PGA Tour: US Open in the (US's) Steel City: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:56 pm

First topic message reminder :

1).The USGA stages the US Open at its favourite course, Oakmont, this week, just a few minutes outside Pittsburgh famous for its sporting Steelers, its Pirates, its Panthers and even its Penguins, who this weekend won ice hockey's Stanley Cup. Ironic then that, just as Pittsburgh, the Steel City, celebrates its latest sports championship, it should parade a Stanley Cup made in Sheffield.

2).And golf's most recent Major winner, Danny Willett, also travels from Sheffield, much more under the radar than Lord Stanley's Cup, with media attention focussed on who didn't win the Masters rather than the steely performer who kept his head to win the green jacket.

3).This will be Danny Willett's first competitive visit to Oakmont but one would think he has just the game to thrive on US Open lay-outs. Three Englishmen earned a Top Ten finish at Oakmont's 2007 US Open, led by Nick Dougherty, followed by Casey and Rose. Nick's no doubt got more desirable thoughts on his mind, but Casey and Rose are among 17 golfers here this year who made the cut nine years ago, led by Cabrera, of course, and followed by local boy Jim Furyk. Others include:
Toms & Watson (T5), Snedeker (T23), JJ Henry (T26), Hanson, McDowell & Schwartzel (T30), Westwood & Jeev Milkha (T36), Ogilvy (T42), Zach Johnson (T45), Els (the 1994 winner, T51) and Dufner (62nd).

Ryan Moore, an injured Mickelson, Donald, Kjeldsen, Garcia, Goosen, Scott & Stenson all missed the cut.

4).Ernie Els was the 1994 Champion, US Open specialist Jeff Maggert top tenned, Furyk, in his first US Open, finished T28 (tied with Nicklaus), while Mickelson also made the cut.

Lastly, Bill Haas made the Q-Finals of the 2003 US Amateur here, while JB Holmes, Hurley, Levin, McGirt and Senedker also qualified for Match Play.

5).Oakmont remains the one and only golf course designed by WC Fownes; originally farmland on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, the members lined fairways with trees which have now been almost completely removed, restored to the members' idea of its original design. The rough will be deep and the greens will be fast, lightning fast, specially greased by the USGA with every encouragement from members who will be thrilled to see the best pros embarrassed rather than merely identified.
Conventional wisdom has been that it favours a high-ball hitter. Low-ball hitting Larry Nelson took a lesson from 1953 Champ Ben Hogan as he tried to adjust his swing specially for Oakmont prior to Nelson's 1983 win.

6).The course will play about 7,250 yards, to a par of 70, approximately the same as 2007 when top ten finishes by Furyk, Toms and Verplank proved that precision and putting were as important as length off the tee. Although many of the Par-4's will be 470+ yard brutes, six are short by today's standards and straight "driving irons", and less, will be equally important as accuracy with the driver. Five over par won it in 2007 and no-one is expecting anyone to finish 72 holes under par.

7).This will be the second year of Fox TV doing the coverage and let's hope their effort is more professional and watchable than last year's (when they weren't helped by the unfamiliar moonscape of Chambers Bay).
Joe Buck was dreadful as anchor man (Will Ferrell would have been an improvement), but Greg Norman has been kicked out in favour of Paul Azinger who has transferred from ABC/espn. Zinger is articulate and perceptive, but not good at getting to know the golfers off his parochial radar. A bit like Johnny Miller then.

8).This will also be the penultimate week for European Tour golfers to qualify for The Open Championship via the "top five not otherwise qualified, but inside the Top 20 of the Race 2 Dubai". As I read it, the current leaders are Luiten, Karlberg, Soomin Lee, Hend and Beef, followed by Dredge and Wang. Beef looks like the only one playing this week - last chance will be in Germany next week.

9).Phil Mickelson has famously earned/suffered six 2nd place finishes in US Open competition and he certainly warmed up well (with, yes, another runner-up finish) in Memphis. Kuchar is making a habit of getting close in Majors and has finished Top 30 in his last six US Opens; plus he's been in terrific form over the past three months.
At Chambers Bay we saw Americans (3), Aussies (3), South Africans (3) and Irish N&S (2) fill out the top 11 finishers. Would expect a similarly cosmopolitan leaderboard this year.

