Pondering Sunday at Pebble

By Jay CoffinJune 20, 2010, 7:40 am

2010 U.S. OpenPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – We’re on the eve of crowning a champion in the 110th U.S. Open here at Pebble Beach. But before we do, here are nine questions to ponder as we head into the final round of a championship that began with high expectations. Consider this our final nine:

Will the 14th hole take any prisoners?

Yes, it will, for certain. But the USGA just hopes that it won’t be anyone who is in contention. There have been numerous train wrecks on the 580-yard par 5 hole during the week because of the tiny green tucked behind a bunker. Pablo Martin, Erick Justesen and Camilo Villegas all made 8 Saturday and there were a slew of 7s. This championship’s worst nightmare would be for, say, Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson or Graeme McDowell to get to that tee box with the lead and gag away the hardware.

Can Europeans end the 40-year U.S. Open drought?

They can, but it’s not likely. McDowell, a Northern Irishman, is the only real threat but he has a ton of major championship experience chasing him with Woods, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson. But Padraig Harrington said Friday following the second round that McDowell is good enough to win a major right now.

Gregory Havret and Alex Cejka are the only other Europeans close to the lead but they’re both too inexperienced. It’s still difficult to believe that a European hasn’t won the U.S. Open since 1970, when Tony Jacklin won. There have been so many great Europeans over the past 40 years – Bernhard Langer, Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Colin Montgomerie to name a few – yet none has won this championship.

Speaking of Gregory Havret, who is he and how is he on the leaderboard?

He’s a 33-year-old Frenchman who is playing in his first ever U.S. Open and only his fourth major championship. He’s won three times on the European Tour but the biggest came in 2007 at the Scottish Open where he took down Mickelson in a playoff. The biggest reason why Havret is tied for fourth-place right now is because he’s avoided the big numbers. He made double bogey on his second hole in the first round but has made 10 birdies over the past three days and has his putter working.

“I hope I won’t think too much about this night coming,” Havret said. “It’s a day, obviously very important and very fantastic for me tomorrow.”

Will Phil Mickelson avoid a sixth second-place U.S. Open finish?

Yes, but only because he’ll finish third or worse. Too much has to happen for Mickelson to capture his first U.S. Open crown and too many heavy hitters are ahead of him. It’s just not likely that he’ll be the only one playing well in the final round, which is what needs to happen for him to win or finish second. There’s always next year.

Will the winner be anyone other than Dustin Johnson, Graeme McDowell or Tiger Woods?

No. Those are the three guys. Woods is the man that everyone will be watching but Johnson put up the same score Saturday (66) to jump to a three-shot lead. Woods has never come from behind to win a major championship and Johnson has won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am here each of the last two years. McDowell is a world class player who broke out of the proverbial shell two years ago as a stalwart on the European Ryder Cup team. One of these three will win.

If the winner isn’t Johnson, McDowell or Woods, who will it be?

Mickelson and Els are the only two possibilities. Els is at even par and Mickelson is at 1 over. Each man needs to shoot at least 66 and hope that everyone in front runs into a terrible fortune on the aforementioned 14th hole.

Will this be Tom Watson’s final U.S. Open?

Earlier in the week Watson met with the press and said that this is likely his last U.S. Open. He thanked the USGA for giving him the special exemption here at a place that means so much to him because of his Open victory in 1982. So when he made the cut on the number Friday, it was a sentimental moment because the gallery knew they’d see Watson at least two more days. But following Saturday’s third round, where Watson shot 70, he dropped a glimmer of hope that he could play in another Open.

“If I were to win the U.S. Senior Open, and that's my goal, that would be – I would play the following year in the U.S. Open, regardless,” he said.

And there’s no reason to believe he can’t.

What will be the winning score?

Five under par. So do the math – Johnson would need to shoot 72, McDowell needs to shoot 69, Woods needs to shoot 67 and anyone else needs a minor miracle. Plain and simple.

Will the champion be a legend like Pebble Beach has produced in Opens past?

No. Adding to the list of Pebble Beach U.S. Open winners Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Tom Kite and Tiger Woods will be. . . . Dustin Johnson. He just has this place figured out better than anyone else. It’s sort of surprising too because this is one of shortest Open setups in recent memory and Johnson is the longest hitter in the field. It difficult to think that he can replicate his success of Saturday – the four-hole stretch where he was 4 under was impressive, as was the birdie, birdie finish – and post another 66 but he won’t need too because he has a three-shot lead.

“Ever since I’ve come here, I’ve loved playing here,” Johnson said.

He’ll love it even more after Sunday.

Getty Images

Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.