Patience the key to claiming U.S. Open at Merion

By Jason SobelJune 12, 2013, 8:45 pm

ARDMORE, Pa. – If golf's four major championships were brothers, the Masters would be Mom's favorite, always setting the table for dinner without being asked, then heading upstairs to study for a test that he already knew he would ace; the Open Championship would be the dreamer, prone to taking long walks in the rain and forever planning inglorious road trips; the PGA Championship would be the tag along, the little brother so quiet and agreeable that you'd almost forget he was there.

And then there's the U.S. Open. He's the troublemaker.

Towing the line between lovable scamp and caustic pain in the neck, the U.S. Open is the brother for whom everybody else needs to rearrange their schedules because of superfluous drama. From pulling an innocent prank to getting into a dust-up on the playground, he’s the one who spends more time in detention than the other three combined.

The U.S. Open is a war of attrition each year, but this week’s edition promises to reign supreme in the first-clenching category.

U.S. Open: Articles, videos and photos

How come? Well, USGA executive director Mike Davis said he never believed they’d be able to bring this tournament back to Merion Golf Club. They’ve done it, but not without more than a few logistical nightmares.

Throw in Thursday’s promise of torrential rain and wind, and this is how a competitor’s opening round might begin:

• Warm up in the dark on a range that’s more than a mile from the first tee.

• Hop in a shuttle and sit for 20 minutes, rendering previous warm-up pointless.

• Jog with caddie to first tee in order to make tee time.

• Tee off in pouring rain.

• Second shot goes awry thanks to mud caked on the ball.

• Par putt stops short of the hole because a green that was 13 on the Stimpmeter in practice is now running about a 10 in the rain.

• Tap-in for bogey. Shake head. Grit teeth. Clench fists.

• Walk to second hole. Repeat.

If there’s one attribute players will need to have in order to contend this week, it won’t be length or accuracy or even a hot putter. No, at the U.S. Open, the biggest key is patience.

“I can’t think of one where you need more,” said 2003 champion Jim Furyk.

“I think the guys who don’t complain and just go with the flow this week, it will serve them well,” explained Robert Garrigus, who finished T-3 two years ago.

“It’s a U.S. Open,” Billy Horschel stated. “Everybody’s got to deal with stuff.”

Not that this is anything new. Four years ago, consistent rain forced a Monday finish at Bethpage Black; two years ago, it yielded a Congressional course so soft that Rory McIlroy obliterated tournament scoring records.

And so far this season, 12 of the 24 PGA Tour events contested have incurred weather delays totaling 29 delays over the first five months of the year.

“This whole year on the PGA Tour, it seems like we’ve had a lot of card games and waiting around,” Kevin Streelman said. “I wasn’t very good at it when I was 22. At 34, I realize this is my profession. I also believe that you can take out a good percentage of the field by staying patient, by being smart and just accept the situation that you have instead of moaning and complaining.”

“I’ll sit in traffic sometimes and I’ll be like, ‘You know what? This is good for me,’” Garrigus added. “I’m always in my car at home because I have a long way to drive to the golf course. I’m always in traffic. And I never get mad. So I kind of translate that to the golf course.”

Of course, patience is a learned trait.

While players can spend all day ripping drivers on the range or rapping putts on the green, practicing patience is much less tangible, though not impossible.

A lot of people are impatient; this entire country is impatient,” Garrigus said. “But I think golf helps you with that. You’re waiting. You make a bogey. There’s nothing to do. So what I do is I thank somebody for volunteering or thank a fan for coming out and that kind of gets your mind off of things. I’ve been doing that for years and it’s really helped me.”

“I think it’s something that you have to be aware of,” explained Furyk. “I’ve lost my patience in this event plenty of times. I’d like to say experience helps, but learning from mistakes helps, too. That’s what experience is.”

Even those who struggle with patience can take heart in the mindset that others are also struggling this week.

