Tag Archives: US Open

2015 US Golf Open and Three New Courses Selected For Future Opens

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – In the realm of golf accomplishments, winning the Masters and U.S. Open in the same year is almost as rare as winning all four professional major championships in a career. That reflects both the feat itself and the players who have accomplished it.

With his dramatic victory at Chambers Bay, Jordan Spieth became only the sixth player to accomplish the former. Four of the others are icons, and all of them are Hall of Famers. To achieve what Craig Wood (1941), Ben Hogan (1951 and 1953), Arnold Palmer (1960), Jack Nicklaus (1972) and Tiger Woods (2002) did puts Spieth in select company. Only a slightly smaller club has accomplished the career Grand Slam: Gene Sarazen, Hogan, Gary Player, Nicklaus and Woods.

“Those names are the greatest that have ever played the game, and I don’t consider myself there,” Spieth said. “But certainly I’m off to the right start in order to make an impact on the history of the game.”

That is an understatement. Spieth, 21, of Dallas, is the youngest winner of the U.S. Open since Bob Jones in 1923. He is the first since Sarazen in 1922 to win two majors before turning 22.

To give credit to another golf legend, one other player since the Masters began in 1934 won the first two majors of the year. In 1949, Sam Snead won at Augusta National and then triumphed at the PGA Championship, which was held that season in late May, prior to the U.S. Open. Snead nearly made it three in a row in the U.S. Open at Medinah, losing to Cary Middlecoff by one.

Hogan is the only player to win the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open in the same year, pulling off the “Triple Crown” in 1953 in his only appearance in the British Open. He was not able to play in that year’s PGA Championship due to a scheduling conflict.

The British Open was not contested in 1941 due to World War II, denying Wood an opportunity had he chosen to play. However, Palmer and Nicklaus came tantalizingly close to winning a third major in succession.

In 1960, with the possibility of a modern Grand Slam being talked about widely for the first time, Palmer lost by a stroke to Kel Nagle in the British Open at St. Andrews. A dozen years later, it was Nicklaus’ turn at Muirfield. The Golden Bear, playing conservatively, trailed Lee Trevino by six strokes after 54 holes before an aggressive 66 in the final round. Nicklaus missed four putts of 15 feet or less on the final nine but still would have earned a spot in a playoff if not for Trevino’s chip-in for par on the 71st hole.

Woods didn’t come nearly as close at Muirfield when he had a chance after Masters and U.S. Open victories in 2002. He trailed by only two through 36 holes, but playing in some of the worst weather the Open has ever seen – a cold, windy, heavy rain – Woods shot an 81 in the third round to fall out of contention.  A closing 65 was too little, too late to resurrect Woods’ Grand Slam hopes.

Spieth will attempt to do what those greats couldn’t do at St. Andrews. He has played the Old Course once, with the USA Walker Cup Team in 2011 prior to the matches at Royal Aberdeen.

“I remember walking around the clubhouse. It’s one of my favorite places in the world,” Spieth said. “I [saw] paintings of royalty playing golf, and it was dated 1460-something. I’m thinking, ‘Our country was discovered in 1492, and they were playing golf here before anyone even knew that the Americas existed.’ And that really amazed me and helped me realize exactly how special that place is.”

Fifty-five years after Palmer crossed the Atlantic looking to go 3-for-3 in majors, Spieth will look to make history at a place that boasts so much of it.

“There are certainly things that I can improve on from this week,” Spieth said. “I can strike the ball better than I did this week. I can get more positive. I can improve in all aspects of my game, I believe that. It’s just about now looking to St. Andrews and everything prior. How are we going to best prepare for it and how are we going to fine-tune. It’s just fine-tuning, it’s nothing major.”

 

 

USGA announces three future sites for U.S. Open

 

The Country Club is getting its first U.S. Open in three decades, and Los Angeles Country Club is set to host its first major championship.

The USGA announced three sites for the U.S. Open on Wednesday, including a return to Pinehurst No. 2. It effectively alternates the U.S. Open between the East Coast and prime-time TV of California for at least a seven-year stretch.

The U.S. Open will go to The Country Club in 2022, the course outside Boston that was the scene of perhaps the most important golf championship in American history. It’s where Francis Ouimet won a playoff over British titans Harry Vardon and Ted Ray. The upset put golf on the front pages of newspapers.

Curtis Strange won the last U.S. Open in Brookline in 1988. The last big event there was the Ryder Cup in 1999 that featured the great American comeback under captain Ben Crenshaw.

The newcomer is an old classic — the North Course at Los Angeles Country Club, which gets the U.S. Open in 2023. It will be the first time the U.S. Open is held in Los Angeles since Ben Hogan won at Riviera in 1948.

L.A. North is on the other side of the 405 freeway near Beverly Hills. George C. Thomas redesigned the course in 1927, and Gil Hanse restored it five years ago.

