Monday, June 27

Muirfield Will Vote Again on Female Membership

NOW THAT IT HAS LOST the British Open, Muirfield is rethinking the necessity of female members.

The Associated Press reported:
GULLANE, Scotland — Muirfield intends to stage another vote on whether to admit female members after being stripped of its right to host the British Open. 
The Scottish club failed in May to get the two-thirds majority required of its membership to change its policy, drawing disapproval from across golf.
In addition, Henry Fairweather, captain of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, said:

"The club committee believes that a clear and decisive vote in favor of admitting women as members is required to enable us to begin the task of restoring the reputation of the club that has been damaged by the earlier ballot outcome."

Muirfield has hosted the British Open 16 times dating back to 1892, including in 2013 when Phil Mickelson surprised the golf world with his first Open victory. I have a feeling the vote will come out differently the second time around.

Friday, June 24

Oops! ARMCHAIR GOLF Misquotes Carl Sagan

It is far better to grasp golf as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
– (not said by) Carl Sagan

Biographical note: Carl Sagan was an American astronomer and astrochemist.

This misquote brought to you by The Armchair Golfer.
Getting it wrong for the love of the game.

Wednesday, June 22

Citing Zika Virus, Rory Drops Out of Olympics

RORY MCILROY HAS PULLED OUT of the Olympic Games, joining Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Marc Leishman and Vijay Singh. ESPN.com reports that Rickie Fowler might be next.

The Olympic golf movement is in shambles, and, based on what I read, the entire Rio Games seem to be hanging by a thread. Sad stuff, to be sure.

McIlroy's statement:
After much thought and deliberation, I have decided to withdraw my name from consideration for this summer's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. 
After speaking with those closest to me, I've come to realise that my health and my family's health comes before anything else.
Even though the risk of infection from the Zika virus is considered low, it is a risk nonetheless and a risk I am unwilling to take. 
I trust the Irish people will understand my decision. The unwavering support I receive every time I compete in a golf tournament at home or abroad means the world to me. 
I will continue to endeavour to make my fans and fans of golf proud with my play on the course and my actions off it.

Tuesday, June 21

Regret City: The USGA and Dustin Johnson Ruling

THE USGA DOESN'T CALL THIS an apology. But I think we can call it an apology. It registers a 10 on the regret meter. Players and others in the golf world, in what seemed like a unanimous voice, blasted the organization for its handling of the Dustin Johnson rules incident during the final round of the U.S. Open. Fortunately, DJ cruised to his first major win despite the distraction.

USGA Statement Regarding Dustin Johnson Ruling

The USGA wishes to congratulate Dustin Johnson on his victory and thank him, and the other players in the field, for their professionalism and grace throughout the championship. Dustin is a wonderful champion, a talented golfer and a gentleman.

Our team at the USGA has seen and heard a great deal of discussion and debate about the ruling on Dustin’s ball moving during the final round of the 2016 U.S. Open Championship at Oakmont Country Club. In addition to the explanations we offered upon the conclusion of the final round, we add these comments.

Upon reflection, we regret the distraction caused by our decision to wait until the end of the round to decide on the ruling. It is normal for rulings based on video evidence to await the end of a round, when the matter can be discussed with the player before the score card is returned. While our focus on getting the ruling correct was appropriate, we created uncertainty about where players stood on the leader board after we informed Dustin on the 12th tee that his actions on the fifth green might lead to a penalty. This created unnecessary ambiguity for Dustin and the other players, as well as spectators on-site, and those watching and listening on television and digital channels.

During any competition, the priority for Rules officials is to make the correct ruling for the protection of the player(s) involved and the entire field. In applying Rule 18-2, which deals with a ball at rest that moves, officials consider all the relevant evidence – including the player’s actions, the time between those actions and the movement of the ball, the lie of the ball, and course and weather conditions. If that evidence, considered together, shows that it is more likely than not that the player’s actions caused the ball to move, the player incurs a one-stroke penalty. Officials use this “more likely than not” standard because it is not always apparent what caused the ball to move. Such situations require a review of the evidence, with Decision 18-2/0.5 providing guidance on how the evidence should be weighed.

Our officials reviewed the video of Dustin on the fifth green and determined that based on the weight of the evidence, it was more likely than not that Dustin caused his ball to move. Dustin’s putter contacted the ground at the side of the ball, and almost immediately after, the ball moved.

We accept that not everyone will agree that Dustin caused his ball to move. Issues under Rule 18-2 often require a judgment where there is some uncertainty, and this was one of those instances. We also understand that some people may disagree with Rule 18-2 itself. While we respect the viewpoints of those who disagree, our Committee made a careful and collective judgment in its pursuit of a fair competition played under the Rules of Golf.

