Ron Read is a former long-time USGA staffer, who is predicting success for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, notwithstanding early criticism. “This opinion is offered as one who stood with John Ladenburg, course visionary, [and] Robert Trent Jones, Jr, its designer, on the rim overlooking the raw, undeveloped, 940 acre county property,” he writes at Golf Traditions. “Together, that day in ’05, we shared a dream — that of hosting the US Open on this site, one that had yet to even be touched by a bulldozer I am on record. This will be the most stunning sports venue ever televised.”
For the first time ever, the U.S. will be played on fescue grass. “This isn’t your father’s golf grass at Chambers Bay,” Craig Smith of the Seattle Times writes in this look at another interesting feature of this Open. “This grass is fescue, and it is one of many reasons this U.S. Open is special. Fescue fairways, fescue greens, fescue rough. A regular fescue festival involving four strains of the grass, with two strains on fairways and greens and two for the rough.”
The Irish Open at Royal County Down this week is a step out for Rory McIlroy, who is serving as a host of sorts for the event. The Rory McIlroy Foundation is the charitable beneficiary. “When I was younger my parents sacrificed everything to allow me to play the game I loved,” he says in this story by Peter Hutcheon of the Belfast Telegraph. “But I know that not every child is so fortunate. My aim is that the Rory Foundation will support children’s charities big and small around the world that try to give kids a helping hand.”
“Colonial Country Club only got a combined 1.6 inches of rain overnight Saturday and Sunday,” Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News writes, noting potential problems at the next PGA Tour stop, the AT&T Byron Nelson. “Just 31 miles to the Northeast at the Four Seasons Las Colinas, site of this week’s AT&T Byron Nelson, the TPC course was drenched by 3.75 inches of overnight rain and a storage tent left of the 18th fairway was obliterated by an apparent EF-1 tornado.”
Neither will four PGA Tour victories in four years and two in the last eight months, the latest coming in the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial on Sunday, earning the victor’s red plaid jacket.
Kirk’s languid swing and seemingly placid demeanor belie the talent that briefly made him part of the Ryder Cup conversation last year.
He won the Deutsche Bank Championship, his second victory of the season and one that made him a viable candidate as a Ryder Cup captain’s pick. Instead, a day later, Tom Watson took Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson, a trio that has two victories among them since the 2012 Ryder Cup and only one since October, 2013.
Yet Kirk handled the rejection with aplomb. “I was like, ‘hey, I just won the biggest tournament of my life yesterday, so it’s going to take a lot more than this to get me in a bad mood.’”
Kirk, 30, similarly was unruffled on Sunday, when he had to scramble on the final two holes to protect a one-stroke lead and sealed the victory with a seven-foot par putt at 18.
“I was as nervous as I’ve ever been today,” he said, though there was no outward indication of nerves . “Those ups and downs the last couple of holes and especially making that putt on 18 was pretty sweet.”
Kirk has ensured he’ll be part of the Presidents Cup conversation later this year, too, though this time he is in a strong position to play his way onto the team. Tough to overlook a player ranked in the top 20 in the world.
This victory was a moderate surprise only in that he staved off a challenge from local favorite Jordan Spieth, the Masters champion, who tied for second. Kirk expects to play well at Colonial Country Club, given his appreciation for the course that dates to the 2007 Ben Hogan Award ceremony.
Kirk, then a senior at Georgia, won the award given to the best collegiate player, and the ceremony was held the week of the Colonial tournament.
“I’ve always loved this golf course,” he said. “This has been my favorite tournament on the tour since before I was on the tour, when I came here for the Ben Hogan Award ceremony. Just to be a part of the history of this tournament is really just amazing to me.”
He will have his name added to Colonial’s Wall of Champions, a fairly illustrious list of names, few of them obscure. Or, as it were, easy to overlook.
At a shorter course such as Colonial C.C., putting is at a premium and Kirk did well on the greens with his Odyssey ProType 10 putter, ranking third in strokes gained/putting and first in putts per GIR. Kirk needed all the help he could get picking up strokes with his putting as he was below the tour average for the week in driving distance, driving accuracy and greens in regulation.
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Callaway XR Pro (Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Blue Board 60x), 8.5 degrees
3-wood: Callaway X2 Hot, 15 degrees
Irons (2-3): Callaway Apex UT; (4-9): Callaway RAZR X MB; (PW): Callaway Mack Daddy 2
Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy 2 (52, 58 degrees)
Putter: Odyssey ProType 10 Putter
Billy Horschel and Brandt Snedeker try to set up bet on Twitter, but outfit scripting gets in the way
And of course, Snedeker responded:
Leading to this:
@BrandtSnedeker.... Seeing as you are the elder statesman I will let you decide the action.— Billy Horschel (@BillyHo_Golf) May 24, 2015
Leading to this:
. @BillyHo_Golf Loser has to wear the winners colors at the U.S. Open...— Brandt Snedeker (@BrandtSnedeker) May 24, 2015
Good idea. So it's settled then? Nope.
Oh, right, scripting. Along with being on social media, that's another crucial element of being a modern-day pro.
Apparently, Snedeker doesn't script. So Horschel repeated his predicament.
Guess we'll have to wait until the Travelers to see if either pays off the bet. In the meantime, we learned a crucial piece of information. Remember those octopus pants he wore at the 2013 U.S. Open?
On Saturday, Jimenez made a hole-in-one for the second week in a row, this one in the third round of the BMW PGA Championship, and has made three this year, a tour record 10 in his career.
He's dancing again! Miguel makes his 10th European Tour hole in one. http://t.co/zaPDfICg6A— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) May 23, 2015
“[Jordan] Spieth headlines a corps of North Texans who have won six of the last 16 U.S. Junior Amateur titles and four of the last six, with Spieth winning in 2009 and 2011,” Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News writes in this look at the emerging strength of North Texan golfers. “In that sense he’s still one of the boys. Spieth not only is keenly aware of his fellow North Texas Junior Amateur winners and which kids might be on deck to carry on the tradition, but he has desire and financial means to further nurture this region’s fertile golf landscape. ‘I think a lot of professionals in the coming years will come out of Dallas/Fort Worth — or, really, out of the state of Texas,’ Spieth said. ‘It’s arguably the strongest state right now as far as junior golf goes. And that’s really cool.’”
Rory McIlroy missed the cut in the BMW PGA Championship, but is that a good thing? Maybe so. “The ghost of Friday past visited Rory McIlroy here in the BMW PGA Championship but far from being spooked missing the cut he actually sounded a touch relieved to have the weekend off,” James Corrigan of the Telegraph writes. “At least the world No 1 will arrive at next week’s Irish Open, the event he is calling ‘my fifth major’, with his batteries recharged.”
McIlroy might not be appreciated enough in his hometown of Holywood. “He's one of the world's most famous sportsmen, yet a visitor would be hard-pressed to know that Holywood is Rory McIlroy's home town,” Joanne Sweeney writes in the Belfast Telegraph.
Where have you gone Adam Scott? “A year after capturing the so-called Texas Slam, Adam Scott finds himself in a much different state,” Bill Nichols of the Dallas Morning News writes. “The popular Australian begins defense of his Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial title juggling multiple changes.”