Olympic's 16th the longest hole in U.S. Open history

By Associated PressJune 12, 2012, 12:44 pm

SAN FRANCISCO – Louis Oosthuizen's drive drifted deep into the right rough. He laid up short of the green and stood in awe while measuring up his third shot.

Only 240 yards remained.

''If anybody is on the green in two this week, that's something special,'' Oosthuizen said of the longest hole in U.S. Open history, the remodeled par-5, 670-yard 16th at The Olympic Club.

If length weren't enough, the sharp dogleg left feels like a constant U-turn and the fairway narrows right at 300 yards.

The flag is often blind until the third shot, and ones that miss long or left will bounce even farther away because of the grass mowed razor-thin beyond the tiny green.

''The reason we did that is we really felt that would make it a true three-shotter,'' said U.S. Golf Association executive director Mike Davis, who oversees the course layout. ''The wonderful thing about that hole is that from the back, if you miss any one of your shots, it's awful hard to catch up.''


Tee to Green: Nobilo's video tour of key holes at Olympic


Players already are finding out firsthand in practice rounds.

Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, could never remember pulling out a 5 wood for his third shot before, hacking out of so much rough – ''the thickest on the entire course,'' he said – on the previous swing he had no choice.

Staring up at the elevated green, he couldn't imagine even the field's longest hitters – Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson among them – going for the flag in two, even under the best of circumstances.

''It's too risky,'' Oosthuizen said. ''The neck there on that fairway or the green is what, 6-7 yards wide? You're going to overrun it.''

Michael Thompson, the 2007 U.S. Amateur runner-up at Olympic Club, drove into the graded rough Monday. He laid up to 180 yards in front of the green and still had to hit a 5 iron.

''When do we ever hit a 5 iron on our third shot on a par 5, ever?'' Thompson said, laughing. ''I think what makes it difficult is it's guarded in front with a bunker. For a long shot coming in, it'd be hard to hold the green.''

Lucas Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion at Bethpage Black, played the 16th in his first practice round about the best anyone could hope to this week. He drove into the fairway, hammered a 3-wood short, floated the ball onto the green with a sand wedge and two putted for par.

The walk alone still wore him out.

''That hole is all you want,'' Glover said. ''I don't know that anybody, without a serious wind at their back, could get there in two. Getting there? Maybe. Getting the ball to hold? There's no chance. It's a three-shot hole for sure.''

The unleveled Lake Course is short by most U.S. Open standards.

The course plays at a par-70, 7,170 yards – 373 yards longer than the last time it hosted the national championship in 1998 - with the biggest gains coming from the 16th hole. The tee is so far back from the 15th green that it often throws off players, who have to walk about 100 feet backward for the next hole.

K.J. Choi decided to take a shortcut in his opening practice round through the fans instead of walking through the roped-off path that makes it even longer.

''Taking the short route?'' one spectator asked.

''No short route here,'' Choi jokingly responded.

The USGA's Davis expects to use the new tee for two of the four rounds, including Sunday's final. He also plans to put tees out at 570 and 630 yards, and the shortest of those could make ''golf's toughest test'' even trickier.

On that day, players with long – and straight – drives could be forced into an interesting dynamic: going for the green in two or laying up with the 522-yard 17th – playing at par 5 for the first time – setting up as the next birdie opportunity.

''Now with back-to-back par 5s,'' Davis said, ''I think you will see the U.S. Open won or lost on those two holes.''

The upward trend also has some players wondering where the limit lands.

The previous longest hole in U.S. Open history was the 667-yard 12th hole at Oakmont Country Club in 2007. No. 5 at the 2007 PGA Championship at Southern Hills played at 653 yards, and the 17th at the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol extended to 650 yards from the back tees.

Davis has insisted the 16th at Olympic is not a gimmick or a way to level the playing field for the shorter hitters. Instead, it's simply meant to be a true three swings to the green, where shaping shots and placement are paramount.

Even still, that might not be enough to stop the most daring drivers.

''One thing I've learned playing out here,'' qualifier Patrick Cantlay said, ''is somebody's always trying to reach it.''

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

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.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

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.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


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

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

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.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


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.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

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.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


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.”