Course setup information for Round 2 at Merion

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 14, 2013, 3:46 pm

With the second round of the U.S. Open underway, USGA executives released information on how Merion Golf Club will set up for players as the season's second major continues Friday:

Green Speeds: Today’s green speeds are roughly one-half foot slower than yesterday due to overnight rain (1/10th inch) and our caution with predicted winds of upwards of 30mph. The speeds will range 12.5 to 13 feet on the USGA Stimpmeter during the day.

Fairways and Rough Grass: Most fairways were cut this morning, but four were only rolled due to standing casual water. Roughs were not cut during yesterday’s p.m. maintenance due to rain.

Weather Forecast for Friday: Generally around a tenth of an inch of rain fell overnight and with the on again, off again showers and sprinkles this morning we could see up to another tenth of an inch of rain at the most. The other main story to start this morning is the cool northerly winds, gusting over 20 mph at times that will keep temperatures below normal today. Winds will decrease throughout the day and as the sun comes out more this afternoon, we will have to watch out for a shower or even a storm, especially around 5 p.m. The clouds should clear out quickly this evening and we are still looking at nearly perfect weather on Saturday under lots of sunshine.

Total Course Yardage for Friday (tee marker settings to flagstick) = 3,689 yards out; 3,212 yards in = 6,901 total yards (will be shortest Open yardage since Pebble Beach in 2000)

Hole-by-Hole Information:

Hole 1 – 356 yards; the hole location is three-quarters of the way back hugging the right side. (Green depth 37 paces; hole 25 paces on, three paces from the right)

Hole 2 – 557 yards; the hole location is in the center left portion of the green. (Green depth 37; hole 17 on, three from the left)

Hole 3 – 203 yards; tee markers are on the forward teeing ground with the hole location placed 7 paces past the front edge of the green; tee shots should be played downwind. (Green depth 47; hole seven on, four from the left)

Hole 4 – 628 yards; the hole location is on the front left “ledge” of the green. (Green depth 40; hole 10 on, three from the left)

Hole 5 – 504 yards; the hole location is in the center of the green; the hole should have a helping wind out of the right. (Green depth 36; hole 18 on, 11 from the right)

Hole 6 – 491 yards; the hole location is in the center of the green; this hole will also have a helping wind out of the right. (Green depth 36; hole 22 on, 14 from left)

Hole 7 – 368 yards; the hole location is placed in center left portion of the green just short of the back left “bowl”. (Green depth 47; hole 31 on, three from the left)

Hole 8 – 363 yards; the hole location is the back left portion of the green; most putts on the green will be uphill to the hole. (Green depth 23; hole 15 on, five from the left)

Hole 9 – 219 yards; the hole location is in the front portion (6 paces on) of this kidney-shaped green; shots played from past the hole will be fast coming back down the hill. (Green depth 42; hole six on, five from the right)

Hole 10 – 303 yards; tee markers are on the back teeing ground; the hole location is in the back left portion of the green. (Green depth 37; hole 29 on, five from the left)

Hole 11 – 363 yards; the hole location is placed in the center right portion of the green. (Green depth 30; hole 15 on, three from the right)

Hole 12 – 405 yards; the hole location is placed in center left portion just left of the “spine” that runs front to back through the green. (Green depth 37; hole 21 on, five from the left)

Hole 13 – 123 yards; tee markers are placed on the left side (upper) of the teeing ground; the hole location is center back of this “bowl” green; tee shots played with less spin will be advantaged. (Green depth 20; hole 14 on, 10 from both right and left sides)

Hole 14 – 453 yards; tee markers were kept on the forward teeing ground for round 2 because of the headwind on tee shots; the hole location is placed back left portion bringing the closely mown mound left of the green into play. (Green depth 41; hole 30 on, six from the left)

Hole 15 – 414 yards; the hole location is tucked behind the bunker that fronts the right portion of the green. (Green depth 33; hole 17 on, seven from the right)

Hole 16 – 434 yards; the hole location is placed five or so paces above the front right bowl. (Green depth 44; hole 25 on, five from the right)

Hole 17 – 206 yards; the tee markers are placed on the forward teeing ground; the hole location is in the front right portion of the green just above the false front; the tee shots are into the north wind. (Green depth 40; hole 14 on, three from the right)

Hole 18 – 501 yards; the tee markers are again placed on the penultimate teeing ground even with the northerly downwind tee shot; the hole location is on the front left portion of the putting green; the hole should played downwind. (Green depth 31; hole 12 on, eight from the left)

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Miller's biggest on-air regret: Leonard at Ryder Cup

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 12:00 am

Johnny Miller made a broadcasting career out of being brutally honest, calling golf tournaments exactly like he saw them.

His unfiltered style is what kept him on the air for nearly 30 years, but it wasn't always the most popular with players.

