Tag:u.s. open
Posted on: June 20, 2011 12:27 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 2:43 pm

Mac daddy to make fortune if Rory wins British

BETHESDA, Md. -- Forget father knows best.

They transposed a couple of letters.

More like father knows bets.

According to a report published Monday in a U.K. newspaper, Gerry McIlroy stands to make a small fortune along with some friends if his son, Rory, wins the British Open by 2014.

The elder McIlroy, who worked three jobs at one point to help fund his son's blossoming career placed a wager with three friends, each putting up 100 pounds at odds of 500-1 that McIlroy, then 15, would win the British title within the next decade. Gerry stands to make 200,000 pounds for his share from the bet, placed seven years ago.

The new world No. 4 set or matched 12 U.S. Open records with his runaway win on Sunday.

McIlroy has held at least a share of the lead at the past three majors contested and won Sunday at Congressional Country Club in wire-to-wire fashion.

The Las Vegas Hilton on Monday listed McIlroy as the favorite next month at British Open site Royal St. George's at 6-1. Lee Westwood is 10-1 and Tiger Woods and world No. 1 Luke Donald re both 15-1.

Gerry McIlroy was on hand at Congressional all week to watch his son, now 22, become the youngest U.S. Open winner in 88 years.


Category: Golf
Posted on: June 13, 2011 5:23 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 4:13 pm

On picking U.S. Open winner, all bets are off

BETHESDA, Md. -- So, you think you know something, huh?

For those who believe they might have a hunch, a nigglin itch, about who might win the 101st U.S. Open this week, well, there's still time to reconsider before plunking down any dinero with your friends.

Listed below are the winners from the PGA Tour this season. The first column represents the ranking of the winner that week, while the second represents his Sagarin ranking that particular week. The OWGR and Sagarins are calculated over 24- and 12-month intervals, respectively.

In other words, more than twice as many players (seven) from outside the OWGR top 200 have won this year compared to those in the top 10 with victories.

Still wanna bet on the U.S. Open this week? Hey, it's your money, but we tried to warn you.


Where they ranked
Tournament Winner OWGR Sagarin
Tournament of Champions Jonathan Byrd 121 113
Sony Open Mark Wilson 237 222
Bob Hope Classic Jhonattan Vegas 187 197
Farmers Insurance Open Bubba Watson 33 64
Phoenix Open Mark Wilson 91 188
Pebble Beach National ProAm D.A. Points 167 140
Northern Trust Open Aaron Baddeley 224 74
WGC-Match Play Championship Luke Donald 9 7
Mayakoba Golf Classic Johnson Wagner 377 214
Honda Classic Rory Sabbatini 102 117
WGC-Cadillac Championship Nick Watney 31 5
Puerto Rico Open Michael Bradley 562 368
Transitions Championship Gary Woodland 153 189
Arnold Palmer Invitational Martin Laird 40 52
Houston Open Phil Mickelson 6 10
The Masters Charl Schwartzel 29 22
Texas Open Brendan Steele 233 160
The Heritage Brandt Snedeker 66 70
Zurich Open Bubba Watson 16 25
Wells Fargo Championship Lucas Glover 110 99
Players Championship K.J. Choi 35 37
The Colonial David Toms 44 17
Byron Nelson Championship Keegan Bradley 203 162
The Memorial Tournament Steve Stricker 8 3
St. Jude Classic Harrison Frazar 583 519
AVERAGE 146.68 122.96
Category: Golf
Tags: u.s. open
Posted on: June 7, 2011 3:01 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 4:17 pm

Woods sits out Open with eye on future

ORLANDO, Fla. -- This time, there will be no limping across the U.S. Open finish line in heroic, dramatic fashion for Tiger Woods.

The former world No. 1 announced Tuesday that he will skip next week's U.S. Open in suburban Washington, D.C., because of leg issues that have dogged him since the Masters.

"Very disappointed," Woods said via his Twitter account. "Short-term frustration for long-term gain."

Woods famously won the 2008 U.S. Open with a blown-out ligament and two fractures in his left leg, the same one that has been giving him problems since tweaking it during a shot in the final round at the Masters in April. Mark Steinberg, Woods' longtime agent. phoned the U.S. Golf Association on Tuesday to pass along the news.

"Mark and I have been, for the last day or so, going back and forth," USGA executive director Mike Davis said from Washington, D.C. "He let me know early this morning [Tuesday] that Tiger wasn't going to be able to play. Obviously, not good news.

"I talked to Mark last Friday and that was the first day, I believe, that Tiger was going to try to hit balls, to go slowly to see if it went well. I guess it didn't."

