Aches Pains and The Big Easy

By Brian HewittJune 12, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. OpenGeoff Ogilvy is the defending champion. But Ernie Els is the guy who won the U.S. Open the last time they played this thing at Oakmont.
 
That was 13 years ago. Els was just 24 years old. He endured in a playoff. He has won 60 times since then.
 
Yet he arrives, something of a sympathetic figure because he hasnt completely healed yet from knee surgery in 2005. The Big Easy has slipped to No. 5 in the world rankings. And he hasnt won an event in the United States since the 2004 Memorial.
 
So it was interesting Tuesday at Oakmont when Els was asked about Phil Mickelsons wrist injury and the whole concept of playing with pain.
 
Ive had legs, knees, fingers, wrists, my nose ... everything, Els said cataloguing his hurts. Youve just got to go with it. Bring a couple of Advils and get on with it.
 
FATHERS AND SONS:
This note is appropriate with Fathers Day coming Sunday:
 
Amateurs Jeff Golden and Chris Condello both have their fathers on the bag as caddies this week. I couldnt imagine having anyone else on my bag for something like this, said Condello, the Ivy League medalist this year for Columbia.
 
GREENS WITHOUT ENVY:
The players all remember the 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock when the seventh green became unplayable, at one point on the weekend, because the speed got out of control.
 
Last year USGA course set-up guy Mike Davis was very careful not to let that happen on the first hole at Winged Foot, that courses greasiest green.
 
Phil Mickelson says there are six or seven greens that could get out of hand at Oakmont if they dont get the needed watering. Most notable among them, he said, are No. 1, No. 10 and No. 12.
 
Tiger Woods added that he thinks the first hole, a 482-yard, par-4, may be the toughest hole on the golf course.
 
MORE TOUGHEST:
Asked for his opinion on the meat of the golf course at Oakmont, Sergio Garcia said, How about 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 15.
 
Its one part of the meat, but its not the whole meat. Its not the whole, you know, chicken wing or whatever you want to call it.
 
Garcia, who is Spanish, speaks very good English. But it seems something has been lost in translation here. At the same time, its clear the point he is trying to make.
 
EURO DROUGHT:
Yes, its that time again to remind everybody that no European has won a major championship in this century. Paul Lawrie of Scotland was the last Euro to win one of the Big Four when he triumphed at Carnoustie in 1999. Since then the Europeans are 0-30 in major championships.
 
Padraig Harrington, No. 11 in the world, came close last year, finishing fifth at Winged Foot, and is a player a lot of people think can break the Euro jinx. Just dont ask him about jinxes.
 
I think thats a way of just using historical data to try and put something on a future event. At the end of the day, who knows who is going to win this tournament this week? If the Europeans have won the last 25, would we have better or less chance of winning the next one? The law of averages says a European will win one eventually.
 
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    Watch: Strong start, rough finish for Koepka

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 4:45 pm

    U.S. Open hangover? Not for Brooks Koepka. The two-time national champion has carried over his form and confidence from Shinnecock Hills to TPC River Highlands.

    Koepka began his round with a par at the par-4 10th and then reeled off four consecutive birdies, beginning at No. 11.


    And here is the capper at the 14th

    Koepka turned in 4-under 31. Here's more action from his opening nine holes.


    After a par at the first, Koepka added a fifth birdie of the day at the par-4 second.


    A bogey at the par-4 fourth dropped him to 4 under, but just one off the lead. That, however, sparked a wild ride to the finish line as he also bogeyed Nos. 5, 7 and 9, and birdied the sixth. It totaled to a second-nine, 2-over 37 and an overall score of 2-under 68.

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    Lyle going through 'scary' period in cancer recovery

    By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 12:58 pm

    MELBOURNE, Australia – Jarrod Lyle's wife says the Australian golfer is struggling through a ''really scary'' period in his third battle with cancer.

    Lyle, 36, underwent a bone marrow transplant last December following a recurrence of acute myeloid leukemia.

    ''It's been 190 days since Jarrod's stem-cell transplant and we are going through a really rough patch at the moment,'' Briony Lyle wrote on jarrodlylegolf.com. ''I'm typing this blog on his behalf because he's not able to do it. Jarrod's not able to drive, struggles to prepare any food for himself, can't read stories to the girls and is not able to offer much help at all around the house.

    ''He is also starting to look like a very frail, sick person.''

    Briony Lyle added: ''We are both very aware of the amount of drugs and medication that has gone into Jarrod's body over the years but things are starting to get really scary at the moment. It looks as if this recovery is going to be the longest and hardest one so far.''

    Lyle has twice beaten acute myeloid leukemia, in 1998 and 2012, and was able to return to play professional golf.

    He made an emotional comeback to the golf course during the 2013 Australian Masters in Melbourne before using a medical exemption to play on the PGA Tour in 2015. He played four seasons on Tour, where he earned $1.875 million in 121 tournaments.

    Lyle has since returned to Australia permanently to be with Briony and daughters Lusi and Jemma.

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    Vermeer wins PGA Professional; 20 make PGA Championship

    By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 12:42 pm

    SEASIDE, Calif. – Ryan Vermeer won the PGA Professional Championship on Wednesday, overcoming front-nine problems to top the 20 qualifiers for the PGA Championship.

    The 40-year-old Vermeer, the director of instruction at Happy Hollow Club in Omaha, Nebraska, closed with a 1-over 73 on the Bayonet Course for a two-stroke victory over Sean McCarty and Bob Sowards.

    The PGA Championship is in August at Bellerive in St. Louis.

    Three strokes ahead entering the day, Vermeer played the front in 4 over with a double bogey on the par-4 second and bogeys on the par-4 seventh and par-4 eighth. He rebounded with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-4 11th and also birdied the par-5 18th.


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    Vermeer finished at 5-under 283. The former University of Kansas player earned $55,000. He won the 2017 Mizuno Pro/Assistant Championship and finished ninth last year in the PGA Professional to qualify for PGA at Quail Hollow.

    McCarty had a 68, and Sowards shot 69. Sowards won the 2004 title.

    David Muttitt and Jason Schmuhl tied for fourth at 1 under, and 2012 and 2015 champion Matt Dobyns, Jaysen Hansen, and Johan Kok followed at even par.

    Marty Jertson, Brian Smock and Ben Kern were 1 over, and Zach Johnson, Craig Hocknull, Matt Borchert and 2016 winner Rich Berberian Jr. were 2 over. Nine players tied at 3 over, with Shawn Warren, 2017 champion Omar Uresti, 2014 winner Michael Block, Craig Bowden and Danny Balin getting the last five spots at Bellerive in a playoff. Balin got the final spot, beating Brian Norman with a par on the seventh extra hole after Norman lost a ball in a tree.

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    Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:54 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.

    Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.

    While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.


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    “It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”

    Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.

    “I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”