Worth Watching

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 16, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 U.S. OpenThe 109th U.S. Open will begin Thursday at on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, N.Y. Here are some groups worth keeping an eye on come Round 1.

*Starting on 10th tee

7:00 a.m. ET: A-Rickie Fowler, Casey Wittenberg, Bo Van Pelt
First out is the all-Oklahoma State pairing. Fun fact: the amateur of the bunch, Fowler, is actually taking time out from filming High School Musical 8, to make his second appearance at this major. He finished T60 at Torrey Pines last year ' and number one in the hearts of many female golf fans.
7:11 a.m. ET: A-Drew Weaver, Angelo Que, Simon Khan
The Dueling Drews (see below) go off simultaneously at 7:11a.m. on their respective tees. The probability of us confusing the amateur Drews throughout the tournament? High. I mean, if we still can't differentiate between the two 'Beckys' on the TV sitcom Roseanne, this won't be any easier.
7:11 a.m. ET*: A-Drew Kittleson, Sangmoon Bae, Michael Sim
Asian Tour player Sangmoon, a gifted Korean athlete whose mom caddies for him on tour, chose professional golf over professional baseball when deciding his career path a few years back. After he misses the cut this week at his first major, he may want to rethink some things. And his mom may want to consider becoming a third base coach?
7:22 a.m. ET: A-Kyle Stanley, Lucas Glover, D.J. Trahan
You'll be able to identify this group by the orange Tiger paws painted on their faces. Interestingly, no player with Clemson ties has ever won a major. So this time, theyre bringing Howards Rock, the football teams good luck charm, to Bethpage for the players to rub before teeing off. That first and last sentence are not true.
7:44 a.m. ET: Vijay Singh, Jeev Milkha Singh, K.J. Choi
Two Singhs in a grouping? Brilliant! Apparently we were also supposed to get a Geoff Ogilvy'Joe Ogilvie pairing, but Joe ruined that dream by not qualifying. Thanks a lot, Joe.
7:44 a.m. ET*: Henrik Stenson, Andrew Svoboda, Steve Stricker
Svoboda takes Robert Karlsson's place, who withdrew due to injury. You may remember Svoboda as the lucky son of a gun who made it into the 2008 U.S. Open field thanks to Sean O'Hair and Brett Wetterich dropping out at the last minute. Well, add Karlsson's name to Svobodo's list of 'Thank You' notes to send. Then consider that last year Svovoda made the cut at Torrey Pines despite never playing the course. This time, the New York native is a bit more familiar with the one in Farmingdale.
7:55 a.m. ET: Geoff Ogilvy, Jim Furyk, Paul Casey
Many experts will have one of these three players as their chic pick to upset Tiger. Theyll cite Ogivlys temperament, Furyks accuracy, and Caseys power as reasons why they will challenge for the title. We like using air quotes, because were cool.
8:06 a.m. ET: Padraig Harrington, Angel Cabrera, Tiger Woods
The USGA usually reserves this grouping for the defending U.S. Open champion (Woods), the British Open champion (Harrington) and the reigning U.S. Amateur champion. That would have been Danny Lee, but he up and turned pro and didnt make it through qualifying. Come on by the Golf Channel, Danny; you can watch it with us.
Amateur Rickie Fowler, who will make his second U.S. Open start this week, poses with friends and teammates at the 2007 Walker Cup. (Getty Images)

8:06 a.m. ET*: Luke Donald, Clinton Jensen, Tim Clark
Mr. Jensen takes Trevor Immelman's place after the 2008 Masters champion withdrew Sunday citing tendinitis. We point this out only because, well, we forgot Immelman was even still playing professional golf.
8:17 a.m. ET*: Andres Romero, Eduardo Romero, Miguel Angel Jimenez
Starters will certainly be happy to see not only two Singhs in a group, but also two Romeros! While were on the topic, when will we ever get two Tigers? Auditions are open, Anthony Kim.
8:28 a.m. ET*: Michael Campbell, Boo Weekley, Rod Pampling
Only six more U.S.Opens left to watch your 2005 U.S. Open champion Cambo miss the cut at this major.
8:50 a.m. ET*: Bronson Burgoon, Craig Bowden, Chris Kirk
Dear Boof Bonser of the Minnesota Twins, we're breaking up with you. We are in love with a new name in the sports world! Bronson Burgoon. Bronson Burgoon. Bronson Burgoon. Bronson Burgoon...
9:01 a.m. ET: A-Cameron Tringale, Sean Farren, Andrew Parr
If this was a Jeopardy answer, the question would be: Who are three people whove never been in my kitchen? (forward to the 1:36 mark)
1:03 p.m. ET: David Duval, David Toms, Darren Clarke
Seven years ago, Duval came to Bethpage as the reigning British Open champion and the seventh-ranked player in the world (one behind Toms, by the way). Now hes a U.S. Open qualifier and ranked 882nd, a hundredth of a point behind Udorn Duangdecha. In most other professions, a fall like that would have you eating out of garbage cans. Udorn Duangdecha? Really?
1:25 p.m. ET: Sergio Garcia, Camilo Villegas, Adam Scott The galleries these hunks are likely to draw might be record-setting ' and/or potentially aggressive. Imagine golf's version of feverish Twilight fans and Jonas Brothers followers combined, and then add in the New Yorker factor. Yikes. And all will be vying for autographs and phone numbers. Nevermind that not one of the men has won a major.
1:25 p.m. ET*: Soren Kjeldsen, Soren Hansen, Peter Hanson
Uh, we haven't been this confused with similar names since there were three Jason (and Jayson) Williams players in the NBA. The question is, who is the 'White Chocolate' of this golfing trio?
1:36 p.m. ET: Retief Goosen, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson
Do you think Mickelson would trade one of his green jackets for one of Goosens or Els U.S. Open trophies?
1:36 p.m. ET*: Rocco Mediate, Kenny Perry, Tom Lehman
This grouping has more major scars than Edward Scissorhands. The USGA should at least give them a therapist as their walking standard bearer.
1:58 p.m. ET*: Mike Weir, Stephen Ames, Stewart Cink
Heres a Tweet for you Cink: Twitterz r dum. Dont kare what ur doin.
2:09 p.m. ET*: Thomas Levet, Jean-Francois Lucquin, Raphael Jacquelin
Something to impress your friends with: This is not Raphael Jacquelin's first rodeo, kids. The Frenchman with two European Tour victories actually played in the 2001 U.S. Open at Southern Hills and finished a respectable T13. We'll forgive you if you've forgotten the details of that tournament. After a horrific three-putt bogey on the 72nd hole Sunday to force a playoff, Retief Goosen finally defeated Mark Brooks the following day while 12 people watched.
2:31 p.m. ET*: Tyson Alexander, Charlie Beljan, Ryan Blaum
Here's what we know about these three: Amateur Tyson Alexander is the son of University of Florida golf coach Buddy Alexander. Charlie Beljan is the son of some man with the last name Beljan. And, as it turns out, Ryan Blaum is not baseball player Ryan Braun or even the other baseball player Ryan Braun. Hey, we're here to help. You're welcome.
Related Links:
  • Full U.S. Open Tee Times
  • Full Coverage - The 109th U.S. Open
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

    Getty Images

    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

    Getty Images

    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

    Getty Images

    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.