Curse of the US Amateur
Tiger Woods won the U.S. Amateur in 1994, 1995 and 1996. This year he lost his swing and his No. 1 world ranking. No tag days for Tiger anytime soon. But by Woods own lofty standards, this has not been a banner year.
In 1997 Matt Kuchar upset Joel Kribel at Cog Hill No. 4 near Chicago and looked to be on his way to long term success on the PGA Tour when he won the 2002 Honda Classic. But this year he has struggled. Currently, Kuchar ranks 146th on the PGA Tour money list. He has missed 15 cuts in 26 events and has just one top 10.
Hank Kuehne succeeded Kuchar in 1998, defeating Tom McKnight in the U.S. Amateur final at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y.. Kuehne has fared better than Kuchar this season'earning more than $800,000 in 28 events and ranking first on tour in driving distance. But hes still looking for his first official tour victory. Many believe hes overdue.
David Gossett is overdue to make a cut. The 1999 U.S. Amateur champ, like Kuchar, has won on tour thanks to his play at the 2001 John Deere Classic. But Gossett has missed 17 straight cuts this year and failed to break 70 in any of those tournaments.
Its frustrating, Gossett told the News and Record in Greensboro last week. Ive got to admit.
Jeff Quinney was next, in 2000, when he held off James Driscoll at Baltusrol. Quinney hasnt played at all on the big tour this year. On the Nationwide Tour he has missed four cuts in his last six outings.
In 2001 Bubba Dickerson defeated Robert Hamilton, 1-up, at East Lake in Atlanta to win his U.S. Amateur. Dickerson has played in five Nationwide Tour events in 2004 and advanced to the weekend just once.
Similarly, Ricky Barnes, who wowed everybody at Oakland Hills during the 2002 U.S. Amateur, has missed five of seven cuts on the PGA Tour this year where his last start was way back in May.
Nick Flanagan, the 2003 U.S. Amateur winner, has played in 10 tour events this season and missed the cut in nine of them.
What, exactly, is going on here?
Do you believe in curses?
Boston Red Sox fans do.
Since winning the 1918 World Series with Babe Ruth as a team member, the Red Sox have advanced to four World Series. They have lost all four in seven games. Conspiracy theorists have posited the notion that the Red Sox are suffering The Curse of the Bambino, because they sold Ruth to the Yankees after the 1918 season.
Lets hope nothing similarly sinister exists for recent U.S. Amateur champions.
Or as they say in Chicago, where the Cubs are equally frustrated and cursed, lets wait until next year.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Watch: Hahn slam-dunks ace on 11th hole
There are aces, and there are slam-dunk aces. No question which one this one by James Hahn on the 154-yard 11th hole was.
Els' nephew Rebula wins Amateur Championship
Ernie Els is one proud uncle.
His nephew, Jovan Rebula, won the Amateur Championship on Saturday at Royal Aberdeen to become the first South African to capture the title since Bobby Cole in 1966.
Rebula, a junior at Auburn, will join his famous uncle in Carnoustie next month for The Open. He also will get invites to the 2019 Masters and the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
Rebula defeated Ireland's Robin Dawson, 3 and 2, in the 36-hole final.
"It’s unreal," Rebula said. "It’s really something that is hard to describe. I feel like many have been in this position before but it’s an unreal feeling. It hasn’t sunk in quite yet but hopefully tomorrow morning I can wake up and I will feel a little different."
Rebula received plenty of texts from Els throughout the week, and the encouragement paid off. Rebula opened a 1-up lead after 18 holes, and he extended his advantage by winning the 26th and 27th holes. He was 5 up with six to play before finally closing out Dawson on the 16th hole with an up-and-down from the bunker.
"It’s been a long week and especially today," Rebula said. "I should have finished maybe a couple of holes earlier, but it’s been awesome. A very tiring week. I’m standing here right now and there’s so much adrenaline pumping through me."
Squirrel gets Rory's round off to a rocky start
CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy’s third round at the Travelers Championship got off to a peculiar start before he even hit a shot.
McIlroy had just been introduced on the first tee at TPC River Highlands and was ready to unload on his opening drive of the day when a squirrel ran across the tee box a few feet in front of him.
Squirrel who interrupts swings > Guy who yells "Baba Booey"— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) June 23, 2018
Every time. pic.twitter.com/IvJGTVtHTC
McIlroy stopped his swing and laughed it off, but the squirrel continued to linger for several seconds, criss-crossing from one side of the packed tee box to the other. And while this was no black cat, the pump-fake to start his round didn’t exactly help the Ulsterman.
McIlroy ultimately blocked his drive into the right rough after enduring his brief rodent delay en route to an opening bogey, and amid soft conditions at TPC River Highlands he played his first five holes in 2 over. McIlroy started the day at 7 under, three shots behind leader Brian Harman.
Kaymer in six-way tie for BMW International lead
PULHEIM, Germany - Danish golfer Lucas Bjerregaard shot a 5-under 67 to equal the week's lowest round for a six-way share of the lead after the third round of the BMW International Open on Saturday.
Bjerregaard had eight birdies, a double bogey and a bogey to finish on 5-under 211 - jumping 23 places and joining local favorites Martin Kaymer and Maximilian Kieffer, England's Chris Paisley and Aaron Rai, and Australia's Scott Hend at the top of the leaderboard.
Bjerregaard was fortunate to play before the wind picked up again later in the afternoon.
Kaymer, the 2008 champion, delighted the home supporters with two birdies in his last three holes for a 71.
Finland's Mikko Korhonen and Chile's Nico Geyger were one shot off the lead after rounds of 69 and 73, respectively.
Defending champion Andres Romero equaled the week's best round (67) to be among a large group two shots off the lead going into Sunday, including three-time European Tour winner Andy Sullivan.
Romero is bidding to be the first player to retain the title.