10).Imagine Rory will play well again, but does Oakmont favour him with his terrific driving, or take that edge out of his hand too many times? Kaymer is playing well again without winning and Stenson is overdue a Major.
Seven Europeans finished in the leading dozen at this year's Masters; five Englishmen, led by Danny Willett of course, plus Kjeldsen (good e.w. bet?) and Rory.
No idea of a winner, probably Day or Rory if they can maintain their focus, but don't like their prices, 16's bar the "Top Three". Schwartzel has been in good form most of the year and looks a good each way shout at about 66's.
But wouldn't it be appropriate if Danny Willett brought the USGA's trophy back to Sheffield? (No, it wasn't made in Sheffield.)


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Post by McLaren on Sat Jun 18, 2016 1:59 pm

Given the frequency of weather delays over the last few seasons you would think that all tournaments would be scheduled with the assumption that a delay will happen at some point.
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Post by sirbenson on Sat Jun 18, 2016 2:49 pm

McLaren wrote:Given the frequency of weather delays over the last few seasons you would think that all tournaments would be scheduled with the assumption that a delay will happen at some point.

Despite all the delays they usually get the tournament complete by the Sunday!

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Post by sirbenson on Sat Jun 18, 2016 2:51 pm

Westwood is putting quite well here! And short game looks sharp.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat Jun 18, 2016 2:54 pm

And they will this time too!
Could have made it a lot easier on themselves though.

England (twice), Scotland and Ireland in the Top ten; not something you can say very often, and hopefully Rory can join them soon..


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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat Jun 18, 2016 4:51 pm

Bad news: lw1 +5 for his last six holes.
Good news: Even par and T10. He'd've taken that three days ago. Now time to turn it back around.

Cut could dribble to +7, imagine Phil is hanging about.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat Jun 18, 2016 5:40 pm

Spieth on the clock. There's a surprise.

Bourdy's been so consistent this year; a top finish this week and he'll likely qualify for Troon. Nothing wrong with a win of course.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat Jun 18, 2016 6:00 pm

World 1, 2 & 3 all T47.

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Post by sirbenson on Sat Jun 18, 2016 6:22 pm

Brilliant round from Lowry!

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat Jun 18, 2016 6:32 pm

He's really hung in there, sirb, three tough closing holes though. As Rory is being reminded of.

The +7's are goners.

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Post by sirbenson on Sat Jun 18, 2016 6:33 pm

He has hit 15 of his 16 greens today in reg!

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Post by Shotrock on Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:10 pm

Ireland's best Olympic hope may still be with Rory, but Lowry the lead horse for the rest of this tournament.

When do Dustin and Sergio throw up all over themselves?? What would be more surprising was if this was the major they did not.

The Grand Slam potential still alive for Willett ... but I won't be betting on it!

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Post by sirbenson on Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:26 pm

Mcilroy refusing to talk to the press, hmmmm! His course management on the last must come into question tbh!

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:40 pm

World's Top Five finished +33.

Only Major winner in the Top 10 is Furyk and he's fresh off the injured list.
But Adam, Louis & Zach are all T11. Lurking.

Well done Shane, and McDowell playing much better than he has been.

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Post by pedro on Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:16 pm

SHansen leading at -2 early Friday. Now crashing out at +23...

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Post by sirbenson on Sat Jun 18, 2016 9:21 pm

Here comes Jordan Spieth!

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Post by SmithersJones on Sat Jun 18, 2016 9:50 pm

DJ will hold on this time. Just saw his interview at the Sky Cart from last night, and for the first time ever his eyes didn't look like he was completely stoned.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat Jun 18, 2016 11:07 pm

Another nice hole-out for lw1.

Do you think, on the off-chance he wins this, the Florida pros might consider getting a divorce and relocating to Worksop?

Branden Grace under the radar and going thru the gears . . . . . . .

