Players scoff at USGA's Chambers Bay warning

By Doug FergusonMay 19, 2015, 5:55 pm

Mike Davis hasn't caused this much consternation since he spoke at a PGA Tour players meeting about the evils of the long putter.

Only this time, he was extolling the virtues of Chambers Bay.

Maybe to a fault.

The USGA's executive director hosted a preview of the mysterious U.S. Open course south of Seattle and suggested that even the best in golf will have little chance unless they arrive early and play often.

''The idea of coming in and playing two practice rounds and having your caddie just walk it and using your yardage book, that person's done,'' Davis said. ''Will not win the U.S. Open.''

In the three weeks since that bold prediction, the reaction has been, well, predictable.

''We'll play for second,'' former U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson said at Quail Hollow with no shortage of sarcasm.

''What's Mike Davis' handicap?'' asked Rory McIlroy, another U.S. Open champion and the best player in the world, something Davis is not. It was a playful reminder that amateurs who run tournaments should not underestimate the skill of those who do this for a living.

No amount of chirping would be complete without Ian Poulter weighing in. Never mind that Poulter has never seen Chambers Bay. He listened to a few players who made scouting trips on their way to the Match Play Championship and tweeted, ''The reports back are its [sic] a complete farce. I guess someone has to win.''

The U.S. Open begins June 18. In some respects, it already has started.

With one comment about what will be required for a golf course hardly anyone knows, Davis added a layer of mystique to Chambers Bay. And perhaps he introduced the one element of a U.S. Open that often gets overlooked.

It's all about attitude.

Jack Nicklaus is famous for saying how he would listen to players complain about the U.S. Open and figure that was one less guy to beat that week.

''It's a massive advantage if you get your head in the right place before you go,'' 2006 champion Geoff Ogilvy said.

Davis didn't make the comment with intentions of putting the world's best players in a foul mood before they even arrive in the Pacific Northwest next month. Given a chance to clarify, he said his point was strategy should be as important as a good short game.

He believes course knowledge will be imperative because of the grass, the elevation changes and sprawling fairways so unlike a U.S. Open test. It's not about how far the ball goes in the air. It's what happens when it's on the ground. The yardage book, to his point, only helps so much. And he lamented the drop in practice rounds as players appeared more concerned with conserving energy than studying for the toughest test in golf.

''My point is, we've seen a trend where golfers are coming and lot of them play nine holes a day and do it for two days,'' Davis said. ''In the old days, they'd come in and play three or four rounds. And they're not doing that anymore for different reasons.''

Jack Fleck once played 188 holes over five days of practice at Olympic Club in 1955, the year he beat Ben Hogan in a playoff. That's a little extreme. Phil Mickelson can take two days to play 18 holes as he meticulously studies a course, particularly around the greens. That's Phil.

''Take Merion,'' Davis said, referring to the 2013 U.S. Open. ''No one played Merion more and studied it more than Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson. They spent more time than anybody studying the intricacies of Merion. And guess who finished 1-2?''

Mickelson, however, was asked which U.S. Open course caused him to spend the most time in preparation. Merion was mentioned, and Mickelson dismissed it.

''It's a pretty straightforward course, Merion,'' he said. ''I think maybe Shinnecock was a course that I found there were important areas to know where to go, where not to go, that might be surprising if you played it the first time.''

Any player would be foolish not to see Chambers Bay before arriving for the U.S. Open. Mickelson plans to head there next week, after it closes to the public and before he embarks on his schedule of playing the two PGA Tour events before the Open.

It's impractical, bordering on arrogant, for the USGA to expect golfers to drop everything and go to the far end of the country for one tournament.

''With the way the Tour is, no one is going to go out there and play 10 practice rounds,'' McIlroy said.

McIlroy believes preparation is meaningless if he doesn't have his game. He plans a few practice rounds the weekend before the U.S. Open, another one during the week. That's three practice rounds, which is one more than two, meaning Davis can't rule him out just yet. Right?

But what about the players who don't qualify until the Monday before U.S. Open week? Or the players – two of them last year – who qualify through the world ranking on the Monday of U.S. Open week?

''Will not win the U.S. Open,'' is what Davis said.

Someone will. Someone always does. It could be a surprise, much like the golf course.

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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.”