115th U.S. Open. Gruesome Greens Grab Attention.

White Dragon GolfChambers Bay

The gruesome greens at Chambers Bay Golf Club grabbed everyone’s attention in the first round of the U.S. Open. At the end of the day Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson shared the lead, while at the other end of the table, Tiger Woods +10 over and Rickie Fowler +11 crashed spectacularly. The fescue grass experiment is not off to a great start, especially as the older greens have never really taken hold properly, and they have been infiltrated by poa annua clumps. The early morning starters had the best of the day.

U.S. Open

Dustin Johnson on his way to par the 10th / all pics Getty Images

Dustin and Henrik shot open rounds of -5 under par 65 at the 115th U.S. Open at the much maligned Chambers Bay Golf Club in Washington.

Dustin reported that he is playing with confidence, hitting good irons shots;

“Hit a lot of quality iron shots, the confidence is definitely there.”

Henrik said he had a good day on the greens;

“It was a good day on the greens in all, but especially the last five holes.”

 “I hit some beautiful putts and managed to slip a few in there.”

Patrick Reed, with a -4 under par 66, for third place alone reported that he definitely missed a few putts;

” All I had to do was get the ball to the hole and it had a chance of going in. I made some long putts, but I also feel like I missed a lot of good opportunities.”

Matt KucharBen Martin and the amateur Brian Campbell are tied in fourth place at -3 under par. They are followed by a group of payers at -2 under par.

Phil Mickelson was happy with his start, -1 under par 69 and T14, as he chases the career Grand Slam this week, but did criticize the greens;

“The first round was the round I was going to be most nervous at, getting started.”

“You don’t want to have to fight to come back all the time. You want to get off to a solid start around par.”

“I think the biggest challenge is that the green speeds are different from green to green, that’s going to wreak havoc on our touch.” 

“What I found is that they’re not the most true surfaces downhill, because you can’t hit it hard enough to hold the line. But uphill they seem to hold the line just fine.”

“I might have to factor that in, in how I play some shots now, because I think the percentage of made putts uphill from three to nine feet is going to be quite a bit higher than downhill.” 

US Open

Rory McIlroy, at +2 over par was not quite so outspoken;

“I just didn’t quite have it with the putter today, and that’s something that I need to get right over the next three days if I want to have a chance.”

“I still feel like if you make a good enough stroke and you have the right speed, there’s a good enough chance the ball will go in.”

US Open

Sergio Garcia, who started with an even par first round and T26, took to twitter to post;

“Happy with my Even par round today although it could’ve been a bit better by the way I played but this greens are as bad as the look on TV.”

 

Memorial Tournament. Justin Rose Has the Advantage.

White Dragon Golfthe Memorial Tournament

Ex Champion Justin Rose has the advantage at the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club, and will take a three shot lead into the final round.

Memorial Tournament

Justin Rose / Getty Images

Justin separated himself from the field, shooting a third round -6 under par 66 to post a Memorial Tournament total of -15 under par.

Justin’s caddie, Mark Fulcher told him he liked their position going into this round;

“It kind of made me feel that there’s no panic, there’s no rush, you don’t have to force anything, just let it come to me.”

“And that’s the kind of round I played today. I didn’t force any hole. I didn’t force any shot.  But I hit the right shot at the right time which helped me build the score.”

“I was definitely feeling the pressure for a number of years to notch my first PGA TOUR victory, and it had become pretty elusive.”

” As time ticks on, it becomes harder and harder, so to finally do it and do it at a place like this and a tournament of this stature was fantastic.”  

“It definitely began to set me in a very good course, this tournament five years ago.”

“I felt excited about the Memorial and the U.S. Open, I felt excited about these weeks.”

“Now I’m in a situation where I want to win every year.”

“I’ve got that nice run going six years in a row with victories. Now there’s pressure to win every year, so you certainly don’t get complacent.”

In an International top three, Francesco Molinari and David Lingmerth share second place at -12 under par.

David kind of cooled off, carding an even par 72 third round, while Francesco kept up the pressure with -3 under par 69, in his first ever appearance here at Muirfield Village.

David said he lost concentration for a little while;

“I started missing a couple of shots and just kind of lost focus.”

“I got down on myself a little bit and I got a little frustrated.”

“Fortunately, though, I was able to turn it around here a little bit in the end.”

Jim Furyk is the highest placed American, alone in fourth place at -11 under par, a -2 under round keeping him in touch with the leaders. He hopes to pick the right places to be and play well tomorrow;

“There’s places to attack on this golf course and there’s places to play conservative, and I’m going to try to pick and choose those places tomorrow and hopefully do well.”

