Punch Shot: Who will win the U.S. Open?

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 19, 2016, 1:30 pm

OAKMONT, Pa. – After a soggy start to the 116th U.S. Open, we’re all caught up at and ready to roll for the final round. Irishman Shane Lowry leads the field by four shots over Dustin Johnson and unheralded Andrew Landry, who is playing his first major. Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia are both inside the top seven and no one in the top eight of the leaderboard has won a major.

So, with the scene set, our team at Oakmont predicts who will win.

Rex Hoggard: Even four strokes back with 18 holes remaining, Dustin Johnson still looms over the U.S. Open. Although he faded with a third-round 71, the bomber has been in a class by himself this week tee-to-green. He’s first in the field in driving distance (317 yard average), 13th in fairways hit (28 of 42) and second in greens in regulation (41 of 54). While his inability to convert clutch birdie attempts has kept him from running away with this championship, he maintians that he’s pleased with his putting. So if the putts start to drop, and that’s always a big "if" when it comes to DJ, that four-stroke deficit could vanish quickly.

Randall Mell: Four shots can be made up in the blink of an eye at Oakmont. We saw that Saturday, when Dustin Johnson double bogeyed the third hole a moment after Lee Westwood holed out for eagle at the fifth. Westwood vaulted from four behind into a tie with Johnson. Still, a four-shot lead on a Sunday at Oakmont could also seem insurmountable if a guy’s hitting a lot of fairways and greens. Shane Lowry was that guy in the third round. I’ll take my chances with Lowry, the four-shot cushion and the momentum he created.

Ryan Lavner: If ever Dustin Johnson is going to break through and win his first major, this might be the perfect opportunity. Andrew Landry’s 40-foot birdie putt on the 18th green Sunday morning knocked Johnson out of the final group with Shane Lowry. Given his propensity for final-round meltdowns, that might be a good thing. Though he’s tied for second, four shots back, the pressure will be off Johnson. He’s not expected to win and he could thrive as a pursuer rather than a frontrunner. If he can hole some putts (he’s ranked 45th in putting, with plenty of burned lips), than this might finally be his day in the sun. 

Jay Coffin: This feels like Shane Lowry’s day. I know a four-shot lead isn’t much at a U.S. Open, it could vanish in one hole, but anyone good enough to lead by four after 54 holes is good enough to hold on an win. Plus, it’s not like he has a boatload of major stalwarts hot on his trail. Dustin Johnson, clearly, is a world-class player, but until he proves he can win on the game’s biggest stages I’m more comfortable picking the man ahead, particularly when he hasn’t shot anything over par yet (68-70-65). All I ask is that we don’t have an 18-hole Monday playoff.

Joe Posnanski: I think Lowry wrapped up the golf tournament with his two birdies Sunday morning. One: He’s a solid pro who does not seem likely to blow up, which is what would be required at this point. Two: He doesn’t have to sleep with the lead. He’s already done that and came out as strong as ever. Three: The rain turned Oakmont into a strange half-U.S. Open course. It’s obviously difficult — only six players are under par. But it’s not the torture chamber that everyone seemed to expect early in the week. And so, it’s unlikely that anyone can go get Lowry by shooting 63 like Johnny Miller did. But it’s even more unlikely that Lowry will shoot 80.

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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.

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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.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

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

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm