Goosen Seizes US Open in Battle Against Brooks
Goosen seized the day against Mark Brooks, winning the U.S. Open playoff Monday with an even-par 70 against Brooks 72. He seized the day when Tiger Woods couldnt ' after winning four straight majors, Woods had struggled all four rounds and finished in a tie for 12th. And he saved the day for South Africa, proving for one day at least that the countrys best golfer was not named Ernie Els or Gary Player.
I worked awfully hard out there today, said Goosen. Its been a long week and it feels like a year out there. I played awfully well the entire week. What can I say - its amazing.
Retief Goosen comments on his U.S. Open win
Throughout the tournament, Goosen played with a steady hand. He made all the up-and-downs, and his putting was beyond reproach save the 2 -foot miss at 18 on Sunday that sent this one into the playoff. Goosen was, without a doubt, the best player in the tournament.
He hit two great shots on 18 yesterday and he should have won then, said Brooks. Like I said yesterday, if Id have finished at 5-under (Brooks finished at 4-under), theres no way he would have three-putted.
Today was just one of those weird days. I got punished severely for being in the rough so much. And that was the difference.
Brooks got started early with a 9-iron to five feet at the third, but Goosen came back to tie it up with a beautiful tee shot on the par-3 6th. He arched his iron to within five feet and canned the putt.
Brooks hung his tee shot to the right on the seventh hole and had to dig it out. He wedged it on to the green 12 feet away and just missed the par putt, Goosen now taking the lead. Brooks missed the green on the par-3 eighth, dumping it in a bunker, but he hit a nice blast and canned the putt for par, remaining one behind Goosen.
Mark Brooks talks about losing the Monday playoff
Brooks continued his subpar play at the ninth, shoving his drive into the crowd and this time failing to make par. He battled a tree in getting it back out to the fairway, then failed to get it up-and-down and made bogey. Goosen, meanwhile, was tightening the noose a little more, making birdie at the ninth with a 15-foot putt. That gave Goosen a three-shot cushion as the second nine began.
Brooks problems continued at No. 10, where he once again drove into the right rough and made bogey. And Goosen was brilliant again, arching an iron to with 12 feet and sinking the putt for birdie. By now the South African had a five-shot lead and the championship was no longer in doubt.
The tournament was delayed by thunderstorms Thursday, but Brooks said it wasnt really a factor. It meant for some very long days as the large field slogged through the first tee only on Thursday and Friday, and the tournament didnt get back on schedule until Saturday evening. But by Monday, there was absolutely no effect on the two opponents.
Weve had a lot of long days the last month or so on Tour, played 36 somewhere. And we ran out, back and forth at Memorial, said Brooks. So it was good preparation.
Tulsa, incidentally, was far different from the venue of Goosens last outing eight days ago - the Forest of Arden Golf Club near Birmingham, England. His tie for fifth there was a prelude to what happened this week.
Last week we got windburn, this week sunburn, said Goosen. It was very cold there, especially the first two rounds. I dont know, the wind chill must have been nearly zero.
He came to Tulsa and the temperature most of the week hovered around 90.
Goosen is debating seriously whether now to use his Open championship and the resulting $900,000 to play the U.S. tour next year.
Ive enjoyed it out here this week, he said. The crowds have been great. When it was my turn to play, it was dead quiet. And when I made a putt, I got a good clap. It was great. It was a great feeling. I enjoyed every moment of it.
U.S. Open Playoff Scoring
U.S. Open Playoff Stats
What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm
Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:
Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff
Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.
While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.
Watching Andrew Landry and Jon Rahm in playoff. Walking off tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me ? Talking at all. ?— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.
0 words— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The issue is I don’t want to make you a bit relaxed or comfortable. High pressure, good.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you watch the end of the NFL games yesterday ? Enough said.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
I didn’t say you couldn’t be friends and competitive. But in a playoff, 1 tiny mistake and you lose, and that devastated me. Friends before and after, competitors during play.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you win ? It’s all about surviving the competition to test yourself.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.
Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over
The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.
As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.
Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.
And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.
And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.
McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.
The Ryder Cup topped his list.
Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.
When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.
“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”
McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.
Or similar assertions from TV analysts.
“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”
European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.
And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.
The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.
Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.
And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.
Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.
The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.
The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.
More bulletin board material, too.
Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.
Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions
Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.
The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.
It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.
The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.
“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”
Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.