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: Tiger's Sunday birdies at the Honda

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 25, 2018, 6:40 pm

One day after he left a barrage of birdie opportunities out on the golf course, Tiger Woods worked his way into red figures early on Sunday.

Seven off the pace to start the day, Woods found the first fairway, hit the first green and rolled in a 20-footer for his firist birdie of the day.

After narrowly missing a 10-footer for what would have been another circle at the par-5 third, Woods came right back at the fourth, flying an approach from 148 yards to 9 feet and finishing the job.

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New-look Korda wins after serious jaw surgery

By Will GrayFebruary 25, 2018, 6:31 pm

If the pictures of Jessica Korda from the Honda LPGA Thailand cause you to do a double-take, you're not alone.

Korda's world-class talent was on full display this week in Asia, where she won by four shots, but so too was her new-look face. The 24-year-old underwent serious jaw surgery in December, a final attempt to address a significant overbite that led to ailments ranging from facial cramping to headaches to sleep apnea.

The procedure was intense. Doctors first broke her nose, then broke her jaw in five different places - three on the top, and two on the bottom. She now has 27 screws in her face, and the physical result still requires some adjustment for a woman who now has five career LPGA wins.

"I look at pictures of myself and I don't feel like I look like that person," Korda told Golfweek. "I don't know who that is. And then I look at pictures of my old self and that doesn't look like me either."


Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand


The Dec. 7 surgery left Korda unable to eat, with her mother reportedly feeding her through a syringe for "weeks." Korda's facial structure before the surgery was such that she was only using 20 percent of her teeth when chewing food.

But despite returning to practice only six weeks ago and still dealing with lingering numbness in her face, Korda promptly dusted a world-class field in her first start back. She shot 25 under for the week, highlighted by a second-round 62, leaving the likes of Lexi Thompson and Ariya Jutanugarn in her wake.

After a difficult winter, Korda's look may have changed but her game clearly remains unaffected.

"Coming in after surgery, I didn't know what to expect," Korda told reporters. "Obviously when I look at myself, I still don't feel like I look like myself yet. That will come. I'm just very, very happy. All the hard work I was putting in in the off-season when I could has paid off rather quickly."

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 25, 2018, 4:45 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.


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Hahn jabs USGA over possible ball rollback

By Will GrayFebruary 25, 2018, 4:43 pm

As debate continues to heat up over possible sweeping changes to the golf ball amid distance concerns, PGA Tour pro James Hahn chimed in to question the merits of a potential rollback.

The ball and distance debate gained traction earlier this week when Jack Nicklaus offered that the ball should be rolled back to the approximate distances achieved in 1995, and he put blame for the current situation squarely at the feet of Titleist. That drew a response from former Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who put the onus back on the governing bodies.

It's an issue that will likely be discussed for months to come, but Hahn took to Twitter to throw a jab toward the USGA and play devil's advocate on some key arguments related to a possible rollback:

Hahn, who has two career PGA Tour wins and lost in a playoff last month at the Sony Open, ranks 55th on Tour this season in driving distance with an average of 301.2 yards off the tee.