What We Learned: Olympic up to the challenge

By Jay CoffinJune 16, 2012, 3:07 am

SAN FRANCISCO - For the 112th U.S. Open, the GolfChannel.com team offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from Day 2 at The Olympic Club.

I learned that the 112th edition of the U.S. Open is far from over. Yeah, yeah. I know what you’re thinking: “Tiger Woods is tied for the lead! He’s going to win!” You know what? I don’t disagree with that notion one bit. Force me to pick an eventual champion from the current list of contenders and my money is on the dude with 14 majors to his name, too. But I’ve also seen too much golf over the past two days to believe that some strange, quirky, unpredictable things can’t happen over the next 36 holes. It’s not as if his fellow co-leaders Jim Furyk and David Toms will go bury their heads in a greenside bunker simply at the notion of having to contend with him for a title. And the nature of this beast that is Olympic has shown us that there are no givens on this course. Nothing is absolute here, nothing is taken for granted. So yes, I think Tiger is on the verge of his 15th major victory, but I’m going to stick around and keep watching anyway, because I don’t think this thing’s even close to being over. - Jason Sobel

I learned that The Olympic Club is a helluva lot better than I thought it was. I knew it was a good track, but I wasn't convinced that it'd provide a great championship. Perhaps I was too aware of Opens past where David took down Goliath, perhaps I was too worried that another Jack Fleck would take down another Ben Hogan. That still may happen, but, if it does, it won't be Olympic's fault. I walked around these storied grounds for three days early in the week and listened to players who weren't fond of the place. I thought there'd be too many goofy bounces that that the top players wouldn't be pleased. I'm over it all now. This is a great test, one that will provide a worthy champion by week's end. - Jay Coffin

This U.S. Open is a brutish test, but it might not be a complete test. If you can win this championship hardly having to hit your driver, how can it be a complete test? This is no shot at Tiger Woods, who is working his ball around The Olympic Club with masterful control, but he just might tame this track hitting mostly irons off tee boxes. Woods hit three drivers on Thursday, five on Friday. He is playing smart, with a wonderful gameplan and the shots to make it work. This question isn’t really about Tiger. The challenge and opportunities are the same for everyone this week. The issue here is whether the U.S. Golf Association is trying to identify the best player without really requiring him to hit a very important club in the bag. - Randall Mell

That world No. 1 Luke Donald may be the game’s best player right now but his 11-over-par week at The Olympic Club suggests the U.S. Open may not be his cup of tea. On a shot-maker’s layout that was likely the Englishman’s best chance to win an Open, along with next year at Merion, he made almost five times as many bogeys (14) as birdies (three). In his last six starts at the national championship his line reads MC-WD-MC-T47-T45-MC. - Rex Hoggard

Getty Images

Casey comes up short (again) to Bubba at Travelers

By Will GrayJune 25, 2018, 12:07 am

CROMWELL, Conn. – Staked to a four-shot lead entering the final round of the Travelers Championship, Paul Casey watched his opening tee shot bounce off a wooden wall and back into the middle of the fairway, then rolled in a 21-foot birdie putt off the fringe.

At the time, it appeared to be a not-so-subtle indicator that Casey was finally going to get his hands on a trophy that has barely eluded him in the past. Instead it turned out to be the lone highlight of a miserable round that left the Englishman behind only Bubba Watson at TPC River Highlands for the second time in the last four years.

Casey shot the low round of the tournament with a third-round 62 that distanced him from the field, but that opening birdie turned out to be his only one of the day as he stalled out and ultimately finished three shots behind Watson, to whom he lost here in a playoff in 2015.

Casey’s score was 10 shots worse than Saturday, as a 2-over 72 beat only five people among the 73 others to play the final round.

Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“I mean, I fought as hard as I could, which I’m proud of,” Casey said. “Not many times you put me on a golf course and I only make one birdie. I don’t know. I’d be frustrated with that in last week’s event, but it is what it is.”

