Tuesday, April 20

USGA to Welcome a Limited Number of Fans in June at 2021 U.S. Women's Open and U.S. Open Championships


LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. – The USGA announced today that the 2021 U.S. Women's Open and U.S. Open Championships will be played with a limited number of fans in attendance. The 76th U.S. Women's Open will be held at The Olympic Club (Lake Course), in San Francisco, Calif., from June 3-6, and the 121st U.S. Open will be held at Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course), in San Diego, Calif., from June 17-20. 

"Last year, we missed the energy that fans bring to our U.S. Open championships," said John Bodenhamer, senior managing director, Championships. "We are grateful to our local and state health and safety officials in California to be in a position to welcome some fans back this year to witness the greatest players in the world contending for these prestigious championships, while working to maintain the health and safety of all involved."

Those who have already purchased tickets to the U.S. Open will receive a direct communication from the USGA with additional details.

Information on tickets for each championship is available on uswomensopen.com and usopen.com

The USGA will continue to monitor developments and guidelines in California and will update local policies and procedures on the championships' respective websites as required.

For both championships, the following guidelines will be in place:
  • Face coverings will be required for fans, staff and volunteers, and must be worn at all times, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status;
  • All fans, staff, and volunteers will be required to abide by social distancing guidelines;
  • State of California residents must show proof that vaccination against COVID-19 has occurred at least 14 days prior to the championships or that a negative test result has been received;
  • It will be mandatory for all out-of-state fans to provide proof that vaccination against COVID-19 has occurred at least 14 days prior to the championship;
  • Information regarding COVID-19 testing and vaccination verification will be made available on uswomensopen.com and usopen.com;
  • Sanitization stations will be available throughout the grounds, and spectators will be permitted to bring hand sanitizer.
  • The U.S. Women's Open will be held at The Olympic Club for the first time in its 76-year history. The storied venue has hosted five U.S. Opens, as well as five other USGA championships. Torrey Pines will host the U.S. Open for the second time; in 2008, it was the site of Tiger Woods' memorable Monday playoff victory over Rocco Mediate.
The U.S. Women's Open and U.S. Open will be the 84th and 85th USGA championships to be played in California. The two Opens were previously held in the same state during the same year only twice before, in 1971 and 2014.

Fifty years ago in Pennsylvania, Lee Trevino won the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, and JoAnne Carner won the Women's Open at The Kahkwa Club in Erie.

Seven years ago, the Opens were contested on the same course in consecutive weeks at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club (Course No. 2), in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C., where Martin Kaymer and Michelle Wie West were victorious.

Thursday, April 15

VIDEO: A Brief History of Caddies at the Masters; the Black Men Who Carried for Hogan, Palmer, Nicklaus and Others

I KNOW THE MASTERS IS OVER, but I just ran across this video produced by NBC Sports. It's good.

"We were the best caddies in the world at the time."

USGA: World's Best Set to Compete in 76th U.S. Women’s Open at The Olympic Club

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. – Eleven U.S. Open champions and 19 of the top 20 players in the world are among those exempt into the 76th U.S. Women's Open Championship, which will be conducted by the United States Golf Association from June 3-6, 2021 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif. Championship entries closed at 5 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 14. 

"Worldwide interest in competing in the U.S. Women's Open Championship remains incredibly high and contributes to a strong and competitive field," said John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director of Championships. "We look forward to the return of qualifying, and to hosting the U.S. Women's Open at such a historic venue as The Olympic Club."

This marks the seventh consecutive time the U.S. Women's Open has received more than 1,500 entries, with the USGA accepting 1,595 entries for this year's championship, the most since 2017. The 2015 championship at Lancaster (Pa.) Country Club holds the entry record with 1,873. The USGA accepted entries from golfers in 47 states, 249 entrants from California among them, and a total of 57 countries. 

To be eligible for the U.S. Women's Open, a player must have a Handicap Index® not exceeding 2.4, or be a professional. Qualifying will be conducted over 36 holes between April 26-May 13 and will be held at 22 sites in the United States, as well as in Japan. Qualifiers typically held in England, the People's Republic of China, and the Republic of Korea were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and exemption categories were added in their place.  

A Lim Kim, of Korea, who won the 2020 U.S. Women's Open just four months ago at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas, is one of 11 fully exempt U.S. Women’s Open champions. Kim is joined by Jeongeun Lee6 (2019), Ariya Jutanugarn (2018), Sung Hyun Park (2017), Brittany Lang (2016), In Gee Chun (2015), Michelle Wie West (2014), Inbee Park (2013, 2008), Na Yeon Choi (2012), So Yeon Ryu (2011) and Eun-Hee Ji (2009). 

The championship's youngest entrant is 10-year-old Bella Campos, from Honolulu, Hawaii. She will compete at the qualifying site in Oahu, Hawaii on May 10. Laura Baugh, 65, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., the 1971 U.S. Women's Amateur champion, is the championship's oldest entrant. She will attempt to qualify in Bradenton, Fla., on May 3.  

