Tuesday, June 21

VIDEO: Conor Moore Takes Comedic Aim at LIV Golf and Its New Players

Monday, June 20

U.S. Open Champion Matt Fitzpatrick: 'The Feeling's Out of This World'

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If you watched on Sunday, then you probably agree that it was a great finish to the U.S. Open at The Country Club. Three young players battled down the stretch -- only one of them a major winner -- all hitting terrific shots under U.S. Open pressure and all having a chance to the end. Following is a portion of the USGA recap of the final round, provided to media via email.

MATT FITZPATRICK IS A CHAMPION once again at The Country Club.

The 27-year-old Englishman who triumphed nine years ago at this iconic venue when he claimed the U.S. Amateur, became just the 13th man and the first non-American to also add the U.S. Open Championship to his portfolio.

In winning the 122nd edition of the championship on a chilly New England Sunday by one stroke over past U.S. Junior Amateur champions Will Zalatoris and Scottie Scheffler, Fitzpatrick joined World Golf Hall of Famer and 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus as the only golfers to have won the USGA's two oldest championships at the same venue. Nicklaus accomplished his feat at Pebble Beach Golf Links in 1961 and 1972.

Now 50 years later, Fitzpatrick put himself in rarified company.

"The feeling's out of this world," said Fitzpatrick, who carded a final-round 68 for a 6-under total of 274. "It is so cliche, but it's stuff you dream of as a kid. I can retire a happy man tomorrow.

"Any time you're sharing a record with Jack Nicklaus, it's unbelievable. So for me to have that as well is incredible. He called me up down there just at the presentation to congratulate me. Coming from someone like that, it means the world."

Fitzpatrick put on a ball-striking clinic on Sunday, hitting 17 of 18 greens. The only miss was on the 503-yard 10th, a hole the members play as a par 5 that was statistically the championship's toughest (4.39). Trailing Zalatoris by one, Fitzpatrick's fortunes changed at the par-4 13th when he converted a 49-footer for birdie.

When Fitzpatrick won the 2013 U.S. Amateur title at this venerable venue – one of the five founding clubs of the USGA – he closed out Oliver Goss of Australia on the 15th hole, and he essentially won the U.S. Open on the same hole, making a 19-foot birdie after reaching the green with a 220-yard 5-iron from a spot in the right rough where spectators had matted the turf down.

"It was one of the best shots I hit all day," he said. "To do that and take advantage of the break I had was fantastic."

Zalatoris, whose tee shot on No. 15 landed in thick rough, failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker. That gave Fitzpatrick a two-stroke cushion with three to play, and the cool customer from Sheffield closed with three consecutive pars. On the par-4 18th, a hole he bogeyed on Saturday, Fitzpatrick reached the putting surface from a left fairway bunker, a play some thought was risky.

Zalatoris had one final chance to force a two-hole aggregate playoff, but his 15-foot putt on the 18th green burned the left edge of the hole. It was his second consecutive runner-up finish in a major, having lost a three-hole aggregate playoff to Justin Thomas at last month's PGA Championship.


"Matt's shot on 18 is going to be shown probably for the rest of U.S. Open history," said Zalatoris. "I walked by it, and I thought that going for [the green] was going to be [gutsy], but the fact that he pulled it off and even had a birdie look was just incredible. So hats off to him. He played great all week."

Once the championship was secured, Fitzpatrick first celebrated with his caddie, Billy Foster, and then his parents and younger brother, Alex, who was his caddie here nine years ago. Alex just completed his eligibility at Wake Forest, where Zalatoris played on an Arnold Palmer Scholarship. Fitzpatrick also was embraced by TCC member Will Fulton, with whom he stayed nine years ago and again this week. Fulton was the club’s general chairman for the U.S. Open.

Good karma?

"I love playing this golf course," said Fitzpatrick. "It suits me so well. It suits my game well. I've been playing well for a while, and I think it all just fell into place that this was the place it was going to happen."

Thursday, June 16

2022 U.S. Open: Full Broadcast Schedule

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TELEVISION COVERAGE

A full programming schedule for the 122nd U.S. Open can be found here.

 

Date

Time (EDT)

Network

Coverage

Thursday, June 16

6:45–9:30 a.m.

Peacock

First Round

Thursday, June 16

9:30 a.m.–2 p.m.

USA

First Round

Thursday, June 16

2-5 p.m.

NBC

First Round

Thursday, June 16

5-7 p.m.

USA

First Round

Thursday, June 16

7-8 p.m.

Peacock

First Round

Friday, June 17

6:45–9:30 a.m.

Peacock

Second Round

Friday, June 17

9:30 a.m.–4 p.m.

