Top 10 US Open Moments

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 9, 2009, 4:00 pm

No. 10 ' Big 3 Grouping
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The USGA's long-standing tradition had been to put the reigning U.S. Open champion with the reigning British Open and U.S. Amateur champs. But in 2008, the USGA broke with tradition and paired the world's No. 1-ranked player, Tiger Woods, No. 2 Phil Mickelson and No. 3 Adam Scott together.
Steve Burkowski, Golf Channel: Honestly, I think it was a brilliant idea, and the fact that we're talking about it, I hope they continue to do it.
Jeff Rude, Golfweek: Tiger-Phil, that's a heavyweight fight, with Adam Scott in too for the 20-year-old girls to look at. That's a dream pairing.

No. 9 ' Surprise Starters
Kevin Streelman birdies the first hole, holes out from the bunker on the second and shoots a 3-under-par 68 to join fellow unknown Justin Hicks atop the leaderboard after the first round of the U.S. Open.
Ryan Herrington, Golf Digest: What makes the U.S. Open special is to see a guy [Streelman] like that, someone who you don't necessarily know as a household name come through and play well .
Bob Bubka, Tournament Radio Broadcasting: Guys pop up on the leaderboard on Thursday. It's another deal to still be there on Sunday.

No. 8 ' Driver, Please
Despite the 7,600-yard layout and wider than normal fairways for a U.S. Open, Phil Mickelson eschews his driver in favor of a 3-wood for the first two rounds. Playing it safe, Mickelson hits only 12 of 28 fairways and shoots 71-75 to play himself out of contention.
Todd Wright, Sporting News Radio: As the exchange goes on the first tee in Caddyshack, the kids says to Al Czervik, played by Rodney Dangerfield, 'You want your driver?' Czervik says, 'No, he's not my type. That's a joke. Give me the driver. All right, place your bets!' Phil, it's a major championship, you need a driver in the bag.
Dottie Pepper, Golf Channel Analyst: With graduated rough, with room to drive the golf ball, and a place that he was very familiar with, I still don't understand. By the time the weekend rolled around, obviously the driver was back in the bag, but he was playing 3-wood out of the primary rough and giving up 50 and 60 yards.

No. 7 ' Friday Turnaround
Having walked 18 holes on Thursday for the first time in weeks and struggling to shoot a 72, Tiger Woods shoots a 5-under-par 30 on his second nine (the back nine at Torrey) to vault within one shot of second-round leader Stuart Appleby heading into the weekend.
Rex Hoggard, I went out on Friday afternoon thinking maybe he'll do something. It was just a total lark. He didn't look like he had his 'A' game and he didn't look like he'd be able to close within the leaders anytime soon.
Melanie Hauser, You saw him start to grind, that's the way it happens with him. He'll just be sitting there and then suddenly he just turns it on.
Jeff Rude: He shot 30 on his back nine and you could feel that the rock concert was starting. On the Richter scale that was maybe a 6. But the 10 on the Richter scale came on the weekend.

No. 6 ' Multimedia Platform
Tiger competing on the highest level, all on one knee. Rocco Mediate giving the world's best player all he can handle. A 19-hole Monday playoff. It all combined to give TV and the Internet record-breaking ratings and traffic.
Alex Withers, USGA Digital Media Managing Editor: Even before Sunday we were 450 percent up versus 2007 in terms of traffic. Then the playoff came along and we had almost 4 million streams if you include our friends at NBC Sports.
Tommy Roy, NBC Sports Executive Producer of Golf: It was just a natural being out on the west coast, to go ahead and let it go into prime time on the east coast. But the big thing was that you had a story that was unbelievable.
Jeff Rude: It drew a better rating than the NBA Finals. Golf beating the NBA Finals with Kobe [Bryant] and KG [Kevin Garnett], that's almost impossible. You can't dream that up, either. That's all Tiger Woods.

No. 5 ' Monday Mayhem
Tiger Woods goes toe to toe with Rocco Mediate for 19 holes to defeat Mediate in a historic Monday playoff and win his 14th major championship. Woods blows a three-shot lead with eight holes to play and needs a birdie on the 18th hole to force sudden death, which he wins after Mediate makes bogey on the first extra hole.
Ron Sirak, Golf World: All those people who argue against the 18-hole playoff at the U.S. Open have got to put their argument to bed for at least five years, because the Rocco Mediate-Tiger Woods playoff was that good.
Jeff Babineau, Golfweek: You're feeling for the guy. This is going to get ugly, right? The slipper didn't fit. All of a sudden, it's birdie, birdie, birdie. And Rocco gets this guy on the ropes.
Curtis Strange, two-time U.S. Open champion: It's something special to continue to do something like that time and time again. Every day he's doing something that no one else can do. And every day the legend continues.

