Golf Buzz

June 17, 2016 - 5:26pm
matthew.craig's picture
phil mickelson, us open, oakmont
USA Today Sports Images

As the weather cleared at Oakmont, Friday thankfully was a full day of action. The players took advantage of the soft scoring conditions and hit some shots that wouldn't otherwise be possible.

Here's a collection of the best shots from first and second round action on Friday at the U.S. Open:

How about this slam dunk from Matt Marshall?

 

 

 

 

Jim Furyk seems to always play well in his home state of Pennsylvania. Check out this bomb from off the green.

 

 

2007 U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera shows you can still make birdie if you miss the fairway.

 

 

Phil Mickelson may be the best wedge player of all time, and he showed it off here with this near hole-out.

 

 

Jamie Donaldson showed off his short game chops with this chip-in.

 

 

As the drama picks up over the weekend, there's no doubt plenty more highlights are in store for golf fans everywhere!

June 17, 2016 - 1:45pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rob Labritz
USA Today Sports Images
We all know about practicing on the driving range, but what about practicing on the course? PGA Professional Rob Labritz has some fantastic on-course practice methods to help you lower scores.

The definition of golf is to get the ball in the hole in the least number of shots possible. To that end, you have 14 tools (clubs) at your disposal.

This latest bit of advice from PGA Professional Rob Labritz is going to dial you in to each one of those tools and help you understand that each one of your clubs is like an adjustable wrench -- it's not meant for just one type of shot, but multiple shots from a variety of distances with a variety of trajectories.

So, how do you accomplish that? For this practice, Labritz says you'll need to move away from the driving range, chipping area and practice green and over to the course itself.

Have you ever heard a PGA Professional say, "don't hit balls, hit shots?" That's the purpose of this.

RELATED: How to break 100 | 90 | 80 | 70 | Getting out of the rough

"I want you to go out and play a round with just 2-3 clubs, including your putter, and play from the forward tees," Labritz said. "You can use whichever three you'd like, but for those trying this for the first time, I would recommend a mid-to-long iron, a wedge and a putter. You're going to play all 18 holes with just those three clubs. The less clubs you carry, the more creative you'll get forced to be."

The point of this, Labrtiz explained, is to help you learn how to manufacture golf shots.

"It takes away that idea of, 'I have to hit this club from this distance,' and brings in your ball-striking skills and shot-making ability," he said. "Let's say one of your three clubs is an 8-iron, a club you maybe typically hit 140 yards. But, you're 100 yards away. You're going to have to work on how to hit that 8-iron from 100 yards while controlling the distance you want it to travel, the trajectory and the amount of roll out it has once it hits the ground."

Don't get frustrated. When you start out, it's almost a sure thing you're not going to hit it exactly as you'd like. That's why it's called, "practice."

If there is just one thing to focus on with each of these shots, however, Labritz says it's to pay attention to holding your finish. You know when you see your favorite Tour player holding the pose at the end of a gorgeous swing? Yeah, they're not just doing that for the cameras.

"Holding your finish does a couple of things," Labritz said. "One, it provides you a good look at your shot and allows your brain to accept the shot -- good or bad. You're not learning anything when you give up on the finish. Holding that finish teaches you just as much what to do as what not to do. And two, if you're holding that finish it means you're in balance -- in balance at address, at impact and then the finish."

Also with this drill, you're going to teach yourself how far you can hit a shot with a certain club with a 1/4 swings, 1/2 swings and 3/4 swings. Imagine how much easier that will make it for you the next time you play a round with all your clubs.

How nice will it be when you're faced with that 140-yard shot with an 8-iron, but there's a tree branch in the way and then you realize, "hey, I can hit my 6-iron 140 yards and much lower, so that branch won't even be a factor?"

"At that point," Labritz said, "you're dialed in."

Along with creativity, shot-making and ball-striking, there's one more valuable lesson this on-course practice is going to teach you, which is most important of all.

"It makes your brain think more about how to play the golf course than about executing a golf swing," Labritz said. "At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to play the course in the least amount of shots possible."

Rob Labritz, who has played in four PGA Championships (he was low-Club Professional in 2010 at Whistling Straits), is currently the Director of Golf at GlenArbor Golf Club in BedFord Hills, N.Y. He was also the PGA Met Section Player of the Year in 2008 and 2013, as well as the Westchester Golf Association's Player of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2008, 2013 and 2015. You can learn more about Labritz at www.RobLabritz.com and you can follow him on Twitter, @Rlabritz.  

