USGA forms five-year relationship with Polo Ralph Lauren

By Win McMurryJune 19, 2011, 1:28 am

BETHESDA, Md. – As The Masters ushers in spring, the U.S. Open is the gateway to summer.

Think East Hampton oasis. A cool summer white cottage, set upon crisp grassy green hues, a sandy beach in the backyard, the Atlantic glistening shades of sapphire. This classic, iconic, chic American summer scene awaits patrons at the U.S. Open Championship.

The U.S. Golf Association has found the perfect retreat for its weeklong visit to the nation’s capital for one of the year’s preeminent golf championships. A few steps away from the ropes near the 18th tee box at Congressional Country Club a 39,000-square-foot white merchandise pavilion tent, in uniform with the other structures on the course, opens its doors to its visitors.

U.S. Open

Two feelings strike the senses when you enter: cool and serene. It’s an escape from the on-course competition, but at the same time, central to U.S. Open action.

This is the first of a five-year agreement that the USGA has with Polo Ralph Lauren, an American classic and leader of premium lifestyle products for apparel, home, accessories, and fragrances, as the official outfitter for the U.S. Open.

Seventy Ralph Lauren employees and volunteers work the impeccably designed room that has been orchestrated, shall we say, to the tee.

“One of the USGA’s primary goals is to conduct the best championships in golf,” said Mike Butz, the USGA's senior managing director of Open Championships and Association relations. “We are very excited about partnering with Polo Ralph Lauren, given their creativity and the quality of their apparel, to help take our championship experiences to a new level of excellence.”

The space is nothing like the traditional merchandise tents of the other domestic major championships that shop their wares to the masses in a claustrophobic setting more akin to a T.J. Maxx, where shoppers push their way through, spastically thumbing the racks, to get in and get out as quickly as possible.

At the USGA’s Polo Ralph Lauren designed new retail shop, patrons are encouraged to stay, relax, and shop. Everything from the unique and carefully selected furniture accents in upholstered rich navy fabrics to the brilliant white wooden structures and gazebos that decorate and serve the open crisp space, welcome shoppers into a classic American summer scene representative of the U.S. Open.

“We want to ensure that everyone who participates – from players to officials to spectators – realizes they are part of something that is very special,” Butz said.

The inspiration for the décor and setup also wasn’t hastily thrown together. A Ralph Lauren team of designers took a trip to USGA headquarters to visit the museum. There, they researched images to inspire their design by studying the rich heritage of the game. The goal: to represent golf in pure form.

After a year of developing ideas that began from sketches, the design came to life at Congressional. The general layout of the shopping space features brands and lines from many different designers but all given the same look and treatment in their display. In addition, uniformly designed banners hang from the sky-high tented ceiling each with photographs of iconic U.S. Open champions of the past who are dynamic for both golf and fashion style history.

Polo Ralph Lauren also designed and outfits all of the USGA committee members and staff, as well as more than 5,000 volunteers at the U.S. Open. The marshals’ uniforms were inspired from the 1960s Joe Dey Jr. days of the USGA where committee members wore armbands as designators to appear official.

The look works on the course, but will not be the exact same next year when the U.S. Open is staged at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. That’s because it’s Ralph Lauren’s philosophy that the environment is key for clothes to come to life. This applies not only to the shop setting, but especially to the setting where the clothes will be worn. Ralph Lauren is one of the best at creating and tailoring everything for the appropriate locale.

The northern California climate is completely different from the summer heat in the D.C. area. It’s misty, foggy and expected to be much cooler. So next year the Ralph Lauren U.S. Open team – which consists of fewer than 10 designers and is led by Lauren himself – will create water-resistant outerwear to outfit those working the course.

The shopping space and structure, however, will remain the same for all five years of the relationship between the USGA and Polo Ralph Lauren. That’s why that familiar American summer destination feel evocative of the classic U.S. Open is integral to the design, and made to travel. So whether it’s D.C., San Francisco, Philadelphia, Pinehurst, or Seattle, Ralph’s idyllic U.S. Open summer world is a perfect fit.

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Fisher becomes first in Euro Tour history to shoot 59

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 21, 2018, 11:29 am

There’s never been a sub-60 score on the European Tour, and Oliver Fisher almost went two strokes better Friday at the Portugal Masters.

Fisher’s 40-footer on the final green burned the edge, but he tapped in the short par putt to record the first 59 in tour history.   

“It feels great,” he said after getting sprayed with champagne. “It was in the back of my mind all day.”

It didn’t look like it.

The 287th-ranked player in the world, Fisher made 10 birdies, an eagle and seven pars during his magical round.

All of the other major pro tours have produced a 59 – nine times on the PGA Tour; once on the LPGA – but this was the first time that a player on the European Tour broke the sub-60 barrier. (There have been 19 rounds of 60.) Earlier this year, at the Scottish Open, Brandon Stone narrowly missed an 8-footer on the final green during the final round. This tournament has produced a few chances, as well, with both Scott Jamieson and Nicolas Colsaerts coming up just short over the past few years.

Fisher went out in 28 at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course, then made three birdies in a row to start the back nine. He tacked on another birdie on 15 to give himself a shot at history, then played the closing stretch in 1 under. On 16, he needed a 20-footer for par after leaving his tee shot well short of the flag. He two-putted for birdie on 17 and then coolly made par on the last, after his birdie try from 40 feet just missed on the left edge.

