Friday, June 22

MORNING DRIVE: Betsy King and Golf Fore Africa Bringing Clean Water to Rural Villages



GOOD WORK BY HALL OF FAMER Betsy King and Golf Fore Africa, the organization she founded in 2007.

King explains her project to bring clean water to improve lives in rural areas through a partnership with World Vision to raise money for wells.

King won 34 times on the LPGA Tour, including six majors, and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1995.

Wednesday, June 20

Phil Mickelson Apologizes for U.S. Open Fiasco



PHIL MICKELSON HAS COME TO HIS SENSES.

He sent this statement via text to a few reporters earlier today:
I know this should've come sooner, but it's taken me a few days to calm down. My anger and frustration got the best of me last weekend. I'm embarrassed and disappointed by my actions. It was clearly not my finest moment and I'm sorry.
I'm mostly a Mickelson fan, but his supreme confidence in himself and unapologetic takes cross the line at times. They strike me as arrogant. His behavior on the 13th green and explanation during the third round of the U.S. Open were Phil at his worst. He did something stupid in the heat of the moment. And then he dug in afterward, justifying his actions.

It was a really bad look.

Sure, the USGA got the setup wrong on Saturday, but it's cowardly to blame them.

Golf is a humbling game. It certainly humbled the best golfers in the world at Shinnecock Hills. Judging from his apology, perhaps Phil is a bit more humble. I hope so.

Monday, June 18

Brooks Koepka Embraces Hardship to Win Second Consecutive U.S. Open



BROOKS KOEPKA LIKES HARD GOLF COURSES. They don't get much harder than Shinnecock Hills in the 118th U.S. Open. That suited Koepka but few others. Now he is one of only seven repeat champions in the long history of the national open.

Koepka fired a closing 68 to finish at 1-over 281 and edge Englishman Tommy Fleetwood (2 over), who shot a record-tying 63 in the final round. The 28-year-old Florida native opened with a 75, followed with a 66 and carded a 72 on Saturday when historic Shinnecock Hills turned into a beast and produced average scores above 75.

Bring it on, said Koepka.

"I enjoy being pushed to the limit. Sometimes you feel like you are about to break mentally, but that's what I enjoy. I enjoy hard courses. I enjoy playing about the toughest in golf you are ever going to play."

Nothing bothers Koepka, his caddie said. That's the perfect attitude for the toughest test in golf.

Curtis Strange, the last man to win back-to-back U.S. Opens, marvels at the new athletic breed of tour pro and Koepka in particular.

"[Koepka] is a good striker of the ball and he’s strong and he has a good short game,” he said. "He'd beat me like a yard dog."

Koepka joins Willie Anderson, Bobby Jones, Ralph Guldahl, Ben Hogan and Strange in the elite club of repeating champions. Only Anderson has won three in a row. Koepka will have a go at that mark next June at Pebble Beach.

Thursday, June 14

2018 U.S. Open: Four Share First-Round Lead at Shinnecock Hills

Dustin Johnson at work on Shinnecock's greens.
(©USGA/Darren Carroll)
















WORLD NO. 1 DUSTIN JOHNSON, Scott Piercy, Ian Poulter and Russell Henley shot 1-under 69 on a windswept Shinecock Hills Golf Club to take the lead in the opening round of the U.S. Open.

Jason Dufner matched par with a 70.

The rest of the 156-player field wandered through 18 holes making too many bogeys and others. The average first-round score was 76.4.

Phil Mickelson had a 77. Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth shot 78. Jason Day had a 79. And Rory McIlory carded an 80.

This is already feeling like the olden days of the U.S. Open.

Wednesday, June 13

2018 U.S. Open: A Field for the Ages

Embed from Getty Images

FOLLOWING ARE USGA MEDIA NOTES on the 2018 U.S. Open field of 156 players, which includes 20 amateurs.

OLDEST & YOUNGEST – Kenny Perry (pictured above), at age 57 (born Aug. 10, 1960), is the oldest player in this year’s U.S. Open field. Perry won the 2017 U.S. Senior Open and became the sixth player to win the championship twice. Steve Stricker (born Feb. 23, 1967) is age 51. Noah Goodwin, who won the 2017 U.S. Junior Amateur, is the youngest at age 17 (born June 20, 2000).

FIELD FOR THE AGES – There are 10 players in the 2017 U.S. Open field who will be 20 years old or younger when the first round begins on Thursday, June 14. Philip Barbaree, the 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, is one of five players under age 20.

There are 17 players in the field who are 40 or older. Ernie Els, 48, won two U.S. Opens, in 1994 and 1997. Jim Furyk, 48, won the 2003 U.S. Open.

The average age of the 156-player field is 30.13.

INTERNATIONAL GROUP – There are 27 countries represented in the 2018 U.S. Open. The United States has 83 players in the field, while England has 17 and Australia has 9.

Countries with players in the field – United States (83), England (17), Australia (9), South Africa (6), Republic of Korea (4), Japan (4), Scotland (4), Canada (3), Spain (3), People’s Republic of China (2), France (2), New Zealand (2), Northern Ireland (2), Sweden (2), Argentina (1), Taipei (1), Colombia (1), Costa Rica (1), Denmark (1), Germany (1), Republic of Ireland (1), India (1), Italy (1), Mexico (1), Norway (1), Thailand (1) and Venezuela (1).

FATHER AND SON – The U.S. Open's final round has been played on Father's Day since 1965. There are 10 father-son pairings who have played in the U.S. Open that include a champion. The father and son did not necessarily play in the same Open. In seven of the 10 pairings, the father is the champion.