USA

Second Round

Friday, June 17

4-7 p.m.

NBC

Second Round

Friday, June 17

7-8 p.m.

Peacock

Second Round

Saturday, June 18

10 a.m.–noon

Peacock

Third Round

Saturday, June 18

Noon–8 p.m.

NBC

Third Round

Sunday, June 19

9-10 a.m.

Peacock

Final Round

Sunday, June 19

10 a.m.-noon

USA

Final Round

Sunday, June 19

Noon-7 p.m.

NBC

Final Round

Wednesday, June 15

2022 U.S. Open: An Inside Look at The Country Club (Video)



The following is based on notes provided by the USGA.

The Country Club, in Brookline, Mass., is one of the game's most historic venues, yet it has not hosted a U.S. Open in more than 30 years. In the above video, the USGA's Jeff Hall and The Country Club's Brendan Walsh are on site to inform fans about the historic layout that's hosting the world's best players this week.

THE COUNTRY CLUB HIGHLIGHTS
  • The 122nd U.S. Open will be the fourth conducted at The Country Club (1913, 1963, 1988)
  • The Country Club will host its 17th USGA championship, which will tie for second all-time
  • The 2022 U.S. Open will be the 59th USGA championship held in Massachusetts
  • In 2022, the U.S. Open Championship will be played in Massachusetts for the 10th time
  • The Country Club is one of the five founding members of the USGA, which was formed on Dec. 22, 1894

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE COUNTRY CLUB

The Country Club started as a six-hole layout but was extended to nine holes by Willie Campbell, a Scottish golfer who became the club’s head professional. The Country Club became one of the five founding members of the USGA in 1894, along with Newport (R.I.) Country Club, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, in Southampton, N.Y., Chicago Golf Club and St. Andrew’s Golf Club, in Yonkers, N.Y. As golf caught on in the Boston area the course was expanded to 18 holes. The 27 holes in play today were constructed at different times with input from several architects. Francis Ouimet won the 1913 U.S. Open on the original course (Clyde & Squirrel), but the modern-day championship layout consists of fifteen holes of the original eighteen, with 3½ holes from the Primrose nine-hole loop that was designed by William Flynn. In 2009, Gil Hanse was asked to deliver a plan for the restoration of all 27 holes. The Country Club has hosted 16 USGA championships, including three U.S. Opens.
 
USGA CHAMPIONSHIPS AT THE COUNTRY CLUB

1902 U.S. Women’s Amateur: Genevieve Hecker def. Louisa A. Wells, 4 and 3

1910 U.S. Amateur: William C. Fownes Jr. def. Warren K. Wood, 4 and 3

1913 U.S. Open: Francis Ouimet def. Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, 304 (72) – 304 (77) – 304 (78)

1922 U.S. Amateur: Jess Sweetser def. Charles “Chick” Evans Jr., 3 and 2

1934 U.S. Amateur: W. Lawson Little Jr. def. David Goldman, 8 and 7

1941 U.S. Women’s Amateur: Elizabeth Hicks def. Helen Sigel, 5 and 3

1953 U.S. Girls’ Junior: Mildred Meyerson def. Holly Jean Roth, 4 and 2

1957 U.S. Amateur: Hillman Robbins Jr. def. Dr. Frank M. Taylor, 5 and 4

1963 U.S. Open: Julius Boros def. Jacky Cupit and Arnold Palmer, 293 (70) – 293 (73) – 293 (76)

1968 U.S. Junior Amateur: Eddie Pearce def. W.B. Harman Jr., 6 and 5

1982 U.S. Amateur: Jay Sigel def. David Tolley, 8 and 7

1988 U.S. Open: Curtis Strange def. Nick Faldo, 278 (71) – 278 (75)

1995 U.S. Women’s Amateur: Kelli Kuehne def. Anne-Marie Knight, 4 and 3

2013 U.S. Amateur: Matthew Fitzpatrick def. Oliver Goss, 4 and 3

Monday, May 23

Thoughts and Video Highlights: Justin Thomas' Improbable Comeback Victory at the PGA Championship


JUSTIN THOMAS WON THE PGA CHAMPIONSHIP in a three-hole playoff with Will Zalatoris. Thomas began the final round seven shots behind 54-hole leader Mito Pereira. He finished with a 3-under 67 and watched all the leaders come back to him.

Thomas' victory, his second PGA and second major, seemed improbable. But the whole tournament seemed a bit off, even if it did keep everyone in suspense to the end.

This PGA kind of lurched along day to day ... hot weather, cool weather, wind, more wind, low rounds, high rounds, more high rounds, Rory McIlroy up then down (repeat), and the same with Tiger Woods, including a WD before Sunday's final round. His body couldn't take any more of Southern Hills.

