New York New Yorkers and the Open
Walking around Bethpage State Park, this attractive collection of golf courses a few minutes north of the Farmingdale train station, you feel like a guest of the people of New York: The city, the state, the state of mind. This is my second trip to the area since September 11, and I feel confident in concluding this: I like New Yorkers. I want to be on the same team as New Yorkers. As my friends and I used to say years ago when it was more possible, if I ever get in a bar fight, I want New Yorkers on my side.
Reasonable question: How do you discover all this against the backdrop of a golf tournament?
Its more shown than spoken, although people here have never been afraid to speak. Even removing the odd (and in my case, inexplicable) magnetic effect of carrying a microphone around, I was struck by the number of people at Bethpage who approached Golf Channel people, hands out, smiles bright, speaking words to this effect:
Welcome to New Yawk! Like our cawse? Yeah, I play the Red all the time, but the Black, whoa boy, maybe once or twice a yee-ah. Gotta man up for that one. Hey, where you stayin? Theres a good Italian place ovah there. Ill give you directions. Me? Oyster Bay. My friend hee-ahs from Syosset.
Yes, the island and the city are replete with aggressive drivers, rusting bridges, indifferent cabbies, and airports right out of Dante. But theres no one quite like New Yorkers.
As best as I can figure out, they are proud that such a prestigious championship in such a pure sport (no doping, no posses, no prima donna free agents holding management hostage for undeserved millions, no uncaring management looking for naming rights while forgetting the fans) would come to their back yard, to a public course. It fits. Theres more public in New York than anywhere.
And beyond that, they are just proud, but in a way that takes more maturity than jaw-jutting. The entire regions population could be forgiven for terminal belligerence after what happened to their city. But what I see in their eyes looks like a slow, warm burn instead of an inferno. New Yorkers refuse to be daunted. They will not hand over that victory to the blackguards who attacked their city and our country.
Instead, they will come out and enjoy the golf. As I said on television Wednesday, the Masters promotes an atmosphere of easy gentility. But the early part of U.S. Open week is the summers first golf festival.
Not that the week has been without poignant moments. Retired New York firefighter John Vigiano, who lost two sons, a fireman and a policeman, in the attack on the World Trade Center, wears a patch on his golf shirt showing a picture of his boys in uniform. The patch bears the words, Our Twin Towers. If you can hold back tears after seeing that, witness Vigianos grandson giving to U.S. Golf Association president Reed Mackenzie a golf ball that was found in the rubble at Ground Zero. See the widows and other children afterward, smiling in thanks to the reporters and others who attended. Its no wonder that one of our cameramen, who has a reputation for being a little callous, was stone-faced and quiet for some time after shooting that press conference.
But New Yorkers refuse to wallow. They continued to welcome visitors and mingle in friendly fashion on the golf course, by the putting green, in the merchandise tent, and at the train station, where many of us laughed and shuffled about as we tried to fit as many people as possible under a rain shelter Wednesday afternoon.
Back in my lawyer days, in Pittsburgh, I would often work late on summer evenings and then walk across the bridge to Three Rivers Stadium and take in a Pirates game. Along about the third inning, slouching in my seat, tie undone and suit coat rumpled, I had already struck up baseball chats with the strangers sitting around me. The rapport grew quickly, so that by the eighth, the poor guy selling the early edition of the next days Post-Gazette would again have to endure the old joke as one of us mouthed off, Hey, who won the game?
Ive seen it happen over and over, this greasing of the social wheels that sports provides. Be it baseball, World Cup, golf, you name it ' people use sports as a way to loosen up, to relax, to start talking ' and smiling.
New Yorkers have used it as a way to keep healing. And for that, may God and golf continue to bless them.
Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.
Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.
The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.
Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.
Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.
Third-round tee times for the 147th Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.
Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.
Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.
Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.
4:15AM ET: Gavin Green
4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed
4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose
4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton
4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley
5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner
5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson
5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)
5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood
5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello
6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford
6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma
6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele
6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood
6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na
6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin
7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim
7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira
7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters
7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li
7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker
7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink
8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook
8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris
8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim
8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari
8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson
8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell
9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka
9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott
9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren
9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone
9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett
10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler
10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell
10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau
10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen
10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele
10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood
11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson
Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.
He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.
“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.
At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.
Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.
“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”
Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?
Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.
Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.
“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”
Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.
Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.
“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.
More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.
“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”