The Open begins next Thursday at Congressional Country in Bethesda, Md. Woods withdrew after nine holes last month at the Players Championship after shooting 42, claiming he re-injured the knee on his first tee shot of the day. He has fallen to No. 15 in the world ranking and six Americans are currently slotted ahead of him.

Two weeks ago, Woods characterized his current issues as a "cakewalk" compared with what he faced at the 2008 U.S. Open, although that seems to have been an unfortunate choice of words. Woods said no doctor, at least at that point, had suggested a surgical remedy.

"I am extremely disappointed that I won't be playing in the U.S. Open, but it's time for me to listen to my doctors and focus on the future," Woods said on his website, where the withdrawal was first announced. "I was hopeful that I could play, but if I did, I risk further damage to my left leg. My knee and Achilles tendon are not fully healed. I hope to be ready for AT&T National, the next two majors and the rest of the year."

The AT&T event is in three weeks.

Woods has missed three majors since his rookie sesson, all because of knee issues.

Woods has played in every U.S. Open since 1994, when he was an amateur, and has won it three times. Outside of the 2008 British Open and PGA Championship, which came after his reconstructive knee surgery, the last time the 14-time Grand Slam winner missed a major was in 1996 at the PGA Championship, conducted weeks after he turned pro.

But Woods indicated sitting now will ensure a healthier result later. He hasn’t won a major since the '08 Open or the PGA Tour since August, 2009, a span of 20 months.

"It's been a frustrating and difficult year, but I'm committed to my long-term health," Woods said.

He was replaced in the field by 23-year-old amateur Michael Whitehead from Sugar Land, Tex., an alternate who competed in sectional qualifying on Monday in Dallas.

Category: Golf
Posted on: June 18, 2010 11:28 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2010 2:32 am

Mickelson primed, ready for Pebble spotlight

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Good thing Phil Mickelson’s wife and kids flew into town late Friday night. Otherwise, he would have been bored out of his gourd on Saturday.

Because tee times for the leaders have been pushed back close to 4 p.m. Pacific in order to ensure what figures to be a massive television audience on the East Coast, Mickelson will be cranking it up at 3:30 p.m. local time in the third round.

Thus, he’ll have to find a way to while away a few hours. Of course, it beats the heck out of the alternative,

“It’s cool,” he cracked. “It’s better than an 8 o’clock [a.m.] tee time.”

Rest assured, Lefty is clearly ready for prime time after matchng his career-low score in the Open.

Mickelson, the only player who can win the Grand Slam, shot the low round of the week by two shots on Friday with a 5-under 66 that jumped him 64 spots up the leaderboard and into a tie for second place, two strokes behind Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell.

Mickelson, who raked it all around the Pebble Beach Golf Links greens in the first round, was almost infallible on the putting surfaces a day later, reeling off five birdies in seven holes on his front nine to vault into a four-way tie for second with a group that includes three-time major winner Ernie Els. No question, Mickelson was the toast of Monterey after the way he roasted Pebble.

“It was spectacular all day,” playing partner Padraig Harrington said of Lefty’s round. “I got to see it first-hand. He didn’t miss a shot. It’s the best I have ever seen him play.

“It was as easy a 66 as you will ever see.”

The terms easy, 66 and U.S. Open have rarely been used in the same sentence, but that’s how well Mickelson played on Friday, when he positioned himself for yet another shot at the biggest title that has thus far eluded him. Mickelson, with a record five runner-up finishes in the Open already under his belt, said he hasn’t even begun to think about what the title would mean. That might be a wise choice, given the water under his professional bridge in this event.

“I'm in a good spot,” he said. “I don't look at the leaderboard, I don't look at other players.  I look at par. This is the only tournament really in professional golf that brings out Bobby Jones’ old saying of ‘playing against Old Man Par,’ because if you just can stay around par you're going to be in the tournament on Sunday, and that's kind of the goal.”

Not-So-Old Man Mickelson turned 40 on Wednesday, and he isn’t exactly showing signs of wear and tear. If his misfires at the Open in the past are wearing on him, and some of them have been spectacular, it’s hard to tell.
If Mickelson can nail down the title, he might look at the crucial stretch beginning at No. 2 on Friday as the key portion of the week. The second, a converted par-5, has been daunting all week, and Mickelson birdied it when most players would sell their souls for a simple par.

“I think that was a pretty good kick in the pants,” caddie Jim Mackay said.

