Is this U.S. Open over after two rounds?

By Rex HoggardJune 17, 2011, 11:30 am

After scores of 65-66, Rory McIlroy stands at 11 under par and holds a six-shot lead through two rounds of the U.S. Open. Is the tournament over? Rex Hoggard and Jay Coffin weigh in with their opinions.

By Rex Hoggard

BETHESDA, Md. – One can envision some hapless, and eternally optimistic, golf scribe penning a similar tome way back in 2000 hard on the shores of Stillwater Cove. “It’s not over,” the wretch would begin, sure Tiger Woods would cool on his way to history at the U.S. Open. He would have been wrong.

But this isn’t Pebble Beach and Rory McIlroy, for all his 36-hole brilliance and natural appeal, isn’t Woods. And this isn’t over, not by a long shot.

Despite McIlroy’s rounds of 65-66, heady and historic stuff, there is still that final-round 80 at Augusta National, not to mention a second-round 80 last year that bounced him out of the lead at St. Andrews, looming like an unanswered question.

When Woods made the championship turn at the 2000 national championship he was a half dozen clear of the field and no other player managed a round better than 68 the rest of the way. He also was 19 PGA Tour victories and two majors into his career, that’s 18 and two more, respectively, than what the young Northern Irishman currently has on his resume.

McIlroy has been nothing short of brilliant through 36 at Congressional, but as the 22-year-old is learning it’s the last 36 that matter the most.

By Jay Coffin

BETHESDA, Md. – It’s not over in the literal sense, but yes, it’s over in every other sense. Rory McIlroy will easily win this U.S. Open.

It’s easy to look at the final-round 80 at the Masters this year and the second-round 80 at the British Open last year. I throw out the 80 at the Old Course because that was in the second round (no real pressure) and the conditions on that day were less than ideal. The 80 at Augusta National is a concern but his lead now is larger than it was then.

The reasoning here is as much about his closest pursuers as it is his six-shot lead. Y.E. Yang is the closest but he has been too inconsistent here for two days to make you think he'll suddenly get hot. Robert Garrigus doesn’t fit that bill of a major champion and Sergio Garcia’s putter will keep him from contending. Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker have major ability, but they're all nine shots behind McIlroy. Remember, it’s more difficult to make birdies and close ground at a U.S. Open than it is the Masters.

If you took McIlroy out of the mix, what score would win? Probably 3 or 4 under par. McIlroy’s swing is too sound right now, he isn’t going to shoot 8 over in the next 36 holes. If he does, it still may be good enough to win.

Getty Images

Rose (64) peaking just ahead of the U.S. Open

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:40 pm

A former U.S. Open champion appears to be finding his form just three weeks ahead of the year's second major.

Justin Rose ascended to the top of the leaderboard Friday at the Fort Worth Invitational, with rounds of 66-64 pushing him to 10 under par for the week.

Through 36 at Colonial, Rose has marked 12 birdies against just two bogeys.

"Yeah, I did a lot of good things today," Rose said. "I think, you know, the end of my round got a little scrappy, but until the last three holes it was pretty flawless. I think I hit every fairway pretty much and obviously every green to that point. ...

"Yeah, the way I played through, I guess through my first 15 holes today, was about as good as I've played in a long time."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Rose won in back-to-back weeks last fall, stunning Dustin Johnson at the WGC-HSBC Championship and riding that victory right into another at the Turkish Airlines Open.

Now the 2013 U.S. Open winner at Merion feels himself once again rounding into form ahead of this year's Open at Shinnecock. A final-round 66 at The Players gave Rose something to focus on in his recent practice sessions with swing coach Sean Foley, as the two work to shore up the timing of Rose's transition into the downswing.

As for his decision to tee it up at Colonial for the first time since 2010, "It was more the run of form really," Rose explained. "I feel like if I didn't play here it was going to be a little spotty going into the U.S. Open. I felt like I wanted to play enough golf where I would have a good read on my game going into Shinnecock.

"So rather than the venue it was more the timing, but it's obviously it's just such a bonus to be on a great layout like this."

For whatever reason, Rose does tend to play his best golf at iconic venues, having won PGA Tour events at Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional.

Getty Images

Koepka (63): Two wrist dislocations in two months

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:19 pm

Brook Koepka's journey back from a wrist injury that kept him out four months hasn't been totally smooth sailing, even if his play has suggested otherwise.

Koepka on Friday fired a 7-under 63 to move up the leaderboard into a tie for third, three shots behind leader Justin Rose through the end of the morning wave at the Fort Worth Invitational.

After a slow start Thursday saw him play his first 13 holes 3 over, Koepka is 10 under with 11 birdies in his last 23 holes at Colonial.

"It doesn't matter to me. I could care less. I'm still going to try as hard as I can," Koepka said. "I don't care how many over or how many under I am. Still going to fight through it."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Just like he's been fighting his wrist the last two months or so. Koepka reinjured his wrist the Wednesday of The Players when he was practicing on the range and had to halt mid-swing after a golf cart drove in front of him. He nonetheless managed to finish T-11.

And that's not the only issue he's had with that wrist during his return.

"We had a bone pop out of place. I didn't tell anybody, but, yeah, they popped it back in," Koepka admitted Friday. "Luckily enough we kind of popped it back into place right away so it wasn't stiff and I didn't have too, too many problems.

"Yeah. I mean, I've dislocated my wrist twice in the last two months. You know, different spots, but, I mean, it's fun. I'll be all right."

Getty Images

Twitter spat turns into fundraising opportunity

By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 6:30 pm

Country music star Jake Owen, along with Brandt Snedeker, has turned a spat on Twitter into a fundraising campaign that will support Snedeker’s foundation.

On Thursday, Owen was criticized during the opening round of the Tour’s Nashville Golf Open, which benefits the Snedeker Foundation, for his poor play after opening with an 86.

In response, Snedeker and country singer Chris Young pledged $5,000 for every birdie that Owen makes on Friday in a campaign called NGO Birdies for Kids

Although Owen, who is playing the event on a sponsor exemption, doesn’t tee off for Round 2 in Nashville until 2 p.m. (CT), the campaign has already generated interest, with NBC Sports/Golf Channel analyst Peter Jacobsen along with Tour player Zac Blair both pledging $100 for every birdie Owen makes.

Getty Images

Noren so impressed by Rory: 'I'm about to quit golf'

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 5:33 pm

Alex Noren won the BMW PGA Championship last year, one of his nine career European Tour victories.

He opened his title defense at Wentworth Club in 68-69 and is tied for fourth through two rounds. Unfortunately, he's five back of leader Rory McIlroy. And after playing the first two days alongside McIlroy, Noren, currently ranked 19th in the world, doesn't seem to like his chances of back-to-back wins.

McIlroy opened in 67 and then shot a bogey-free 65 in second round, which included pars on the pair of par-5 finishing holes. Noren walked away left in awe.

"That's the best round I've ever seen," Noren said. "I'm about to quit golf, I think."

Check out the full interview below: