I think this using different teeing grounds … whether it’s a drivable par 4 or a different tee for a par 3 or a par 5 or whatever, the idea is to mix it up,” Davis, the senior director of rules and competition, said Monday at the U.S. Open media day. “It makes the players think more. And, really, in some cases if you get a drivable par 4 or some other risk-reward, it allows a spreading of the scores.

No. 7 at Pebble Beach“Instead of just seeing pars and bogeys, you might see some eagles and birdies, but you also might see some double bogeys.”

It would seem the best candidate is the par-4 fourth, which measures 331 yards on the card. It plays slightly uphill to a small green surrounded by bunkers, with a severe drop toward the Pacific Ocean on the right and a gully behind the green.

“So much of it really plays into what wind we’re going to get that week,” Davis said. “We think we’re going to tend to get a westerly or a north wind, but that plays into it so much. Because if we set it up thinking it’s going to play one way and we get a different kind of wind, it would backfire on us. We know there are some options out there to do different things. We’re going to have to wait until we get the weather forecast right before we set tee markers.”

Some players took on the 321-yard sixth hole at Winged Foot in 2006, the first year Davis was in charge of setting up the courses. Oakmont had two par 4s that could be reached – Nos. 2 and 17 – while the USGA moved forward the tees on the 14th at Torrey Pines. Davis contemplated a forward tee for the downhill sixth at Bethpage Black, although rain negated that.

Beyond the fourth, it’s possible to see forward tees on the par-4 third hole to tempt players to take it over the trees with a draw and cut off the dogleg, as Dustin Johnson did during the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. It also would not be surprising to see a forward tee on the signature 18th hole to give everyone a chance at going for the par 5 in two.
SINGH’S ROAD:
Vijay Singh has the longest active streak of consecutive majors played at 63 through the Masters. Whether he can continue that streak at the U.S. Open could depend largely on the next two days.

Two weeks remain to get into the top 50 and receive an exemption from qualifying for the U.S. Open. The focus typically is on those who are just outside the top 50, such as Rickie Fowler at No. 53.

For Singh, it’s a matter of staying there.

He started the year at No. 26, and when he missed the cut at The Players Championship, his ranking tumbled to No. 46. Singh is playing the Texas Open and the Byron Nelson Championship the next two weeks, which might not work to his advantage if he doesn’t play well. Singh has missed his last three cuts and has only one finish in the top 10 this year.

He likely will need to pick up some points over the next few weeks to stay in the top 50, depending on what happens behind him. Singh already is eligible for the British Open as a Presidents Cup team member.

Those outside the top 50 needing to move up include Graeme McDowell (51), J.B. Holmes (52) and Anders Hansen (56).
LISTEN TO LORENA:
Lorena Ochoa spent two years at Arizona before turning pro. She sounds as though she wishes she had stayed longer, and in an era of teenagers turning pro, she wishes more of them would.

“My advice for the young players would be make sure you finish your junior career and go to college and then become professional after that,” Ochoa said at her final tournament in Mexico. “The LPGA is going to be there forever. There is no rush.”

Ochoa said going to college allows players to learn to compete and pick up a degree, along with gaining maturity on and off the golf course. She is concerned to hear so many players 17 and 18 thinking about going pro.

Michelle Wie is doing both, and she appears to be far more at peace with herself since starting at Stanford.

“I say, ‘Go to college, stay in college,”’ Ochoa said. “Figure out what you want to do 100 percent, so by the time you play three or four years, you don’t burn out and you can stay playing golf longer.”

Meanwhile, 15-year-old Alexis Thompson will make her pro debut next month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
SUNDAY SWOON:
Paul Goydos was irritated after his final round of The Players Championship, and not just because of a five-putt on No. 7 and an 81 on this scorecard.

Sunday – or even Monday as was the case at the Bob Hope – have not been kind to him.

In the nine final rounds Goydos has played this year, he has shot over par in every round but one – a 65 on the final day at Riviera in the Northern Trust Open.

He shot an 80 on the last day of the Bob Hope. Tied for the lead going into the final round at Pebble Beach, he made a nine on the tricky 14th green and shot 78. In his last two final rounds before Sawgrass, he shot a 78 at the Houston Open and a 77 at Quail Hollow.