Now he can start planting his foot on the backside of others. With three career wins at Pebble Beach and four major championships to his credit, Mickelson will be the big favorite on the weekend. All of a sudden, those five second-place finishes at the Open seem like a good thing, because he’s seen all the event can offer at this point.

“I think it’s big,” he said of his experience.”I think it’s really big. It’s important to know how to play these holes under these conditions and how to make pars.”

His ascendance up the board was big for the tournament, too. No knock on McDowell, Dustin Johnson or the other less-heralded players in the mix, but a duel between Els and Mickelson, with seven majors between them, sounds pretty good right now. Els has two U.S. Open crowns already.

Mickelson wasn’t about to delve into hypotheticals or forecasting. In fact, he is squarely in the moment and reveling in it. A player many believed didn’t have the self-discipline to play the most demanding setups in the sport at the Open is again right where he wants to be.

Even if his late tee slot runs through dinner time.

“This is so much fun,” he said. “I don’t want the weekend to end.”

Category: Golf
Posted on: June 17, 2010 11:38 pm

Micheel straws strength from mom's cancer fight

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Shaun Micheel called his mother on Thursday morning, just like he does every day when he is on the road, plying his unique trade.

As ever, the exchange was sobering and saddening, yet Micheel again seemed to draw a strange strength from it, knowing that her encouragement means everything.

Donna Micheel, 63, has cancer in so many parts of her body, it’s hard for Shaun to keep track. She doesn’t so much have good days and bad days, but bad days and worse days. When Shaun called before heading out to play in the first round of the 110th U.S. Open, as he does each morning, she wasn’t feeling particularly well.

“She gets pretty nauseous, and she can be pretty descriptive about how she is feeling,” he said. “The thing is, I have a hard time telling her, ‘I hope you feel better.’ Because she won’t.”

After opening with a 2-under 69 at Pebble Beach, the 2003 winner of the PGA Championship not only is leading the toughest tournament in golf, he’s dealing with the soul-sapping reality of mortality.

Told she had only a few months to live when first diagnosed last year, Micheel’s mom had stubbornly fought back and all but ordered her son to continue playing as she deals with the inevitability of her situation. Fighting guilt because he’s not near the family home in suburban Memphis to lend a hand, Micheel is somehow soldering on during his road weeks.

“I am just hoping for a miracle,” he said.

The pragmatist in him knows it isn’t likely. Micheel teared up during his post-round television interview when the subject of his mom’s plight was broached. Yet after finishing T4 last week in Memphis, the family crisis became public, though Shaun somehow finds it “cathartic, therapeutic,” to talk about the situation rather than stew silently over the unfairness of facing the loss of his mom at a relatively young age.

On the course Thursday, since golf allows for so much idle time, his mind invariably though of the fight back home.

“It makes me smile, makes me want to work hard, makes me want to dig deep,” he said. “For her.”

Donna was the one who drove him to tournaments as a kid and did all the things moms do for their sons while dad is off at work. Including insisting that he get back on the road and play, because there’s nothing much he can do to help with her plight at home.

“Every single day I think about her and I'm really playing for her,” he said. “I think a lot about what Dan Jansen did in the Olympics when he was out ice skating and speed skating. Every time I feel like I'm in a tough situation, I think about my mom and all the events that she went to as when I was a collegiate and all the events that she took me to as a kid and dropping me off at the golf course. 

“There's so many great things about that. It seems to have made my life a little bit easier. I certainly wish she didn't have this illness, but sometimes you rise under difficult situations. And it might be the first time in my life that I'm actually playing better and feel good about myself with the pressure that I have.”

Speaking of which, the plan last week was that if Shaun was winning in Memphis, his dad, Buck Micheel would wheel Donna out behind the 18th in a wheelchair to watch her son win his second PGA Tour title. He finished a shot out of a three-man playoff.

“I was trying to win for her last week,” he said. “I was excited about playing in front of the hometown crowd. I had a lot of great momentum carrying over from the qualifier and everything. I played well. I really didn’t expect to come up one shot short.

“She wasn’t able to make it out … It’s tough. I’m trying to play for her. It’s nice because I’m playing for somebody else. It’s always been about me, me, me. What am I gonna shoot, what’s my money list, where am I in the fed ex cup?

“Forget all of that. It just doesn’t matter to me anymore. I love my mom. What do you say? I mean, she’s hanging in there.”

So is Micheel, who has only limited status on tour this year because he fell out of the top 125 in earnings last year and didn’t finish high enough in Q school to regain his full card. He had major shoulder two years ago and is fighting through a complicated issue with a chemical shortfall in his body, which requires a special exemption from the tour so that he can take additional testosterone.

