Merion uses mats to save course for U.S. Open

By Ryan LavnerDecember 17, 2012, 2:31 pm

Hitting approach shots at Merion isn’t unlike hitting balls at your local driving range.

They’re using artificial mats, too.

In preparations for the 2013 U.S. Open, the venerable Pennsylvania club has been using mats in some fairways since October for “divot control,” according to Bob Rex, Merion’s Green Chairman.

Each caddie carries the mat – about 5 inches wide by 15 inches long – in the pouch of his caddie bib. However, the mats are used only on the approach shots for the short par 4s (Nos. 1, 7, 8 and 10) because most players are hitting wedge into the green.

Interestingly, each of the past two U.S. Open venues (Congressional near Washington D.C. and Olympic Club in San Francisco) has adopted a similar practice. And so, too, has Atlanta Athletic Club, site of the 2011 PGA. 

“It’s not the least bit controversial,” said one Merion member, via Joe Logan of MyPhillyGolf.com. “You have to understand that Merion has a culture that we are a club that hosts major championships and in doing so, you have to make some sacrifices.”

The East Course at Merion, near Philadelphia, closed Dec. 3 for winter and will reopen sometime in April. In June, it will host the U.S. Open for the first time since 1981.

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DEFCON Tiger: Woods' Saturday lights Twitter ablaze

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 22, 2018, 8:15 pm

Tiger Woods grabbed the Tour Championship lead and the sports world by the throat Saturday, making birdie on six of his first seven holes in his third round and sending social media into a frenzy.

Here's a sampling from athletes, journalists and celebrtiies, and we'll start with two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry.

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Lewis fires 61, two behind Herbert in Portugal

By Associated PressSeptember 22, 2018, 8:13 pm

VILAMOURA, Portugal – Tom Lewis came within two shots of tying English countryman Oliver Fisher's European Tour record on another day of low scoring at the Portugal Masters on Saturday.

Lewis returned a 10-under 61 in the third round, just 24 hours after Fisher carded the first 59 on the circuit. Lewis moved to two strokes behind leader Lucas Herbert of Australia.

Lewis acknowledged the thought of another 59 crept into his mind: ''It's something I noticed with three holes to go. I wasn't that bothered at the end of the day.

''I'm pleased that I shot 10 under par. I can only continue to make birdies and see what happens tomorrow.''

Herbert, who is playing off invites this season as he looks to earn his full tour playing privileges, shot a 64 for a 19-under total of 194.

Fisher took 10 more strokes than he did on Friday and was in a group on 14-under 199.

Sergio Garcia of Spain, trying to find form ahead of next week's Ryder Cup, was on 204 after a 68.

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 22, 2018, 7:25 pm

After grinding out a 68 on Friday, Tiger Woods is trying to get the lead all to himself in Round 3 at the Tour Championship. We're tracking him.


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Highlights: Tiger's seven Saturday birdies so far

By Nick MentaSeptember 22, 2018, 7:08 pm

Tiger Woods entered Saturday tied atop the board and wasted little time taking the outright lead at East Lake.

Woods moved clear of the field with this birdie at No. 1, whipping the Atlanta crowd into an early frenzy.

Following a 4-foot par save at the second, Woods moved ahead by two and reached 9 under par when he played this approach from 144 and sank this 8-footer for birdie at the third.

One hole later, Woods reached double digits at 10 under par when he poured in a bending 21-footer that just crept over the lip.

He made it four birdies in his first five holes when he bombed a 320-yard drive, wedged to 7 feet, and converted again.

He looked in danger of not capitalizing on his first crack at a par-5 after he came out of a fairway wood on his second shot, but a splash from the bunker and a make from 6 feet gave him his fifth circle in six holes.

He went Vintage Tiger at the seventh, playing this fairway bunker shot from 172 yards to 5 feet, setting up his sixth birdie in his first seven holes and advancing him to 13 under, five clear.

Looking to make the turn in 29, Woods instead missed the green at the par-3 ninth, failed to get up and down for par, and had to settle for 5-under 30.

Following pars at 10 and 11, he started looking this approach up and down at the 12th, leading to his seventh birdies of the day.