June 17, 2016 - 10:37am
Posted by:
Ron Borges
tj.auclair's picture
Scottie Scheffler
USA Today Sports Images
Amateur Scottie Scheffler fired a 69 in the first round of the U.S. Open, but seemed to be more concerned with his sister Callie's intern status. Callie got a week off from her internship -- her second week on the job -- to caddie for her brother this week at Oakmont.

OAKMONT, Pa. -- Scottie Scheffler had some worries on his mind last night after becoming only the third amateur in U.S. Open history to shoot a round in the 60s in the rain-soaked first round at Oakmont, but they weren't about golf. He was worried about his sister's internship.

Scheffler's 1-under 69 made him the leader in the clubhouse yesterday because only nine of the field of 156 golfers ever reached the clubhouse after play was suspended three times for rain delays that left half the field never teeing off. Such incessant stoppages and inclement conditions made life difficult for everyone. But when you're 19 and playing at the U.S. Open with your sister on your bag, the only thing you really have to worry about is her job.

"There was a lot that we had to go through today with the weather and everything, the stop and go and trying to stay loose and stuff like that, so it was very important to me (to have his sister caddying)," Scheffler said. "I'm glad she was able to get the week off to come help me out. She's a week into an internship, and she's already asking for a week off. Hopefully she doesn't get in trouble."

That seems as unlikely as her brother's performance yesterday. The Schefflers, you see, are a golfing family, Scottie entering his third year on Texas' golf team while Callie is a senior member of the women's golf team at Texas A&M. Even her internship has a golf link as it turns out, and that link provided more name recognition to the company she's working for on one rainy afternoon than it might have otherwise earned all summer.

"She's interning for WorldLink," the teen-age U.S. Open leader explained. "The only way I know it, it's another college golfer's dad that she's working for. I think that was the big reason why she was able to get off work today. She's pursuing a graduate degree in marketing right now, so she's got a year to finish that up at A&M and a year left in college golf."

How many days her brother has left at his first U.S. Open is difficult to know, but if he can put together a second round like his first it will last more days than he might have expected.

Playing with calm control and putting with confidence, Scheffler was one of only seven golfers under par when play was halted. Andrew Landry, an obscure professional ranked 624th in the world, was atop the leaderboard at 3-under but wasn't able to stroke in a 10-foot birdie putt on his final hole before play was suspended, something he seems likely to do in today's early-morning hours, so technically Scheffler was the first-round leader when night fell.

What Scheffler will be doing today is not golfing, because it's unlikely there will be enough time for him to tee off in the second wave of the second round as scheduled with half the first round yet to begin. Where that leaves him remains to be seen but angst ridden didn't seem likely.

"I hope we'll be able to get in 18 tomorrow," he said. "(Someone) is shaking his head no. So we're not going to get in 18 tomorrow. That will be another adjustment for us. I don't know if we'll be teeing off at 7 at night or we'll be starting out at 6:30 in the morning.

"I was just excited to get done on 18. I tapped in like a 2 1/2-footer kind of quickly, which maybe wasn't the smartest idea. I wanted our group to get done so we didn't have to come back in the morning, because we were up at 4 a.m. this morning.

"Honestly, I really wanted to watch the basketball game tonight. I wanted to get done so I could stay up late to watch that."

When you're 19 and leading the U.S. Open, that's what's on your mind. Not winning a major or making golf history. What's on your mind is your sister's internship and the Cavaliers-Warriors game. That's the innocence -- and the comfort -- of youth.

"The experience ... I can't even describe it right now, but I didn't really let the magnitude of what's going on kind of get to me," Scheffler said. "I'm glad we got here a little early this week to kind of get used to everything, because this is something I've never experienced before.

"There's a lot more stuff going on than what I'm used to at an amateur tournament. We've got courtesy cars and security and a bunch of people around. The people don't really bother me. It's just the other stuff that kind of goes on. It doesn't bother me, it's just something I'm not used to, like how we're going to get to the course tomorrow is going to be a struggle because we've got to dodge thousands of fans. That's something I've got to figure out when I'm done here."