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Post by McLaren on Sat Jun 18, 2016 11:45 pm

Sadly staying with people that don't have sky, and sky go is registered on devices I don't have with me, so I am missing the action.

Is Westwood on the edge or is he maintaining his score quite comfortably?

Does DJ look ready to implode at any moment or are there signs that this week might be different to the many other times he has contended at a major (other than no looking high)?
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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:49 am

Don't know what to make of it all, Mac.

Westwood has played beautifully, but missed some shorties, holed out for eagle and birdie.

Don't think DJ will implode but definitely not playing as well as Friday.

Lowry looks best of the top few, but Day going gangbusters and don't underestimate how well Landry's playing. Sergio playing great, making nothing.

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Post by McLaren on Sun Jun 19, 2016 1:08 am

Only having access to the leaderboard I would predict it will be hard for anyone to out score Day by the 72nd if Day can hold position over the last few holes of his round.
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Post by 1GrumpyGolfer on Sun Jun 19, 2016 1:30 am

Been really impressed with Landry. One birdie, one bogey, just getting through holes and hanging around there or thereabouts. It's almost as if he's saying no one's giving me a chance so there's no pressure

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun Jun 19, 2016 2:05 am

It's going to be a nervous hour first thing tomorrow.
If the status remains quo, then I'd say Day can't win from there, but a dropped shot or two from the leaders, any of 'em really, would change things dramatically.
Lowry playing superbly.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun Jun 19, 2016 11:31 am

25 golfers warming up at Oakmont with contenders knowing their next few holes could make or break their tournament.
Perfect weather so no problem completing the tournament today with Round 4 presumably starting about 9.30 a.m. - 10.00 a.m., with twosomes promised by the USGA.

Imagine the groundstaff is aleady triple rolling the greens that are no longer required for Round 3; hope no-one falls as foul of these green speeds as Lowry when he had to take his penalty in Round 2.

Grace, Day & DeChambeau best placed of those enjoying a lie-in.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun Jun 19, 2016 1:12 pm

Minus guinness guinness guinness guinness guinness guinness guinness

But can't find a sauerkraut emogi: Martin Kaymer had one of the rounds of Round 3 going, until four-over-par this morning.

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Post by sirbenson on Sun Jun 19, 2016 1:19 pm

Fantastic round from Shane! A bit torn as I really would love DJ to win a major as well tbh!

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Post by LadyPutt on Sun Jun 19, 2016 1:22 pm

Haven't seen much of the coverage as we're having to watch on Sky Go on the laptop, in between the Grand Prix and the rugby yesterday (fantastic performance by England!) until we get the TV set up tomorrow but seems to have been a great round by Shane Lowry who goes into the final round with a 4 shot lead. Proves you don't have to be gym toned to play well!
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Post by Shotrock on Sun Jun 19, 2016 1:28 pm

Wonderful golf from Super's favorite golfer! I really hope he can finish this off.


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Post by sirbenson on Sun Jun 19, 2016 1:30 pm

Shane has played superb rounds this season, he just hasn't put the four together yet, what a time for him to possibly do it.

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Post by McLaren on Sun Jun 19, 2016 1:52 pm

Level par wins it for Shane?
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Post by sportform on Sun Jun 19, 2016 2:17 pm

Lee Westwood can win this.
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Post by sirbenson on Sun Jun 19, 2016 2:29 pm

McLaren wrote:Level par wins it for Shane?

You'd imagine he'll be very tough to catch but DJ is playing well enough to shoot a 65 or 66

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Post by sirbenson on Sun Jun 19, 2016 2:32 pm

https://twitter.com/brianwacker1/status/744521730249596928

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun Jun 19, 2016 3:16 pm

Anyone heard if they've done the driveable Par-4 switches that Harmon suggested?

Lots to play for today quite aside from the ovbious:

Ryder Cup points:
~Double for U.S. - but not many stand to gain significantly given that DJ's a dead cert anyway. But a big deal for guys like Zach, Dufner, Billy Ho (great Round 3), Kuchar, etc.

~And a Lowry win would change the European landscape - make it crucial for Westwood, Sullivan, Rafa etc to play well.

