Woods, McIlroy, Scott headline U.S. Open at Merion

By Jason SobelJune 7, 2013, 6:24 pm

When the U.S. Open returns to Merion Golf Club next week after a 32-year absence, it will be highlighted by a superstar grouping in the opening two rounds.

The world’s top three players will be playing together, as former U.S. Open winners Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will be joined by Masters champion Adam Scott. They will tee off the first hole at 1:14 p.m. ET Thursday and off No. 11 at 7:44 a.m. Friday.

Woods and McIlroy have competed in the same pairing on a dozen occasions in competitive tournaments, but never before in a major championship.

This will also mark the first time that Woods finds himself in the same group at a major with former caddie Steve Williams, who was on the bag for 13 of his major victories. Since they stopped working together two years ago, Woods and Williams have only been in the same group on two occasions, as Woods twice faced Scott during the 2011 Presidents Cup.

113th U.S. Open groupings for Rounds 1 and 2

The USGA has also grouped the next three players on the Official World Golf Ranking, as Matt Kuchar, Justin Rose and Brandt Snedeker will tee off the 11th hole at 7:22 a.m. Thursday.

Five-time U.S. Open runner-up Phil Mickelson will begin his search for an elusive title at 7:11 a.m. off the 11th tee alongside fellow American competitors Keegan Bradley and Steve Stricker.

Reigning champion Webb Simpson will open his title defense with U.S. Amateur champion Steven Fox and former U.S. Open champion Ernie Els at 1:36 p.m. off the first tee.

Other notable groupings include: Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Nicolas Colsaerts at 7 a.m. on the 11th hole; Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Tim Clark at 7:33 a.m. on the 11th hole; Sergio Garcia, Stewart Cink and Padraig Harrington at 7:44 a.m. on the 11th hole; Ian Poulter, Jason Dufner and Boo Weekley at 7:55 a.m. on the 11th hole; Rickie Fowler, Matteo Manassero and Jason Day at 8:06 a.m. on the 11th hole; Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer at 12:52 p.m. on the first hole; and Jim Furyk, Graeme McDowell and Zach Johnson at 1:03 p.m. on the first hole.

Because of logistical concerns, players will start their “back nine” on the 11th tee rather than the traditional 10th. At last year’s U.S. Open at The Olympic Club, competitors started on the ninth hole due to similar concerns.

The 113th U.S. Open will take place from June 13-16. Merion will play to a par-70 at an official length of 6,996 yards.

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Report: Tour close to finalizing Detroit tournament

By Will GrayApril 23, 2018, 7:07 pm

With the final pieces of the 2019 schedule falling into place, the PGA Tour appears on the verge of returning to Michigan for the first time in nearly a decade.

According to a Detroit News report, the Tour is "believed to be close" to an agreement to bring a tournament to the Motor City beginning in 2019, reportedly likely to take place at Detroit Golf Club near downtown.

While the specifics remain undisclosed, the prime candidate for such a move appears to be The National. The Washington, D.C.-area event, which benefits Tiger Woods' TGR Foundation, was sponsored by Detroit-based Quicken Loans from 2014-2017. This year the tournament will be conducted at TPC Potomac without a title sponsor.

According to a Detroit News report in September, Quicken Loans CEO Dan Gilbert was open to continuing his company's sponsorship of the event if it shifted to Detroit.

In addition to The National, the only other current PGA Tour event without a title sponsor is the Houston Open. On Monday Charles Schwab was introduced as the new title sponsor of the Fort Worth Invitational beginning in 2019.

The PGA Tour has not held an event in the state of Michigan since 2009, the final year of the now-defunct Buick Open at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club. While the final details of a revamped schedule have yet to be announced, the Tour is expected to unveil its itinerary for the 2018-19 season at The Players next month.

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Inbee Park quietly reclaims world No. 1

By Randall MellApril 23, 2018, 6:44 pm

Inbee Park moved back to No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings in about as ho-hum fashion as you’ll ever see a player take the top spot.

It isn’t that she doesn’t care about the top ranking. It just wasn’t a priority in her return to golf this year, after missing big portions of the last two years with injuries.

With an Olympic gold medal and seven major championship titles, the LPGA Hall of Famer isn’t done trying to top the scoreboards that matter most to her.

“To be honest, I never really think about being No. 1 again,” Park said early last week, before tying for second at the Hugel-JTBC LA Open. “If it comes to me, great. If not, it doesn't matter.”

It came to her for the fourth time in her career.

Park, 29, reigned at No. 1 for 59 weeks in her longest run on top, back in the 2013 and ’14 seasons.

Oddly, this run to No. 1 almost comes as a surprise to Park, who didn’t need long to get back to the top spot after returning to the tour. She won the Bank of Hope Founders Cup last month in her second after missing seven months with a back injury.

Park last lost the No. 1 ranking in October of 2015, doing so to Lydia Ko.

In six starts this year, Park has finished T-3 or better four times. She leads the tour in scoring average (69.13) and is second in greens in regulation (77.5 percent).

Just wait until her putter heats up.

Yeah, Park’s not very satisfied with her putting. She’s one of the greatest putters who ever played the women’s game, but she has been frustrated with the inconsistency of her stroke much of this season. Of course, her standards are high. She ranks second in putts per greens in regulation so far this year.

On Sunday, this is how Park summed up her putting in 2018: “Some days, I’ve been really good. Some days, I’ve been really bad.”

Park has led the LPGA in putts per GIR in five of the last 10 years. She switched from her preferred mallet-style putter to a blade earlier this season and won with a Toulon Madison blade at the Founders Cup last month. She was back with an Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball mallet this past week. That’s the putter she used to win the gold medal in Rio de Janeiro two years ago. She used an Odyssey Sabertooth winged mallet in her 2013 run of three consecutive major championship victories.

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Goose takes down junior golfer - it's awesome

By Nick MentaApril 23, 2018, 6:33 pm

A goose evidently went into business for itself somewhere in Michigan and took down this high school golfer in dramatic, hilarious, photographed fashion. To the evidence we go ...

Per the Blissfield Athletics Twitter account, "The golfers just finished teeing off and were walking down the fairway. To the left there was a goose nest and the golfers did a good job of avoiding it but the guard goose hanging out on the far right thought differently."

Just so we can all continue laughing, the Blissfield account confirmed the kid was OK.

If you're looking for related content, check out Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" and this video:

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It's official: Charles Schwab to sponsor Colonial event

By Associated PressApril 23, 2018, 6:30 pm

FORT WORTH, Texas – The longest-running PGA Tour event still played at its original site has a new title sponsor, one already deeply involved in golf.

The PGA Tour and Colonial Country Club announced Monday that financial services provider Charles Schwab & Co. will take over as title sponsor starting in 2019. The four-year agreement goes through 2022.

Local companies are backing the event after upscale grocer Dean and Deluca withdrew as title sponsor after only two tournaments of a six-year deal. The companies include American Airlines, AT&T, XTO Energy and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway.

Charles Schwab is already a major sponsor on the PGA Tour. On the PGA Tour Champions, the Charles Schwab Cup is awarded to the season's top player.

Next month's tournament at Colonial, which has hosted since 1946, will be played as the Fort Worth Invitational.