No. 4 ' Rocco
In this U.S. Open, you heard as many 'Go Rocco' chants as you did 'Go Tiger' screams. Rocco Mediate becomes a household name after dueling Woods for two days and never backing down from the world's No. 1-ranked player.
Ryan Herrington: You could see how much he was enjoying what was going on there, that he was as caught up in the moment as anybody out there.
Melanie Hauser: He was playing with Tiger Woods and he wasn't scared to say it. Half these guys would sit there and internalize it, and he's just going, 'Oh man, this is the time of my life.'
Adam Barr, Golf Channel: There are a lot of ways to show heart in this game. You can do it Tiger's way, which is the other-worldly skill and the cold stare or you could do it Rocco's way, which is to be happy-go-lucky but not have a smidgeon of give-up in you.

No. 3 ' Torrey Trio
In one of the most unforgettable rounds in major history, Tiger chips in for birdie and converts two eagle putts from a combined 100 feet, both on the back nine, to seize the third-round lead.
Michael Collins, XM Radio: You can't eagle two holes in the U.S. Open on the back nine for the lead on Saturday. You can't. Can you?
Tommy Roy: When we got off the air, the first thing I thought was, 'Can you imagine if this had been Sunday.' But it was Saturday, and we still had Sunday to go.
Curtis Strange: My oldest son, he and his wife were in a sports bar. Tiger chips it in on 17. He called me the next morning and he said, 'Dad, you wouldn't believe this bar. Everyone stood up. It was like a bomb went off.

No. 2 ' The Knee
Not since the famous attack on Nancy Kerrigan's knee at the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships and the subsequent Winter Olympic Games has there been so much attention focused on one knee. Suffering from a torn ACL ligament and two stress fractures in his left leg, Tiger can no longer hide the pain as he limps and grimaces his way through the U.S. Open.
Mark Soltau, Golf Digest: I don't think he knew from shot to shot whether he'd hold up. He said that he wouldn't quit.
Mike Johnson, Golf Digest: This is Jack Youngblood playing with a broken leg, and going out there and doing great things.
Steve DiMeglio, USA Today: Wounded knee, hasn't played in six weeks...he's still Tiger.
Steve Flesch, PGA Tour player: It's kind of depressing in a way because the guy is going out there and beating everybody, at a U.S. Open, with a broken leg.

No. 1 ' 'Expect Anything Different?'
Needing to hole a 12-foot putt on the 72nd hole of regulation to force a playoff with Rocco Mediate, Tiger Woods does the expected, and rolls it in to force a Monday playoff.
Rocco Mediate: It's one of those putts where you think he's going to make it but you're not surprised he did. He's probably the best putter that ever lived, so that's what happens.
Tiger Woods: I hit a good putt, but it took forever to break. It's not breaking, not breaking, not breaking and then the last foot it moved just enough to catch the inside right part of the lip.
Todd Wright: Michael Jordan once said in a TV ad, he remembers all of his misses. We don't. Tiger's the same way. When he really, really, really needs the ball to drop, it drops.

Thompson wins Race, loses tournament after short miss

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 8:52 pm

The drama went down to the very last hole in the LPGA's final event of 2017. Here's how things ended up at the CME Group Tour Championship, where a surprising miss from Lexi Thompson opened the door for Ariya Jutanugarn to win in dramatic fashion:

Leaderboard: Ariya Jutanugarn (-15), Lexi Thompson (-14), Jessica Korda (-14), Pernilla Lindberg (-13), Eun-Hee Ji (-13)

What it means: There were scenarios aplenty entering the final round, with nearly every season-long accolade still hanging in the balance. Thompson appeared set to take them all as she sized up a 2-foot par putt on the final hole - a stroke that looked like it would take her to world No. 1 for the first time. Instead, the putt barely touched the hole and allowed Jutanugarn to rally to victory with birdies on the closing two holes. Thompson still took home $1 million for winning the season-long Race to the CME Globe, as it was a reverse scenario from last year when Jutanugarn won the $1 million but not the final tournament.

Round of the day: Sei Young Kim made the day's biggest charge, turning in a 6-under 66 to close the week in a share of 11th at 10 under. Kim made eight birdies during the final round, including five over her first eight holes en route to her lowest round of the week while erasing a third-round 75.

Best of the rest: Jutanugarn seemed like an afterthought as the tournament was winding down, but she kept her hopes alive with an 18-foot birdie on No. 17 and then capitalized on Thompson's mistake with a clutch birdie on the difficult final hole. It capped off a final-round 67 for the Thai who now ends what has been a tumultuous season with a smile on her face.

Biggest disappointment: Thompson faced heartbreak after the penalty-shrouded ANA Inspiration, and she again must handle a setback after essentially missing a tap-in with everything on the line. Thompson can enjoy a $1 million consolation prize along with the Vare Trophy, but a tournament win would have clinched Player of the Year honors as well as her first-ever trip to world No. 1. Instead, she now has the entire off-season to think about how things went awry from close range.

Shot of the day: There were only three birdies on No. 18 during the final round before Jutanugarn laced one down the fairway and hit a deft approach to 15 feet. The subsequent putt found the target and gave her win No. 7 on her young LPGA career.

Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.

Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:

Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 4:22 pm

Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.

Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.

Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.

"I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.

The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.

Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.

"I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."

McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.