Tiger Woods totally imploded with his worst ever professional round, +13 over par 85 and  declined to speak to the media after his round.

Memorial Tournament

Tiger saying nothing/Getty Images

Phil Mickelson also stumbled along today, +6 over par 78, leaving him at +2 over par for the tournament.

It was not too long ago, when Tiger was number one, and every one assumed that when he slipped down Phil would naturally just step up take on the mantle of being the worlds best golfer. For one reason or another it just did not happen.

 

Wells Fargo Championship. Rory Records Record Breaking Win.

White Dragon GolfWells Fargo Championship

Rory McIlroy records a record breaking win at the Wells Fargo Championship with a -21 under par total at Quail Hollow.

Wells Fargo Championship

Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory had a quiet final round of  -3 under par 69, to win the Wells Fargo Championship by a blistering, and record breaking seven shots, with his -21 under par total.

He told reporters that he needed to play more, and that was why he was at this tournament;

“I said, I need to play a little bit more. I feel like I’m playing well.”

“I feel like as the best player in the world, I want to go at it every week and, not so much prove it, but just show that.”

“The way I played yesterday really set me up to go out there today.”

“I was in control of the golf tournament and I just needed to shoot a solid round and that was going to get me over the line.”

“I’ve learned how to handle these positions and I’m finishing the job off the way I should, which is very pleasing.”

“In terms of there wasn’t as much excitement on the back nine. I finished with six 3s the last time I won here. Would have been nice to finish with six 3s again.”

“It does push me. I think you see guys that you knew well, guys that are your peers and they’re winning golf tournaments, big golf tournaments, that you want to win.”

Tied in a distant second place were Quail Hollow member Webb Simpson and playing on a sponsor exempion Patrick Rodgers, who both carded tournament totals of -14 under par

Webb knew Rory was going to be tough to beat especially as he started with a four shot lead, and he made too many mistakes. Carding a last round of even par;

“It was a memorable week, nonetheless.”

 “Through number six I made so many mistakes, probably more mistakes than I had all week.”

“That was kind of a killer to be couple over through six with Rory playing pretty solid.

“He was a tough guy to beat today.”

Patrick doesn’t have PGA TOUR status, but in this form he soon will have;

“Walking down the first fairway, with all those people out there, I get chills talking about it.”

“I tried to talk to him when he was playing well to keep him loose, but he handled it really well.”

“It was awesome. It was a lot of fun being out there, pushing Rory a little bit.”

“I tried to come into this week with a lot of confidence, I feel like my game can compete out here, and I’m going to really carry that with me for the next few events.”

Phil Mickelson finished tied in fourth spot at -12 under par, along with Gary Woodland and Robert Streb.

Phil had worked hard on his putting, and it paid off for him, he needed only 22 putts in his final round;

“I really worked hard on my short putts and putted those phenomenal.”

“I started to drive it better, but, more than that, get my iron shots close to the hole, work it into those pins. I made a lot of birdies this week. That’s important.”

 

 

Wells Fargo Championship. Rory Reigns with Record Round.

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Rory McIlroy reigns at the Wells Fargo Championship, shooting a record round of 61 at Quail Hollow.

Wells Fargo Championship

Record Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Rory produced a -11 under par 61 third round to sit on top of the Wells Fargo Championship leaderboard at -18 under par, and writing a new chapter in the records books. He now has a four shot lead over second placed man, Quail Hollow member Webb Simpson.

Rory definitely likes this course, he won here in 2010, and was thinking of the magic 59, but still managed to break his own record on this course. In all, he carded nine birdies during a 10-hole stretch, and said he is rolling the ball and putting nicely;

“I feel like it’s one of these courses I can get on a roll with. I was thinking about 59 from the 14th tee box,”

“I got off to a great start, I’m obviously delighted with the score, it’s always great to break your own course record.”

“I feel like the best player in the world right now and I wanted to go out and prove that.”

“I’ve always loved this place, I have great memories here and it feels a little bit like a second home.”

“It’s a mental thing, you’re picturing good shots, you’re visualizing the lines on putts and you’re not getting in your own way. You’re just letting it happen.”

“I rolled the ball really well, which I haven’t been doing for the past couple of weeks, so to see a lot of putts drop like that was really nice.”