Casey led by as many as five after his opening birdie, but he needed to make a 28-foot par save on No. 10 simply to maintain a one-shot edge over a hard-charging Watson. The two men were tied as Casey headed to the 16th tee, but his bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 combined with a closing birdie from Watson meant the tournament was out of reach before Casey even reached the final tee.

Casey explained that a “bad night of sleep” led to some neck pain that affected his warm-up session but didn’t impact the actual round.

“Just frustrating I didn’t have more,” he said. “Didn’t have a comfortable swing to go out there and do something with.”

Casey won earlier this year at the Valspar Championship to end a PGA Tour victory drought that dated back to 2009, but after being denied a second victory in short succession when he appeared to have one hand on the trophy, he hopes to turn frustration into further success before turning the page to 2019.

“I’m probably even more fired up than I was post-Tampa to get another victory. This is only going to be more fuel,” Casey said. “I’ve got 12 events or something the rest of the year. So ask me again in November, and if I don’t have another victory, then I will be disappointed. This is merely kind of posturing for what could be a very good climax.”

Getty Images

Watch: Gary Player tires people out with sit-ups

By Grill Room TeamJune 24, 2018, 11:33 pm

Well all know Gary Player is a fitness nut, and at 82 years young he is still in phenomenal shape.

That's why it was incredible to see two mere mortals like us try to keep up with him in a sit-up competition at the BMW International Open.

Watch the video below.

The guy in blue makes the smart decision and bows out about halfway through. But give the other guy an "A" for effort, he stuck with Player for about 60 sit-ups, and then the nine-time major champion just starts taunting him.

Getty Images

Japan teen Hataoka rolls to NW Ark. win

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 11:07 pm

ROGERS, Ark. - Japanese teenager Nasa Hataoka ran away with the NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday for her first LPGA title

The 19-year-old Hataoka won by six strokes, closing with an 8-under 63 at Pinnacle Country Club for a tournament-record 21-under 192 total. She broke the mark of 18 under set last year by So Yeon Ryu.

Hataoka won twice late last year on the Japan LPGA and has finished in the top 10 in five of her last six U.S. LPGA starts, including a playof loss last month in the Kingsmill Championship.

Hataoka began the round tied with Minjee Lee for the lead.

Austin Ernst shot a 65 to finish second.

Lee and third-ranked Lexi Thompson topped the group at 13 under.

Getty Images

Tour investigating DeChambeau's use of compass

By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 10:09 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Bryson DeChambeau’s reliance on science to craft his play on the course is well known, but he took things to a new level this week at the Travelers Championship when television cameras caught him wielding a compass while looking at his yardage book during the third round.

According to DeChambeau, it’s old news. He’s been using a compass regularly to aid in his preparation for nearly two years, dating back to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October 2016.

“I’m figuring out the true pin locations,” DeChambeau said. “The pin locations are just a little bit off every once in a while, and so I’m making sure they’re in the exact right spot. And that’s it.”

Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

But social media took notice this weekend, as did PGA Tour officials. DeChambeau explained that he was approached on the range Saturday and informed that the Tour plans to launch an investigation into whether or not the device is allowable in competition, with a decision expected in the next week.

It’s not the first time the 24-year-old has gone head-to-head with Tour brass, having also had a brief run with side-saddled putting earlier in his career.

“They said, ‘Hey, we just want to let you know that we’re investigating the device and seeing if it’s allowable,’” DeChambeau said. “I understand. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened.”

DeChambeau won earlier this month at the Memorial Tournament, and the Tour’s ruling would not have any retroactive impact on his results earlier this year. Playing alongside tournament winner Bubba Watson in the final round at TPC River Highlands, DeChambeau shot a final-round 68 to finish in a tie for ninth.

“It’s a compass. It’s been used for a long, long time. Sailors use it,” DeChambeau said. “It’s just funny that people take notice when I start putting and playing well.”