Bourdy needs a high finish to give himself a chance to play Troon.

Top ten get a tee-time at Erin Hills next year.

Top four get an invitation from Billy Payne.

etc, etc.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun Jun 19, 2016 3:35 pm

Some interesting pairings out there, but here's the latest betting on first to go on the clock:

Even money: Spieth & McDool, Day & DeChambo,
10/1: Bar those two.

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Post by sirbenson on Sun Jun 19, 2016 4:15 pm

It looks like they moved the second tee forward so it's reachable.

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Post by super_realist on Sun Jun 19, 2016 4:32 pm

LadyPutt wrote:Haven't seen much of the coverage as we're having to watch on Sky Go on the laptop, in between the Grand Prix and the rugby yesterday (fantastic performance by England!) until we get the TV set up tomorrow but seems to have been a great round by Shane Lowry who goes into the final round with a 4 shot lead. Proves you don't have to be gym toned to play well!

One swallow doesn't make a summer LP, you have to wonder how more often the Gutlord might contend if he wasn't such a monstrosity.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun Jun 19, 2016 4:39 pm

I expect you'd prefer he was playing with FAThauer?
A far cry from two years ago when the USGA grouped (paired in their words) Stadler, DeJonge & Shane together.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun Jun 19, 2016 4:55 pm

The USGA can rabbit on all it likes about cracking down on slow play, but when their lead-off man struggles to play nine holes in two(TWO!!!) hours with apparent impunity, then they lose credibility.
Especially with the field seemingly back up right behind the culprit, Justin Hicks. Pathetic.

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Post by sirbenson on Sun Jun 19, 2016 5:08 pm

What happened to Kevin Stadler he has barely played, I know he took some time out with injury? Is he still injured?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun Jun 19, 2016 5:15 pm

Still injured, no idea when/if he'll be back.

No-one exactly setting the course on fire this morning, not so far anyway.

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Post by super_realist on Sun Jun 19, 2016 5:35 pm

sirbenson wrote:What happened to Kevin Stadler he has barely played, I know he took some time out with injury? Is he still injured?

He's probably trying to balance diabetes or some fat related condition.

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Post by sirbenson on Sun Jun 19, 2016 6:41 pm

Predictable response from SR!

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Post by sirbenson on Sun Jun 19, 2016 6:41 pm

That is a crazy pin on the second!

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Post by Snap Hook on Sun Jun 19, 2016 7:32 pm

Lowry looked invincible this morning - chipping tip top.

Really hoping Westy can get it done but by judging his arrival at the course with new Mrs Westy, looks like he has already won a major this year!

2 hours for a single to play 9 holes is horrific. This stupidity has to stop. Minimum Tour can do is publish how much players are fined for slow play - name and shame.

Snap Hook

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun Jun 19, 2016 7:57 pm

Snap,
My solution is to have the slowest thirty players form the final ten groups each day on Tour, in descending order so slowest go dead last. Sponsors would be p1ssed off but a message would be delivered.

Koepka seven under par for his last seven holes. En fuego.

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Post by Snap Hook on Sun Jun 19, 2016 8:11 pm

Kwini - interesting solution! Could certainly work for rounds1&2.

Just like more visibility of fines etc, but PGA tour are terrible for transparency - worst thing about the whole organisation.

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Post by 1GrumpyGolfer on Sun Jun 19, 2016 8:57 pm

Looks like the pressure may be getting to the final group; tee shots on one and the approaches on two not the kind of shots that got them into contention

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun Jun 19, 2016 9:26 pm

lw1 looks like he's gone walkabout . . . . . .

Furyk, the local lad, now with the best round in progress.

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Post by Shotrock on Sun Jun 19, 2016 9:29 pm

Westwood folding and will need to summon his chip ins (so no worries about the exodus Kwin) ... but Sergio hanging in there.

C'mon Shane ... or Dustin!!


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Post by 1GrumpyGolfer on Sun Jun 19, 2016 9:29 pm

Kwini, snap. I though he looked disinterested after the wedge shot into 4

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