Fact Pack: U.S. Open

By Will GrayJune 12, 2012, 9:00 pm

This week the golf world sets its focus on the Bay Area, as an elite field gathers at the Olympic Club to contest the year's second major. The Lake Course has no water hazards and only one fairway bunker, but its difficulty lies in narrow, sloping fairways and relatively small greens. As is always the case at the U.S. Open, players' entire games will be put to the test this week before a winner is crowned. With that in mind, here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title and help your Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge team in the process:

Few players can match the statistical credentials that Justin Rose brings with him into this week's event. Already a winner this year at Doral, Rose ranks in the top 10 on Tour in scrambling, scrambling from the rough, overall greens in regulation percentage as well as GIR percentage from 125-150 yards, 175-200 yards and 200+ yards. Rose also leads the Tour in par-4 performance and ranks 18th in par-3 performance, which should prove beneficial on a course whose first par-5 this week does not come until the 16th hole.

• As is often the case with the U.S. Open, ball-striking will be strongly emphasized this week as golfers play from narrow fairways into tiny greens. In 1998, Lee Janzen led the field in greens in regulation and was T-3 in fairways hit en route to victory. Three players currently rank in the top 10 in both total driving (distance + accuracy) and greens in regulation: Tiger Woods, Jason Dufner and John Senden.

Jonathan Byrd has leaned on a strong short game this year in recording several high finishes on difficult courses. Byrd currently ranks eighth in scrambling and ninth in scrambling from the rough, and has carded top-12 finishes this year at some of the Tour's more difficult venues: Riviera, Quail Hollow, TPC Sawgrass, Colonial and Muirfield Village.

• One of the more intriguing design characteristics of the Lake Course is its use of reverse camber fairways. On six different occasions, the hole shapes from right-to-left while the fairway slopes from left-to-right, or vice versa. This will require both accuracy and the ability to shape the ball both ways off the tee, and should favor a pair of former U.S. Open champions - Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk - who currently lead the Tour in driving accuracy.

Steve Stricker holds the distinction of having recorded the best finish (T-5) in the 1998 U.S. Open at Olympic of anyone also in this year's field. Already a winner this year in Kapalua, Stricker currently leads the Tour in proximity to the hole and ranks in the top 20 in par 4 performance, driving accuracy and greens in regulation percentage. In '98 Stricker led the field (along with Lee Westwood) in fairways hit with 41.

• World No. 1 Luke Donald will rely on his stellar short game in his attempt to capture his first career major. Donald currently leads the Tour in scrambling, scrambling from the rough and total putting. Should the Englishman remain in contention into the final round his chances may increase; his 69.13 final round scoring average is also tops on Tour so far this year.

• While many courses place their toughest tests at the end of the round, the Lake Course famously taxes players from the very beginning. While the first six holes are treacherous, the final five holes will allow players opportunities to gain ground, with short or mid-iron approach shots on each hole. One player who may capitalize on this stretch is Sergio Garcia, who ranks in the top 15 on Tour in proximity from 100-125 yards, 150-175 yards and 175-200 yards.

• One of the last players to make the field, Spencer Levin will look to rekindle the U.S. Open magic he had in 2004 at Shinnecock Hills, where he finished T-13 as an amateur. Levin last played in this event in 2005, but has already carded three top-10 finishes on Tour this year thanks in large part to a strong putter. He currently ranks 11th on Tour in total birdies and 22nd in strokes gained putting.

**Don't forget to join Fantasy Expert Rob Bolton for a live golf chat Wednesday at 12:00p ET at www.rotoworld.com** 

Tune in to Golf Channel all week long for coverage of Live From: U.S. Open.

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Watch: Woods birdies three of his first six holes

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 17, 2018, 6:20 pm

Tiger Woods didn't bogey the first hole on Saturday like he did the day prior - but he did drop at a shot at the par-3 second when he failed to get up and down from the bunker.

Luckily, it wouldn't take him long to get that stroke back. One hole later, at the dogleg-left, par-4 third, Woods ripped a 2-iron off the tee, hit a less-than-stellar approach long and right, and poured in this 38-footer for birdie to get back to even par on the day.

He followed with another at the par-5 fourth, smoking a drive 313 yards uphill, short-siding himself with his second shot, and playing this deft pitch to set up a tap-in 4.

After a par save from the bunker at 5, Woods missed the fairway right at the par-5 sixth, laid up with his second, spun a wedge to 15 feet with his third, and rolled in this third birdie of the day to move to 6 under for the week.

Woods' momentum was slowed by a bogey at 8, the product of an errant tee shot, and a missed birdie try at 9 left Woods to make the turn in 1 under-35, minus-5 for the week.

(More coming...)

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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods teed off at 12:15PM ET alongside Justin Rose for Round 3 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play

By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 2:24 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.

As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.

Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.

This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.

The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.

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Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”