After Further Review: USGA needs a win at Erin Hills

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 12, 2017, 1:30 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the USGA taking the U.S Open to Erin Hills:

The 117th U.S. Open may well turn out to be something of a watershed moment for the USGA. Although the association has ventured to new venues for the national championship before, most recently to Chambers Bay in 2015 with mixed results, next week’s event at Erin Hills could prove to be a turning point.

Following a parade of mishaps, from the greens at Chambers Bay to last year’s controversial ruling that nearly cost Dustin Johnson a title, the USGA needs a win. A solid golf course, a fair set up, a power-packed leaderboard, and, most of all, a championship that’s remembered for the play on the field and not mistakes that could have been avoided. - Rex Hoggard

On the amateur who finished T-4 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic:

As an amateur, Braden Thornberry won’t receive any money for his T-4 finish at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. That’s to be expected, but the fact that he also won’t get any FedExCup non-member points is a shame.

Thornberry’s run up the leaderboard at TPC Southwind was reminiscent of Lee McCoy’s fourth-place showing last year at Innisbrook. McCoy would have received enough non-member points from that performance to qualify for the Tour Finals that fall. Instead, he received only a congratulatory handshake, and after an ill-timed injury he’s toiling in the lower pro circuits this summer rather than at least playing on the Web.

A similar fate could be in store for Thornberry, who impressed in his PGA Tour debut less than two weeks after winning the NCAA individual title. His five-way tie for fourth should have netted him 104 points, more than enough to secure a spot in the four-tournament Finals this fall that would give him a shot at a PGA Tour card and privileges for 2018 at the very least.

The Tour has gone to great lengths to make the the predominant pathway to the big leagues. It’s an understandable effort, but the Finals field is elastic and should accommodate performances like Thornberry’s that are as rare as they are impressive. - Will Gray

On the star power at the top of the LPGA:

Here’s hoping the Women’s World Golf Ranking projection tool gets fixed quick, because it’s going to be quite useful over the next couple months. It could add a lot of excitement to the summer’s big events.

Ariya Jutanugarn started this past week .01 world ranking points behind No. 1 Lydia Ko, which makes Jutanugarn’s victory Sunday at the Manulife Classic seem like a lock to get her to No. 1 now, though people are skittish about making projections after a glitch was exposed in the WWGR projection tool. The glitch led to Jutanugarn being projected to overtake Ko last week. With Jutanugarn, Ko, So Yeon Ryu, Lexi Thompson and In Gee Chun all moving closer at the top of the world rankings, this could be a fun summer of musical chairs, unless somebody gets hot with so many world-ranking points available. The women will play three majors over the next eight weeks. - Randall Mell

Getty Images

Tiger putts way into contention at The Open

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 5:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – When Tiger Woods benched his trusty Scotty Cameron blade putter last month at the Quicken Loans National for a new TaylorMade mallet-headed version some saw it as a sign of desperation, but if his performance on Carnoustie’s greens on Saturday were any indication it could end up being a calculated success.

Woods stormed into contention on Day 3 with a 5-under 66 to move to within shouting distance of the lead at The Open, thanks in large part to his vastly improved putting.

“I hit so many good putts out there today, and this week from distance, I've had really good feels,” said Woods, whose 29 putts on Saturday belies his performance on Carnoustie’s greens. “Even as this golf course was changing and evolving, I've maintained my feels with the putter. I've made a couple of putts from about 40 to 60 feet, which is nice. I just feel like I've been able to roll the ball.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

The highlight of Woods’ round came at the par-4 ninth hole when he charged in a 40-footer for birdie from the front edge of the green to begin a run of three consecutive birdies. Perhaps more impressive, he didn’t have a three-putt, and has only had two all week, which is always a bonus on links courses.

Woods temporarily took a share of the lead with a lengthy birdie putt at the 14th hole and scrambled for a par save at the last after his drive nearly found the Barry Burn.