But it pales when compared with his mom, who is so sick, she is smoking medical marijuana to deal with the nausea. Though the news is rarely good, Shaun dutifully calls home every morning.

“This morning she said she didn’t feel good and he said, ‘Well, you will be able to watch golf all day,’” Stephanie Micheel, Shaun’s wife, said.

We’re guessing what she witnessed was the best medicine possible. He birdied three of the last five holes and shares the lead with Paul Casey and Brendon de Jonge.

“We’re trying to take advantage of every moment we can,” Stephanie said. “We just don’t know how many moments we have left.”

Posted on: February 8, 2010 4:16 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2010 4:21 pm

Riviera and U.S. Open a true Hollywood tale

First things first.

It isn’t about the Riviera Country Club track itself, or the course’s worthy tournament tradition. There’s an indisputable aura about the place, no question.

“Riviera has had an invitation in for the U.S. Open for years,” said Mike Davis, the senior director of rules and competitions for the U.S. Golf Association, which runs the event. “We love the golf course itself, we want to move the tournament around, and we haven’t been there in 60 years.

“The challenge of Riviera is how to put on a U.S. Open logistically with the footprint they have there.”

Sorry to stomp on the club’s Southern California dream, but for Riviera to host a U.S. Open in 2018 or thereafter, it’s going to either require a squadron of helicopters to parachute fans and players onto the property, a massive earthquake to clear out the hillside neighbors, or something akin to turning Sunset Boulevard into another freeway.

Despite assertions Monday in the Los Angeles Times that the course is a workable venue, nothing has changed since it last hosted an Open in 1948, when Ben Hogan limped his way to victory. In fact, the course has become even more claustrophobic as the National Open has grown even larger.

Riviera is a U.S. Open course crammed into a U.S. Amateur locale. The newspaper said there were USGA members on the grounds last week, evaluating the site, as the PGA Tour’s Northern Trust Open was staged, although Davis said the group's core staffers were at the annual USGA meeting in Pinehurst.

“If there were people there, boy, I’m totally unaware of it,” Davis said.

They would have been somewhat obvious – the event, plagued by wet weather and the Super Bowl, drew around 40,000 for the week. The blue jackets would likely have been noticed.

The newspaper made the case that in a reversal of recent venue selections, the USGA chose cozy Merion as the Open site in 2013, claiming the Philly-area course is as cramped as Riviera and still earned a bid. Not necessarily so, says Davis. Haverford College adjoins the Merion property and will be used for tents and other crucial infrastructure. A second golf course one mile away will serve as the practice area.

Unless you enjoy whacking balls into not-so-distant nets, Riviera doesn’t even have a decent driving range. Pros would conceivably have to warm up in Will Rogers State Park, the nearest property without a million-dollar house sitting atop it. Riviera is positioned among some of the priciest real estate in California, down in a bowl, with one or two narrow access roads that meander through cramped, residential neighborhoods.

Picking Riviera would amount to staging a “boutique-type U.S. Open,” Davis said. That his polite way of saying, “we would barely make a dime,” because ticket sales would be limited because of access and traffic flow issues. The course barely has room for spectators, much less corporate tents, concessions, bathrooms and media.

USGA officials were at Riviera last year for a site visit – Davis said several national locales were eyeballed -- and came away with the same singular thought their predecessors had.

“I think we said, ‘We could make it work, but it would be a very, very small U.S. Open,’” he recalled.

Just like the Riviera odds -- small to nil. Good luck pitching that idea to the USGA executive board, especially as the Open circus continues to grow. Ditto the organization’s appetites.

“And as you probably know, the U.S. Open is what pays for everything we do at the USGA,” Davis said. “Going to Merion is neat, and we’re looking forward to it, but it’s not something we can do very often.”
Davis saw last week’s paltry weeklong crowd estimate for the tour event at Riviera, which didn’t draw mind-blowing galleries when it hosted the 1995 PGA Championship, another major.
“I saw that figure and thought, ‘Oh my gosh,’” Davis said. “Even if we limited tickets sales to 25,000, between the media, the marshals, the volunteers, concessions workers and all, we’d get that many [40,000] in a day.”

For longtime golf fans in Los Angeles hoping that Riviera might someday get another nod, these are the same hurdles that have been trotted out for decades.

A Riviera official told the Times that the club's younger members, perhaps somewhat unaware of the club's considerable geographic handicaps, are willing to do whatever it takes to land an Open bid.

Here's a suggestion: Pool a few hundred million and buy L.A. Country Club, which has two courses, more room and a course that's just as highly regarded, and stage it there.


Category: Golf
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