USGA chief: Olympic to have hardest Open start

By Associated PressFebruary 27, 2012, 11:07 pm

SAN FRANCISCO – If USGA executive director Mike Davis has his way, the record low scores at last year’s U.S. Open at Congressional are unlikely to travel to the West Coast.

Davis said Monday at San Francisco’s majestic Olympic Club that the course will be “the hardest start in a U.S. Open” when players tee off June 14. The unleveled Lake Course in the serene setting just across the street from the Pacific Ocean will play at a par-70, 7,170 yards — 373 yards longer than the last time it hosted the national championship in 1998 — including the 670-yard 16th hole that is one of the longest par 5s in the event’s history.

Windy conditions and the threat of the city’s famous fog also could make the hilly course with fast fairways even tougher.

“I am convinced that this will be the hardest start in a U.S. Open,” Davis said after walking the course on a sun-soaked day along the California coast. “The first six holes are going to just be brutal. I would contend if you play the first six holes 2 over, I don’t think you’re giving up anything to the field.”

In decades past, the usual reaction has been to overcompensate after so many red numbers ended up on the leaderboard.

The best example might’ve come when Johnny Miller shot 63 on a rain-softened Oakmont course in the 1973 U.S. Open. The USGA got even a year later in the “Massacre at Winged Foot,” won by Hale Irwin at 7 over par.

The temptation to restore the “toughest test in golf” certainly has washed up on San Francisco’s shores.

Rory McIlroy finished at 16-under 268 last year on the rain-softened course in Bethesda, Md., the kind of eye-popping digits more likely at a lower-tier PGA Tour stop. Runner-up Jason Day of Australia shot 8 under, and 20 players finished under par — all of which the USGA blames more on unexpected rain than anything else.

Consider: Day’s score would have been enough to win 46 of the previous 50 U.S. Opens and force a playoff in three others. And in the previous six national championships, seven players total finished under par.

The challenge for the USGA is finding a balance between maintaining its standards and turning the tournament into a gimmick.

“We don’t want to see well executed shots penalized,” Davis said. “When setting up a course as tough as the U.S. Open, it’s really splitting hairs sometimes of not actually doing that. Our goal is to test the players mentally, physically, and test their shot-making skills.”

The course, still months away from being U.S. Open ready, is on pace to do just that.

More than half of the holes have doglegs, including four where the fairways — many some of the most narrow anywhere — will go in opposite directions. The elevation constantly changes — mimicking those steep rises from the city’s hills in the distance — and the unleveled lies could prove particularly perplexing.

The front nine will play at a par 34 and the back nine a par 36. The first hole is now a par 4 and the 17th a par 5; the eighth hole, once one of the easiest on the course, is entirely new from 1998 — with little room for error along the right-side trees.

The par-5 17th can play as long as 670 yards on the back tees, which Davis expects to happen “at least two days.” The longest hole in Open history is the 667-yard par-5 12th in 2007 at Oakmont, according to the USGA.

“I’m going to try to park my cart and watch that hole,” Davis said of the 17th. “Probably hide when I’m doing it, but nonetheless, I think it’s going to be a very, very exciting hole.”

Olympic has historically been more famous for the stars that have lost than won.

The place “where champions go to die,” as some call it, saw Arnold Palmer lose a seven-shot lead to Billy Casper with nine holes to go in 1966. Jack Fleck also beat Ben Hogan in an 18-hole playoff at Olympic in 1955, the first of four previous times the club hosted the U.S. Open. And Scott Simpson won by a stroke over Tom Watson in 1987.

“My predecessor’s predecessor, which was Frank Hannigan, I read a quote of his, and he said, `Something always magical seems to happen at Olympic,”’ Davis said. “There is something magical about it.”

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Watch: Tiger makes 6 birdies, 1 amazing par in Rd. 3

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 4:10 pm

Tiger Woods started the third round of The Open at even par, having made seven birdies and seven bogeys over the first 36 holes at Carnoustie.

Following three pars to start on Saturday, Woods went on a birdie binge.

No. 1 came with this putt at the par-4 fourth.


No. 2 with this two-putt at the par-5 sixth.


No. 3 thanks to this 30-footer at the par-4 ninth.


No. 4 after nearly jarring his approach shot on the par-4 10th.


No. 5 when he almost drove the green at the par-4 11th and two-putted, from just off the green, from 95 feet.


And No. 6, which gave him a share of the lead, came courtesy another two-putt at the par-5 14th.


Woods bogeyed the par-3 16th to drop out of the lead and almost dropped - at least - one more shot at the par-4 18th. But his tee shot got a lucky bounce and he turned his good fortune into a par.


Woods shot 5-under 66 and finished the day at 5 under par.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 21, 2018, 4:05 pm

Tiger Woods made six birdies and one bogey on Saturday for a 5-under 66 in the third round of The Open. We're tracking him as he vies for major No. 15.


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Rose's Saturday 64 matches Carnoustie Open record

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 1:03 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose needed to sink a 14-foot putt on the final hole Friday just to make the cut on the number at The Open.

Freewheeling when he came to the course Saturday, Rose tied the lowest score ever recorded in an Open at Carnoustie.

Entering the weekend nine shots off the lead, the world No. 3 carded a bogey-free, 7-under 64 to at least make things interesting. It won’t be known for several hours how many shots Rose will be behind, but his back-nine 30 gives him an opportunity, if the wind blows 25 mph Sunday as forecast, to challenge the leaders.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


After all, Paul Lawrie was 10 shots back entering the final round here in 1999.

“I think the birdie on 18 last night freed me up, and I’m just very happy to be out on this golf course and not down the road somewhere else this morning,” said Rose, who is at 4-under 209. “So that might have been part of the shift in mindset today. I had nothing to lose from that point of view.”

Rose’s 64 matched Steve Stricker and Richard Green’s record score at Carnoustie (2007).

It also was Rose’s career-low round in a major.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 12:20 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Saturday, Day 3 (Times ET)

4:30-7AM (Watch): Sunny skies and birdies were on the menu early in Round 3, as Justin Rose made his way around Carnoustie in 64 strokes. Click here or on the image below to watch.


Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

8:20AM-3PM (Watch): As the skies cleared on Friday afternoon, defending champion Jordan Spieth made a run to try and regain the claret jug. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith.


Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.