Two years ago, he arrived in Portugal needed a good result just to keep his card. He shot a final-round 64. 

On Friday, he made tour history.

“I kept that in the back of my mind, thinking things could be worse,” he said. 

To this point, Fisher had a forgettable season. Ranked 72nd in the Race to Dubai, he didn’t have a top-10 in a stroke-play event since late February. His last four results: MC-T71-MC-MC. He opened the Portugal Masters with a 71 and was in danger of missing the cut.

Now, improbably, he’s in position to score his second European Tour title, after capturing the 2011 Czech Open.

“I tried to enjoy it,” he said. “It’s not often that we get a chance to shoot a really low one.”

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Paisley (61) leads Tour Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 20, 2018, 11:56 pm

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Chris Paisley birdied four of the last five holes for a 10-under 61 and the first-round lead Thursday in the season-ending Tour Championship.

The South African Open winner in January for his first European Tour title, Paisley played the back nine first at Atlantic Beach Country Club, holing a bunker shot for an eagle on the par-5 18th. On the front nine, he birdied the par-3 fifth and finished with three straight birdies.

''I think just all around was really good,'' Paisley said. ''I hit it well off the tee, which gave me a lot of kind of short irons into the greens and opportunities. I hit a lot of really good iron shots close, and then a few other bonus kind of things happened where I holed the bunker shot on 18 and holed a long putt on No. 8.''

The 32-year-old Englishman missed the cuts in the first three Tour Finals events after getting into the series as a non-member PGA Tour with enough money to have placed in the top 200 in the FedEx Cup. The final card went for $40,625 last year, with Paisley needs to finish in a two-way tie for fourth or better to mathematically have a chance to secure one of the 25 PGA Tour at stake.

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

''The nice thing was I won early in the year in Europe,'' said Paisley, a former University of Tennessee player. ''I've got the first two Final series events locked up, I think I'm in those. I'm not guaranteed to be in Dubai yet. But I just thought we have a house over here, my wife's American, my goal is to try to get on the PGA Tour, so it was a perfect opportunity to try and do it.''

Cameron Tringale and Canadian Ben Silverman were two strokes back at 63. Tringale is tied for 83rd in the PGA Tour card race with $2,660, and Silverman is tied for 85th at $2,600.

''I hit a lot of good shots and made some good putts,'' Silverman said. ''Actually, it could have been lower, but I'm not complaining. Missed a couple putts inside 6x feet, but I'm not complaining at all, it was a great round.''

Lucas Glover was at 64 with Ben Crane, Nicholas Lindheim, Matt Every, Trevor Cone, Denny McCarthy, Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez. Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez earned PGA Tour cards as top-25 finishers on the Tour regular-season money list, and McCarthy has made $75,793 in the first three Finals events to also wrap up a card. In the race for the 25 cards, Lindholm is 19th with $35,836, Every 30th with $25,733, Glover 40th with $17,212, and Cone 59th with $8,162

The series features the top 75 players from the regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and Paisley and other non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.

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McIlroy likely to join PGA Tour PAC next year

By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:28 pm

ATLANTA – The upside of the PGA Tour’s sweeping changes to next year’s playoff finale, along with a host of other significant changes to the schedule, seems to be more engagement in circuit policy by top players.

Jordan Spieth served on the player advisory council this season and will begin his three-year term as one of four player directors on the policy board next year, and Justin Thomas also was on this year’s PAC.

Those meetings might become even more high profile next year.

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“I'm not on the PAC. I'm probably going to join the PAC next year. Nice to sort of know what's going on and give your input and whatever,” Rory McIlroy said following his round on Thursday at the Tour Championship.

McIlroy said he spoke with Tour commissioner Jay Monahan about the transition to a strokes-based format for the Tour Championship starting next year. Given his take on Thursday to the media it must have been an interesting conversation.

“I like it for the FedExCup. I don't necessarily think it should be an official Tour win. I don't know how the World Ranking points are going to work,” said McIlroy, who is tied for fifth after a first-round 67 at East Lake. “There's a lot of stuff that still needs to be figured out. But in terms of deciding the FedExCup, I think it's good.”

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Thomas (67) happy to feel no pain in wrist

By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:03 pm

ATLANTA – When Justin Thomas arrived at East Lake he didn’t have very high expectations.

After injuring his right wrist during the final round of the BMW Championship he spent last week in south Florida getting therapy after being diagnosed with a case of tendinitis and little else.

He said he didn’t hit a full shot last week and didn’t expect much out of his game at the finale, but was pleasantly surprised with his play following an opening 67 that left him tied for fifth place and two strokes off the lead. But most of all he was pleased that he didn’t feel any pain in his wrist.

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“I thought that I may not be playing very well because of my preparation being able to hit as few balls as I have, but no, in terms of pain, it's not an issue,” he said.

Thomas explained that he tested the wrist earlier this week to be sure he was pain-free and conceded he considered not playing the Tour Championship in order to be as healthy as possible for next week’s Ryder Cup.

“If it would have hurt at all, I wouldn't have played,” said Thomas, who will be a rookie on this year’s U.S. team. “No. 1 most important part is my future and my career. I don't want to do anything that's going to put me out for a while. But to me, second most important is Ryder Cup. I would rather not play this week and play the Ryder Cup and be fresh and make sure I'm going to get as many points for the team as possible.”