Press Pass The Winner Top Venue

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 13, 2007, 4:00 pm
Press PassEach week, GOLF CHANNEL experts and analysts offer their thoughts and opinions on hot topics in the world of golf with the Press Pass.
Hot Topic
Who do you like to win the U.S. Open and what will be the winning score?
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist,
I think the winning score will be 9 over par. No player in the field will have more than one round in the 60s. And I like Jim Furyk, grinding all the way, to win this war of attrition. Watch out for slow play being a big issue this week. There are three potentially drivable par-4s at Oakmont and the prospect of delays on tee boxes looms.
Steve Sands Steve Sands - Reporter, GOLF CHANNEL:
Retief Goosen will win the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club. If it rains this week the winning score will be 1 under par. If its dry the winning score will be 6 over.
Steve Duemig Steve Duemig - Panelist, Grey Goose 19th Hole:
Had Adam Scott not looked like Lorena Ochoa coming down the stretch lately he would have been my choice. But since he and Ochoa share the same traits, I will be looking at Tiger once again. He has predicted the winning score to be around 4 over, while everyone else is saying it will be much higher. I will take the guy (Tiger) who sees the score in his own mind. Now just go and shoot it! I think the score will be 6 over.
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer,
I initially liked Phil Mickelson, but I'm not too confident in the health of his wrist. If it's OK, then I think he has a great chance at a redeeming victory. If not, I'll take a dark horse in Aaron Baddeley. And I think 4 over will get it done.
Hot Topic
Do you like U.S. Open-style golf and where does it rank on your list of major championships?
I like U.S. Open-style golf very much. Once a year. There will be players who are happy with bogeys and thrilled with pars in certain situations. The U.S. Open is our national championship and it is my favorite major. The winner may or may not be the best player but the winner will be the player who was the toughest mentally for the week.
I like U.S. Open-style golf once a year. I like that the four majors all have different set-ups. I put the U.S. Open third behind The Masters and British Open.
I absolutley love the U.S. Open-style of play! It ranks at the very top of my list as it separates the contenders from the pretenders every year.
As long as it's mirrors Winged Foot 2006 more than Shinnecock 2004, I'm fine with it. The U.S. Open has an identity of trying to determine the best player by employing a stern -- but fair -- test. As long as the tournament meets that requirement, it's fun to watch. It's second on my list, behind the Masters; though, the Masters, judging by this past year, isn't nearly as much fun to watch anymore.
Hot Topic
What is your favorite U.S. Open memory?
Johnny Miller's 63 in 1973. I remember one of the first questions being asked of Miller after his round was, 'What was going through your mind?' Miller's reply was, 'Absolutely nothing.' Or words to that effect. He was deep into the zone on that final Sunday. Watson's chip-in at Pebble Beach on the 71st hole (1982) and Pavin fairway wood on the 72nd hole at Shinnecock in 1995 are way up there.
My favorite U.S. Open memory was attending the 1997 U.S. Open at Congressional. It was the first time I ever went to a major championship as a fan and it was near my hometown of Washington, D.C. Hopefully, our national championship will regularly stop in our nations capital.
My favorite U.S. Open moment came when Lee Janzen won the '93 Open at Baltusrol. Lee and I had played a lot of golf together and became friends. We both played out of The Bloomingdale Golfers Club in Brandon, Fla. I even had the opportunity to caddie for Lee in the '92 sectionals. He shot 3 under and didn't make it. The next year he wins the OPEN!!! I was crying right along with him. I've even beaten him once or twice :)
I've been fortunate enough to attend a few of these things and nothing stands out more than what transpired on the final hole a year ago. Standing behind the green and watching Monty and Phil breakdown was almost surreal. But the way both men handled the situation in the aftermath was very impressive.
Hot Topic
What is your favorite U.S. Open venue?
My favorite U.S. Open venue is Merion. It's just so pure. It can test the players without being exceptionally long. Even with the wicker baskets that replace flags on the pins there is a special touch. (The players don't like them because they can't tell which way the wind is blowing.)
Pebble Beach. There is no prettier piece of golf property in the United States than Pebble.
Pebble Beach by a mile. I love it because it is one of the few Open venues that plays on the same course that a yearly tour event is played on. To see the transition from Pebble Beach the public course to Pebble the Open course is truly a sight to behold.
I love the look of Shinnecock, just not the way the USGA set it up over the weekend in '04. It doesn't have the traditional, tree-lined U.S. Open venue feel, but it really stands out in person and on the TV.
Hot Topic
Tell the readers: whats the ONE thing youre most looking forward to this week?
I will be looking to see how the players attack the 288-yard, par-3 eighth hole. And, in general, I will be watching how they handle the greens. I will also be watching how the USGA handles the greens if it doesn't rain (it will be a challenge to keep them playable.)
The one thing Im looking forward to most this week is seeing the worlds best players try to tame one of the toughest courses in the world. I like seeing the best get rewarded for hitting good shots, but also punished for hitting bad ones. If the USGA sets up Oakmont correctly, we should have a good, fair test. Cant wait!
Father's Day and the final round on Sunday, which always happen to fall on the same day. What could be better than knowing that you have the right on your day to tell everyone else to, 'Go find something else to do,' and not catch any slack!
Seeing how Tiger plays the course. He tends to struggle with his driver at times and I'll be interested to see if he tries more of a conservative, Royal Liverpool approach to keep his ball out of the rough. Plus, if he should win on Sunday, it would be quite an emotional scene.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Open
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    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

    Getty Images

    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    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.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    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.

    Getty Images

    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    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.