US Open - A Quick Six

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 12, 2006, 4:00 pm
U.S. OpenWith U.S. Open Week in full swing we asked The Golf Channel's Mark Lye, Frank Nobilo and Brian Hewitt, and TheGolfChannel.com's Mercer Baggs to answer a few questions about the season's second major.
 
Do you think Phil Mickelson will capture his third consecutive grand slam title at Winged Foot?
 
Mark Lye
No, Phil can win any tournament these days, but this particular one I don't see him keeping the ball in play enough. He also needs to avoid making so many bogeys (as he did at Muirfield) if he wants to be in the last two groups on Sunday.
 
Frank Noiblo
No, because he tends to struggle too much with tight, restricting golf courses.
 
Mercer Baggs
I think that he is the favorite, and I expect him to contend. He'll make his share of bogeys, but he should make plenty of birdies. However, I'll take the field over Phil.
 
Brian Hewitt
I think the sheer mathematical odds are stacked against Phil Mickelson winning his third straight major at Winged Foot. That having been said, I think he is the favorite to win the event.
 
Following the long layoff and lingering affects of his fathers death, will Tiger Woods be able to contend ' or even win ' his third U.S. Open title?
 
Lye
No, but I don't think he will be affected negatively by his fathers recent passing; this will only motivate him to do better. If he were to win this one, it would be his greatest win ever in a major, and I don't put it past him. Winged Foot does not fit his style of play; there is a lot of movement in the fairways (like Oak Hill), so he will struggle along with all the other power hitters.
 
Nobilo
Yes, if Tiger is in contention come the weekend, then he could be an even more dominant force than before due to the passing of his father. We haven't seen the best of Tiger Woods yet!
 
Baggs
I'd like to say yes, and hate going against Tiger, but I don't think that he will. Good friend John Cook said that Woods has been playing well at home, but there is a big difference between playing at home and playing against real competition for the first time in nine weeks -- in the U.S. Open, nonetheless. I think that he might struggle to make the cut.
 
Hewitt
Woods, I think, will contend. I will not be surprised in the least if he wins the championship.
 
Do you enjoy watching the best players in the world struggle to make par like they do at a U.S. Open or would you like to see more opportunities for them to make birdie?
 
Lye
Yes, I like it. But I wouldn't want a steady diet of it. A U.S. Open usually has an element of 'unfairness' to it (like the seventh hole at Shinnecock). If the USGA can avoid those kinds of things and make it play tough the proper way instead of gimmicks, I am all for it.
 
Nobilo
The score is irrelevant. I like to see the best players in the world be tested and would rather see them par the hardest hole in the world than birdie the easiest.
 
Baggs
I don't enjoy it as much as I used to, which probably goes back to Shinnecock. Still, the U.S. Open only comes around once a year, so it's good to see the best players in the world face the ultimate test in course conditions.
 
Hewitt
The U.S. Open is my favorite major mostly because the value of par is more highly prized as a commodity than at any other championship in golf.
 
Who is your sleeper pick to win the U.S. Open?
 
Lye
Zach Johnson. He's been playing very well of late.
 
Nobilo
Jim Furyk, because he is a 'threader' of the ball.
 
Baggs
I would say Retief Goosen, since everyone sleeps on him, but that's too easy. Every past U.S. Open winner at Winged Foot had either already won a major before their Open triumph or went on to win another major. That in mind, I'll take David Toms. But also keep an early eye on Brett Quigley, who has been playing well lately, was medalist at Canoe Brook, and was the first-round co-leader in his last U.S. Open (2003 at Olympia Fields).
 
Hewitt
My sleeper pick for the U.S. Open is Arron Olberholser.
 
Which player has the best chance of becoming the first European-born player to win the U.S. Open since 1970?
 
Lye
Henrik Stenson. If he can get on a run like he had at the beginning of this year, watch out!
 
Nobilo
Sergio Garcia, because he is one of the most talented Europeans around at this point, and David Howell, as he has played the best both inside and outside the USA in the last 12 months.
 
Baggs
Though he's been a major disappointment in the majors thus far, I'll go with Luke Donald, based on his iron play. Also, David Howell has played well lately.
 
Hewitt
I think David Howell has the best chance among the Euros - Four words: Rich veign of form.
 
Do you think Michelle Wie will ever qualify for the mens U.S. Open, or any other mens major?
 
Lye
Yes, it is only a matter of time, but she has got to learn how to become a better putter. That's what's holding her back from moving up.
 
Nobilo
As long as Michelle Wie continues to attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open, then yes, I do think she will eventually reach her goal. The U.S. Open is her best chance to qualify for a men's major purely because of the qualifying system.
 
Baggs
Having seen all 143 swings in person at Canoe Brook, I think that she will definitely qualify for a men's major. Putting can be a tricky thing, as some guys, like Sergio Garcia and Charles Howell III, just never get 'it' -- they're too techinical. If Wie ever finds a feel around the greens, she will be unstoppable in women's play and will provide a good test against the men.
 
Hewitt
I do think Michelle will qualify one day if she keeps after it.
 
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.