“More of the same on Sunday would be nice obviously, but I just want to keep it going. Even though I’ve got a lead there’s no reason why I shouldn’t go out there and be aggressive and try make as many birdies as I can.”

Webb Simpson is in second place , four strokes back at -14 under par after his third round -4 under par 68, and is under no illusions about how hard it will be tomorrow to try and chase down Rory;

“What an incredible round McIlroy played, I’ve got a tough opponent tomorrow.”

Robert Streb has third spot on his own at -11 under par, a -1 under par third round stifling any progress, and is now seven shots off the lead.

Phil Mickelson was in contention at -11 under par, that was before a triple bogey 7 at the 18th hole, this hole  has now become his nemesis, he double bogeyed the 18th hole on Thursday. That triple dropped Phil to -1 under par 71 on the day and has left him 10 shots behind the high-flying Roryon -8 under par.

 

Wells Fargo Championship. It’s Tight at the Top.

White Dragon GolfWells Fargo Championship

It’s very tight at the top of the Wells Fargo Championship leaderboard, with Robert Streb sharing the summit with Quail Hollow member Webb Simpson.

Quail Hollow Championship

Webb Simpson / Getty Images

Webb recorded another round of -5 under par 67 to get to his -10 under par tournament total, while Robert was a little more subdued today, carding -3 under par 69, to add to his -7 under 65 yesterday.

Webb likes having friends and family supporting him from the gallery this week, at his home course;

“I saw so many people, friends and family and heard my name a lot.”

“I’m sure tomorrow will be fun. I think if I’m one over at any point tomorrow early in the round, I think that support will help me.”

Robert said he has been dodging some bullets this week;

“My misses haven’t gotten me in too much trouble, with the exception of sixteen.”

Martin Flores and Patrick Rodgers are tied in second place at -8 under par for the tournament.

Martin called Quail Hollow a bigger version of his home course;

“When I just step on the tee, I feel very, very comfortable out here.”

Patrick is competing at the Wells Fargo Championship on a sponsor exemption, and is making the most of the opportunity;

“I just watched Jordan win the Masters and make it look pretty easy. That gives me a ton of confidence.”

“Most of the tee shots set up really, really well for me,  it really suits a high draw off the tee. It’s been a big advantage so far.”

 “I won a lot in college and I’m comfortable at the top of the leaderboard.”

“I have full confidence I’m capable of not only playing really well but winning out here.  I just try to carry myself with that confidence and hopefully this weekend I can do the same.”

Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson are tied third place at -7 under par, making a significant move today, Rory a -5 under par 67 and Phil with his 66. Will McKenzie also joins them on them on that score.

Rory is trying to stay patient, something that he is getting better at;

“I’m not putting myself under that much stress, I’m making it good on myself. I drove the ball beautifully at TPC Sawgrass and I’ve continued to do that this week.”

“I think I’ve gotten a lot better at staying patient. That’s probably one of the strengths of my game now.”

“It’s just knowing from experience what a good score is. If you’re putting yourself in position to score and it’s not happening, you know you’re not losing any ground on the field.”

“The way I hit it today, I felt like I could have shot 63 or 64, but realizing 67 is still a good score and puts me in a great position going into the weekend.”

Phil has yet to win at Quail Hollow, but does have seven top-10s in 11 starts here, he was happy to finally shoot -6 under par 66. He should have done it yesterday but ended up with a 71 instead;

“Right now, nobody is turning 66s into 71s better than me, and it’s nice to finally shoot that 66 and get the score that reflects the way I feel I’m playing.”

Wells Fargo Championship. Robert Streb Has 1st round Lead.

White Dragon GolfWells Fargo Championship

Robert Streb has the 1st round lead at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club.

WElls Fargo Championship

Robert Streb / Getty Images

Robert fired a bogey free opening round -7 under par 65 to lead the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow.

He said he had started to putt well, and everything else came into line;

“Everything is kind of trending the right way at the moment.”

“Last week was the first time in a while I felt like I had putted pretty solid, sometimes you get rolling.”

Tied in second place are Patrick Reed and Kevin Chappel both, at -6 under par following  opening rounds of 66.

Patrick admits to have been fighting to get his draw with the driver working;

“It seemed like going down the stretch I started to get a little bit more comfortable with hitting my draw.”

“Recently the ball has kind of been hanging right on me and I have to get the club out in front of me a little quicker.”

“I felt like today I was able to get that feeling early on. I really don’t understand why it’s so difficult for me to turn the driver right now because my irons are easy to turn.”

“It’s just one of those things I’ve been fighting.”

