Category Archives: Golf

PGA Championship 2015

The major golf tournaments have been really exciting this year. Although as with most sporting events on TV I only watch bits and pieces of the game or match here and there and hopefully catch the end if it seems exciting. Who has the time to watch four days of golf? I would rather be out playing golf or another sport or getting work done or work in the garden, whatever.

Day’s Day

In any case, Jason Day played lights out. He was just unstoppable and set an all-time record for the lowest score in any major throughout  history with a 20 under par. What a way to win your first major! He has been so close so many times and has been so frustrated.

On the last tee, he closed his eyes to visualize the shot. It is something he does fairly regularly to help him visualize what he is going to do. I can understand this because I often close my eyes to be able to concentrate better on the music when I am at a symphony concert. (No, I am not sleeping.) He hit it 308 yards and then finished it off ending the day with a 67. Over the four days he hit 68, 67, 66, 66. How is that for consistency.

He has been making strong efforts throughout this year. He could barely stand for part of the US Open due to headache induced vertigo. He fought through it and managed to finish. Then, he came so close in the British Open. He left the final putt short (so in actuality it was the next to last putt) and missed a playoff by 1 shot. He was not a happy camper and practiced even harder. In the PGA championship he was just in a zone the entire time and unstoppable.

DJ Dusted Again

Once again Dustin Johnson was in the thick of things but once again he couldn’t hold on, ending in a 3 way tie for seventh place.

Spieth the New Tiger?

But perhaps the most amazing player of the year has been Jordan Spieth. He won the Masters and then won the US Open. Then in the British Open, he was in it until the very end. Despite bogeying different holes, he kept coming back with birdies. Unfortunately he mishit his tee shot on the last hole and got a 4 when he needed a three to make the playoffs. His playing partner Louis Oosthuizen did manage to make a 3 and made the playoffs, only to lose by 1 to Zach Johnson.

So Spieth wins the first two majors of the year, then misses the playoff by one shot at the British Open and then is close all the way through the PGA Championship, finishing second. That seems like a pretty dominant year and we would be surprised not to see a lot more of Spieth in the future.

British Open Exciting Finish

Jordan Spieth is definitely going to be the talk of the town in the years to come the way Tiger Woods was if Spieth keeps playing this way. He was in it to the very end of the British Open and almost was able to become the first person since Ben Hogan in the 1920s to win the first three majors of the year.  Unlike the US Open, this time we didn’t hear any griping about the greens but wow was that a lot of wind they had for a while.

It looked at first like Dustin Johnson was going to make up for missing the putt at the end of the US Open that would have given him the win or at least a tie and a playoff. He was playing incredibly well and in the lead. But it seemed like as the weather improved, he faded.

The story of the third round could have been Dustin Johnson fading, but instead it was the lights out playing of Paul Dunne. He is a amateur from Ireland who goes to college in the United States. Last year he was able to do well enough to be invited to play in the British Open but didn’t make the cut. This year, he not only made the cut but by the end of the third round was tied for the lead. Even more amazing, his score was 3 strokes lower than the lowest score by an amateur in British Open history after three rounds.

Tied with Dunne were Jason Day and Louis Oosthuizen. Jordan Spieth was one stroke back, Padraig Harrington was two strokes back and nine people were three strokes back, including Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Zach Johnson, Mark Leishman and Justin Rose. So it was still anyone’s tournament.

On the last day, unfortunately Paul Dunne fell apart. He was way over par and you had to feel for him. He almost looked like he wanted to cry by the time he got to the last hole. Here he was, in the final pairing, and was stinking up the course. On the final hole with the whole world watching he chipped past the green and onto the rough on a steep little hill that  then ended in a fence/building. He finally got it in the hole. But, he should be proud of what he accomplished through three rounds and the amazing improvement from the year before. For the first time in a long time, if he had scored one less on the last round there would have been 4 amateurs in the top 20 finishers.

Zach Johnson plugged away steadily all day and finished with 15 under and then had to wait and see what other people did. In the next to last pairing, Day also came in at 15 under but Spieth finally cracked slightly. He pulled his tee shot way left where he and almost no one else had been during the tournament. He ended up missing the playoff by one stroke so his chances of winning the first three majors was dashed. But it was an impressive attempt.

In the last pairing, while Dunne was imploding, Oosthuizen finished at 15 under as well. There was then a 4 hole playoff and Leishman quickly fell by the wayside. Zach Johnson was able to eek out the win over Oosthuizen. A very exciting tournament and finish.

Spieth Rules

Jordan Spieth and the US Open

What an amazing US Open. A lot of people panned it because of the conditions of the greens and the crazy slopes, but that made it interesting.

By winning the US Open at the age of 21, he became the youngest man to win the US Open since Bobby Jones in 1923. That is almost 100 years. Quite the feat. And that ain’t all folks. He is only the sixth person in history to win the Masters and then win the US Open as well. The last person to do it was naturally Tiger Woods in 2002.

Chambers Bay

The Chambers Bay Golf course became as much of a story as the competition. It took a lot of heat for the condition of the greens and the layout of the course. It was also interesting having trains going by the golf course. We  don’t remember ever seeing that before.

Morning vs. Afternoon

It was also interesting that the entire course played differently in the afternoon than it did in the morning. The grounds crew would water the course overnight and they would get the wetness such that the ball rolled at a certain speed designated by the person from the USGA who set up the course each day. However, the course was built on a sand and gravel quarry and the moisture would drain away during the day and by the afternoon, the ball moved considerably faster and the surface didn’t grip it as well.

Poa annua

The greens also ran differently in the afternoon. Apparently the greens are supposed to be fine fescue but poa annua invaded some of the greens. By afternoon it grew some and people said it was like playing on broccoli or cauliflower.  One woman commentator said she had grown up playing on Poa annua and preferred it to Bermuda grass. But a lot of others had a lot to say about the conditions. One person said it was the first time in history that people were happy to miss the cut and go home and not have to play the course anymore. Sounds a bit like sour grapes, but to each his own.

Roll on

Other people complained about the slopes. One person said it wasn’t reasonable to hit the ball within a yard of the hole and then watch it roll 50 yards away. There were some dramatic slopes, there is no doubt about that.

Fairways

The commentators kept talking about how the fairways were much wider than usual. It didn’t seem to matter. A lot of people still missed them and hit into bunkers, of which there were a lot, (why not make use of the sand from the quarry?) or they hit into the rough. And what a rough it was with tall grass that you wanted to take a scythe to.

Elevation

The course was also unusual because of the elevation changes. On several par 3s, the tee was 50 to 90 feet above the green which made judging the distance and what club to use that much more difficult.

Complaints bogus?

But, we ask ourselves, if the course was really all that bad, how did Louis Oosthuizen manage to tie for the lowest 9 hole score in US Open history on the back nine?

Fascinating Finish

So Oosthuizen finishes with four under par, but it seemed it wasn’t going to be quite good enough with the people still left to finish. Spieth had a birdie on the 16th hold and that put him 3. But that vanished on the next hole which he double bogeyed. That put him even with Oosthuizen who had just birdied the 18th hole. Dustin Johnson who was also in the last pair birdied the 17th hole. Then Spieth birdies the 18th putting him at 5 under. But, Johnson hits a great tee shot and has a chance to win with a putt for eagle. He misses and the ball rolls 5 feet past the cup. So everyone assumes that he will sink it and tie at 5 under and have a playoff the next day. But he misses the putt, makes the tap in and ties Oosthuizen for second. And Spieth makes history. You feel bad for Johnson, but it was compelling viewing.