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.

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."