DJ 2.0 opens with 65 at Chambers Bay

By Rex HoggardJune 18, 2015, 10:54 pm

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – Dustin Johnson 2.0 certainly has all of the characteristics of the original – tall, athletic, powerful and subtly confident – and his display on Thursday at the new-look U.S. Open checked off all of the familiar boxes – booming drives, fearless lines, effortless results.

But as the nine-time PGA Tour winner put the finishing touches on an opening-round 65 at crispy Chambers Bay there was no mistaking the fact that this guy is different.

With his signature economy of words, Johnson made that point clear when the subject turned to the last time he found himself in the mix at his national championship.

“That was a long time ago,” he said when asked about the 2010 U.S. Open when he turned a three-stroke 54-hole lead into a spectacularly disappointing tie for eighth. “I think I'm a better player, obviously a lot more mature. My game is definitely in better shape than it was then.”

But then his game was never in doubt, not since the day he arrived on the Tour in 2008 and turned more heads than a barber.

At 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, Johnson was a swing coach’s dream, a rare mix of physical gifts and genetic talent with club head speed (121 mph for those scoring at home) that defied common standards.

Where Johnson has evolved, however, has more to do with the speed he was living his life.

Last August, he announced he was taking a leave of absence from the game “to seek professional help for personal challenges I have faced.”


Full-field scores: 115th U.S. Open


Two days after announcing that break, Golf.com, citing an unnamed source, reported that Johnson had been suspended by the Tour for failing his third drug test. Both the Tour and Johnson denied that report.

Whatever transpired between Johnson and the Tour, when he returned to the fold earlier this year at the Farmers Insurance Open it was clear things were different.

“He seems to have a sense of calm about him now that I never saw before,” Butch Harmon, Johnson’s swing coach, recently told GolfChannel.com. “The talent has always been there. What I have seen is a person who may be 30 years old, but he’s finally grown up.”

Despite the storm of speculation, Johnson quickly changed the conversation by embracing fatherhood and newborn son, Tatum, and winning his fifth event back after returning from his hiatus.

Even his opening 65 at Chambers Bay, a card marred by just a single bogey at his finishing hole (No. 9) and good enough for a share of the lead, was different.

Sure, the power was there.

At the par-4 seventh hole, for example, he launched his tee shot over a corner of the fairway the vast majority of the field wouldn’t even consider taking on.

“Over the right side [of No. 7] it's a pretty long carry, so it definitely helps, because I can fly it over that corner,” explained Johnson, who averaged 336 yards off the tee on Thursday.

“Today on 16 with the tee up, that bunker on the right, it's like a 300 [yard] carry, and I can carry it that far, so it definitely helps to take the bunker out of play.”

But he was just as quick to point out that despite a prevailing opinion that Chambers Bay is a bomber’s paradise, it is in fact a second-shot golf course that rewards patience almost as much as precision as evidenced by the fact that Johnson forged his way into the lead without making a birdie on either of the par 5s.

Many players have embraced that well-played iron shots will find trouble and the occasional clunker will end up within birdie range. It’s a reality that’s often difficult to square with and a sign of how far Johnson has come.

Dealing with that occasional rub of the green has not always been his stock in trade. Troubling twists like his 6-iron tee shot at No. 9 – which caromed left of the putting surface, weaved between two bunkers and came to rest in a particularly nasty lie – would have derailed the other guy.

“It rolled all the way through [the bunker]. So then I almost hit it backwards up and around,” he offered with a c’est la vie shrug.

This is not the same player who imploded on Sunday at Pebble Beach in 2010, where he played his first four holes in 6 over par.

Missing from this edition, at least early in the experiment, are the mental lapses that cost Johnson the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits when he ground his club in a hazard on the 72nd hole.

While the sum of Johnson’s physical parts remains the same, the more esoteric changes have given way to something more complete, someone more content.

Getty Images

Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

Getty Images

Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

Getty Images

Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

Getty Images

Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”