In keeping with our commitment to excellence in all aspects of our work on behalf of the game of golf, we pledge to closely examine our procedures in this matter. We will assess our procedures for handling video review, the timing of such, and our communication with players to make sure that when confronted with such a situation again, we will have a better process.

We at the USGA deeply appreciate the support of players, fans, and the entire golf community of our championships and our other work for golf – and we appreciate your feedback as well. We have established an email address (comments@usga.org) and phone mailbox (908-326-1857) to receive comments. We thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.


Monday, June 20

Bitter Ending for Lowry, Sweet Redemption for DJ



By Brian Keogh

Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission.

SHANE LOWRY CONFESSED HE WAS "bitterly disappointed" to blow a four-shot lead but insisted that Dustin Johnson deserved his US Open triumph despite a rules decision delay that took some drama out of the back nine. The 29-year old from Offaly dropped three shots on the front nine to fall behind, then three-putted the 14th, 15th and 16th and carded a six over 76 to end up tied for second, three behind the eventual champion on one under.

Though he birdied the last and the scoreboard showed a 68 for a four shot win on five under par, Johnson was handed a one-stroke penalty for causing his ball to move at the fifth and signed for a 69 and three shot win on four under 276.

"I'm bitterly disappointed, standing here," Lowry said. "It's not easy to get yourself in a position I got myself in today. It was there for the taking and I didn't take it. But you can only learn from your mistakes. I always say it's only a mistake if you don't learn from it."

Lowry tied for second with Jim Furyk (66) and Scott Piercy (69) on one under par 279 as controversy raged over the USGA's handling of Johnson's rules infraction. The timing of the penalty caused confusion for millions of television viewers and left the players uncertain of exactly where they stood.

Johnson said at the fifth he had not caused his ball to move but officials reviewed video evidence and came back out to tell him at the 12th that they believed he had a case to answer. As Johnson was adamant he was in the right, the officials opted to wait until after the round to discuss it with him in more detail and show him the video and explain their exact interpretation of the rule.

In the end, he was not penalised until after he had finished on the 18th, hitting a stellar approach to five feet and rolling in the putt for birdie.

"We were told walking on 12," Lowry said when asked at which point he became aware that Johnson might be one shot worse off that the leaderboards suggested.

"No, it didn't affect the way I played. If anything, I credit Dustin for playing the way he played on the way in, having that hanging over him, because I probably would have wanted to know straightaway if it was me. So yeah, that's what we were told."

It was sad end to a wonderful week for the 29-year old from Offaly, but for Johnson, who three putted the 72nd hole to lose the US Open to Jordan Spieth last year, it was sweet redemption.

Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.

Friday, June 17

VIDEO: Phil Mickelson on Why Oakmont Is His Best Chance



PHIL MICKELSON HAS FINISHED SECOND a half dozen times in the U.S. Open. At age 46, can Lefty finally break through and win the national championship?

He certainly thinks so. And in the above clip he tells why Oakmont and his experience give him a great chance this year.

Midway through his opening round, Phil is 1 under and sits three shots off the lead set by Andrew Landry.

Thursday, June 16

2016 U.S. Open TV Schedule and Streaming Coverage

THE 2016 U.S. OPEN AT OAKMONT will receive at least 50 ½ hours of network coverage. FOX and FS1 will air at least 42 ½ hours of live coverage throughout the championship.

Date        Network                                 Broadcast Hours (Local/EDT)
June 16    FS1                                         First Round, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
                 Fox                                           First Round, 5-8 p.m.
June 17     FS1                                         First Round Wrap-Up, 12:30-1 a.m.
                 FS1                                         Second Round, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
                 Fox                                          Second Round, 5-8 p.m.
June 18     FS1                                         Second Round Wrap-Up, 12-12:30 a.m.
                 Fox                                          Third Round, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
                 Fox Deportes                           Third Round, 4-7 p.m.
June 19     FS1                                         Third Round Wrap-Up, 2-2:30 a.m.
                  Fox                                           Final Round, 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
                  Fox Deportes                            Final Round, 4-7:30 p.m.
                  FS1                                          Final Round Wrap-Up, 10-10:30 p.m.
June 20*    Fox                                          Noon to conclusion
*If needed, an 18-hole playoff will be scheduled

LIVE STREAMING COVERAGE
The U.S. Open will receive at least 122 ½ hours of live streaming coverage on us.open.com and the U.S. Open app.                                    

