Marathon Now a Sprint

By Rex HoggardJune 21, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 U.S. OpenFARMINGDALE, N.Y. ' The U.S. Golf Association managed to play roughly eight hours of uninterrupted golf at a tournament that has had all the cohesiveness of a college frat party and accomplished, well, nothing.
A towheaded kid from California with a long swing and John Dalys pants still leads. A square-shouldered southerner with a John Wayne delivery has joined the fray atop the leaderboard. And the games two most important calling cards are running out of time.
Ricky Barnes
Ricky Barnes became just the fourth player to reach double digits under par in a U.S. Open. (Getty Images)
For the first time in seven days the 109th U.S. Open appears as if it may finally end, albeit on Monday, Mother Nature permitting. Whats not so clear is who will be the last man with dry socks.
Ricky Barnes still leads, despite more missed putts and fairways on Sunday than the golf gods normally tolerate from a front-runner. Lucas Glover, who made a mess of his third-round front nine before remembering that nobody in this weeks field is driving the ball better, is all square with him at 7 under, one-and-a-half holes into the final frame.
And Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the marquee the whole of NYC has been waiting in ankle-deep mud for, are just close enough ' seven and five strokes back, respectively ' to make things interesting.
They both, however, will need help from Glover and Barnes, and the reformed wild child has not tipped his hand to a collapse just yet. In fact, for a time early Sunday it appeared as if the championship had ended, in form if not function.
Hollywood Ricky played his first six holes of Round 3 in 3 under, moved to 11 under to become just the fourth player in 109 national get-togethers to sport a double-digit under-par total and was six up on the field and a cool dozen clear of Woods.
Nothing gives New Yorkers reason to pause like a September swoon by the Yankees and a Bethpage Open turned pincushion by four days of nonstop rain. For a time Barnes and Mother Nature turned the mighty Black into a pitch-and-putt. We imagine the USGA already had Open Doctor Rees Jones charting 18 new tee boxes that stretch the layout all the way to Yonkers.
Sanity seemed restored when Barnes went hay to hay and made a good bogey at No. 10. A hole later he opened the door even further with his second consecutive hook and a momentary request for his second consecutive reload. Worst word an Open leader can mutter? Provisional.
Barnes managed just three pars on his inward nine, an Open antithesis, and seemed pleased to sign for a 70 that could have easily been a 75.
Sunday, even par at a U.S. Open, I cant complain, said Barnes, who showed signs of stress late with a bogey at his 55th hole and a tee shot at the second pulled seven paces into the knee-high fescue to start Lap 4.
After Glover, who posted the type of closing nine (3-under 33) to his third round that wins major championships, and Barnes the board reads David Duval, Ross Fisher, Mickelson, Mike Weir and Hunter Mahan. The year 2003 called, they want their leaderboard back.
Duval, whose longtime swing coach Puggy Blackmon called a new man, birdied the last and is 16 holes away from his most meaningful victory. While Mickelson, who seems to have supplanted Derek Jeter in the hearts and minds of New Yorkers everywhere, left the door open with birdies at two of his final three.
Interestingly, the games ultimate marathon will quickly become a sprint on Monday morning. Barnes and Glover completed just one hole of the final round Sunday before the familiar sound of air horns filled the cool twilight air. Duval, Woods, Mickelson & Co. are running out of at bats.
The situation will be particularly dire for Woods, who played seven holes and is a touchdown back heading into Monday mornings rush-hour finish. Although the world No. 1 offered a glimmer of hope with a chip in at the 17th to finish his third round ' about the only thing all week, other than the weatherman, that has made him laugh ' and a birdie in the growing gloom at the seventh he continues to struggle on the Blacks greens and still has never won a major from behind.
If I can put a number up (Sunday) afternoon ' and Ill probably need a little help, Woods, the 2002 champ, said when asked his chances of scoring the Bethpage double.
Odds are this Open will go to an off-Broadway player given Woods putting woes and Mickelsons inconsistencies. And Barnes is as off-Broadway as they come, having spent the better part of his rookie campaign with weekends off (six missed cuts in 13 events). Hes also become the de-facto favorite of sports most partisan crowd.
Hes got cooler pants than I do, Glover smiled.
Hes also got big shoes to fill and 17 muddy holes to survive if hes going to make this fairytale come true.

Email your thoughts to Rex Hoggard
Related Links:
  • Full U.S. Open Scores
  • Full Coverage - The 109th U.S. Open
  • Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

    Getty Images

    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.

    Getty Images

    Wie takes shot at LPGA dress code in crop top

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 10, 2017, 5:33 pm

    The new LPGA dress code got mixed reviews when it was announced in July, and Michelle Wie is taking full advantage of her offseason with no restrictions.

    The 28-year-old former U.S. Women's Open champion is keeping her game sharp while back in her home state of Hawaii, but couldn't help taking a shot at the rules while doing it, posting a photo to Instagram of her playing golf in a crop top with the caption, "Offseason = No dress code fine."

    Offseason = No dress code fines #croptopdroptop

    A post shared by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

    Wie isn't the first to voice her displeasure with the rules. Lexi Thompson posted a similar photo and caption to Instagram shortly after the policy was announced.