It's been a busy time but I didn't forget about you! To make things a bit easier for me though this year's US Open Giveaway will be held exclusively here on my blog. To win, simply leave a comment in the section below about the Open, my coverage, the course, the prizes, or whatever you like.
Sunday, June 17, 2018
This has been a wild U.S. Open week! From playing Shinnecock to the all the carnage during the tournament, I'm going to remember this one forever.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The 118th U.S. Open Has Given Us A Little Bit of Everything Heading Into Sunday's Final Round
Gusty winds and firm conditions on Thursday made the first round of the U.S. Open at Shinnicock Hills extremely challenging. Easier pin positions and unexpected rain softened the course on Friday making the second round scoring average almost three strokes lower.
After 36 holes Dustin Johnson led the field, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, and Tiger Woods were sent packing, and the cut line (8-over par) was the highest since 2013 at Merion. On Saturday however, the carnage reached a completely new level.
Winds blew stronger than expected and some pin positions became maniacal. The sun beat down hard and glassed the greens. The USGA admitted to crossing a line, and of course there was that Phil thing. What's going to happen Sunday? A closer look at the first three days gives a very good indication of what will happen in the final round.
Saturday, June 16, 2018
Some players were getting their first looks at Shinnecock. Others were fine-tuning their games having already practiced here in previous weeks. Only 18 players in the 154 man field were here in 2004 - the last time Shinnecock hosted a U.S. Open.
I took you through a comprehensive review of the course already and let you know what shots have to be hit and what shots have to be avoided. I showed you how the course has changed since it last hosted our national championship. Now just enjoy some of my favorite pictures from the three practice round days.
Friday, June 15, 2018
Shinnecock Hills clubhouse is the oldest in the U.S., dating back to 1892. It was expanded in 1896, 1903, and 1913, and what you see today is essentially how it looked in 1913. In many ways Shinnicock Hills is our St. Andrews, and there's history everywhere you look.
When my round was over it was time to reminisce about the carnage, but also some celebrated shots. I didn't know it at the time, but I'd wind up shooting lower on the first hole than than 137 players at the U.S. Open on Day 1 (only 19 birdies that day). Views of the landscape from the clubhouse are unrivaled. Inside the clubhouse it's even more spectacular.
Thursday, June 14, 2018
Making the turn at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club I felt like I'd just been put through the ringer. It's the ultimate exam of your game. Off the tee the course is enormous and seems to extend forever. Second shots can be spectacularly demanding. Green complexes are slick and daunting. You have to pound the fairways straight here, and you have to make a lot of putts.
Your reward for surviving the front-9? Everything is about to become even more challenging. You'll still see the risks and rewards of different options off the tee and into the greens. You'll know what shots you have to shape and what angles you'll need to play based on the design dictates of particular holes. But now on the back-9 you'll also need to deal with elevation changes that make the winds more demonic and club selection more exacting. Fairway widths in the drive zone also begin to tighten up with some of the narrowest on the course.
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Shinnecock Hills Golf Club is many things to many people. To some this William Flynn and C.B. MacDonald gem is the greatest course ever created. Its classic, timeless design requires a thought-out game plan each time you swing the club. For others Shinnecock is brutal and unrelenting, but eminently fair. It penalizes you severely for missing fairways and greens, but rewards you the more you flirt with danger.
When I played Shinnecock Hills last month for the 118th U.S. Open Media Day, I learned almost immediately why this is an architectural masterpiece. Elevated tees, masterful doglegs, corner bunkers, raised greens, varying severities of fall-off, and routing that forces you to deal with wind at your face, at your back, and coming in from left and right. Shinnecock is pure golf the way it's meant to be played.
Sunday, June 10, 2018
From West Sayville and Timber Point to Bethpage Black and Shinnecock Hills: My Weekend Playing Long Island Golf Courses
Last month I was in New York to play Shinnecock Hills Golf Course for a media event before the 118th U.S. Open, and decided to take advantage of my first time here and get in as much local golf as possible.
I played West Sayville Golf Course on Friday, Timber Point Country Club on Saturday, Bethpage State Park Black on Sunday, and then Shinnecock Hills on Monday. And I learned that Long Island is a golfer's paradise - home to some of the oldest and most challenging courses in the country.