 

Father-Son Pairings – Includes an Open Winner

Name                                                               Champion
Tom Sr. and Willie Anderson                            Willie (1901, ’03, ’04, ’05)
Julius and Guy Boros                                       Julius (1952, ’63)
Johnny and Billy Farrell                                    Johnny (1928)
Hale and Steve Irwin                                         Hale (1974, ’79, ’90)
Johnny and Andy Miller                                     Johnny (1973)
Jack and Gary Nicklaus                                     Jack (1962, ’67, ’72, ’80)
Gary and Wayne Player                                    Gary (1965)
George and Alfred & Harold Sargent                George (1909)
Bill and Payne Stewart                                      Payne (1991, ’99)
Tom Jr. and Curtis Strange                                Curtis (1988, ’89)

U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONS – A group of U.S. Open champions will play together at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. Lucas Glover (2009), Graeme McDowell (2010) and Webb Simpson (2012) will start on the 10th hole on Thursday at 1:25 p.m. Glover won by two strokes in a Monday finish due to weather at Bethpage State Park (Black Course), in Farmingdale, N.Y. McDowell became the first European since Tony Jacklin in 1970 to win the U.S. Open, prevailing at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links. Simpson edged McDowell and Michael Thompson by one stroke at The Olympic Club, in San Francisco, Calif.

2018 U.S. Open TV Schedule and Championship Notes



THE 118TH U.S. OPEN BEGINS ON THURSDAY at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southamption, New York. This is the fifth time Shinnecock Hills has hosted the national championship. Brooks Koepka is the defending champion.

PAR AND YARDAGE                   
Shinnecock Hills Golf Club will be set up at 7,440 yards and will play to a par of 35-35—70. The yardage for each round of the championship will vary due to course setup and conditions.

Shinnecock Hills Golf Club Hole By Hole
Hole123456789Total
Par43445434435
Yardage3992525004755894911894394853,819
Hole101112131415161718Total
Par43444453435
Yardage4151594693745194096161754853,621

ARCHITECTS                           
Willie Davis completed the first 12 holes in 1891 and head professional Willie Dunn contributed six holes by 1894. The path of the railroad line forced the club to acquire land north of the clubhouse, where, from 1916-17, Charles Blair Macdonald fashioned six new holes for play. William Flynn then constructed 12 new holes and largely altered Macdonald's layout from 1929 to 1931. The clubhouse, built in 1892, underwent a major restoration in 2016 but remains substantially the same as a century ago.

Embed from Getty Images

CHAMPIONSHIP FIELD           
The starting field of 156 golfers will be cut after 36 holes to the low 60 scorers (and ties).

SCHEDULE OF PLAY                
Eighteen holes of stroke play are scheduled each day from Thursday to Sunday. In the event of a tie after 72 holes, a two-hole aggregate playoff will take place following the completion of Sunday's final round.

PURSE
The 2017 purse was $12 million; the winner earned $2.16 million.

TV SCHEDULE
TV coverage on FS1 and Fox. All times ET.

Thursday, June 14
9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (FS1); 4:30-7:30 p.m. (Fox)

Friday, June 15
10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (FS1); 4:30-7:30 p.m. (Fox)

Saturday, June 16
11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. (Fox)

Sunday, June 17
10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. (Fox)

LIVE STREAMING
The U.S. Open will have more than 115 hours of live streaming coverage at usopen.com and on U.S. Open app channels.

(Source: USGA Fact Sheet)

Thursday, June 7

Rory McIlroy on U.S. Open Setup: 'I Think They Overthink It'

Embed from Getty Images

RORY MCILROY DOESN'T SHY AWAY from sharing his opinion on many topics.

As GolfChannel.com reported, McIlroy was asked after the third round of last week's Memorial Tourmanent if organizations such as the USGA truly understood the abilities of tour professionals. After all, they only host the best players in the world once a year.

McIlroy said: "See, I think the USGA thinks that we're better than we actually are, if that makes sense. I think they overthink it. I don't want to single out Mike Davis here; I think it's a collective thought process....I don't think it should be as much of an exact science to set up a golf course as it is. I mean, get the fairways sort of firm, grow the rough, put the pins in some tough locations but fair, and go let us play."

The U.S. Open tees off next week (June 14-17) at Shinnecock Hills in Southhampton, New York.




U.S. Open Tickets
U.S. Open tickets are still available. Take a look at TicketCity.

Monday, June 4

Jeff Babineau's Remembrance of Hall-of-Fame Golfer Carol Mann

I'VE HAD THIS IN MY EMAIL INBOX for nearly two weeks and am sorry I didn't share it earlier.

Carol Mann won 38 tournaments,
including two majors.
LPGA star Carol Mann died recently and veteran golf journalist Jeff Babineau wrote a terrific article about her in MORNING READ.

Babineau got to know Mann through the years and captures her well in his first-person piece, including her love and stewardship of the game.

Here's how it starts:
The year was 2006, and I had what was scheduled to be an easy assignment: A two-hour ride from Orlando, Fla., up I-95 to the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, a short tour, and then a few quick words with Hall of Fame member Carol Mann, the 38-time LPGA champion and 1977 inductee who had taken a role as liaison between the hall and its members. I'd be home early. 
Six hours after I arrived in St. Augustine, there I was, still sitting on an outdoor patio across a table from Carol. An overflowing ash tray on the table held Marlboro Lights wedged in like logs. My cassette recorder had run out of tape hours ago. The two of us sat there, talking about golf – its rich past and its promising future – but mostly about life, and all of its inherent challenges.
READ MORE