Cleaning up from a mess at Bethpage Black

By Associated PressJune 23, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 U.S. OpenFARMINGDALE, N.Y. ' Lucas Glover finally found dry ground where he could pose with his U.S. Open trophy, taking it to the top of the Empire State Building on Tuesday.
 
He left behind a U.S. Open that might be remembered mostly as a muddy mess.
 
None of the four rounds started and ended on the same day.
 
Glover didnt play a regulation round of golf on any of the five days at this U.S. Open ' none Thursday, 31 holes Friday, five holes Saturday, 19 holes Sunday and 17 holes Monday.
 
Dan Jenkins wrote from his 200th major championship and was asked if this was the worst major he had ever covered.
 
So far, he replied.
 
It was a thing of beauty to Glover, who played the best golf at Bethpage Black. Even in miserable weather in a week when the most important piece of equipment was a squeegee, the U.S. Open still achieved its goal of identifying the best player.
 
Some random thoughts while cleaning off the mud:
 
Tiger Woods is halfway home to the Grand Slam Eve.
 
He won at Bay Hill in his final tournament before the Masters, then shot 280 at Augusta National and tied for sixth, four shots out of the lead. He won at Memorial in his final start before the U.S. Open, shot 280 at Bethpage Black and tied for sixth, four shots behind.
 
Is it possible he could win all four events he plays before the majors, without winning a major?
 
Woods is the tournament host next week at Congressional in the AT&T National, his tune-up for the British Open. His final event before the PGA Championship is at Firestone, where he has won six times.
 
Public perception of his pursuit to 19 majors depends on the last one. But consider this: Woods has finished in the top 10 in nine of his last 10 majors, and he has had 18 consecutive top 10s in stroke-play events.
 
He keeps giving himself chances, which is what separates him from everyone else.
 
Bunkers and mud topped the list of complaints at the U.S. Open.
 
The USGA refuses to allow players to lift, clean and place their golf balls in wet conditions, and more than a few players were hurt by splotches of mud at Bethpage Black. This is nothing new, although it didnt keep players from whining about it. Ian Poulter even posted a picture of a mud ball on Twitter after the third round.
 
Too much sand in the bunkers? That might be worthy of review.
 
Like other golf organizations, the USGA is trying to make sand traps the hazard they were meant to be. It added sand to create soft lies, although pushing up the sand toward the lip of the bunker is going too far.
 
David Duvals shot was buried under the lip, leading to triple bogey in the final round. He wasnt the only victim ' the same thing happened to Glover on the fifth hole, and it took him two shots to get out.
 
The obvious answer? Dont hit it in the bunker.
 
But this ran opposite of the USGAs concept of graduated rough. Miss the fairway by a little, and you still have a chance. The greater the miss, the deeper the rough.
 
In Duvals case, he missed by a fraction of avoiding the bunker and paid dearly. It would have been better for him to come up well short and be in the middle of the trap, at least giving him a chance.
 
Jack Nicklaus lost a major championship record Monday, courtesy of Phil Mickelson.
 
Along with his record 18 majors, Nicklaus held the distinction of having the most runner-up finishes in every major championship. Mickelson now tops the list at the U.S. Open with five silver medals, achieved in the last 11 years.
 
Four of those second-place finishes looked all too familiar. Mickelson missed putts inside 8 feet on the 16th and 17th at Pinehurst No. 2 in 1999; on the 17th at Bethpage in 2002; on the 17th at Shinnecock Hills in 2004; and on the 15th and 17th at Bethpage this year.
 
Winged Foot is in a league of its own.
 
Having five runner-up finishes wont be looked upon negatively if Mickelson ever wins the U.S. Open.
 
David Duval was tied for the lead with two holes to play.
 
Chew on that.
 
His last PGA Tour victory was the British Open in 2001. He finished within five shots of the lead only one time over the next eight years and 143 tournaments. Despite four bogeys in a six-hole stretch early in his third round, and that triple bogey from a plugged lie in a bunker in the third round, he had a chance to win.
 
