Punch Shot: More back-to-back U.S. Opens?

Two weeks of incredible golf on an iconic course. No rain delays. Very few, if any, course maintenance issues.

The USGA's grand experiment of hosting the men's and women's U.S. Opens in back-to-back weeks at Pinehurst No. 2 was a huge gamble and a huge success. Now that they've done it once, should the USGA do it again? And, if so, where? The Golfchannel.com team weighs in.

BY RYAN LAVNER

Remember all of the pre-Open talk about divots and practice time, and the potential for the women to be embarrassed? How silly that looks now.

The back-to-back Opens went off without a hitch, and the two best players in the world – in current form, not ranking – were crowned champions. Really, it couldn’t have gone any better.

The dual Opens shouldn’t happen more than once a decade, and the guess here is that it won’t.

With that in mind, the next logical choice for a double dip is Torrey Pines in 2021. The San Diego muni was the site of arguably the most compelling Open of this generation, and the doubleheader on such a breathtaking piece of property could be a huge hit, especially with the West Coast weather.


BY JASON SOBEL

Absolutely the USGA should try this experiment once again – if not for the coolness factor for players and fans, then just as good business. Being able to maintain infrastructure – from corporate tents to bleachers to concessions – for a second week was undoubtedly a blessing in disguise.

Now, where should they attempt this double again? Take your pick – there's no wrong answer.

I'll go with Pebble Beach. If you're going to make this a two-week festival of cool, might as well go to the coolest course in the country. (Sorry, Augusta National, you get "iconic"; Pebble does "cool" better.)

Toss in two weeks of primetime golf on the East Coast and you've already got a winning combination right there.

In fact, I wonder if we're not too far away from a time when back-to-back Opens at the same venue isn't the norm. It makes sense for everyone involved, so might as well make this an annual staple.


BY REX HOGGARD

There was no way that should have worked. Two weeks of championship golf on one very stressed-out course, the litany of reasons why back-to-back U.S. Opens at Pinehurst was a potential recipe for disaster was deeper than both fields.

The grass would be dead following the U.S. Open, the women would spend their week dodging divots and there was no way Mother Nature would cooperate for 14 consecutive days.

And what would happen if the U.S. Open spilled over into an 18-hole Monday playoff?

But there was no playoff, Martin Kaymer made sure of that, or weather issues or any issues for that matter.

With few exceptions, the USGA's fortnight in Pinehurst was a success – two worthy champions and plenty of added exposure for the Women’s Open, which was a primary motivation for the grand experiment.

Perhaps the Open double wouldn’t work everywhere, but imagine the attention back-to-back championships at Pebble Beach would generate.

Consider the buzz consecutive Opens at Torrey Pines or Bethpage’s Black Course would create.

The weather won’t always cooperate and eventually there will be a Monday playoff at the U.S. Open that would throw a wrinkle into the delicate balance that worked so well last week.

But considering how successful the last two weeks were, it’s worth the risk.


BY RANDALL MELL

Yes, I want to see another doubleheader. I'd like to see it every year, but I understand it's just not practical, mostly because it takes a unique course to stage the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open in back-to-back weeks.

Pinehurst's rough-hewn design – with its Bermuda grasses and native waste areas – were perfect for this.

Walking on the 18th green Sunday after Wie won, it was staggering to see how healthy the putting surface was after two weeks of stress. Divots in the fairways and around the greens weren't the issue they would be on most Northeast, Midwest and West Coast courses. The quality and condition of Pinehurst No. 2 was critical to this success.

USGA head man Mike Davis was right about every projection he made about this grand experiment. Pinehurst No. 2 was his ally pulling this off. So bring it back to Pinehurst in 2022.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

Getty Images

Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


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Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


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Finances


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Reportedly fake TIME covers


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Pros comment on the president

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