USGA announces U.S. Open local qualifying sites

By Will GrayFebruary 21, 2017, 5:36 pm

The USGA has unveiled the list of local qualifiers for the 117th U.S. Open, a gauntlet that includes a first-ever trip to Canada and concludes this summer at Erin Hills.

A total of 114 qualifiers will be conducted from May 2-18, spanning 44 different states. It will also include the first U.S. Open qualifier north of the border, as Ontario's Beacon Hall Golf Club hosts an event on May 8.

Each local qualifier will be 18 holes, with the best players advancing to 36-hole sectional qualifiers. As has been the case in years past, sectionals will be held in England and Japan in late May, with the balance of 10 domestic qualifiers all on June 5. The U.S. Open will be held June 15-18.

Orville Moody (1969) was the last player to win the U.S. Open after advancing through local qualifying. Last year a total of 27 players made it from the local stage into the 156-man field at Oakmont Country Club.

Qualifiers are open to any professionals or players with a USGA handicap index of 1.4 or lower, with an entry deadline of April 26. Here's a look at the full list of qualifying sites:

Tuesday, May 2

Twin Warriors G.C., Santa Ana Pueblo, N.M.

Wednesday, May 3

Mission Inn Resort (El Campeon), Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.

Wildwood G.C., Allison Park, Pa.

Thursday, May 4

The Club at Admirals Cove (North/West), Jupiter, Fla.

Monday, May 8

C.C. at DC Ranch, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Indian Ridge C.C. (Grove), Palm Desert, Calif.

TPC at Valencia, Valencia, Calif.

Beacon Hall Golf Club, Aurora, Ontario, Canada

The Heritage at Westmoor, Westminster, Colo.

Rockrimmon C.C., Stamford, Conn.

TPC Prestancia (Stadium), Sarasota, Fla.

The Wanderers Club, Wellington, Fla.

C.C. of Winter Haven, Winter Haven, Fla.

Summer Grove G.C., Newnan, Ga.

Illini C.C., Springfield, Ill.

Midlane Golf Resort, Wadsworth, Ill.

Delaware C.C., Muncie, Ind.

Northwest G.C., Silver Spring, Md.

Muskegon C.C., Muskegon, Mich.

Midland Hills C.C., St. Paul, Minn.

C.C. at The Legends, Eureka, Mo.

Haworth C.C., Haworth, N.J.

TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nev.

Kinsale G.C., Powell, Ohio

DeBordieu Club, Georgetown, S.C.

Jackson C.C., Jackson, Tenn.

Split Rail G.C., Aledo, Texas

The Country Club, Salt Lake City, Utah

Canterwood C.C., Gig Harbor, Wash.

Tuesday, May 9

Hot Springs C.C. (Arlington), Hot Springs, Ark.

Yocha Dehe G.C., Brooks, Calif.

Andalusia C.C., La Quinta, Calif.

Mendakota C.C., Mendakota Heights, Minn.

Beechmont C.C., Beechwood, Ohio

Jimmie Austin OU G.C., Norman, Okla.

Pronghorn Resort (Nicklaus), Bend, Ore.

Wolfdancer G.C., Cedar Creek, Texas

Wednesday, May 10

Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Silver Lakes, Glencoe, Ala.

La Costa Resort & Spa, Carlsbad, Calif.

Orange Tree G.C., Orlando, Fla.

River Landing G.C. (River), Wallace, N.C.

Green Brook C.C., North Caldwell, N.J.

Butler C.C., Butler, Pa.

Thursday, May 11

Sewailo G.C., Tucson, Ariz.

Bermuda Dunes C.C., Bermuda Dunes, Calif.

Industry Hills G.C. (Eisenhower), City of Industry, Calif.

La Purisima G.C., Lompoc, Calif.

The Club at Emerald Hills, Hollywood, Fla.

Cypress Run G.C., Tarpon Springs, Fla.

Pinehills G.C. (Nicklaus), Plymouth, Mass.

C.C. of Lincoln, Lincoln, Neb.

C.C. of York, York, Pa.

River Oaks C.C., Houston, Texas

Farmington C.C., Charlottesville, Va.

The Bull at Pinehurst Farms, Sheboygan Falls, Wisc.

Saturday, May 13

The King Kamehameha G.C., Wailuku, Hawaii

Sunday, May 14

BanBury G.C., Eagle, Idaho

Monday, May 15

Seville C.C., Gilbert, Ariz.

Classic Club, Palm Desert, Calif.

The Club at Ruby Hill, Pleasanton, Calif.

Fountaingrove Golf & Athletic Club, Santa Rosa, Calif.

CommonGround G.C., Aurora, Colo.

Rocky Bayou C.C., Niceville, Fla.

Shingle Creek G.C., Orlando, Fla.

Sawgrass C.C. (East/West), Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Orchid Island Beach Club, Vero Beach, Fla.

Stone Mountain G.C., Stone Mountain, Ga.

Waialae C.C., Honolulu, Hawaii

Cantigny G.C., Wheaton, Ill.

South Bend C.C., South Bend, Ind.

Spirit Hollow G.C., Burlington, Iowa

Southern Trace C.C., Shreveport, La.

Hillendale C.C., Phoenix, Md.

Dearborn C.C., Dearborn, Mich.

C.C. of Detroit, Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.

Creekmoor G.C., Raymore, Mo.

Pinewild C.C. (Magnolia), Pinehurst, N.C.

Running Deer G.C., Pittsgrove, N.J.

Edgewood Tahoe G.C., Stateline, Nev.

Oak Hill C.C. (West), Rochester, N.Y.

Maketewah C.C., Cincinnati, Ohio

Catawba Island Club, Port Clinton, Ohio

Oldfield Club, Okatie, S.C.

C.C. of Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Butterfield Trail G.C., El Paso, Texas

Riverhill C.C., Kerrville, Texas

Pete Dye G.C., Bridgeport, W.Va.

Tuesday, May 16

The Preserve G.C., Carmel, Calif.

Ironwood C.C. (South), Palm Desert, Calif.

Collindale G.C., Fort Collins, Colo.

Wintonbury Hills G.C., Bloomfield, Conn.

Southern Hills Plantation G.C., Brooksville, Fla.

Crumpin-Fox Club, Bernardston, Mass.

North Shore C.C., Glen Head, N.Y.

Newport C.C., Newport, R.I.

Wednesday, May 17

Palmer G.C., Palmer, Alaska

Wichita C.C., Wichita, Kan.

Lonnie Poole G.C., Raleigh, N.C.

Shaker Ridge C.C., Albany, N.Y.

C.C. of Scranton, Clarks Summit, Pa.

Holston Hills C.C., Knoxville, Tenn.

Dallas Athletic Club (Gold), Dallas, Texas

Washington County G.C., Hartford, Wis.

Riverton C.C., Riverton, Wyo.

Thursday, May 18

Ak-Chin Southern Dunes G.C., Maricopa, Ariz.

Granite Bay G.C., Granite Bay, Calif.

Bear's Paw C.C., Naples, Fla.

Hammock Dunes Club (Creek), Palm Coast, Fla.

Willoughby G.C., Stuart, Fla.

Kearney Hill Golf Links, Lexington, Ky.

West Shore C.C., Camp Hill, Pa.

Odessa C.C. (Links), Odessa, Texas

Wine Valley G.C., Walla Walla, Wash.

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Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.

Made Cut

Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

September can’t get here quick enough.

Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.

Missed Cut

Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

Tweet of the week:

It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”