His scoring average for the final round is 75.11.
DIVOTS:
Tom Watson has been selected to receive the Byron Nelson Prize next week in Dallas, given to a person in golf who embodies the philanthropic spirit for which Nelson was known. … Either these guys are good, of this course was soft. Whatever the case, there were only five rounds in the 80s last week at The Players Championship, the fewest since it moved to the TPC Sawgrass in 1982. … Newcomers to the popular CVS Caremark Charity Classic in Rhode Island include Suzann Pettersen, Hunter Mahan and Rickie Fowler. The tournament, hosted by Brad Faxon and Billy Andrade will be held July 27-29 at Rhode Island CC with a 20-player field. It has raised more than $13 million for local charities. … Juli Inkster and Sherri Steinhauer have been selected assistant captains for the U.S. Solheim Cup team next year in Ireland. … The USGA accepted a record 1,296 entries for the U.S. Women’s Open this year at Oakmont. That includes 10-year-old Karen Kim.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
The PGA Tour event with the longest streak of American winners is the Texas Open, which dates to 1992 when Nick Price beat Steve Elkington in a playoff.
FINAL WORD:
“Johnny Miller criticizes everything I do.” – Tiger Woods, when asked about Miller’s suggestion that Woods needs to get rid of swing coach Haney Haney.
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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 3, Tiger Woods

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:45 pm

After returning to competition at the Hero World Challenge in December 2016, Woods started the new year with an ambitious slate of tournament starts as he eyed his first full season since 2013. But he made it only three rounds, looking rusty en route to a missed cut at Torrey Pines before withdrawing abruptly in Dubai.

The “spasms” that led to that withdrawal turned out to be something far more serious, as Woods underwent his fourth and most invasive back surgery in April, a lumbar fusion. It brought with it an extensive rehabilitation, and at the Presidents Cup in September Woods humored the prospect that he might never again play competitive golf.

At Liberty National he also faced some scrutiny for an off-course incident from months prior. In May he was arrested for suspicion of DUI, an incident that produced a startling roadside video of an intoxicated Woods struggling to follow instructions from the arresting officer after driving erratically.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


While he was not drinking at the time, Woods was found to have a mix of several prescription medications in his system, including multiple painkillers. He checked himself into a private drug treatment program in July to address his dependency issues, and in October he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving.

But the incident was barely a memory when Woods again made a return to competition in the Bahamas at the tournament he hosts. This time around he exceeded nearly every expectation, twice shooting 4-under 68 while tying for ninth among the 18-man field. Having re-tooled his swing following fusion surgery, Woods appeared relaxed, happy and healthy while briefly taking the lead during the tournament’s second round.

What lies ahead for Woods in 2018 remains uncertain, as the stop-and-start nature of this past season serves as a cautionary tale. But after a harrowing arrest and another serious surgery, he seems once again focused on his game, intent on chasing down a new crop of elite talent, some of whom are barely more than half his age.

Woods' initial comeback short-lived, leads to another back surgery

Article: Woods undergoes "successful" fourth back surgery

Article: Woods (back spasm) withdraws from Dubai

Article: Players disappointed Woods withdraws from Dubai

Really, again: Tiger undergoes fourth back surgery

Begay on Tiger: Future is 'extremely uncertain'


Woods arrested for DUI, enters diversion program after getting "professional help"

Article: Woods arrested for DUI in May

Article: Police say Woods had 5 drugs in system when arrested

Article: DUI affidavit states Tiger asleep in parked car

Dashcam video released of Tiger's DUI arrest

Begay, Rolfing: Tiger's arrest needs to be wakeup call

Photos: Tiger Woods' car during DUI arrest

Tiger Woods at his 2017 DUI court hearing.

Photos: Tiger Woods in court for DUI hearing

Article: Tiger gets 'professional help' for prescription meds

Tiger Woods at his 2017 DUI court hearing.

Article: Woods pleads in court guilty to reckless driving


Woods goes from unsure of his pro golf future to resuming full golf activities

Article: Doctor clears Woods for full golf activity six months after back surgery

Article: Tiger doesn't know what future holds

Article: Woods back to making full swings

Woods admits he might never return to competition

Making progress: Breaking down Tiger's driver swing


Woods returns to competition for first time since February at Hero World Challenge

Article: Hero comeback a success for healthy Woods

Article: Woods discusses his back: 'No issues at all, none'

Tiger Tracker: Woods finished T-9 in return to competition

Chamblee: 'I was wrong' about some of my Woods skepticism

Tiger, if you were hurting, would you tell us? 'Yeah, I'd tell you'


Woods out and about in 2017

Article: Video, images of Tiger's round with Trump

Article: Woods posts photo as 'Mac Daddy Santa'

Article: Tiger at U.S. Open sitting in Nadal's box

Article: Shirtless Tiger holds up a massive lobster

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:30 pm
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NBC Sports' Coverage of LPGA Tour in 2017 Most-Viewed Season Ever for NBC Sports

By Golf Channel Public RelationsDecember 13, 2017, 8:45 pm

NBC Sports’ LPGA Tour Coverage Ties 2013 for Most-Watched Year Since 2011

NBC and Golf Channel Boast Top-6 Most-Watched Women’s Golf Telecasts in 2017

Beginning with the dramatic playoff finish at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic in January and concluding with Lexi Thompson winning the $1 million Race to the CME Globe, nearly 22 million viewers tuned in to LPGA Tour coverage across Golf Channel and NBC in 2017. This makes 2017 the most-viewed LPGA Tour season across NBC Sports since Golf Channel joined the NBC Sports Group in 2011. Additionally, 2017 tied 2013 as the LPGA Tour’s most-watched year across NBC Sports since 2011. Coverage drew an average of 221,000 viewers per telecast in 2017 (+24% vs. 2016), according to data released by The Nielsen Company.