Kevin is using a new putter, and he likes the results;

“This is completely different than anything I’ve ever used.”

“It’s obviously completely different than any results I’ve been getting, so I like that.”

Six players are tied in fourth position at -5 under par, they include Quail Hollow member Webb Simpson.

Webb was happy with his effort, and was delighted to have a course winning caddie on his bag, Paul Tesori;

“It was a good, solid day, I didn’t make many mistakes.”

“The one that cost me was 16. I just went through it wrong mentally and hit it in the water. Other than that, the card was clean and I played nicely.”

“If I tell him to leave me alone, he’s always bringing that win up, we have a good mix this week.”

Sharing that place with Webb are, Ricky Barnes, Michael Thompson, Stewart Cink, Chesson Hadley and Billy Hurley 111.

Of the big names in the field Rory McIlroy was at -2 under par with 70, and Phil Mickelson at -1 under par 71.

Rory said he just mis-judged the wind, finding water on the par three 17th, leading to a double bogey five;

“The wind switched on us, back into it. Even though I saw Patrick Reed’s ball climb a little bit in the wind, I felt like I could get it there.”

“It strengthened a little bit, and was just one of those things.”

Phil is concentrating on correcting mistakes, that is easier than making birdies;

“I turned a 66 into a 71 today, but I played 11 holes really well. I played seven holes very poorly.”

“What I’m pleased with is that I’m still making a number of birdies. It’s much easier to eliminate mistakes than it is to make birdies.”

 

The Players. Day 2. Two Tied at the Top

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There are two players tied at the top of The Players, Jerry Kelly and Kevin Na both had good rounds today, while some big names failed to make the cut.

The Players

Kevin Na / Getty Images

Kevin and Jerry hold a two shot lead at -8 under par for 36 holes at The Players at TPC Sawgrass in Florida.

Jerry with a magnificent -7 under par 65 against Kevin’s more modest -3 under par 69 to both get to -8 under par for the tournament.

Kevin has overcome a terrible bout of “The Yips” which at times prevented him from taking the club back;

“I had the yips, that’s what it was.”

“A lot of the guys when you have that, they fall off the planet.”

“They play poorly and nobody really sees and hears about it. But the weird case was, I was playing some of my best golf and I couldn’t take the club back.”

“How does a guy not take the club back every time he hits it, and it goes down the middle?”

“I don’t know. Do you want to open up my brain and check it out? I don’t know. I try to not think about it. I got over it.”

“Having the yips, I think because I went through that, I’m a better player now.”

“I hope people get over that and see me as just a guy that’s playing well on TOUR versus a guy that couldn’t take the club back.”

Bernhard Langer is a player who could not control the putting yips, which is why he uses the Long Putter. Not sure if Bernhard will retire from golf at the end of this year, when long putters will be banned. On the other side of the coin, Bernhard holds the record for the most birdies made at the treacherous 17th in The Players, some 25 of them in his career. Ironically he also holds the record for the longest putt holed at the 17th, 59 feet 9 inches. Sadly He missed the cut here this year.

The Players

Jerry Kelly / Getty Images

Jerry carded a -7 under par 65 second round, and reported that he lives on adrenaline;

“I enjoy adrenaline, I am 48. I know it almost ravages the body as much as it helps it as you start getting older, but I would like to hang out for another couple of days and have some fun with it.”

“I figured I would have another chance at this golf course, I didn’t think it would be that long, but it’s just strange. This whole career has gone by in the blink of an eye.”

There are four players tied in third place, two shots back at -6 under par for the tournament, Branden Grace, David Hearn, Chris Kirk and the ever-present Rickie Fowler.

Rickie could have had second place on his own, but a loose shot on the par 5 16th found water, leading to a bogey.

Rickie and Ian Poulter were tied in a magazine survey with 24 percent of the vote, for the most overrated player on tour. Rickie was not worried about the comments of his peers;

“If there’s a time where I need something to kind of give me a kick in the butt, then I can think of that and it will put me in the right frame of mind to go out there and take care of business.”

 World number one Rory McIlroy stumbled a bit today, he too could have been better except for a trip to the water. He finished with a -1 under par 71 and a -4 under par total;

“A lot can happen, and I feel like I’m in a decent position.”

Tiger made the cut on the number, but Phil Mickleson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Jason Day, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald all had to go home early.

Phil was left wondering how he ever won here;

“I was thinking to myself as I was walking around, `I can’t believe I’ve actually won here,’ you know?”