Courses Tiger Hasnt Played Things He Hasnt Done

By Associated PressApril 24, 2007, 4:00 pm
OAKMONT, Pa. -- Given the stature of Oakmont as the foremost championship course in America, and the status of Tiger Woods as the best player in golf, it seems odd that it took 10 years for these two to get together.
 
It's all about timing -- not to mention location.
 
Oakmont will host a record eighth U.S. Open in June, the first since 1994 when Woods had just finished high school and the star born at the U.S. Open that summer was a 24-year-old South African named Ernie Els.
 
And while Woods loves to play recreational golf, he hardly travels anywhere for that.
 
After his weekend at Oakmont, he now has played every U.S. Open course over the last 25 years.
 
But there are still places to see.
 
'Ever been to Merion?' he was asked.
 
'Never,' Woods replied, and he could see where this conversation was headed. 'I've never even been to Pine Valley or Seminole.'
 
Pine Valley is annually ranked the best course in the country by some publication, and it was strange Woods has never been in the southern New Jersey area long enough to play it. Jack Nicklaus went there during his honeymoon.
 
Seminole should be no problem once Woods builds his palace in south Florida. He played Sunday afternoon with Bob Ford, the longtime head pro at Oakmont who spends his winter as the head pro at Seminole. Ford can probably set something up for him.
 
'I just don't ever go anywhere out of the way to play golf,' Woods said. 'I'm either at a tournament, or getting ready to play in a tournament and working on my game at home. I love to play, but I'd rather stay home with my buds at Isleworth or Newport Beach.'
 
Merion will host the U.S. Open in 2013, so as long as Woods can qualify that year, he'll eventually get to see the plaque on the 18th fairway -- as he's walking past it to his ball -- where Ben Hogan struck his mighty 1-iron in the final round of the 1950 U.S. Open.
 
Nicklaus won the first of his 18 majors at Oakmont, and the course lived up to Woods' expectations, with a pleasant surprise visually. The club has removed some 8,000 trees since it last held the U.S. Open, restoring the original terrain. Woods said the openness reminded him of Shinnecock Hills. From a slight rise on the 14th fairway, you can see parts of the every hole on the back nine.
 
He also had heard the debate whether Oakmont or Winged Foot was the toughest championship course on any given Sunday morning for the members. 'Of all the tournaments I've ever played, no golf course was harder than Winged Foot,' Woods said late last year.
 
He was reminded of that comment when he walked off the 18th green Sunday morning after his first trip around at Oakmont.
 
'It's not even close,' Woods said. 'It's this one.'
 
And that was with the green bumping along at about 10 1/2 on the Stimpmeter (the course was under snow a week ago). It usually runs in the neighborhood of 13 for some of the members' tournaments.
 
'Every green is pitched one way or another,' Woods said. 'If you do miss on the high side, it's impossible.'
 
He got in 54 holes of practice, the last 18 with some very surprised card members of American Express who got to tag along.
 
The next goal for Woods is to stick around longer than two rounds when he returns in June.
 
He is coming up on the one-year anniversary of a historic occasion in his pro career -- the first time he watched the final round of a major championship from his boat. He missed the cut at Winged Foot, which he had never done in a major.
 
What surprised him was that it took 10 years to happen.
 
'You figure you're going to have one bad week somewhere along the way,' he said.
 
It happened to Nicklaus in his fifth major as a pro when he missed the cut as the defending champion at the 1963 U.S. Open. It happens to everybody eventually.
 
And that brought to mind some other things due to happen to Woods:
 
  • One of these days, he's going to have a 54-hole lead at a major and lose.
     
    Woods lost the lead Sunday at the Masters, but he started the final round one shot behind Stuart Appleby, and he had the lead for all of about 15 minutes. It probably should have happened at the 2005 Masters, but Woods was spared by one last turn of the ball when he chipped in for birdie on the 16th, and by Chris DiMarco's inability to make a half-dozen birdie putts inside 12 feet.
     
    Nicklaus was 4-0 with at least a share of the 54-hole lead in majors until he lost to Charles Coody in the 1971 Masters.
     
    It will happen one of these days.
     
    'I don't know,' Woods said, not willing to concede that one just yet. 'If I keep putting myself in that position, I guess it could.'
     
  • He still hasn't come from behind to win a major, like Arnold Palmer from seven shots back in the 1960 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills, or Nicklaus shooting 30 on the back nine at Augusta National to win in 1986.
     
  • He has never lost a playoff in a major. Woods has been in only two of them. Palmer lost three playoffs in the U.S. Open.
     
  • He has never missed a major for which he was eligible.
     
    Nicklaus went 154 in a row until hip replacement surgery in 1998, although he had a few close calls with the birth of five children. Steve was born the Thursday after he won his first Masters in 1963, and Michael was born 10 days after the 1973 British Open.
     
    Woods' first child is due this summer, probably closer to the British Open than the U.S. Open. Woods has said he won't miss the birth, even if that means skipping a major.
     
    If the baby comes early, it might be awhile before he returns to Oakmont.
     
    Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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    'The Golf Club 2019' adds Elvy to commentary team

    By Nick MentaJuly 19, 2018, 4:45 pm

    “The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.

    Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.

    Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.

    A 25-year media veteran from Australia, he now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.

    "Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told GolfChannel.com in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."

    Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."

    He participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship. He teased his involvement when the game was announced in May.

    Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," Elvy lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.

    “It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.

    "The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.

    In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Web.com Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).

    “I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy added. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."

    The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.

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    Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

    Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

    Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

    “Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

    The problem was an expired visa.

    Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

    No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

    His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

    One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

    His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

    “Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

    He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

    “It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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    'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

    Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

    “The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

    The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

    “That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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    Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

    “They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

    “The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”