Duval sat on the patio at Bethpage Black a week ago Sunday and sized up his chances by saying all the right things. He was hitting it great, just not scoring. Told that he had his share of skeptics, Duval understood.
 
I cant say Ive had good results, he said.
 
Fans needed to see a week like the U.S. Open to believe he could win again. Duval needed it, too.
 
Bethpage Black had the U.S. Open twice in eight years, both times in less than ideal conditions.
 
Sergio Garcia complained about the rain in 2002, and Woods won in the dark because of Sunday afternoon storms. There was so much rain this year that Ricky Barnes set a 36-hole scoring record, and more records might have been shattered without a little wind and a lot of nerves on the final few days.
 
Should it get another chance? Absolutely. It is a complete test.
 
The next opening on the U.S. Open schedule is in 2017. The question is whether Bethpage Black dries out by then.
 
Related Links:
  • Full U.S. Open Scores
  • Full Coverage - The 109th U.S. Open
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    Twitter spat turns into fundraising opportunity

    By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 6:30 pm

    Country music star Jake Owen, along with Brandt Snedeker, has turned a spat on Twitter into a fundraising campaign that will support Snedeker’s foundation.

    On Thursday, Owen was criticized during the opening round of the Web.com Tour’s Nashville Golf Open, which benefits the Snedeker Foundation, for his poor play after opening with an 86.

    In response, Snedeker and country singer Chris Young pledged $5,000 for every birdie that Owen makes on Friday in a campaign called NGO Birdies for Kids

    Although Owen, who is playing the event on a sponsor exemption, doesn’t tee off for Round 2 in Nashville until 2 p.m. (CT), the campaign has already generated interest, with NBC Sports/Golf Channel analyst Peter Jacobsen along with Web.com Tour player Zac Blair both pledging $100 for every birdie Owen makes.

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    Noren so impressed by Rory: 'I'm about to quit golf'

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 5:33 pm

    Alex Noren won the BMW PGA Championship last year, one of his nine career European Tour victories.

    He opened his title defense at Wentworth Club in 68-69 and is tied for fourth through two rounds. Unfortunately, he's five back of leader Rory McIlroy. And after playing the first two days alongside McIlroy, Noren, currently ranked 19th in the world, doesn't seem to like his chances of back-to-back wins.

    McIlroy opened in 67 and then shot a bogey-free 65 in second round, which included pars on the pair of par-5 finishing holes. Noren walked away left in awe.

    "That's the best round I've ever seen," Noren said. "I'm about to quit golf, I think."

    Check out the full interview below:

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    Bubba gets to drive dream car: K.I.T.T. from 'Knight Rider'

    By Grill Room TeamMay 25, 2018, 4:42 pm

    Bubba Watson is a known car aficionado.

    He purchased the original General Lee from the 1980’s TV show “Dukes of Hazzard” – later saying he was going to paint over the Confederate flag on the vehicle’s roof.

    He also auctioned off his 1939 Cadillac LaSalle C-Hawk custom roadster and raised $410,000 for Birdies for the Brave.

    He showed off images of his off-road Jeep two years ago.

    And he even bought a car dealership near his hometown of Milton, Fla.

    While recently appearing on the TV show “Jay Leno’s Garage,” the former “Tonight Show” host surprised Watson with another one of his dream cars: K.I.T.T.

    The 1982 Pontiac Trans Am was made famous in the ‘80s action show “Knight Rider.”

    Though, Bubba didn’t get to keep this one, he did get to drive it.

    Bubba Watson gets behind the wheel of his dream car—the KITT from Knight Rider from CNBC.

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    Cut Line: USGA readies for Shinnecock 'mulligan'

    By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 3:26 pm

    In this week’s Memorial weekend edition, the European team adheres to the Ryder Cup secret formula, the USGA readies for the ultimate mulligan at next month’s U.S. Open and a bizarre finish at the Florida Mid-Am mystifies the Rules of Golf.