Two-time U.S. Women's Open champion and three-time U.S. Women's Amateur champion Juli Inkster, 60, will attempt to qualify in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on April 26. Inkster has the most appearances (35) in U.S. Women's Open history. 

Tuesday, April 13

'I Flushed It': Xander Schauffele Explains the Tee Shot That Drowned His Hopes at the Masters

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JUST WHEN IT GOT INTERESTING late on Sunday at the Masters, when Xander Schauffele pulled within two shots of Mr. Steady, Hidecki Matsuyama, when he had the honors at the par-3 16th and could cozy a short iron within birdie distance and apply more pressure, the worst thing happened. Water.

Who hits it in the pond on 16? The CBS broadcast team mentioned it was a rare occurrence these days.

As I remember, Schauffele's ball seemed to be flying directly at the pin, not the safer line of right of flag to let it catch the slope and funnel to the hole. Plus the shot came up short. Had it been hit farther right it would have stayed dry.

What happened? Was it a pull? Was it a mishit?

No, not according to Xander. "I flushed it."

I was coming in hot, I was feeling good. Hideki surprisingly went for the green on 15. I felt like he gave me a little bit of hope there, and maybe a little hyperaggressive there on 16. I've been told so many things by so many veterans. Play the winds you feel. Austin [his caddie] and I, it was 184, we felt down cut at the moment. I hit an 8-iron, and I flushed it. It was not down cut.

No, I hit a perfect shot. I told Austin I flushed it, which makes it even worse. We can share the misery together. I fought hard. It was a messy start. Hideki was robot-like for 13 holes, didn't make a mistake. I felt like I gave him a little bit of run and a little bit of excitement to the tournament there at the end. Unfortunately, hit it in the drink there.

Schauffele is moving on. At least that's his story.

"I hit a good shot. I committed to it. It turned out bad. I'll be able to sleep tonight. I might be tossing and turning, but I'll be okay."

Monday, April 12

Pioneering Masters Champion Hidecki Matsuyama Hopes 'Many More Will Follow'


Shooting a 1-over 73 in the final round to win by one stroke, Matsuyama is the first player from Japan to earn a Green Jacket, as well as the first to claim any major championship.

Afterwards Matsuyama acknowledged his "pioneer" role and hopes "many more will follow."

He said, "It's thrilling to think there are a lot of youngsters in Japan watching today. Hopefully, in five, 10 years, when they get a little older, some of them will be competing on the world stage."

The Japanese star began the day with a 4-shot lead after firing a 65 in a third round disrupted by a weather delay. But he only hit five fairways on Saturday, according to the CBS broadcast team.

How would Matsuyama and his game hold up under final-round pressure? And who among the pack of chasers would exert additional pressure on the Asian golfer trying to make history?

Except for a shaky tee shot and a bogey at the first, Matsuyama was in control most of the way. Xander Schauffele made a run on the final nine to pull within two shots. Then he rinsed his tee shot in the pond at 16 and recorded a triple bogey. (I imagine that's nightmare material for many days to come.)

Matsuyama had just enough cushion to finish it off.

As I told a new viewer (he said "golf can be quite entertaining") in a text:

"Yes, the Masters usually delivers plenty of drama. There were some messes on the final nine, not one of the best, most-watchable Masters. But I'm glad Matsuyama hung on. It's good on many levels."

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Thursday, April 8

Wednesday, April 7

Associated Press: Tiger Woods Was Going Nearly 90 MPH; Excessive Speed Caused Crash, According to LA County Sheriff

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TIGER WOODS WAS GOING TOO FAST "on a downhill stretch of road." It was the reason Tiger left his side of the road in the borrowed SUV, crossed two lanes of oncoming traffic and uprooted a tree.

[LA County] Sheriff Alex Villanueva blamed the Feb. 23 crash solely on excessive speed and Woods' loss of control behind the wheel.

"The primary causal factor for this traffic collision was driving at a speed unsafe for the road conditions and the inability to negotiate the curve of the roadway," the sheriff told a news conference.

Woods was driving 84 to 87 mph (135 to 140 kph) in an area that had a speed limit of 45 mph (72 kph), Villanueva said.

Tiger will not be cited. The sheriff's department also said Tiger told deputies he had not had any medications or alcohol before the crash. He was wearing a seat belt.

Tiger issued the following statement on Twitter.

How to Watch the 2021 Masters: TV and Streaming Details and Schedule

ESPN and CBS will offer 18 hours of live broadcast coverage on Thursday, April 8 through Sunday, April 11. The tournament will also be simulcast at Masters.com and on the official Masters app.

All times Eastern Time. 

Tune in on ESPN and CBS TV:
Wednesday, April 7: Noon - 2 p.m., Wednesday at the Masters on ESPN
Thursday, April 8: 3-7:30 p.m., ESPN
Friday, April 9: 3-7:30 p.m., ESPN
Saturday, April 10: 3-7 p.m., CBS
Sunday, April 11: 2-7 p.m., CBS

Stream at Masters.com / Masters App:
Thursday, April 8: 3-7:30 p.m.
Friday, April 9: 3-7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 10: 3-7 p.m.
Sunday, April 11: 2-7 p.m.