Sentimental favorite and frontrunner Mito Pereira grimly hung on to nearly the end on Sunday, with a chance to grab his first PGA Tour title and first major victory on the final hole -- if he could make a par. Alas, his drive leaked into the creek to the right of the fairway.

"I thought I was nervous the first day," Mito said. "Then I thought I was nervous the second day. Then I thought I was nervous on the third day. But the fourth day was terrible. I mean, this morning was tough."

He added, "I just played it through. And actually had a one-shot lead on 18 and that was pretty good and sad to hit it in the water. I wish I could do it again. Just good memories for this tournament. Just taking out the 18th."

Thomas' shot-making was masterful in the playoff. Bones, his caddie, said he didn't miss a shot. (That's the way I saw it from my couch.) Like someone in the golf media said a bit earlier, Justin looked like he was the only one having fun out there.

Sunday, May 22

Report: Jack Nicklaus Sued by Nicklaus Companies for Breach of Contract

I ran across this news on Twitter. I had to read it again. It's real, and has been picked up by several golf media outlets.

REPORTED BY ALEX MICELI OF SI/MORNING READ, Jack Nicklaus is being sued by the Nicklaus Companies. Howard Milstein is the executive chairman of the Nicklaus Companies. Jack Nicklaus II is vice chairman.

Miceli wrote:

On May 13, a complaint filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York against the 82-year-old golf legend alleged a breach of contract with the Nicklaus Companies as well as tortious interference and breach of fiduciary duty.

According to the complaint, Nicklaus was paid $145 million in 2007 to provide exclusive services and property to the Nicklaus Companies, which over time he has failed to live up to or has worked against the company directly.

In a statement through his organization, Nicklaus said, "The claims made by Howard Milstein are untrue."

SI/Morning Read later updated its story to include this statement from the Nicklaus Companies:

We have great admiration and tremendous respect for Jack and his legacy and have tried everything to avoid taking this step. We are asking the court to sort out the legal responsibilities of the parties so that there is no confusion or misunderstanding going forward.

We are saddened to be put in a situation that now requires intervention from a court, but we have a responsibility to Nicklaus Companies and its employees, as well as to our customers and partners, to ensure that nothing disrupts the ongoing business of the company. We are confident that working together we can resolve this quickly and amicably.

Tuesday, May 17

A Primer on the Saudi-Backed LIV Golf League, Including the Threat to the PGA Tour and the Phil Mickelson and Greg Norman Controversy

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THIS IS FOR US, you and me, as I decided to write this piece to document the basics on this evolving golf story.

What is this new Saudi-backed golf league?
Sometimes called the Super Golf League and also known as LIV Golf, it's essentially a rival tour to the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour (European Tour).

How is it financed?
LIV Golf is backed by the Public Investment Fund, which is Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund.

How is Greg Norman involved?
Greg Norman is the CEO of  LIV Golf. He was named CEO in October 2021.

How is Phil Mickelson involved?
PGA Tour star and Hall of Famer Phil Mickelson has been an active and vocal proponent of LIV Golf. In late February some of Mickelson's comments stirred controversy (see below). He has taken a break from playing tournament golf, including the Masters and now the PGA Championship, which he won in 2021. He is one of three PGA champions in the last 75 years to not defend his title. Mickelson has also stayed out of the public eye.

How will the new league work?
The league plans an eight-event schedule called the LIV Golf Invitational Series beginning in June. The no-cut 54-hole tournaments are to be played in England, the United States, Saudi Arabia and Thailand. The fields will be 48 players and include a team and individual component. Total prize money for the series is in excess of $250 million.

Why is the PGA Tour threatened?
The PGA Tour doesn't want to lose any of the world's best players (who are also PGA Tour members) to a rival tour. It could/would impact a lot of things: its golf product and brand; its tournaments, sponsorships, network contracts and charitable work; and perhaps more.

Aren't the players independent contractors who can play anywhere?
Technically, yes.

However, the PGA Tour is a membership organization with tournament regulations. It has denied waiver requests by PGA Tour players who have asked for permission to play in LIV Golf's first event in England.

"We have notified those who have applied that their request has been declined in accordance with the PGA TOUR Tournament Regulations. As such, TOUR members are not authorized to participate in the Saudi Golf League's London event under our Regulations," said PGA Tour senior vice president Tyler Dennis in a memo to players. "As a membership organization, we believe this decision is in the best interest of the PGA TOUR and its players."

The PGA Tour has also threatened suspension and permanent bans for players who defect.

The DP World Tour, in a strategic alliance with the PGA Tour, has taken similar positions with its players.

What's the controversy about?
There's plenty, but here's a start.

