U.S. Open returning to Winged Foot

By Doug FergusonJanuary 28, 2013, 1:58 am

The U.S. Open is returning to Winged Foot, the New York club with a history of clutch moments and one unforgettable collapse.

The U.S. Golf Association will announce Monday that the West Course at Winged Foot will host the 2020 U.S. Open. Only two other courses – Oakmont and Baltusrol – will have held the national championship more times.

''Winged Foot offers a spectacular setting in a dynamic market, and has justifiably earned its reputation as one of the premier U.S. Open venues in the nation,'' said Thomas O'Toole Jr., vice president of the USGA and head of its championship committee. ''And it joins an impressive lineup of future U.S. Open Championship locations that players and fans alike can eagerly anticipate.''

Winged Foot was designed by A.W. Tillinghast in 1923 and hosted its first U.S. Open six years later, when amateur Bobby Jones delivered one of the biggest shots in championship history with a 12-foot putt on the final hole to force a 36-hole playoff. He won the next day by 23 shots over Al Espinosa.

The most recent trip to Winged Foot was memorable for all the wrong reasons – not for Geoff Ogilvy winning with a superb up-and-down from below the 18th green, but for Phil Mickelson blowing his best chance ever to win the U.S. Open.

Mickelson had a one-shot lead when his drive bounced off corporate tents to the left of the 18th fairway. He went for the green and his 3-iron struck a tree and dropped straight down, his next shot plugged in a bunker and he make double bogey to lose by one. ''I am such an idiot,'' he famously said that day.

Mickelson referenced that moment just five days ago when discussing his mistake to go public with being unhappy about how much he pays in taxes.

Winged Foot also is where former USGA President Sandy Tatum offered the defining comment for the U.S. Open. ''Our intention is not to embarrass the greatest players in the world, but to identify them,'' he said in 1974, when Hale Irwin won at 7-over 287.

Billy Casper won his first U.S. Open at Winged Foot in 1959. Fuzzy Zoeller won in 1984 in a playoff over Greg Norman, who holed a long putt across the 18th green for par. Zoeller, thinking the Shark had made birdie, jokingly waved a white towel. It only got Norman into a Monday playoff, and the next day, Zoeller won so handily that Norman waved a white towel walking up the final fairway.

Winged Foot doesn't have a history of dull moments.

The Westchester course is known for the severe slopes on the greens and deep bunkers and doglegs along the tree-lined fairways. USGA executive director Mike Davis was in charge of setting up the Open for the first time at Winged Foot in 2006. He referred to Winged Foot as a ''quintessential U.S. Open golf course.''

''Winged Foot offers the best players in the world a spectacular test of golf and delivers to spirited New York golf fans one of the most exciting venues in the game,'' he said.

The U.S. Open returns this year to Merion, and then will go to Pinehurst No. 2 (2014), Chambers Bay (2015), Oakmont (2016), Erin Hills (2017), Shinnecock Hills (2018), Pebble Beach (2019) and then Winged Foot.

''I think it's great,'' Ogilvy said about the return to Winged Foot. ''I'm excited for the club. It's one of the best clubs in America for that sort of thing. It's a true golf club in the original sense. They love playing golf. The courses are super busy. You meet Winged Foot members everywhere and they can't say enough about it. And it's got such a great history, really.''


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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


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In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.