    Made Cut

    Cart golf. When the U.S. side announced the creation of a Ryder Cup task force following the American loss at Gleneagles in 2014, some Europeans privately – and publicly – snickered.

    The idea that the secret sauce could be found in a meeting room did stretch the bounds of reason, yet two years later the U.S. team emerged as winners at Hazeltine National and suddenly the idea of a task force, which is now called a committee, didn’t seem so silly.

    To Europe’s credit, they’ve always accomplished this cohesion organically, pulling together their collective knowledge with surprising ease, like this week when European captain Thomas Bjorn rounded out his vice captain crew.

    Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald (a group that has a combined 47-40-13 record in the matches) were all given golf cart keys and will join Robert Karlsson as vice captains this year in Paris.

    Perhaps it took the Americans a little longer to figure out, but Bjorn knows it’s continuity that wins Ryder Cups.



    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    The USGA’s mulligan. The U.S. Open is less than a month away and with it one of the most anticipated returns in recent major championship history.

    The last time the national championship was played at Shinnecock Hills was in 2004 and things didn’t go well, particularly on Sunday when play had to be stopped to water some greens that officials deemed had become unplayable. This week USGA executive director Mike Davis was asked about the association’s last trip to the Hamptons and, to his credit, he didn’t attempt to reinvent history.

    “Looking back at 2004, and at parts of that magnificent day with Retief (Goosen) and Phil Mickelson coming down to the end, there are parts that we learned from,” Davis said. “I’m happy we got a mulligan this time. We probably made a bogey last time, maybe a double bogey.”

    Put another way, players headed to next month’s championship should look forward to what promises to be a Bounce Back Open.

    Tweet of the week:

    Homa joined a chorus of comments following Aaron Wise’s victory on Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson, which included an awkward moment when his girlfriend, Reagan Trussell, backed away as Wise was going in for a kiss.

    “No hard feelings at all,” Wise clarified this week. “We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was.”


    Missed Cut

    Strength of field. The European Tour gathers this week in England for the circuit’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, and like the PGA Tour’s marquee stop, The Players, the event appears headed for a new spot on the calendar next year.

    As the PGA Tour inches closer to announcing the 2018-19 schedule, which will feature countless new twists and turns including the PGA Championship’s move to May and The Players shift back to March, it also seems likely the makeover will impact the European Tour schedule.

    Although the BMW PGA currently draws a solid field, with this week’s event sporting a higher strength of field than the Fort Worth Invitational on the PGA Tour, it’s likely officials won’t want to play the event a week after the PGA Championship (which is scheduled for May 16-19 next year).

    In fact, it’s been rumored that the European Tour could move all eight of its Rolex Series events, which are billed as “unmissable sporting occasions,” out of the FedExCup season window, which will end on Aug. 25 next year.

    Although the focus has been on how the new PGA Tour schedule will impact the U.S. sports calendar, the impact of the dramatic makeover stretches will beyond the Lower 48.

    Rules of engagement. For a game that at times seems to struggle with too much small print and antiquated rules, it’s hard to understand how things played out earlier this month at the Florida Mid-Amateur Championship.

    In a story first reported by GolfChannel.com, Jeff Golden claimed he was assaulted on May 13 by Brandon Hibbs – the caddie for his opponent, Marc Dull, in the championship’s final match. Golden told police that Hibbs struck him because of a rules dispute earlier in the round. Hibbs denied any involvement, and police found no evidence of an attack.

    The incident occurred during a weather delay and Golden conceded the match to Dull after the altercation, although he wrote in a post on Twitter this week that he was disappointed with the Florida State Golf Association’s decision to accept his concession.

    “The FSGA has one job, and that’s to follow the Rules of Golf,” Golden wrote. “Unfortunately, there’s no rule for an inebriated ‘ex-caddie’ punching a player in a match-play rain delay with no witnesses.”

    Because of the conflicting statements, it’s still not clear what exactly happened that day at Coral Creek Club, but the No. 1 rule in golf – protecting the competition and the competitors – seems to have fallen well short.