NBC SPORTS GROUP CLAIMS TOP-6 MOST-WATCHED WOMEN’S GOLF TELECASTS IN ‘17

For the first time ever in televised women’s golf, Sunday’s final round of the RICOH Women’s British Open (Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017, 1.1 million viewers) delivered the most-watched and highest-rated women’s golf telecast of the year. NBC’s Saturday (Day 2) coverage of the Solheim Cup in August placed second with 968,000 viewers, followed by Sunday’s Solheim Cup coverage on NBC with 946,000 viewers. Golf Channel’s live coverage of Sunday’s final day of the Solheim Cup drew 795,000 viewers, the most-watched women’s golf event on cable in eight years.

Rank

Network

Event

Day

Avg. Viewers P2+

1

NBC

RICOH WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN

Sunday

1,100,526

2

NBC

SOLHEIM CUP

Saturday

968,202

3

NBC

SOLHEIM CUP

Sunday

946,387

4

NBC

KPMG WOMEN'S PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

Sunday

839,983

5

NBC

RICOH WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN

Saturday

808,578

6

GOLF

SOLHEIM CUP

Sunday

795,000

ADDITIONAL VIEWERSHIP MILESTONES FOR WOMEN’S GOLF IN 2017

  • ANA Inspiration - The LPGA’s first major championship delivered thefifth most-watched LPGA final round in Golf Channel history with 551,000 viewers when So Yeon Ryu defeated Lexi Thompson in a playoff following Thompson being assessed a four-stroke penalty earlier in the final round.
  • KPMG Women’s PGA Championship – The LPGA’s second major was seen by 6.6 million viewers across Golf Channel and NBC, the largest audience for the event on record (2006-17). Sunday’s final round on NBC, which saw Danielle Kang win her first LPGA Tour event over defending champion Brooke Henderson, also was the most-watched telecast in the event’s history with 840,000 average viewers.
  • RICOH Women’s British Open – NBC’s Sunday coverage of the RICOH Women’s British Open delivered the most-watched and highest-rated women’s golf telecast in 2017 (.78 U.S. HH rating, 1.1 million viewers). In total, 7 million unique viewers tuned in to coverage across Golf Channel and NBC, the most-watched RICOH Women’s British Open in the past 10 years and the most-watched among the five women’s major championships in 2017.
  • Solheim Cup – Seen by a total audience of 7.3 million viewers across Golf Channel and NBC, the Solheim Cup posted the largest total audience for women’s golf since the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open on ESPN/NBC. Golf Channel’s live coverage of the final day drew 795,000 average viewers, becoming the most-watched women’s golf telecast on cable in the last eight years, since the final day of the 2009 Solheim Cup.

GOLF CHANNEL DIGITAL POSTS RECORD STREAMING CONSUMPTION

Golf Channel Digital posted record numbers of LPGA streaming consumption with 11.9 million live minutes streamed across LPGA Tour telecasts in 2017 (+563% vs. 2016).

  • Solheim Cup – Three-day coverage of the Solheim Cup saw 6.3 million minutes streamed across NBC Sports’ Digital platforms, trailing only the 2016 Rio Olympics (9 million) as the most-ever for a women’s golf event airing on Golf Channel / NBC.
  • RICOH Women’s British Open – Four-day coverage of the RICOH Women’s British Open saw 2 million minutes streamed, +773% vs. 2016.

NBC Sports Group combined to air 31 LPGA Tour events in 2017 and a total of 420 hours of coverage, the most in LPGA history. The exclusive cable home to the LPGA Tour, Golf Channel aired coverage of four of five women’s major championships in 2017, with three majors also airing on NBC: the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, RICOH Women’s British Open and The Evian Championship. The biennial Solheim Cup also returned to network television for the first time in 15 years with weekend coverage on NBC.

Source: Nielsen 2017 Live+Same Day DVR vs. prior available data. Persons 2+ avg 000’s and/or Persons 2+ reach w/six-minute qualifier. Digital Metrics from Adobe Reports & Analytics. Details available.