Remembering Ouimet: Trivia

By Al TaysJune 4, 2013, 12:00 pm

•  The date Sept. 11, which would become infamous in U.S. history in 2001, was a key date in the lives of two of the protagonists of the 1913 U.S. Open. Francis and Stella Ouimet were married on Sept. 11, 1918, and writer Bernard Darwin's mother died on Sept. 11, 1876, four days after giving birth to him.

• Ouimet's wife was the sister of John Sullivan, a former schoolboy rival he had once defeated in the first round of the Boston Interscholastic Championship.

 Remembering Ouimet
Baggs: Who was Francis?
Baggs: Search for Ouimet
Tays: Anatomy of upset
Tays: Turning point in U.S.
Mosier: Eddie Lowery story
Timeline | Trivia | Bag | Photos
Why Vardon and Ray?
The Country Club
Vardon and the Titanic
Inspiring other writers
Full Coverage

• In a 1963 article in Golf Journal written by Joe Dey, then the executive director of the USGA, Scotsman Charles D. Thom said about the 1913 U.S. Open: 'I remember an amusing incident. You should have seen the expression on the faces of the players when, on the first tee, they were given a small bottle of Scotch whiskey before starting off in the pouring rain.'

• The original purpose of Harry Vardon's 1900 tour of the U.S. was to promote his gutta-percha golf ball, the Vardon Flyer. But it turned out to be a commercial failure because of the development of the wound-rubber Haskell ball, which far surpassed it in performance.

• Ouimet was also interested in baseball and (unsuccessfully) applied to become a batboy for the Boston Red Sox.

• A lifelong fan of Boston's sports teams, Ouimet served as president of the NHL Bruins in 1931 and vice president of the baseball Boston (now Atlanta) Braves in 1941.

• Ouimet’s younger brother, Raymond, won the first Massachusetts Junior Championship in 1914.

Portrait of Francis Ouimet as captain of the R&A

• Ouimet's and Vardon's birthdays are one day apart – Ouimet's on May 8 (1893), Vardon's on May 9 (1870).

• A version of the famous painting of Ouimet wearing the red jacket symbolic of his being named the first American captain of the R&A in 1951 was done by future U.S. president and golf enthusiast Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Eisenhower painting now hangs in the R&A clubhouse at St Andrews.

• Bernard Darwin, the British golf writer who was sent to America in 1913 to chronicle the expected victory of Vardon or Ray, was a grandson of the famous naturalist Charles Darwin. He also was an accomplished golfer himself.

• Eddie Lowery became a top amateur player in his own right, winning the 1919 and 1920 Massachusetts Junior Championships (the former played at The Country Club) and the 1927 Massachusetts Amateur.

• Winning the 1913 U.S. Open was NOT Ouimet's greatest thrill in golf. In a 1963 interview with Joe Looney of the Boston Herald, he said, 'My greatest thrill, however, came when I won the United States Amateur Championship in 1914 at Ekwanok, Manchester, Vt. Winning the Open was one thing. The winning of the Amateur was the fulfillment of an ambition. The Open was a windfall. The Amateur was within reach, or so I thought.'

• Criticism of overly demonstrative golf galleries (think 'You da man,' 'Mashed potatoes,' et al) is nothing new. British golf writer Henry Leach had this to say about American galleries at the 1913 U.S. Open: '... I do wish these American golfing congregations would restrain themselves more in the matter of their applause, which becomes very wearisome and trying in its frequency. ... I wish that officials and people with flags would do something to discourage this constant clapping of hands and cheering at strokes which are often nothing much out of the ordinary, for after all a golf course is not a circus ...'

Getty Images

Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

Getty Images

Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

Getty Images

DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... 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."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

Getty Images

LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.