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U.S. Open 101: Guide to the year's second major

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 11, 2018, 5:30 pm

Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about the United States Open Championship:

How old is the tournament?

One hundred twenty-three years. The first one was played in 1895.

How many times has it been played?

This year will mark the 118th U.S. Open. It was not played in 1917 or 1918 because of World War I, nor was it played in 1942-45 because of World War II.


Who started it?

The United States Golf Association, an organization formed in 1894 by five prominent golf clubs to be the game's national governing body.


Is it the oldest national championship in the world?

No. The Open, also referred to as The Open Championship or the British Open, dates back to 1860.


Where was the first U.S. Open played?

It was played on a nine-hole course at Newport (R.I.) Country Club.


Who was the first winner?

Horace Rawlins, a 21-year-old Englishman, shot 173 for 36 holes to beat Scotsman Willie Dunn by two strokes.


Who has won the most U.S. Opens?

Four players have won the U.S. Open four times each: Scotsman Willie Anderson and Americans Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus. Hogan also won the 1942 Hale America Open, which some of his supporters claim should be counted as his fifth U.S. Open. The Hale America was a substitute for the U.S. Open, was held in the same time slot and was run like the U.S. Open with local and sectional qualifying.


How many times has a player won consecutive Opens?

Five players have won back-to-back Opens and one has won three in a row. Chronologically, they are Scotsman Willie Anderson (1903-05), and Americans John McDermott (1911-12), Bobby Jones (1929-30), Ralph Guldahl (1937-38), Ben Hogan (1950-51) and Curtis Strange (1988-89).


Who are the most noteworthy players who have NOT won a U.S. Open?

This list would have to start with Sam Snead, whose failure to win a U.S. Open cost him a career Grand Slam. Snead was runner-up in the Open four times - in 1937, 1947, 1949 and 1953. But his most painful loss probably came in 1939, when he came to the final hole needing only a par to win but instead made a triple bogey. As on-course scoreboards did not yet exist, Snead didn't know he needed only a par; a spectator erroneously told him he needed a birdie. Phil Mickelson is also in this category; he has a record six runner-up finishes (1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2013).


I often hear the name Francis Ouimet in connection with the U.S. Open. Who was he and why was he important?

Ouimet was a 20-year-old former caddie who pulled off one of the biggest upsets in sports history in 1913, beating two of the top British professionals in a playoff to win the U.S. Open on his home course, The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. Beyond the magnitude of the upset, Ouimet's win helped open up the game to working-class people.


What was the "Massacre at Winged Foot"?

U.S. Open courses are typically set up to be very difficult, with long rough and fast greens, but Winged Foot, site of the 1974 Open, took things to a new level. Not one player broke par in the first round, and Hale Irwin's 7-over 287 score was the second-highest U.S. Open winning total since World War II. Many believed - still believe - that the USGA made the course extra difficult in retaliation for Johnny Miller having shot a record 63 the previous year at Oakmont. The phrase "Massacre at Winged Foot" was coined by sportswriter Dick Schaap, who used it as the title of a book he wrote about the championship.


Which U.S. Opens have been the most memorable?

It's all a matter of opinion, of course, but here is our Top 20 list. Working backwards in the top 10: 10. 1973: Johnny Miller shoots a record 63 in the final round to win. 9. 1982: Tom Watson chips in from deep rough on the 71st hole to win at Pebble Beach. 8. 2008: Limping on what would turn out to be a broken leg, Tiger Woods edges Rocco Mediate after an 18-hole playoff and one sudden-death hole. 7. 1930: Bobby Jones wins the third leg of a Grand Slam he would soon complete. 6. 2000: Woods destroys the field by a record 15 shots at Pebble Beach. 5. 1950: Less than a year and a half after a near-fatal car accident, Ben Hogan wins at Merion. 4. 1966: Seven shots ahead of playing partner Billy Casper at the final turn, Arnold Palmer is caught and loses in an 18-hole playoff. 3: 1913: Francis Ouimet stuns the golf world. 2. 1962: Rookie Jack Nicklaus takes it to Palmer in front of Arnie's home crowd at Oakmont. 1. 1960: Seven shots baack after 54 holes, Palmer drives the green on the first hole, a par 4, shoots 65 and wins his first - and only - U.S. Open.


How do you get to play in a U.S. Open?

