Spieth hopes 'winning formula' leads to second major

By Ryan LavnerJune 21, 2015, 4:35 am

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – OK, so he is not a veteran in this situation. Not by any means. This is only his 10th major start, and just the third time he’s had a realistic chance to win, and he’s less than half the age of some of the prominent players in the field.

But Jordan Spieth enters the final round of the U.S. Open with the confidence that he’s been there, done that, and it happened just 70 days ago.

He has won a major – something that Dustin Johnson and Jason Day and Branden Grace and, well, all but one player (Louis Oosthuizen) within five shots of the lead have not.

“If I can convince myself that I’m free rolling,” Spieth said, “I’ve got one of these and the other guys are trying to chase their first. I know how hard it is to chase your first and close it out.”

Spieth, in a four-way tie for the lead at 4-under 206, says he has a winning formula to nail down majors. He employed it back in April at the Masters, when he stormed out to a big lead, steadied himself when the pack closed in Saturday afternoon, and then pulled away en route to a historic four-shot win.

That was a coronation. This won’t be nearly as straightforward, as predictable. It never is, not on U.S. Open Sunday. There’s no such thing as a formality. Spieth is bracing himself for the hardest golf course of the year, for a five-hour gut check.

Stay true to that winning formula, he says, and then it all boils down to execution, to hitting the shots that are required, to holing the must-make putts.

“Mentally,” he said, “I think I’ll be strong enough to pull it off.”

Mentally, he’ll be tested Sunday in ways he’s never experienced.


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


Spieth has talked all week – all year, really – about patience on the course. Part of Spieth’s immense appeal is that he is so passionate, so expressive, so emotional. From 300 yards away you can tell whether he hit a great shot or a poor one.

Allowing one bad break, bounce or bobble to fester generally spells doom at the Open. It leads to another mistake, and then another, and then before long it’s all over.

A series of bad hops and bumpy putts threatened to derail his bid for history Saturday at Chambers Bay, but Spieth didn’t break.

A snapshot of his turbulent day:

• After holing 75 feet of putts on his first three holes, his ball on the fourth green settled in a sandy patch 30 feet away. Predictably, his attempt came up woefully short and wide. Bogey.

• Steaming after a three-putt on 7, Spieth hit a tight draw off the tee on the par-5 eighth. He thought it was perfect, just down the left side. Then he walked up the fairway and saw his ball in the right rough, with a clump of grass behind it. “I was appalled,” he said. “This is a joke.” He made a disappointing par.

• On 10, he hooked his tee shot left and signaled to the marshals almost immediately after impact. His ball came to rest on the side of a sandy dune, with no view of the flagstick. Three times he climbed the hill and hopped up and down, trying to find a line off in the distance. With the ball well below his feet, and his stance about two feet wide, he improbably chased his shot to the back of the green, 40 feet away. The ensuing two-putt – including a tricky 4-footer on a crown – was his biggest momentum-saving stroke.

• On 11, which played as an all-the-way-back 530-yard par 4, Spieth hit what he thought was another perfect drive, but his ball caught the tall fescue on the sandy dune in the middle of the fairway, forcing a hack-out. Bogey.

• On 14, he spun his iron after hitting what he thought was a snug approach. The ball nestled closer and closer, 15 feet and then 10 and then five … and then it disappeared over the back of the green. The crowd moaned. Spieth twirled around and swiped at the air, then walked away from the television camera with his right fist covering his mouth. Mike Davis, the USGA’s executive director and the man largely behind the setup here, was walking with this group. No, he did not smile.

“Got robbed, Jordan!” a fan yelled as Spieth approached the green, but he deftly navigated the steep hill and then lipped in a 6-footer for par. He pumped his fist, twice.

Still, the best putter on the planet had four three-putts Saturday, two of which came after driving the green on a par 4.

“I’m going to need to execute a little bit better,” he said.

But Spieth was at his best late, playing his last seven holes in 1 under to get in the house at minus-4, tied with three others.

It was just what he needed – and the opposite of what transpired during the third round at Augusta, when he made an out-of-nowhere double on 17 and needed a nifty up-and-down from an impossible spot to protect his four-shot cushion.

“I’m more relaxed now,” he said, “because I feel a little more comfortable about the finish of the round.”

Whether he’s willing to embrace the hype or not, Sunday is an important day for Spieth. A hugely important day. Another major win, and he’d be halfway home to the Grand Slam, a feat only five men in history have accomplished. He’d be stamped as a once-in-a-generation player.

“That’s going to have no bearing when I tee it up,” he said. “It’s just going to be how can I tackle Chambers Bay.”

Without getting tackled himself, of course.

Spieth expects a rough night sleep – he’s still tied for the lead in a major, after all – but also that he’ll be a little less anxious, a bit more patient. He knows what to expect on major Sunday. He experienced it two months ago.

“We’re free rolling,” he said. “I’ve already got one of these.”

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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.

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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

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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.”

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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.”