Date       Channel                                         Broadcast Hours (Local/EDT)
June 16   usopen.com/U.S. Open app       First Round, featured groups 1, 7:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.
                                                                       First Round, featured groups 2, 7:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.
                                                                       First Round, featured holes, 7:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.
June 17   usopen.com/U.S. Open app       Second Round, featured groups 1, 7:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.
                                                                   Second Round, featured groups 2, 7:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.
                                                                       Second Round, featured holes, 7:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.
June 18   usopen.com/U.S. Open app        Third Round, featured groups 1, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
                                                                       Third Round, featured groups 2, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
                                                                       Third Round, featured holes, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
June 19   usopen.com/U.S. Open app         Final Round, featured groups 1, 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
                                                                     Final Round, featured groups 2, 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
                                                                        Final Round, featured holes, 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, June 15

2016 U.S. Open Groupings and Starting Times

The 116th U.S. Open begins on Thursday at Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A field of 156 players will begin play. After the second round, the field will be cut to the low 60 scores and ties.

(All times EDT)

Thursday (June 16), hole #1 / Friday (June 17), hole #10

6:45 a.m. / 12:30 p.m. – Denny McCarthy, Jupiter, Fla.; Aron Price, Australia; Mikael Lundberg, Sweden

6:56 a.m. / 12:41 p.m. – (a) Nick Hardy, Northbrook, Ill.; TBD; Tom Hoge, Fargo, N.D.

7:07 a.m. / 12:52 p.m. – Patrick Rodgers, Singer Island, Fla.; (a) Sam Horsfield, England; Andrew Johnston, England

7:18 a.m. / 1:03 p.m. – Justin Hicks, Wellington, Fla.; Soren Hansen, Denmark; Jason Allred, Scottsdale, Ariz.

7:29 a.m. / 1:14 p.m. – Romain Wattel, France; Sung Kang, Republic of Korea; Yusaku Miyazato, Japan

7:40 a.m. / 1:25 p.m. – Bernd Wiesberger, Austria; Matteo Manassero, Italy; Daniel Berger, Jupiter, Fla.

7:51 a.m. / 1:36 p.m. – Matt Kuchar, Sea Island, Ga.; Bubba Watson, Bagdad, Fla.; Patrick Reed, Houston, Texas

8:02 a.m. / 1:47 p.m. – Rafa Cabrera Bello, Spain; J.B. Holmes, Campbellsville, Ky.; Kevin Chappell, Fresno, Calif.

8:13 a.m. / 1:58 p.m. – Matthew Fitzpatrick, England; Danny Lee, New Zealand; Byeong Hun An, Republic of Korea

8:24 a.m. / 2:09 p.m. – Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland; Danny Willett, England; Rickie Fowler, Murrieta, Calif.

8:35 a.m. / 2:20 p.m. – Chris Kirk, Athens, Ga.; Emiliano Grillo, Argentina; Shane Lowry, Republic of Ireland

8:46 a.m. / 2:31 p.m. – Mike Miller, Brewster, N.Y.; Matthew Borchert, Windermere, Fla.; (a) Charlie Danielson, Osceola, Wis.

8:57 a.m. / 2:42 p.m. – Chase Parker, Augusta, Ga.; (a) Ryan Stachler, Alpharetta, Ga.; Patrick Wilkes-Krier, Ypsilanti, Mich.

Thursday (June 16), hole #10 / Friday (June 17), hole #1

6:45 a.m. / 12:30 p.m. – Andres Gonzales, Lakewood, Wash.; (a) Scottie Scheffler, Dallas, Texas; Derek Fathauer, Jupiter, Fla.

6:56 a.m. / 12:41 p.m. – Andrew Landry, Austin, Texas; Matthew Baldwin, England; D.J. Trahan, Plano, Texas

7:07 a.m. / 12:52 p.m. – Rob Oppenheim, Andover, Mass.; Dicky Pride, Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Wes Short Jr., Austin, Texas

7:18 a.m. / 1:03 p.m. – Patton Kizzire, Sea Island, Ga.; Yuta Ikeda, Japan; David Lingmerth, Sweden

7:29 a.m. / 1:14 p.m. – Hideto Tanihara, Japan; Gregory Bourdy, France; Kevin Streelman, Scottsdale, Ariz.

7:40 a.m. / 1:25 p.m. – (a) Jon Rahm, Spain; James Hahn, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Robert Streb, Shawnee, Kan.

7:51 a.m. / 1:36 p.m. – Thomas Aiken, South Africa; Jeff Maggert, Sea Pines, S.C.; David Toms, Shreveport, La.

8:02 a.m. / 1:47 p.m. – Marc Leishman, Australia; Jimmy Walker, Boerne, Texas; Paul Casey, England

8:13 a.m. / 1:58 p.m. – Lee Westwood, England; Luke Donald, England; Martin Kaymer, Germany

8:24 a.m. / 2:09 p.m. – Russell Knox, Scotland; Harris English, Sea Island, Ga.; Jason Dufner, Auburn, Ala.

8:35 a.m. / 2:20 p.m. – Zach Johnson, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Bryson DeChambeau, Clovis, Calif.; Jordan Spieth, Dallas, Texas

8:46 a.m. / 2:31 p.m. – TBD; Gregor Main, Danville, Calif.; Mark Anguiano, Whittier, Calif.