“Obviously, I don’t have very much patience, as people have seen,” said Horschel, who earned his first career win last month. “My patience level is not as deep as other people, so I’ve just got to remind myself that things aren’t going to go your way sometimes – you’re going to get some bad breaks, hit some bad shots. But you have to assume that everyone is doing that. That’s how I stay patient, just by reminding myself that if I’m having trouble, other people are having trouble, too.”

That’s the way it goes at the U.S. Open. The major championship family’s troublemaker will be out to provide more pranks and dust-ups over the next four days at Merion.

Just be patient with him.

Getty Images

CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 million

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 12:50 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:

1 Jon Rahm -22 $1,062,000
2 Andrew Landry -22 $637,200
T3 Adam Hadwin -20 $306,800
T3 John Huh -20 $306,800
T3 Martin Piller -20 $306,800
T6 Kevin Chappell -19 $205,025
T6 Scott Piercy -19 $205,025
T8 Brandon Harkins -18 $171,100
T8 Jason Kokrak -18 $171,100
T8 Sam Saunders -18 $171,100
T11 Harris English -17 $135,700
T11 Seamus Power -17 $135,700
T11 Jhonattan Vegas -17 $135,700
T14 Bud Cauley -16 $106,200
T14 Austin Cook -16 $106,200
T14 Grayson Murray -16 $106,200
T17 Andrew Putnam -15 $88,500
T17 Peter Uihlein -15 $88,500
T17 Aaron Wise -15 $88,500
T20 Ricky Barnes -14 $57,754
T20 Stewart Cink -14 $57,754
T20 Brian Harman -14 $57,754
T20 Beau Hossler -14 $57,754
T20 Charles Howell III -14 $57,754
T20 Zach Johnson -14 $57,754
T20 Ryan Palmer -14 $57,754
T20 Brendan Steele -14 $57,754
T20 Nick Taylor -14 $57,754
T29 Lucas Glover -13 $36,706
T29 Russell Knox -13 $36,706
T29 Nate Lashley -13 $36,706
T29 Tom Lovelady -13 $36,706
T29 Kevin Streelman -13 $36,706
T29 Hudson Swafford -13 $36,706
T29 Richy Werenski -13 $36,706
T36 Jason Dufner -12 $27,189
T36 Derek Fathauer -12 $27,189
T36 James Hahn -12 $27,189
T36 Chez Reavie -12 $27,189
T36 Webb Simpson -12 $27,189
T36 Tyrone Van Aswegen -12 $27,189
T42 Bronson Burgoon -11 $18,983
T42 Ben Crane -11 $18,983
T42 Brian Gay -11 $18,983
T42 Chesson Hadley -11 $18,983
T42 Patton Kizzire -11 $18,983
T42 Hunter Mahan -11 $18,983
T42 Kevin Na -11 $18,983
T42 Rob Oppenheim -11 $18,983
T50 Alex Cejka -10 $14,025
T50 Corey Conners -10 $14,025
T50 Michael Kim -10 $14,025
T50 Kevin Kisner -10 $14,025
T50 Sean O'Hair -10 $14,025
T50 Sam Ryder -10 $14,025
T50 Nick Watney -10 $14,025
T57 Robert Garrigus -9 $13,039
T57 Tom Hoge -9 $13,039
T57 David Lingmerth -9 $13,039
T57 Ben Martin -9 $13,039
T57 Trey Mullinax -9 $13,039
T57 Brett Stegmaier -9 $13,039
T63 Scott Brown -8 $12,449
T63 Wesley Bryan -8 $12,449
T63 Brice Garnett -8 $12,449
T63 Sung Kang -8 $12,449
T67 Talor Gooch -7 $12,095
T67 Tom Whitney -7 $12,095
T69 Matt Every -6 $11,623
T69 Billy Hurley III -6 $11,623
T69 Smylie Kaufman -6 $11,623
T69 Keith Mitchell -6 $11,623
T69 Rory Sabbatini -6 $11,623
T69 Chris Stroud -6 $11,623
75 John Peterson -5 $11,210
76 Abraham Ancer -4 $11,092
77 Ben Silverman 4 $10,974
Getty Images

After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

Getty Images

Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

Getty Images

Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.