After announcing his upcoming retirement, Miller was asked Tuesday if there were any on-air comments he regretted over the last three decades. One immediately came to mind.

"I think that I didn't say the right words about Justin Leonard at Miracle at Brookline about he should be home watching it on TV. I meant really - I did say he should be home, but I meant the motel room. Even then I probably shouldn't have said that," Miller recalled. "I want so much for the outcome that I'm hoping for that I actually get overwhelmed with what I want to see. Almost the kind of things you would say to your buddies if you were watching it on TV, you know? He just couldn't win a match."

After struggling on Friday and Saturday in team play, Leonard ended up the U.S. hero after halving his Sunday singles match with José María Olazábal by holing a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole - one of the most famous shots in Ryder Cup history.

"Of course he ended up - after the crappy comment I made that motivated maybe the team supposedly in the locker room, and he ends up making that 45-, 50- foot putt to seal the deal," Miller said. "Almost like a Hollywood movie or something."

Not only did the putt seal the comeback for the U.S., but it also earned Leonard an apology from Miller. 

"I apologized to him literally the next day; I happened to see him. I tried to make a policy when I go over the line that I get ahold of the guy within 24 hours and tell him I made a double bogey, you know. That's just the way I have done it through the years."

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Love him or not, Miller's authentic style stood out

By Doug FergusonOctober 16, 2018, 10:11 pm

The comment was vintage Johnny Miller, raw enough to cause most television producers to wince.

Miller was in the NBC Sports booth at Doral in 2004 when he watched Craig Parry hit another beautiful shot to the green. Miller said what he saw. That was his job.

He just didn't say it like other golf analysts.

''The last time you see that swing is in a pro-am with a guy who's about a 15-handicap,'' Miller said. ''It's just over the top, cups it at the bottom and hits it unbelievably good. It doesn't look ... if Ben Hogan saw that, he'd puke.''

Parry got the last word, of course, holing out a 6-iron from 176 yards in a playoff to win.

Except that wasn't the last word.

''I was in Ponte Vedra going back to the Honda Classic, and my phone is blowing up,'' said Tommy Roy, the longtime golf producer at NBC. ''It started percolating down in Australia, and you had radio stations demanding Johnny Miller be fired.''

Miller could make golf more fun to hear than to watch.

''He doesn't have a filter. That's why he's so good,'' Roy said. ''What he's thinking comes out. And 99.5 percent of the time, that was a great thing for viewers, and for me. And 0.5 percent of the time, it was a problem for our PR department and for me.

''And it was worth it.''

Roy was in Wisconsin on Monday night for his first look at Whistling Straits for the 2020 Ryder Cup. It will be the first Ryder Cup since 1989 that doesn't have Miller in the booth weighing in on good shots and bad with thoughts that immediately become words.

He often entertained. He occasionally irritated. He was rarely dull.

Miller is retiring after three decades calling the shots for NBC. His last tournament will be the Phoenix Open, the perfect exit for a Hall of Fame player once known as the ''Desert Fox'' for winning six times in Arizona. Miller was so good for so long that it was easy for younger generations to forget about that other career he had.

Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019

Best of: Photos of Miller through the years

And to think that was nearly his only career in golf.

Miller said he wasn't interested when NBC first approached him, but then his wife stepped in and told him it would be nice to have a steady paycheck. Even then, it took time for him to realize his audience was in the living room, not the locker room.

He made his debut at the Bob Hope Classic in 1990 and it didn't take long for him to leave his mark. Peter Jacobsen faced an awkward lie to the 18th green with water to the left.

''The easiest shot to choke on,'' Miller said.

People thought about choking. Miller said it because that's what he was thinking.

''What came into his brain came out of his mouth,'' said Mike McCarley, president of golf for NBC Sports. ''He was the first to really talk about the pressure. It's the most important element of the game, especially in those really big moments. He was doing it at a time when others weren't.''

It wasn't just the word ''choke.''

Phil Mickelson was getting up-and-down from everywhere at the 2010 Ryder Cup when Miller suggested that if Lefty weren't such a good putter he'd be selling cars in San Diego. Justin Leonard and Hal Sutton were losing a fourballs match at the 1999 Ryder Cup when Miller blurted out, ''My hunch is that Justin needs to go home and watch it on television.''

During the 2008 U.S. Open playoff at Torrey Pines that Tiger Woods won in 19 holes over Rocco Mediate, Miller suggested that guys named ''Rocco'' don't get their name on the trophy, and that Mediate looked like ''the guy who cleans Tiger's swimming pool.''

It wasn't all bad.

Roy, who also has produced NBA Finals and Olympics, said he wants analysts who first-guess, not second-guess. The latter is for talk radio. First-guessing means sharing instincts, and Miller had plenty of them.