8:57 a.m. / 2:42 p.m. – (a) Kyle Mueller, Athens, Ga.; Derek Chang, Dallas, Texas; Richie Schembechler, Massillon, Ohio

Thursday (June 16), hole #1 / Friday (June 17), hole #10

12:30 p.m. / 6:45 a.m. – Peter Hanson, Sweden; Tim Wilkinson, New Zealand; Thitiphun Chuayprakong, Thailand

12:41 p.m. / 6:56 a.m. – Billy Hurley III, Annapolis, Md.; Jeev Milkha Singh, India; J.J. Henry, Ft. Worth, Texas

12:52 p.m. / 7:07 a.m. – Brendan Steele, Idyllwild, Calif.; Soren Kjeldsen, Denmark; Jaco Van Zyl, South Africa

1:03 p.m. / 7:18 a.m. – Anirban Lahiri, India; Scott Piercy, Las Vegas, Nev.; Jamie Donaldson, Wales

1:14 p.m. / 7:29 a.m. – Spencer Levin, Sacramento, Calif.; Toru Taniguchi, Japan; Carlos Ortiz, Mexico

1:25 p.m. / 7:40 a.m. – Ryan Moore, Las Vegas, Nev.; Andrew Sullivan, England; Charley Hoffman, San Diego, Calif.

1:36 p.m. / 7:51 a.m. – Hideki Matsuyama, Japan; Sergio Garcia, Spain; Dustin Johnson, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

1:47 p.m. / 8:02 a.m. – Webb Simpson, Charlotte, N.C.; Graeme McDowell, Northern Ireland; Geoff Ogilvy, Australia

1:58 p.m. / 8:13 a.m. – Ernie Els, South Africa; Jim Furyk, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.; Angel Cabrera, Argentina

2:09 p.m. / 8:24 a.m. – Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Thailand; K.T. Kim, Republic of Korea; Kevin Na, Las Vegas, Nev.

2:20 p.m. / 8:35 a.m. – Jason Day, Australia; Louis Oosthuizen, South Africa; Adam Scott, Australia

2:31 p.m. / 8:46 a.m. – Aaron Wise, Lake Elsinore, Calif.; Ethan Tracy, Galloway, Ohio; Brandon Harkins, Scottsdale, Ariz.

2:42 p.m. / 8:57 a.m. – (a) Justin Suh, San Jose, Calif.; T.J. Howe, Osceola, Pa.; Frank Adams III, Salisbury, N.C.

Thursday (June 16), hole #10 / Friday (June 17), hole #1

12:30 p.m. / 6:45 a.m. – Lee Slattery, England; Miguel Tabuena, Philippines; TBD

12:41 p.m. / 6:56 a.m. – Sebastian Soderberg, Sweden; TBD; Kent Bulle, Glasgow, Ky.

12:52 p.m. / 7:07 a.m. – TBD; Alex Noren, Sweden; Jason Kokrak, Charlotte, N.C.

1:03 p.m. / 7:18 a.m. – Max Kieffer, Germany; Gary Stal, France; Kevin Tway, Edmond, Okla.

1:14 p.m. / 7:29 a.m. – Cameron Smith, Australia; Steven Bowditch, Australia; (a) Derek Bard, New Hartford, N.Y.

1:25 p.m. / 7:40 a.m. – Jim Herman, Palm City, Fla.; Smylie Kaufman, Birmingha.m., Ala.; TBD

1:36 p.m. / 7:51 a.m. – Brandt Snedeker, St. Simons Island, Ga.; Bill Haas, Greenville, S.C.; Billy Horschel, St. Augustine, Fla.

1:47 p.m. / 8:02 a.m. – Brooks Koepka, West Palm Beach, Fla.; Chris Wood, England; Justin Thomas, Goshen, Ky.

1:58 p.m. / 8:13 a.m. – Kevin Kisner, Aiken, S.C.; Charl Schwartzel, South Africa; Branden Grace, South Africa

2:09 p.m. / 8:24 a.m. – Phil Mickelson, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.; Justin Rose, England; Henrik Stenson, Sweden

2:20 p.m. / 8:35 a.m. – Retief Goosen, South Africa; Keegan Bradley, Woodstock, Vt.; Lucas Glover, Tequesta, Fla.

2:31 p.m. / 8:46 a.m. – Andy Pope, Orlando, Fla.; (a) Sam Burns, Shreveport, La.; Matt Marshall, Carlton, Ore.

2:42 p.m. / 8:57 a.m. – Tyler Raber, Davis, Calif.; (a) Christopher Crawford, Bensalem, Pa.; Austin Jordan, Rainbow, Texas