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.”

 

TW World Challenge, G-Mac still the Master

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Graeme McDowell/ Dunn / Getty Images

Graeme McDowell, G-Mac, is still the master of the Tiger Woods World Challenge after his third round at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California, shooting -4 under par 68 in the Northwestern Mutual presented event. He leads by two shots from Keegan Bradley. Graeme said after his round;

“If I was to get the job done Sunday I may have to stay an extra day and get a real estate agent and have a look around the area because there’s something weird going on here. I think it’s certainly my kind of course, there’s no doubt about it. It’s a course that rewards a premium on accuracy and a premium on good, aggressive iron play. I’ve always kind of rolled the ball here well. It’s definitely a golf course that sets up well for me.”

Keegan Bradley is in second place, just two shots behind Graeme, at -11 under par for the tournament, firing a third round -5 under par 67.  Tournament host Tiger Woods is five back of the leader, and has some work to do if he wants to win his own event;

“I felt like I played decent enough to get to 10 under, to get to double digits, and just didn’t do it, and as of right now I’m five back. I’m going to have to shoot a low one tomorrow and see what happens.”

There are rumors that Tiger put his own money up with Northwestern Mutual  when the tournament, which began in 1999 and benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, lost its title sponsor last year and a replacement sponsor fell through in September. Tiger would not reveal the numbers publicly but some say the amount required was $4 million. Tiger was coy with his answer when questioned;

“I bridged the gap on it, I’m not going to tell you the exact amount, but it’s a good number. The title sponsor unfortunately fell through, but this is important for us. What’s important is that if it wasn’t for this tournament, we wouldn’t have the success with the foundation. The learning center would not have happened. We wouldn’t have gained the awareness that we have now. There have been so many kids that we have helped, just because of this event. It’s important to me, to the foundation, this is what got us on the map.”

The foundation built the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Orange County. Now there are also two campuses in the Washington, D.C., area, another in south Florida and one in Philadelphia. About 100,000 kids have attended programs at the learning centers. Many of the kids have received scholarships to attend college,  many being the first in their family to go to college. The World Challenge has raised $25 million for the foundation, including nearly $9 million from Tiger, who has donated all his winnings in the tournament to the foundation.

First round leader Nick Watney, who is in seventh place in this field of 18 elite players, called Tiger’s charitable donation and million-dollar infusion to the tournament;

” An incredibly kind thing to do and an amazing gesture by him. I think there will be jokes about him that he can afford it, but it’s a great thing. I hope it receives the credit that it deserves, it’s a credit to him and he’s a great guy. Everybody in this game owes him a debt of gratitude, even though I know he wouldn’t want it.”

If  Tiger does shoot a low round tomorrow and wins again, everyone knows what will happen , the Foundation will receive the $1 million winners purse . I personally hope this does happen, for the Children’s sake. Go Tiger