“We’re in for a real treat,” USGA executive director Mike Davis said. “It will be a wide U.S. Open. The course will have generous fairways, and it will be firm and fast. And it will be great to take the U.S. Open to the second-largest city in the country.”

Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina gets its fourth U.S. Open in 2024 as it becomes a regular part of the U.S. Open rotation. Martin Kaymer won in 2014, and Michelle Wie won a week later when the USGA played the men’s and women’s Opens in back-to-back week. The USGA did not mention whether it will try another doubleheader.

The U.S. Open starts its East Coast-West Coast rotation in 2018 at Shinnecock Hills on Long Island. From there it goes to Pebble Beach in 2019, Winged Foot in New York in 2020, Torrey Pines in San Diego in 2021, The Country Club in 2022, Los Angeles in 2023 and Pinehurst in 2024.

That’s as far out as the U.S. Open is planned, and even nine years out is a long time for typical USGA planning.

Ahead of the U.S. Opens, Pinehurst No. 2 will host the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship in 2017 and the U.S. Amateur in 2019. LA North will have the Walker Cup in 2017.

See more about other U.S. Golf Opens

2014 US Open Day 4

ImageWell, Martin Kaymer did it: He beat Pinehurst and won the US Open Wall-to-Wall. Kaymer set the 36-hole scoring record by opening with a pair of 65s. He never let anyone closer than four shots over the final 48 holes. Equipped with a five-shot lead, he was the only player from the last eight groups to break par.

”You want to win majors in your career, but if you can win one more, it means so much more,” Kaymer said after closing with a 1-under 69 for an eight-shot victory over Rickie Fowler and two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton.

Only twice in the last 20 years of the U.S. Open has the 54-hole leader managed to break par in the final round. Then again, both were runaway winners. Rory McIlroy had an eight-shot lead at rain-softened Congressional in 2011 and closed with a 69. Tiger Woods had a 10-shot lead at Pebble Beach in 2000 and closed with a 67.

Kaymer returned to the elite in golf by turning the toughest test in golf into a runaway at Pinehurst No. 2, becoming only the seventh player to go wire-to-wire in the 114 years of the U.S. Open. Only three players finished the championship under par.

Martin’s 271 was good for $1,620,000;

Compton and Fowler got $789,330 each

Now for our picks:

Matt Kuchar Tied for 12th and got $156,679

Rory McIlroy Tied for 23rd and won $79,968

Graeme McDowell Tied for 28th but still won $59,588

Bubba Watson Didn’t even get a bus ticket home

 

Pinehurst No. 2: The Way Golf Is Supposed To Be

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Pinehurst No. 2 is anything but perfect for the U.S. Open, at least in the traditional sense of major championships in America.

USGA executive director Mike Davis could not be any more thrilled. “It’s awesome,” Davis said Monday as he gazed out at a golf course that looks like a yard that hasn’t been watered in a month.

The US Open will NOT be played this year at one of those perfectly maintained “stadium courses” where the entire leaderboard is under par. This is a real TEST of golf. Sort of an inland version of those “links” courses that dot both sides of the Atlantic plus Peeble Beach on the West Coast.

Shortly after Pinehurst No. 2 was awarded its third U.S. Open in 15 years — the most for any golf course in more than a century — the USGA signed off on a project to restore the course to its natural look, with sandy areas of wiregrass bushes and natural vegetation where there once was gnarly rough. A U.S. Open without rough? That sounds as strange as a British Open without pot bunkers.

The USGA calls it “undergrowth”, Pinehurst Resort officials refer to it as “natural vegetation,” others call it weeds. The project required more than 35 acres of turf being removed, and only 450 of the 1,150 sprinkler heads remain.

Golf is getting used to not having Tiger Woods around. He hasn’t played in three months and already missed the Masters for the first time in his career. The notion of Phil Mickelson winning a U.S. Open at Pinehurst — any U.S. Open, for that matter — is more than enough to fill the void. However, seeing him at The Memorial last week, I think he is going after a tie with Sam Snead as a great “also ran” in US Open history.

Justin Rose is the defending champion, the latest player to have a chance to join Curtis Strange as the only back-to-back U.S. Open champions in the last 60 years. Bubba Watson, the Masters champion and No. 3 player in the world, is the only player capable of the calendar Grand Slam. The story lines haven’t changed much this year. Pinehurst, however, is still the main attraction for this U.S. Open.

The edges of the bunkers are ragged. The turf is uneven just off some of the greens, with patches of no grass. Instead of verdant fairways from tee-to-green, the fairways are a blend of green, yellow and brown.

The past two U.S. Open champons finished over par — Webb Simpson at Olympic Club, Justin Rose at Merion, both at 1-over. A third straight U.S. Open champion over par would be the longest streak in nearly 60 years.