Mother Natures Canvas

By Randall MellJune 17, 2010, 5:04 am

2010 U.S. OpenErnie Els steps off the seventh tee and into the foreground.

Dozens of cameras are out in the gallery, clicking and clacking and humming in Wednesday’s practice round at the U.S. Open.

As popular as Els is, the funny thing is that you know the vast majority of these golf fans aren’t interested in photographing him.

He’s a prop.

He’s perspective in the foreground because the stage is bigger than the stars here.

Pebble Beach Golf Links’ seventh hole, a short little par 3 at 109 yards, is a wondrous collaboration between man and a higher power.

Jack Neville and Douglas Grant may get credit as architects for designing this hole, but God’s hand moved here. The architects get credit for being smart enough to see the possibilities in positioning tee and green here.

“It’s breathtaking,” says Eric Axley, one of the 156 players who will tee it up in Thursday’s start of the championship.

The seventh green is built on an outcropping of land sticking into Carmel Bay.

Under sapphire skies on this picturesque Wednesday, with just a hint of mist blowing off the sea, the Pacific Ocean glitters like a blanket of diamonds.

Waves slamming into the craggy rocks on the shoreline shoot skyward like little geysers.

Seagulls hover like kites, floating on the wind.

It’s the kind of day that tempts a player to reach out and pull his wife off the ropes and walk arm-in-arm to the green.

That’s what Erik Compton did after he hit his tee shot. They looked like lovers on vacation.

This is the allure of Pebble Beach’s seventh hole, where the grandeur’s so much bigger than the golf.

As a championship test, the hole’s deceptively difficult, easy to dismiss if you’ve only played it with generous winds.

Players were hitting three-quarter wedges into the hole on Wednesday.

Back in 1992, with the winds roaring off the ocean in the final round, Tom Kite needed a 6-iron to reach the green and pulled it left. He famously pitched in for birdie on his way to the title.

“I like the seventh hole,” three-time major championship winner Padraig Harrington said. “I suppose it’s only treacherous because it's so short. A little hole like that, you feel like you should be making birdie, or it shouldn't be that difficult.”

But the winds make it so. A missed shot here can find the ocean, bunkers that surround the green like a moat, or the deep wispy grasses coming up in the rough.

“The U.S. Open has a certain heritage at this golf course, a little bit like Augusta National,” Harrington said. “We remember shots that other people have hit. And they tend to be not good shots. We tend to remember the bad shots. That carries a lot of baggage, and it's not my own baggage, it's everybody else's baggage when you go to the seventh hole. It intimidates you a little bit more picking the right club to hit.

“I don't think there's any player in the field that's not rooting for their playing partner to make birdie on the sixth so that they get to go first on No. 7 and you get to see the club. With no wind, it’s a little sand wedge, it’s a birdie opportunity. Get a strong wind . . . it can be a daunting hole with a 6-iron.

“It seems the shorter the par 3s, the more intimidating, because the players feel they should perform on them. And it's harder for us sometimes to control those short irons into the wind.”

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.