Woods was playing the final hole at Newport in the 1995 U.S. Amateur when Miller said, ''It wouldn't surprise me if he knocked this thing a foot from the hole.''

And that's just what Woods did.

McCarley remembers how retired NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol used to worry whenever Miller called because he thought it was about retirement. McCarley soon inherited that feeling.

''Every time I'd see Johnny's number pop up on my cellphone, my heart would skip a beat,'' McCarley said. ''Two years ago, he made that call I had been dreading.''

McCarley kept him working a slightly reduced schedule, but no longer. Miller is 71 and has been on the road for 50 years. His 24th grandchild was born on Sunday. He wants to teach them fly fishing in Utah, perhaps even a little golf.

Miller wasn't sure he would last a week when he started. He never imagined going nearly 30 years.

He leaves behind a style all his own.

Most loved it. Some didn't. But everyone listened, and that might be his legacy in the broadcast booth. Roy said what he has heard from viewers he knows is that 70 percent really like Miller, and 30 percent really don't.

''But they all have an opinion,'' he said.

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CJ Cup: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 16, 2018, 9:20 pm

The PGA Tour returns to South Korea this week for the second edition of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges. Here is the key information for the no-cut event, where Justin Thomas is defending champion.

Golf course: Located on Jeju Island, the largest island off the coast of the Korean Peninsula, The Club at Nine Bridges opened in 2001 and was designed by Ronald Fream and David Dale. The par-72 layout (36-36) will measure 7,184 yards for this week's event, 12 yards shorter than last year.

Purse: The total purse is $9.5 million with the winner receiving $1.71 million. In addition, the winner will receive 500 FedExCup points, a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour, and invitations to the 2019 Sentry Tournament of Champions, Players, Masters, and PGA Championship.

Last year: Thomas defeated Marc Leishman with a birdie on the second playoff hole to earn his seventh career PGA Tour win.

TV schedule (all times Eastern): Golf Channel, Wednesday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-2 a.m.

Live streamingWednesday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. 

Notable tee times (all times Eastern): 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, 8:15 p.m. Thursday: Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Sungjae Im; 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. Thursday: Marc Leishman, Si Woo Kim, Ernie Els; 8:25 p.m. Wednesday, 7:15 p.m. Thursday: Jason Day, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama

Notables in the field: Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Ernie Els, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell and last week's winner Marc Leishman.

Key stats:

 This is the third of 46 official events of the season and the second of three consecutive weeks of events in Asia

• 78-player field including the top 60 available from the final 2017-2018 FedExCup points list

The field also includes 12 major champions and two of the top five in the Official World Golf Ranking (highest ranked are No. 3 Koepka and No. 4 Thomas)

Thomas and Koepka both have a shot to ascend to No. 1 in the OWGR this week - they will play their first two rounds grouped together

Stats and information provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit

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Els eyeing potential Prez Cup players at CJ Cup

By Will GrayOctober 16, 2018, 6:55 pm

Ernie Els is teeing it up this week in South Korea as a player, but he's also retaining the perspective of a captain.

While the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia is still more than a year away, Els has already begun the process of keeping tabs on potential players who could factor on his International squad that will face an American contingent captained by Tiger Woods. Els played in last week's CIMB Classic in Malaysia, and this week received one of eight sponsor exemptions into the limited-field CJ Cup on Jeju Island.

Els played a Tuesday practice round with Presidents Cup veteran and Branden Grace and India's Shubankhar Sharma, who held a share of the 54-hole lead last week in Malaysia.

"It's going to be a very diverse team the way things are shaping up already," Els told reporters. "We've got another year to go, so we're going to have an interesting new group of players that's going to probably make the team."

In addition to keeping tabs on Grace and Sharma, Els will play the first two rounds with Australia's Marc Leishman and South Korea's Si Woo Kim. Then there's Sungjae Im, a native of Jeju Island who led the Tour money list wire-to-wire last season.

"There's so many Korean youngsters here this week, so I'm going to really see how they perform," Els said. "Still a long way to go, but these guys, the young guys are going to be really the core of our team."

Els, who will turn 49 on Wednesday, made only five cuts in 15 PGA Tour starts last season, with his best result a T-30 finish at the Valero Texas Open. While it's increasingly likely that his unexpected triumph at the 2012 Open will end up being his final worldwide victory, he's eager to tackle a new challenge in the coming months by putting together the squad that he hopes can end the International losing skid in the biennial matches.

"The U.S. team is a well-oiled team. They play Ryder Cups together, they obviously play very well in the Presidents Cups against us, so they're a very mature team," Els said. "We are going to be a young team, inexperienced. But that doesn't scare me because I know the course very well down in Melbourne, I've played it many, many times. I feel I have a very good game plan to play the golf course strategy-wise and I'm going to share that with my players."