Open Makes for Great Reading

By George WhiteJune 20, 2005, 4:00 pm
Maybe its just this internal gizmo that I have inside me, but for whatever reason, the U.S. Open has nearly always been the one major championship that I least enjoy watching.
What does it mean? Probably means something about my immaturity. It probably means something about this go-go world, where weve become accustomed to external stimuli nearly every minute of every day. Whatever ' it just doesnt hold the same allure as the Masters, the British Open or the PGA Championship.
Maybe its because the other three are win it championships. Most of the action is involved with trying to do something to win the title. Here, its different - in the U.S. Open, the champion almost always is the one who repeatedly shakes off bad fortune, catapults to the lead though a series of misfortunes visited on someone else, then hangs on for dear life until he finally just outlasts the field, one by one by one.
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods was never able to get a good feel for the greens at Pinehurst No.2.
I realize it takes a particular kind of golfer to achieve this. Retief Goosen is an excellent example, though he didnt get it done this time. I dont think of Michael Campbell when I think of this particular type, though he certainly was on Sunday. To win a U.S. Open, you seldom shoot for flags. You drive the ball in the fairway, somehow get the ball to stop somewhere on the green with your approach shot, then putt like a banshee.
As the United States Golf Association wishes, this exposes the golfer to the utmost in mental pressure. Obviously, the person who wins is an exceptional player when it comes to managing oneself around 72 holes. It just isnt particularly enjoyable to watch ' for me.
Despite what I think, there are some golfers and a lot of fans who thoroughly enjoy the U.S. Open. They appreciate the fact that disaster is always only a shot away.
I always will feel that it's much better to play a tournament where, if you shoot a round in the mid-60s, you should fly up that board' not if you shoot a round like 67 you get lapped, said no less an authority than Tiger Woods. I don't like tournaments where 25 under par is the winning score. I'd much rather prefer to play challenges like this.
I dont particularly enjoy a tournament where 20-under wins, either. But I think 6-10 under is perfectly with reason.
That, for me, strictly means for purposes of watching on television. I enjoy reading about the Open, about who had the guts and the skill to stick in there for four days and persevere until the very last potential three-putt. And I confess that I always watch the final day, regardless of how bad the leaders are getting cuffed around. Ive found that I can take about four hours of this torture ' look forward to it, in fact. But given the four majors, this one is generally the least interesting.
It's more of a thinking man's game, said Woods. And you have to think, you have to be patient. It brings out all different types of shots you have to play and you have to know how to play. And that's why it's a major championship. It seems like we see the same guys in the top 10 or 15 in each and every major, and there's a reason why. They know how to hit shots.
Thats all very true. And its the very nature of what the founding fathers intended, I guess. Golf was originally meant to be an exercise in masochism. Course designers around the turn of the century had it so right ' a shot poorly played is a shot irretrievably lost! Recovery shot? Balderdash! There should no such thing as a recovery shot!
Tiger tried to explain the difficulty of playing Pinehurst during Open week.
I don't think they (the fans) quite understand how difficult it really is out there, he said. No one really does, unless you've played. And I've tried to explain it to some of you guys or people that watch it on TV, some of my friends (who) say, What were you thinking here?
I said, You have no idea. You have to get out there and experience the speed of the greens, the slope, the feel of the shots.
It is so hard to explain to people how difficult this golf course was playing I mean, I was joking the entire week, thank God I wore spikes, because if you backed off some of these holes you slip right down the hill. At least I had some cleats, I dug in.
It makes for fascinating reading, this U.S. Open. But for watching? Nope, not for me. Let the gents go about being clipped on the jaw, and when its over, let me know who lasted the longest.
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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

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    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

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    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

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    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

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    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.