There are various categories of exemptions, including winners of the previous 10 U.S. Opens, winners of the other three majors for the past five years, and the top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking. In addition, local and sectional qualifying is held. Local qualifying is open to any professional and amateurs with up-to-date USGA Handicap Indexes not exceeding 1.4. In other words, you have to be pretty good just to try to qualify. The USGA also on occasion grants special exemptions to players who have not qualified but are deemed worthy of being in the field. Such exemptions have gone to accomplished veterans such as Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Gary Player, Seve Ballesteros and Lee Trevino.


How big is the Open field?

It is 156 players.


Where is this year's Open being played?

It is being played for the fifth time at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y.


Which course has hosted the most Opens?

Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa., near Pittsburgh, has hosted nine Opens, including in 2016.


Who is the oldest player to win the Open?

Hale Irwin was 45 years and 15 days old when he won in 1990.


Who was the youngest winner?

John McDermott was 19 years, 315 days old when he won in 1911.


Who was the youngest player?

In 2012 a 14-year-old amateur from China, Andy Zhang, qualified.


Who had the largest victory margin?

Tiger Woods won by 15 strokes in 2000. This is the record for any major.


Who holds the 72-hole scoring record?

Rory McIlroy shot 268 in 2011. That was 16 under par - also a record - on par-71 Congressional. Brooks Koepka won in 2016 at par-72 Erin Hills with a 16-under total (272).


Who holds the 18-hole Open scoring record?

Johnny Miller set the record by shooting 63 in 1973 at Oakmont. That score was subsequently equaled by Jack Nicklaus (1980, Baltusrol), Tom Weiskopf (1980, Baltusrol), Vijay Singh (2003, Olympia Fields) and Justin Thomas (2017, Erin Hills).


What does a player get for winning the U.S. Open?

This year's winner's purse is $2,160,000 (out of $12 million, overall purse). The winner is also exempt from qualifying for the other three majors and The Players Championship for the next five years, and exempt from U.S. Open qualifying for the next 10 years. If the winner is a PGA Tour member, he would receive a five-year exemption to all PGA Tour events.


What happens if the U.S. Open is tied after 72 holes?

There used to be an 18-hole playoff the following day. Now, if two or more players are tied at the end of regulation there is a two-hole aggregate playoff, followed by sudden death.

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Kang (69) wins Buick LPGA Shanghai by two

By Associated PressOctober 21, 2018, 9:11 am

SHANGHAI - Danielle Kang shot a 3-under 69 on Sunday to win the LPGA Shanghai by two strokes for her second career title.

Kang, who started the final round one stroke off the lead, offset a lone bogey on the par-5 fourth hole with four birdies after the turn to finish at 13-under 275 and hold off a late charge by Lydia Ko, who had the day's lowest score of 66.

Ko, who had seven birdies and a lone bogey, tied for second at 11 under with a group of seven players that included Brittany Altomare (71), Ariya Jutanugarn (71) and overnight co-leader Sei Young Kim (72).


Buick LPGA Shanghai: Articles, photos and videos


Carlota Ciganda, who also held a share of the lead after the third round, shot a 73 to fall into a tie for ninth with Bronte Law and local favorite Lu Liu.

Paula Creamer carded three birdies against a pair of bogeys for a 71 to finish in sole possession of 12th place.

The tournament is the second of five being played in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan in the LPGA's annual Asian swing.

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New world No. 1 Koepka already wants more

By Nick MentaOctober 21, 2018, 8:48 am

If there is a knock on Brooks Koepka, it’s that he’s a little too cool.

Gary Woodland, who threw 11 birdies at Koepka on Sunday and still finished four shots back, inadvertently captured that exact sentiment after Saturday's third round.

“You know," he said, "Brooks doesn't seem like he cares too much."

In context, Woodland meant that there was little anyone in the field could do to rattle the 54-hole leader. (He proved himself right, by the way.)

And out of context, the comment speaks to the general narrative surrounding Koepka. That he’s just detached enough for fans to have trouble attaching themselves to him. That he’s just a jock here to cash checks and collect trophies, to kick ass and chew bubblegum.

But for a few moments Sunday in South Korea, it became clear that Brooks Koepka does care. Crouched on the 72nd green with some time to stop and think as Ian Poulter lagged a bit behind, Koepka finally let a moment get to him. Cameras caught the three-time major champion appearing unusually emotional.

Of course, less than a minute later, those same cameras caught him yawning. The contrast was almost too perfect. It was as if he knew he had just been found out and needed to snap back into character – which he did.

He promptly poured in an eagle putt to cap off a final-round 64, to win the CJ Cup by four, and to ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in his career.


Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


“To be world No. 1 is something I dreamed of as a kid,” Koepka said on the 18th green, moments after closing out his fifth PGA Tour victory and third this year. “I don't think this one's going to sink in.”

What is beginning to sink in is the fact that Koepka now unequivocally belongs in the conversation, the one golf fans and analysts have been having over and over since Tiger Woods fell from his perch.

Who’s the best at their best?

In the two years between his first PGA Tour win and his first U.S. Open victory, Koepka was touted as having the kind of talent to compete with the game's elites. It took him a little while for him to get here, but Koepka has taken over as the latest player to look like he’ll never lose again. Just as it was for Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas before him, this is Koepka's moment. This is his run of dominance.

It’s a run that will have to end at some point. Every one of the guys just mentioned did cool off eventually. Koepka will, too. Maybe it will be fatigue, maybe it will be injury, and maybe it’ll just be golf. This talent pool is simply too deep for anyone to remain on top for too long.

But what Koepka has done this year – in defending his U.S. Open title, in staring down Tiger at the PGA, in claiming the Player of the Year Award, in ascending to the top of the world rankings – is put his name at the forefront of the conversation. If he was unappreciated at times before, those days are long gone. He's already accomplished too much, proven himself too good, to ever be overlooked again.

And he’s far from done.

“For me, I just need to keep winning,” he said. “I feel like to win a few more regular Tour events and then keep adding majors. I feel like my game's set up for that. I've gotten so much confidence off winning those majors where, it's incredible, every time I tee it up, I feel like I really have a good chance to win whether I have my A-game or not. It's something I'm so excited [about] right now, you have no idea. I just can't wait to go play again.”

Watch: Koepka holes out from off the green at 16

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 21, 2018, 5:36 am

Brooks Koepka faced a stiff challenge from Gary Woodland on Sunday in South Korea, but eventually it came time to end the suspense.

Having clung to a slim lead for much of the back nine, Koepka looked as though he was going to have to scramble just to save par when he missed the green at 16. 

Instead, caddie Ricky Elliott was able to leave Koepka's putter in the bag.

That holeout combined with a bogey from Woodland at 17 put Koepka ahead by three, allowing him to walk to victory and to the top of the world rankings.

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Koepka wins CJ Cup, ascends to world No. 1

By Nick MentaOctober 21, 2018, 5:07 am

Brooks Koepka eagled the 72nd hole Sunday to cap off a final-round 64, win the CJ Cup and supplant Dustin Johnson as the new No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here's how Koepka took over the golf world Sunday in South Korea.

Leaderboard: Koepka (-21), Gary Woodland (-17), Ryan Palmer (-15), Rafa Cabrera Bello (-15), Jason Day (-12), Scott Piercy (-12)

What it means: This is Koepka's fifth career PGA Tour victory but only his second in a non-major, following his maiden win back at the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open. Up four to start the day, Koepka saw his lead evaporate as Woodland rocketed up the leaderboard and kept pace with him for much of the back nine. But every time Sunday's result appeared in doubt, Koepka reclaimed his lead in dramatic fashion. He nearly aced the par-3 13th to go ahead by two and later holed out for birdie at the par-4 16th to go up three with two to play. He finished par-eagle at 17 and 18 to shoot a back-nine 29 and close out his third victory in the last five months. With the win, Koepka ascends to the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in his career.

Round of the day: Ryan Palmer set a Nine Bridges course record when he birdied his final seven holes in a row en route to a bogey-free round of 10-under 62 and a solo third-place finish.

Best of the rest: Woodland played his first 16 holes in 9 under par to storm from five back and catch Koepka atop the leaderboard. But his furious Sunday charge finally came to an end when he failed to get up and down for par from the back bunker at 17. He carded his 11th birdie of the round at the 18th hole to sign for 63 and finish solo second.

Biggest disappointment: In retrospect, Woodland called it correctly on Saturday when he said: "You obviously want to get off to a good start and put pressure on him as soon as you can. You know, Brooks doesn't seem like he cares too much, and he's playing so good, so you're going to have to go out and post a number." Woodland put as much pressure on Koepka as he could. He went out and posted that number. Koepka never blinked.

Shot of the day: Koepka's holeout at the par-3 16th, which put him ahead by three, unofficially ending the proceedings:

Quote of the day: "To be world No. 1 is something I dreamed of as a kid. I don't think this one is going to sink in." - Koepka