Notes OHair Changes Qualifying Sites

By Associated PressJune 3, 2005, 4:00 pm
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Sean O'Hair's game is in good shape going into Monday's 36-hole sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open. He hasn't missed a cut since Phoenix, finished one shot behind two weeks ago in Dallas and heads into the weekend at the Memorial six shots out of the lead.
But qualifying might be tougher than he expected.
O'Hair signed up for the sectional at Woodmont in Rockville, Md., where a 156-man field consisting primarily of PGA Tour players will battle for 22 spots. He recently found out that he has been bumped to another site.
``They told me my entry came in too late and there's a pecking order,'' O'Hair said Friday.
The USGA, concerned about crowded fields that made it difficult to finish 36 holes in one day, created overflow sites this year in Columbus (after the Memorial) and Rockville (before the Booz Allen Classic).
``It comes down to numbers,'' USGA spokesman Marty Parkes said. ``He's getting a chance to compete like everyone else. But even at sectionals, we've got hundreds and hundreds of players to accommodate.''
Parkes pointed out that the entry form contains a clause that informs players they are not guaranteed the sectional site for which they sign up.
O'Hair got bumped from Woodmont to Chevy Chase, where 16 players will vie for a single spot. Tommy Tolles and Paul Claxton are the only other players with PGA Tour experience at Chevy Chase. The competition won't be as severe, but there is no margin for error; only the lowest score advances to Pinehurst No. 2.
``I'd rather play the tour stop,'' O'Hair said. ``To win an event, you've got to play really well. I don't care if there's 10 players or 16 players. At the tour stop, you've got to play good, but you don't have to play great to get in. With one spot, you've got to play flawless.''
O'Hair already did that once. He was the medalist at his local qualifier.
No one was more careful marking his ball on the green Friday than Scott Verplank.
Verplank incurred a bizarre one-stroke penalty in the first round when he went to replace his ball on the par-3 eighth. Just inches from the turf, the ball slipped out of his hand and landed on the edge of his coin, causing it to flip.
``It was heads and it came up tails,'' Verplank said. ``So, obviously it moved.''
He figured he would move the coin back, but then paused. He had never seen that happen, so he summoned a rules official and got the bad news.
Verplank isn't a big fan of the rule.
``Being penalized for being a clumsy human is not a good part of the rules,'' he said.
The penalty stroke gave Verplank a 75 on Thursday, although he rebounded nicely with a 66 in the second round. That included a 5-wood into 9 inches on the par-5 fifth for eagle.
Did he mark that ball?
``No, I just tapped that one in,'' he said.
Tiger Woods said his father, Earl, was finished with radiation treatments and is free of cancer, although he won't be able to travel to Pinehurst for the U.S. Open.
Earl Woods went to the Masters but never made it to the course. Woods broke down during the green jacket presentation as he paid tribute to his father.
``He's not traveling very much any more,'' Woods said. ``He's going to take it easy. Augusta kind of took its toll on him a little bit.''
Woods went to California last month to see his parents, and flew them both to his charity concert in Las Vegas.
While his father is free of cancer, Woods said the recovery is not as fast as it was the first time around because Earl Woods is getting older -- and sticks to the same habits.
``He's 1-over 73,'' Woods said. ``And on top of that ... he doesn't exactly take care of himself. He's still puffing away, and that's just the way it is. He's been real stubborn about everything. It's gotten him here this far, so we'll just kind of leave him be.''
Joe Ogilvie grew up about 45 minutes away in Lancaster, Ohio, but even he knows he's not the most famous athlete from his town -- at least not in these parts.
Also from Lancaster is Rex Kern, the quarterback who led the Ohio State Buckeyes to the national title in 1968.
``Everybody knows Rex Kern,'' Ogilvie said. ``Being second to Rex Kern isn't all that bad.''
Seventy players were at 1 over par until former Memorial champion Jim Furyk bogeyed the par-3 16th, allowing nine other players to make the cut at 2-over 146. That included Charles Howell III, who shot 69. ... Bill Haas had a 76 to make the cut on the number. The son of Jay Haas is in the field as the Jack Nicklaus Award winner, given to the top college player last year. It does not count against his seven PGA Tour exemptions. ... Former British Open champion Ben Curtis shot a 42 on the back nine for a 77, finishing last among 105 players. In the first round, Curtis shot a 43 on the back nine.
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    Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

    By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

    There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

    The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

    Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

    If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

    “The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

    The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

    Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

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    Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

    There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

    Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

    While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

    Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

    1. Brooks Koepka

    2. Dustin Johnson

    3. Patrick Reed

    4. Justin Thomas

    5. Jordan Spieth

    6. Rickie Fowler

    7. Bubba Watson

    8. Webb Simpson


    9. Bryson DeChambeau

    10. Phil Mickelson

    11. Matt Kuchar

    12. Brian Harman

    On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

    Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

    European Points

    1. Tyrrell Hatton

    2. Justin Rose

    3. Tommy Fleetwood

    4. Francesco Molinari


    5. Thorbjorn Olesen

    6. Ross Fisher

    World Points

    1. Jon Rahm

    2. Rory McIlroy

    3. Alex Noren

    4. Matthew Fitzpatrick


    5. Ian Poulter

    6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

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    Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win

    By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

    Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.

    Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.

    The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.

    The second is from Sunday night.

    And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

    Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.

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    Koepka moves to No. 4 in world with U.S. Open win

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:05 pm

    After successfully defending his U.S. Open title, Brooks Koepka reached a new career high in the Official World Golf Ranking.

    Koepka held off Tommy Fleetwood to win by a shot Sunday at Shinnecock Hills, becoming the first player to go back-to-back in nearly 30 years. As a result, he jumped five spots in the latest rankings to No. 4, six spots higher than he reached with last year's U.S. Open victory at Erin Hills.

    Fleetwood finished alone in second place and moved up two spots to No. 10, tying his career-best placement. Patrick Reed moved up two spots to No. 11 by finishing fourth, while fifth-place Tony Finau went from No. 37 to No. 31.

    Updated Official World Golf Ranking

    It was a largely quiet week in the rankings despite the fact that a major championship was contested. Outside of Koepka and Finau, the only other player inside the top 50 to move up or down more than three spots was Jason Dufner, who went from 53rd to 48th with a T-25 finish.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1 for the second consecutive week, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Koepka and Jordan Spieth. Jon Rahm dropped one spot to No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Fleetwood rounding out the top 10. Hideki Matsuyama fell two spots to No. 12, dropping out of the top 10 for the first time since October 2016.

    Despite a missed cut at Shinnecock, Tiger Woods actually moved up one spot to No. 79 in the latest rankings. He plans to play the Quicken Loans National and The Open in the coming weeks, which will be his final two chances to move into the top 50 in time to qualify for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The event is being held for the final time this summer at Firestone Country Club, where Woods has won eight times.