The new league is funded and backed by the Saudi government and its crown prince, who are infamous for their human-rights record, including the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who had openly criticized the crown prince.

In his comments that surfaced before his exile, Phil Mickelson admitted as much. Golf writer and Mickelson biographer Alan Shipnuck reported the following in February:

[Phil] didn’t pretend to be excited about hitching his fortunes to Saudi Arabia, admitting the SGL was nothing more than what he called "sportswashing" by a brutally repressive regime.

"They're scary motherf---ers to get involved with," he said. "We know they killed [Washington Post reporter and U.S. resident Jamal] Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights. They execute people over there for being gay. Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates. They've been able to get by with manipulative, coercive, strong-arm tactics because we, the players, had no recourse. As nice a guy as [PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan] comes across as, unless you have leverage, he won't do what's right. And the Saudi money has finally given us that leverage. I'm not sure I even want [the SGL] to succeed, but just the idea of it is allowing us to get things done with the [PGA] Tour."

More recently, when asked about the Saudis' human rights record and Khashoggi, Greg Norman said, "We've all made mistakes." LIV Golf later issued a statement saying that everyone agrees the Khashoggi killing was "reprehensible," including Greg Norman.

There has been strong public reaction to Mickelson's and Norman's various comments, many finding their words and stances offensive and openly wondering about their motivations related to the new league.

Is it for the good of golf and about providing players more opportunities, or is it simply a new and bigger money grab?

Monday, May 16

2022 PGA Championship Preview: Tiger Showing Up, Phil Sitting Out, and the World's Best Players Vying for the Wanamaker Trophy

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THE 2022 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP begins on Thursday at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In January 2021 the PGA moved its 2022 championship to Southern Hills from Trump Bedminster in New Jersey.

Purse: $12 million
Winner's share: $2 million +
Trophy: Wanamaker Trophy, named for Rodman Wanamaker, who started PGA of America and PGA Championship
2021 champion: Phil Mickelson
Scoring record: 264 by Brooks Koepka in 2018 at Bellerive CC
How to watch: Televised all four days on ESPN and CBS. Streaming via ESPN and CBS Sports apps.

THE COURSE
Designed by Perry Maxwell and opening in the late 1930s, Southern Hills has hosted seven men's majors: four PGA Championships and three U.S. Opens. The course was tuned up in 2018 by course architects Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner. They removed trees, decreased rough near greens, increased bunkers and restored the width of fairways.

The par-70 layout will play over 7500 yards, about 300 yards longer than in 2007 when Tiger Woods won his fourth PGA Championship. There are only two par 5s, both in excess of 630 yards.

THE FIELD
The PGA Championship always has a strong field. This year's field of 156 players includes 17 PGA champions, 34 major winners, three Ryder Cup captains, 70 points-earning players, and about 20 PGA club pros who qualified in the PGA Professional Championship in April.

THE PGA IN MAY
The PGA Championship moved to May in 2019, the year Brooks Koepka successfully defended his title. It has worked well. The PGA was formerly played in August, the last and least popular of the four majors. The weather was hot to unbearably hot, and, despite its great field, the championship did not garner nearly as much interest. The crowded golf calendar helped move the PGA to earlier in the year, creating more interest, and the better weather opens up more venue opportunities.

PHIL MICKELSON WILL NOT DEFEND
2021 champion Phil Mickleson will not play, only the third PGA champion in 75 years to not defend his title. The other two were Tiger Woods in 2008 and Ben Hogan in 1949, both due to injuries.

Phil also skipped the Masters, and has not competed on the PGA Tour since late February when his controversial comments surfaced about LIV Golf (a Saudi-backed golf series) and the PGA Tour, where he has won 45 times and earned millions.

TIGER WOODS WILL PLAY
Tiger is at Southern Hills, "a lot stronger," he said. Woods, 46, made the cut at the Masters, a tremendous achievement considering that it was his first start since a 2021 automobile accident that resulted in serious injuries, including nearly losing his right leg. At Augusta he played well early in tough conditions but struggled on the weekend, especially with the putter.

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Much of the field, including these guys:
World No. 1 and Masters champion Scottie Scheffler
Jon Rahm, 2021 U.S. Open champion
Justin Thomas, 2017 PGA champion
Brooks Koepka, 2018 and 2019 PGA champion
Rory McIlroy, two-time PGA champion
Colin Morikawa, 2020 PGA champion
Jordan Spieth, three-time major winner looking for first PGA title
Dustin Johnson, two-time major winner looking for first PGA title

A few more, all looking for a first major victory:
Patrick Cantlay
Xander Schauffele
Viktor Hovland

Americans have won the last six PGA Championships.