“I hit a few putts that I think should have gone in from 20, 30 feet today," he said. "So that's always a good sign.”

Getty Images

TT postscript: A 66, he's in contention - awesome

By Tiger TrackerJuly 21, 2018, 4:58 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods went berserk Saturday and shot 5-under 66 to vault up the leaderboard at The Open at Carnoustie:


At 4:13PM here in Scotland, when Tiger two-putted for birdie on the par-5 14th hole, he held a share of the lead in a major championship. It was once unthinkable, but it happened. I saw it with my own eyes.

• Tiger’s last two weekend rounds in the 60s in The Open both happened at Carnoustie and both happened on July 21. In 2007, Woods shot 69 here. On Saturday, that score was clipped by three shots. Tiger shot 65 in the second round of The Open at Royal Liverpool in 2006. He won his third claret jug that week. Tiger last shoot 66 in a major during the second round of the 2011 Masters.

• This is the sixth time that Tiger has recorded three consecutive rounds of par of better to start The Open. He went on to win three of the previous five times.

• One bad swing, the only bad swing of the day according to Tiger, produced the luckiest of breaks. Standing on the 18th tee with an iron in hand, Tiger pulled his tee shot that hit on the top of the Barry Burn and very easily could’ve ended in a watery grave. Instead it ended in thick rough, some 250 yards from the pin. Tiger punted it up the fairway, but got up and down from 83 yards to save par and shoot 66. “I hit my number,” he quipped about hitting wedge to 2 feet.

• On the other hand, the lone bogey came from one poor putt. On the par-3 16th hole, with half of Scotland screaming his name, Tiger missed a 7-footer for par. It was deflating at the time because the last three holes are so difficult. Pars on the last two holes were stellar.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

• Final stats: 12 of 15 fairways, 14 of 18 greens and 29 total putts. Tiger hit six drivers and one 3-wood, proving that he was way more aggressive. He hit four drivers on Friday and only one on Thursday.

• One of the aforementioned drivers that he hit on the ninth hole was well left and in some thick round, 170 yards from the hole. A safe approach to 40 feet set him up for and easy two-putt par. But he slammed the putt home and made an improbable birdie. “I hit so many good putts out there today, and this week from distance, I’ve had really good feels,” he said.

• In his own words about his chances of winning: “It certainly is possible. I’ve shown that I’ve been there close enough with a chance to win this year. Given what happened the last few years, I didn’t know if that would ever happen again, but here I am with a chance coming Sunday in a major championship. It’s going to fun.”

Yes, yes it is.

Getty Images

Watch: Guy sleeps next to many beers at Open

By Grill Room TeamJuly 21, 2018, 4:55 pm

It's Moving Day at The Open Championship for all but one sedentary fan.

Cameras caught this potentially browned-out man having himself a Saturday snooze on the browned-out grasses of Carnoustie:

Browned out. That's a great term. Glad it's in the public domain. We've been using it all weekend. I imagine we'll continue to use it. A lot.

Getty Images

Watch: Tiger makes 6 birdies, 1 amazing par in Rd. 3

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 4:10 pm

Tiger Woods started the third round of The Open at even par, having made seven birdies and seven bogeys over the first 36 holes at Carnoustie.

Following three pars to start on Saturday, Woods went on a birdie binge.

No. 1 came with this putt at the par-4 fourth.

No. 2 with this two-putt at the par-5 sixth.

No. 3 thanks to this 30-footer at the par-4 ninth.

No. 4 after nearly jarring his approach shot on the par-4 10th.

No. 5 when he almost drove the green at the par-4 11th and two-putted, from just off the green, from 95 feet.

And No. 6, which gave him a share of the lead, came courtesy another two-putt at the par-5 14th.

Woods bogeyed the par-3 16th to drop out of the lead and almost dropped - at least - one more shot at the par-4 18th. But his tee shot got a lucky bounce and he turned his good fortune into a par.

Woods shot 5-under 66 and finished the day at 5 under par.