As he answered questions about the magnitude of playing in the Open, Scheffler's proud parents stood in the background. They were beaming in the way any parent would as they watched not only their son but also their daughter being interviewed about their unexpected U.S. Open star turn.

Each spoke not only about the kind of day you dream of when you're young and all things are possible, but as if there was really nothing shocking about it. It was, after all, just golf.

"Once we got on the course, I was fine," he said. "She's caddied for me in a couple of pro events before so we both kind of knew the drill. Definitely the preparation between those events and coming into this one really helped to get everything settled in.

"The atmosphere around here is a little different than what we're used to, but having the experience behind us in the other two events was really helpful, especially with her caddying. She knows how to caddie out here. It's very different than any other place. I don't think we got in any trouble today, which is a good start."

Callie the Caddie didn't and neither did Scottie the U.S. Open leader. They avoided trouble, which is what must be done to survive Oakmont. Then they went to watch basketball and waited to see what happens next.

This article was written by Ron Borges from Boston Herald and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. 

Oakmont Country Club
USA Today Sports Images
Did you know that the Pennsylvania Turnpike cuts right through Oakmont Country Club?

By Tim Bannon
Chicago Tribune

The venerable Oakmont Country Club, host to this week's U.S. Open, is considered one of the most challenging golf courses in the world.

It's also the only one with the Pennsylvania Turnpike slicing right through it.

When it opened in 1904 in western Pennsylvania, a railroad cut across the property. Years later, the turnpike was built on the railroad line, and now holes one and nine through 18 are on the west side of the highway and holes two through eight are on the east side.

"It's a unique feature in that it's there," Tom Marzlof, a senior design associate with Fazio Designs, a golf course design company, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

This is the ninth time Oakmont has hosted the U.S. Open, more than any other course in the country.

And it's not the only course with a major road running through it. Merion Golf Club outside Philadelphia, where the 2013 U.S. Open was held, is split by two-lane Ardmore Avenue.

But this is no mere avenue. The 550-mile-long Pennsylvania Turnpike averages approximately 42,000 vehiles a day.

"It's really difficult to even tell there's a highway there when you're up on the golf course," Mike Houser, an engineer project manager for the Turnpike, told the Post-Gazette. "That's never been an issue, never been a discussion and never been a problem as far as we know."

The two sides are now connected by a walking bridge. In 2003, Oakmont built a new pedestrian bridge meant to ease crowd congestion.

This article was written by Tim Bannon from Chicago Tribune and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

June 16, 2016 - 3:30pm
matthew.craig's picture
stanley cup, us open
Twitter / CassieStein25

Rain delays are frustrating for everyone at major championships. Players, spectators, and TV viewers are left sitting around with nothing to do but wait until the weather clears and the action resumes.

That looked to be the case Thursday when showers and thunderstorms delayed play during the first round of the U.S. Open. From what we could see, it looked like the European players were sitting around watching the Euro 2016 soccer match, while the American players were mostly looking at their phones.

That is until the Pittsburgh Penguins showed up.

 

 

And they brought a friend with them, in the form of the Stanley Cup. Players took the opportunity to take pictures with the trophy, raising their spirits while they waited out the delay.

 

 

 

 

 

One of the most entertaining parts of the visit was the Penguins trying out their talents on the putting green. Maybe all that practice on actual ice helped the Stanley Cup champs handle the lightning fast greens at Oakmont?

 

 

 

 

 

June 16, 2016 - 2:40pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
YouTube
Fox News reporter Brett Baier is an avid golfer. So, when he had a chance to interview the Dalai Lama recently, he couldn't help but ask if he had ever seen the movie Caddyshack, where Bill Murray shares a story about caddying for the Dalai Lama.

Turns out the Lama isn't a big hitter after all.

Well, Gunga Galunga.

In a famous scene from the hit movie Caddyshack (OK, which scene wasn't a hit?), greenskeeper Carl Spackler -- portrayed by Bill Murray -- tells a story of the time he traveled to Tibet and caddied for the long-hitting Dalai Lama.

You can see the scene here:

Well, Fox News reporter Brett Baier -- an avid golfer himself -- sat down to interview the Dalai Lama recently and had to know: Had the Dalai Lama ever seen Caddyshack?

The exchange is almost as funny as a scene from Caddyshack:

Kudos to Baier for the hard-hitting question.