Architect Hanse revonovates historic Country Club

By Associated PressOctober 22, 2012, 10:03 pm

BROOKLINE, Mass. – When Gil Hanse was hired to renovate the golf course at The Country Club, he knew there were some corners of the historic property that were better left alone.

''Vardon's bunker on 17. That was the one thing that was untouchable,'' he said on Monday while visiting the site of three U.S. Opens, the 1999 Ryder Cup and a half-dozen men's and women's U.S. Amateur championships. ''But it's always been our formula to be respectful of the original architect's vision. That's been the keystone of the success that we've had with these restoration projects.''

The Vardon bunker's signature victim was six-time British Open champion Harry Vardon, who found it during the 1913 U.S. Open playoff. American Francis Ouimet, a former caddy who grew up across the street, birdied the hole to essentially clinch a victory that obliterated the notion that golf was a game for wealthy Europeans.

But the bunker, a large sand trap along the left side of the 17th fairway only about 180 yards from the tee, has long since passed from golf hazard to historic relic.

''Obviously, for the modern game, that bunker's misplaced,'' Hanse said. ''It doesn't come into play for a championship golfer. So our challenge was: How do we add something down the line from that, without taking away from the integrity of that bunker?''

Under Hanse's guidance, The Country Club added about 100 bunkers in spots that will that are more likely to challenge today's big-hitters – even the teens and 20-somethings who will be playing in the U.S. Amateur next August on the 100th anniversary of Ouimet's seminal win. The renovation also led to the removal of hundreds of trees to allow for better grass-growing and cosmetics. A few hundred trees have also been planted.

''We had to look at this great, classic golf course to figure out: How do we update it without taking away the character, the beauty and the tradition of it?'' Hanse said.

Hanse's next stop will pose a different challenge: He is leaving next week for Rio de Janeiro to oversee construction of the course that will be used in the 2016 Olympics. That one is being built from scratch, for an event with little history in a country with even less golf tradition.

To create a course that looked like it fit in – even though there was no template for what a Brazilian golf course would look like – Hanse turned to the sandy Australian courses like Kingston Heath, outside of Melbourne.

''Our goal is to move the amount of earth you need to make something interesting but mask it so that it looks natural. Therefore it feels, in theory, traditional,'' Hanse said. ''We're really not honoring any traditions for that course. But we're hoping that our presentation honors the tradition of building natural golf courses.''

Building new and updating a traditional course both have their advantages, Hanse said.

''When you have the opportunity to build something from scratch, that's your own idea ... we have a lot of fun with that,'' he said. ''But we're quite capable and ready to turn our focus to something like this, where it's more of a preservation and restoration mode. And I think we learn a ton from soaking up what the original architect did.''

The U.S. Open returned to The Country Club on the 50th anniversary of Ouimet's victory, with Julius Boros beating Arnold Palmer and Jacky Cupit in a playoff. On the 75th anniversary, in 1988, Curtis Strange won a playoff against Nick Faldo.

When the Ryder Cup was held at the course in 1999, the Americans came back from a 10-6 deficit on the final day in what has come to be known as the ''Battle of Brookline.'' Justin Leonard helped the U.S. clinch with a 45-foot putt on the 17th green – the same hole that was pivotal in Ouimet's win.

Hanse kept his hands off that green, too.

''With any course we work on, you just want to get a good champion. You want to have good competition and identify a really good champion,'' Hanse said. ''This club has always hosted great championships, exciting finishes.''

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.

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McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

Said Harmon:

“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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How The Open cut line is determined

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

• After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

• There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

• There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:30 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (