PGA Golf

PGA News Wire
  • Hall of Famer Green passes away at 71
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, June 20, 2018

    Hall of Fame golfer and two-time major winner Hubert Green died Tuesday at the age of 71, the PGA Tour announced. He had been battling throat cancer.

    • The 1971 PGA Tour rookie of the year, Green went on to win 19 titles on the main tour and four more as a senior.

      His most famous moment came on the final day of the 1977 U.S. Open, when he was informed he'd received a threat that said he'd be shot when he reached the 15th green. He received the news just as finished the 14th hole and while he held a one-stroke lead.

      He played anyway and wound up hanging on to win by one stroke.

      Green won the PGA Championship in 1985 for his final victory on the PGA Tour.

      Green was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.

      --Field Level Media

  • 'Embarrassed and disappointed' Mickelson apologizes for U.S. Open penalty
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, June 20, 2018

    Four days after his putt that rocked the golfing world, Phil Mickelson apologized Wednesday for his actions at the U.S. Open.

    • "I know this should've come sooner, but it's taken me a few days to calm down," Mickelson said in a text message to Golf.com. "My anger and frustration got the best of me last weekend. I'm embarrassed and disappointed by my actions. It was clearly not my finest moment and I'm sorry."

      Last Saturday, during the third round at Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, N.Y., Mickelson sent a putt on the 13th green well past the hole. As the ball cleared the hole, Mickelson ran up to the ball, got in front of it, then hit the moving ball back toward the hole.

      He was assessed a two-stroke penalty for the move, per PGA Tour rules, taking a 10 on the par-4 hole. But many people were so angered by the violation of the rules -- and golf etiquette - that they called for his withdrawal from the tournament.

      Mickelson stayed in the tournament, following up his third-round 81 with a closing 1-under par 69 on Sunday to finish the tournament tied for 48th at 16 over.

      Following his third round Saturday, Mickelson offered a tepid apology in a statement that was far more defiant in tone.

      "I don't mean it disrespectful; if you're taking it that way, that's not on me,'' Mickelson said immediately after the round. "I'm sorry that you're taking it that way, it's certainly not meant that way. Sometimes in these situations, it's just easier to take the two shots and move on.''

      Amid the calls for his removal from the tournament, Mickelson on Saturday did meet with USGA officials to discuss whether he should withdraw.

      "Phil really did want to understand how the rule operates because he didn't want to ... as he said to me, 'Mike, I don't want to play in this championship if I should have been disqualified,'" USGA chief executive Mike Davis said, according to ESPN. "That's where we clarified that 'Phil, you make a stroke at a moving ball, so we have to apply that rule.'

      "That's different than if he had deliberately just stopped the ball or whacked it in another direction or something like that. So it's just us applying the rules.''

      One golfer who offered some level of support and understanding for Mickelson was Jordan Spieth, who spoke out about the issue Tuesday at the Travelers Championship.

      "Phil knows the rules," Spieth told the media in Cromwell, Conn. "If there was a chance it was going to go back behind the bunker and he's got to chip back or he was going to play off the green anyways ... so he was potentially saving himself a shot. So if that was the intent, then what's the harm in that? He's playing for the best score he can.

      "I don't think people thought that was the intent, but I'll take his word it was his intent. He knows the rules."

      --Field Level Media

  • Golf Glance
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, June 19, 2018

    PGA TOUR

    • LAST WEEK: U.S. Open (Brooks Koepka)

      THIS WEEK: Travelers Championship, June 21-24

      TPC River Highlands, Cromwell, Conn. (Par 70, 6,841 yards)

      Purse: $7 million (Winner: $1.26 million)

      Television: Thursday-Friday 3:30-6:30 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday 1-2:45 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3-6 p.m. (CBS)

      Defending Champion: Jordan Spieth

      Spieth beat Daniel Berger on the first hole of sudden death in 2017. Phil Mickelson (2001-02) is the last player to successfully defend at the Travelers. ... The fifth-ranked Spieth is coming off consecutive missed cuts. He is joined in the field by No. 2 Justin Thomas, No. 4 Koepka, No. 7 Rory McIlroy and No. 9 Jason Day. ... Jim Furyk set the PGA Tour record with a 58 in the final round in 2016. ... Kenny Perry (22 under, 2009) holds the 72-hole tournament scoring record. ... The Travelers typically grants exemptions to several young players, and those making their professional debuts this week include No. 1-ranked amateur Doug Ghim from the University of Texas and former University of Illinois star Nick Hardy. Dylan Meyer, who made the cut at the U.S. Open, will join his former Illinois teammate in the field. Thomas, Jon Rahm and Rickie Fowler are among previous players who have been given exemptions into the Travelers. ... Six of the past 12 winners of the Travelers have been first-time Tour champions.

      NEXT WEEK: Quicken Loans National, Potomac, Md.

      LPGA TOUR

      LAST WEEK: Meijer LPGA Classic (So Yeon Ryu)

      THIS WEEK: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G, June 22-24

      Pinnacle Country Club, Ann Arbor, Mich. (Par 71, 6,331 yards)

      Purse: $2 million (Winner: $300,000)

      Television: Friday, 6:30-8:30 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 3-5 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)

      Defending Champion: So Yeon Ryu

      Ryu is seeking to defend her title while also coming off her sixth career LPGA tour victory last week. She set a tournament record with her winning score of 18-under last year, which also vaulted her to No. 1 in the world for the first time. ... The top nine players in the world rankings are in the field. ... Former University of Arkansas star Stacy Lewis won the event in 2014. She is due to give birth to her first child in November. ... Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn leads the money list with $1.7 million this season and is also the only two-time winner on Tour in 2018. She leads the Rolex Player of the Year (150) and Race to CME Globe (2,515) standings. ... Jessica Korda, who leads the Tour in scoring average (69.417), is also in the field. ... Two-time event champion Yani Tseng (2010-11) is leading the Tour in driving distance at 276.0.

      NEXT WEEK: KPMG Women's PGA Championship, Kildeer, Ill.

      Champions Tour

      LAST WEEK: OFF.

      THIS WEEK: American Family Insurance Championship, June 22-24

      University Ridge Golf Course, Madison, Wis. (Par 72, 7,056 yards)

      Purse: $2 million (Winner: $300,000)

      Television: Friday, 12:30-3 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 5-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)

      Defending Champion: Fred Couples

      Madison residents Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly are in a 78-player field that also includes 37 of the top 40 players in the Charles Schwab Cup standings. ... Top-ranked Bernhard Langer is in the field, while Couples will be making his first start since the Masters in April. ... Couples shot a final-round 66 to overcome a three-shot deficit and win by two strokes last year. In his only other tournament in 2018, Couples tied for sixth at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship. ... Davis Love III will make his tournament debut and just his 11th start on the Champions tour since turning 50 in 2014.

      NEXT WEEK: U.S. Senior Open Championship, Colorado Springs, Colo.

      --Field Level Media

  • Minnesota to host regular PGA Tour stop for first time in 50 years
    By Field Level Media / Monday, June 18, 2018

    For the first time in 50 years, Minnesota will host an annual PGA Tour event.

    • The Tour and sponsor 3M announced Monday that they have reached a seven-year agreement to host an annual stop beginning next summer, the 3M Open. Though the dates have yet to be announced, the 3M Open will be played at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine.

      It will be the first time the Tour will play a regular event in Minnesota since the St. Paul Open/Minnesota Golf Classic was last played in 1969. It will also be a bittersweet partnership for some, however, as the addition of the 3M Open also means the end of the 3M Championship, a Champions Tour event dating back to 1993.

      The final 3M Championship in Minnesota will be played Aug. 3-5 this year. That event will also be played at TPC Twin Cities.

      The state has occasionally hosted Tour events since 1969, most recently the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine in Chaska.

      "We are delighted to partner with 3M for this new PGA TOUR event in the Twin Cities, a community that has shown tremendous support for professional golf over the years with PGA Tour Champions, the PGA Championship, Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup, and has deservedly played host to the biggest events in sports -- Super Bowls, Final Fours, among them," PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement Monday.

      --Field Level Media

  • Koepka new No. 1 in U.S. Ryder Cup team points after major shakeup
    By Field Level Media / Monday, June 18, 2018

    A day after the completion of a wild 2018 U.S. Open, the U.S. Ryder Cup points standing underwent an equally wild shakeup on Monday, with a new occupant in every spot in the top five.

    • At the top of that shakeup is new leader Brooks Koepka, who finished 1-over par at Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, N.Y., to win his second consecutive U.S. Open. He earned 4,320 Ryder Cup points with the win (nearly doubling his season total) to jump four spots to No. 1.

      Koepka also vaulted five spots to No. 4 in the world golf rankings.

      Patrick Reed, who had a solid fourth-place showing at Shinnecock, fell from the top spot to No. 3 in the Ryder Cup team points. World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who finished one shot better than Reed in third place, moved up from third to second in the standings.

      Justin Thomas (who fell from No. 2 to No. 4 after tying for 25th) and Jordan Spieth (No. 4 to No. 5 after missing the cut) round out the top five. Rickie Fowler (tied for 20th) and Bubba Watson (also missed cut) remain in sixth and seventh, respectively, while Webb Simpson's top-10 showing at Shinnecock moved him into the eighth -- and final guaranteed -- position in the standings.

      The previous holder of the No. 8 spot, Phil Mickelson, fell to No. 10 after a U.S. Open that included a penalty for striking his putt while it was still moving in the third round. The display drew plenty of attention, as well as numerous calls for him to withdraw from the tournament. He rebounded with a 1-under 69 on Sunday to finish tied for 48th at 16-over 296.

      Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9 after tying for 25th at the Open.

      Zach Johnson made the highest jump of any player in the top 25, climbing from 26th to 21st after tying for 12th with an 8-over 288.

      The top eight spots will be determined based on points following the 100th PGA Championship scheduled to conclude Aug. 12. Three additional spots will be named by captain Jim Furyk following the Dell Technologies Championship scheduled to finish on Sept. 3, with the final spot scheduled to be announced after the BMW Championship slated to be completed on Sept. 9.

      The four majors in 2018 are weighted heavily in the U.S. Ryder Cup team points race, with winners receiving two points per $1,000 earned at the Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship, and all other players receiving 1.5 points per $1,000 earned. That's compared to one point per every $1,000 earned in regular PGA Tour events in 2018 leading up to the Aug. 12 cutoff.

      The 42nd Ryder Cup will be held at Le Golf National in Paris this September. Future venues include Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis., in 2020; the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome in '22; and Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, N.Y., in '24.

      Europe has yet to announce the home courses for the 2026 and '30 Ryder Cups. After returning to Hazeltine (Chaska, Minn.) in '28, the next U.S. course will be The Olympic Club in San Francisco in 2032.

      --Field Level Media

  • Koepka repeats as U.S. Open champion
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, June 17, 2018

    Brooks Koepka fired a 2-under-par 68 in the final round on Sunday to finish at 1-over-par 281 and capture the 118th U.S. Open Championship by a stroke over Englishman Tommy Fleetwood at the demanding Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y.

    • Koepka, who won last year at Erin Hills Golf Club in Wisconsin, became the first golfer to take back-to-back U.S. Opens since Curtis Strange accomplished the feat in 1988-89. Koepka is the seventh player to win America's national championship of golf in back-to-back years.

      "It hasn't sunk in yet. This is incredible," Koepka said in a television interview. "You know, I don't think I could have dreamed of this -- going back-to-back. It's truly special and I'm so honored."

      Fleetwood carded a 63, becoming the sixth player to record that score at the U.S. Open and just the second to do it in the final round. He teed off almost 2 1/2 hours before -- and six strokes behind -- third-round leaders Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Daniel Berger and Tony Finau on Sunday and soared up the leaderboard with four consecutive birdies on holes 12, 13, 14 and 15.

      Fleetwood missed a nine-foot putt for birdie and a record 62 at the closing hole. His round was even more impressive considering he didn't birdie either of the layout's par 5s.

      Johnson, who was tied for the lead after the first round and four strokes clear of the field after 36 holes, finished alone in third two shots behind Koepka at 3 over after an even-par 70 in the final round.

      Reigning Masters champion Patrick Reed ended up fourth at 4 over after a 68 in the final round, while Finau (72) double-bogeyed the final hole to finish in fifth, another stroke back at 5 over.

      Koepka trailed Johnson by six strokes after the first round and by five after the second round. He shot a 72 in nearly unplayable conditions on Saturday when Johnson stumbled to a 77 to climb back into the mix and was steady and often spectacular over the final 18 holes.

      Koepka racked up three birdies in his first five holes on Sunday to grab the championship by the throat, but gave back a shot with a bogey on the sixth. A birdie on the 10th preceded a bogey on the 11th, but he reinforced his chance to win with a scrambling, one-putt par on the 14th after hitting his drive into the deep fescue to the right of the fairway.

      "It really, really was testing this week, to be honest with you," Koepka said of the course.

      After Koepka holed his par putt at 14, Johnson three-putted for bogey, which all but ended his chances to put any pressure on Koepka down the stretch.

      Koepka was asked if winning the U.S. Open ever gets old.

      "No, it doesn't. Not at all," he said. "It feels so good to have this thing (the trophy) back in my hands."

      Berger (73), Tyrrell Hatton of England (69), Xander Schauffele (68) and Sweden's Henrik Stenson (71) ended up tied for sixth at 6-over 286. Justin Rose of England (73) and Players champion Webb Simpson (69) finished tied for 10th at 7 over.

      The top 10 finishers (and ties) are exempt for the following year's U.S. Open while the top four finishers (and ties) are invited to next year's Masters Tournament.

      Japan' Hideki Matsuyama and Rickie Fowler turned in the best scores from the morning wave of competitors on Sunday, but neither score pushed them into the top 20 as the lead groups began teeing off after the noon hour.

      Matsuyama fired a 4-under-par 66 -- 13 strokes better than his 79 on Saturday -- to finish the tournament at 10 over. Fowler, who ballooned to a round-worst 84 in the wind and brutal conditions on Saturday, beat Matsuyama's effort by a stroke, carding a 65 on Sunday -- lowest in the tournament until Fleetwood eclipsed it -- and finished at 11-over 291.

      Phil Mickelson, who was embroiled in controversy on Saturday when he chased down and hit his ball on the 13th hole as it was rolling past the hole and down a hill before it stopped, shot 1 under in the final round to finish at 16 over for the championship.

      --Field Level Media

  • Mickelson shoots 69, wife says he offered to withdraw
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, June 17, 2018

    Phil Mickelson rebounded from a disastrous third round at the U.S. Open with a 1-under 69 on Sunday, but his wife says he offered to withdraw altogether after his rule-breaking play on No. 13 the day before caused an uproar.

    • In a bizarre sequence, he chased after his own missed putt on the 13th hole and hit the ball again back toward the hole before it stopped moving. Mickelson was assessed a two-stroke penalty for the unsportsmanlike maneuver and wound up with a six-over 10 on the hole.

      Mickelson's 11-over 81 round matched his worst at a U.S. Open, which first occurred in the second round at Pebble Beach in 1992.

      But on Sunday, he not only finished under par -- he managed to shoot par on No. 13 and raised his arms in celebration afterward before throwing his ball into the crowd.

      Amy Mickelson says her husband offered to withdraw after seeing reaction to his play on Saturday.

      "When he heard that he called (USGA CEO) Mike Davis and said ‘If I've done something that crosses the line that much, then I need to withdraw immediately,' " she said, per Golfweek.

      She says Davis told him he was within the rules and should play on.

      "You know it's not his finest moment, but hopefully he'll learn from it. Like anybody, good people make mistakes. We all have a moment in life sometimes and that was kind of a moment I think for him," Amy said.

      Mickelson, who insisted Saturday he'd meant no disrespect, didn't talk to reporters on Sunday, instead signing autographs for fans before leaving.

      The United States Golf Association said Mickelson violated rule 14-5 -- Playing Moving Ball.

      "A player must not make a stroke at his ball while it is moving," the rule states.

      John Bodenhamer, the USGA's senior managing director of championships, said Mickelson was informed of the rule violation on the course and accepted the penalty.

      "Our committee mobilized quickly, our rules committee, and unanimously decided that this situation is specifically and explicitly covered under rule 14-5," Bodenhamer said in a press conference. "... Phil didn't purposely deflect or stop the ball, which is talked about in the reference of 14-5 if you look at it. (Rule) 14-5 explicitly covers the player making a stroke at a moving ball so we operated under that rule."

      --Field Level Media

  • USGA admits U.S. Open course 'too tough' Saturday
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, June 16, 2018

    The state of the Shinnecock Hills course has been a hot topic during this weekend's U.S. Open, with Saturday seeing several top golfers remark on the conditions after struggling, especially during the later portion of play, at Southampton, N.Y.

    • The United States Golf Association has taken it to heart, admitting that the course was too tough for Saturday's third round and promising to slow it down for Sunday's finale.

      "It was a tale of two golf courses, and no doubt, we would admit, well-executed shots were not only not regarded, but were punished," said USGA chief executive Mike Davis, who is in charge of course setup. "We would say that it was a very tough test, and really too tough this afternoon.

      "You saw some really low scores this morning, but when it got so dry like this and the wind got up, it didn't work. This golf course will get slowed down tonight."

      Dustin Johnson, who entered Saturday with a four-stroke lead, shot a 7-over-par 77 and is still part of a four-way tie for first place at 3-over 213.

      "I didn't feel like I played badly at all," Johnson said. "Seven over, you know, usually is a terrible score, but, I mean, with the greens the way they got this afternoon ... they were very, very difficult."

      Also atop the leaderboard with Johnson are Daniel Berger, Tony Finau and defending champion Brooks Koepka. Berger and Finau each carded a 66 in the morning round after beginning Saturday tied for 45th and 11 shots off Johnson's overnight four-stroke lead. They both finished their rounds before Johnson even teed off, as the course got tougher as the day went on and winds played a factor.

      Saturday's scoring average of 75.33 was the highest for a third round in the U.S. Open since 2000 at Pebble Beach. Berger, Finau and Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand (68) were the only players to break par, and they all played in the morning wave. Rickie Fowler, who was ninth starting the day, shot an 84 on the afternoon, the worst score of the day, to drop into a tie for 61st.

      Zach Johnson, who shot a third-round 72, had some particularly strong words toward the handling of the course.

      "We're not on the edge. I thought we could be on the edge, but we've surpassed it," Johnson told Sky Sports. "It's pretty much gone, especially the latter part of the day for us. It's pretty much shot. It's really unfortunate, because in my opinion, some of the best land and certainly one of the best venues in all of golf, especially in this country, is Shinnecock Hills. It's as good as it gets.

      "Unfortunately, they've lost the golf course. I feel for the membership, because I know many of them. I feel for the spectators because they are seeing pure carnage -- unless that's what they want. And I feel for the USGA because I don't think this was their intent."

      Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello sounded off on Twitter after shooting 76.

      "It was not a fair test of golf," he said. "Greens were unplayable, with unnecessary pin positions. [The] USGA found a way to make us look like fools on the course. A pity they managed to destroy a beautiful golf course."

      Phil Mickelson put himself into a controversial spot on the 13th hole when he chased down and hit his ball as it was rolling past the hole and down a hill before it stopped. He was given a two-stroke penalty for hitting a moving ball and carded a 10 on the par-4 hole on the way to an 81 for the round.

      "Look, everybody has to play it; I'm not saying either way," said Mickelson, who wouldn't directly label the course unfair. "Everybody has got to play it. I was playing it worse than most and wanted to get to the next hole eventually, which I did."

      Pin placement was also a source on controversy for golfers, particularly on the 15th green, which Davis addressed.

      "We missed it with the wind," he said. "It blew harder than we thought it was going to blow. The greens got fast, and it was too much for the wind we had. At 15, you were seeing shots well-played, and they weren't rewarded. We would say it was a very tough test, but it was too tough this afternoon."

      No golfer is under par through 54 holes at the U.S. Open for the first time since 2007.

      --Field Level Media

  • Mickelson penalized two shots after bizarre putting gaffe
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, June 16, 2018

    Phil Mickelson's disastrous third round at the U.S. Open featured a bizarre sequence in which he chased after his own missed putt on the 13th hole and hit the ball again back toward the hole before it stopped moving.

    • Mickelson was assessed a two-stroke penalty for the unsportsmanlike maneuver and wound up with a six-over 10 on the hole, making his 48th birthday on Saturday anything but happy.

      Mickelson's 11-over 81 round matches his worst at a U.S. Open, which first occurred in the second round at Pebble Beach in 1992. He stands at 17-over 227 through three rounds.

      "Look, I don't mean disrespect by anybody," Mickelson said in a televised interview after his round. "I know it's a two-shot penalty and at that time, I just didn't feel like going back and forth and hitting the same shot over. I took the two-shot penalty and moved on.

      "It's my understanding of the rules. I've had multiple times where I've wanted to do that, I just finally did."

      The United States Golf Association said Mickelson violated rule 14-5 -- Playing Moving Ball.

      "A player must not make a stroke at his ball while it is moving," the rule states.

      John Bodenhamer, the USGA's senior managing director of championships, said Mickelson was informed of the rule violation on the course and accepted the penalty.

      "Our committee mobilized quickly, our rules committee, and unanimously decided that this situation is specifically and explicitly covered under rule 14-5," Bodenhamer said in a press conference. "... Phil didn't purposely deflect or stop the ball, which is talked about in the reference of 14-5 if you look at it. (Rule) 14-5 explicitly covers the player making a stroke at a moving ball so we operated under that rule."

      Mickelson insisted his actions weren't disrespectful to the U.S. Open or the sport of golf.

      "It's certainly not meant that way," Mickelson said. "It's meant to take advantage of the rules as best as you can. In that situation, I was just going back and forth and I gladly take the two shots over continuing that display."

      Mickelson was apparently frustrated with his play on the tough Shinnecock Hills course and showed it with the miniature golf-like display.

      His 15-foot putt went right of the hole and Mickelson began moving in the direction of the ball. Then he scurried to reach the moving ball and took a swipe at it, knocking it back toward the hole -- which it rolled past again.

      Mickelson feared the ball was going to roll well past the hole and off the green.

      "No question. It was going to go down in the same spot behind the bunker," Mickelson said. "I wasn't going to have a shot. And I don't know if I would've been able to save the shot or whatnot, but I know it's a two-shot penalty for hitting a moving ball. I tried to hit it as close to the hole as I could to make the next one, and you take the two shots and you move on."

      The five-time major champion has never won a U.S. Open.

      Mickelson shot a 2-over 37 on the front nine as he birdied No. 4 and took bogeys on Nos. 5, 8 and 9.

      The string of bogeys continued on 10 and 11 and he shot par on 12 before the sequence on 13. Mickelson posted another bogey on 17.

      It wasn't the showing Mickelson was hoping for in his latest attempt to win the elusive U.S. Open crown. But he said he had many positive experiences throughout his round.

      "I've had an awesome day. The people here have been incredible," Mickelson said. "Singing 'Happy Birthday,' wishing 'Happy Birthday.' The people have made coming here over the decades an awesome experience. It's a fun birthday.

      "I didn't mean any disrespect and if that is the way people took it, I apologize to them but that's not the way it was intended. I took the two-shot penalty and moved on and there's not much more to say."

      --Field Level Media

  • Woods misses U.S. Open cut by two strokes
    By Field Level Media / Friday, June 15, 2018

    After two trips around Shinnecock Hills, Tiger Woods was waiting around Friday afternoon to see if he would make the U.S. Open cut, knowing the odds were highly unlikely.

    • But one nagging thought hit him.

      "You don't win major championships by slapping it around all over the place and not making putts," Woods told reporters. "You have to be on.

      "I've won a few majors in my career, and every single one, I've played well. And just goes to the setup. You just can't fake it at a major championship."

      Woods shot 2-over 72 in Friday's second round, a much better number than the 8-over 78 he posted in the first round. But the 10-over 150 total ultimately ended his tournament after 36 holes, as the cut line settled at 8 over.

      "I'm not very happy the way I played and the way I putted," Woods said. "I'm 10-over par. So I don't know that you can be too happy and too excited about 10-over par."

      The two rounds are certainly no way to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of his memorable five-day, 91-hole U.S. Open win at Torrey Pines, accomplished with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee and a broken left leg.

      Woods hasn't won another major since that occasion and his hopes at Shinnecock were severely dented when he suffered a triple bogey on his first hole of the day Thursday to set the tone for a subpar round.

      The second round was better -- Woods had four birdies in addition to four bogeys and one double bogey -- but 72 wasn't the number Woods had in mind.

      "I wanted to shoot something around 68, 67, I thought that would have been a great score," Woods said. "... I looked at it as progressively putting myself back into position. I couldn't chase down the leaders right away, it was going to take me probably 2 1/2 to three rounds to do it. Unfortunately, I went the other way."

      Woods opened on the back nine with a birdie at the 10th and made the turn at even for the day after another birdie and two bogeys. He then double-bogeyed No. 1 and bogeyed Nos. 2 and 6 before back-to-back birdies to end his round, which proved to be too little and too late.

      While dissecting his round, Woods was disappointed with his putting.

      "I finally made a putt -- or two," Woods said. "I've given myself enough looks. I hadn't made anything the last couple days, and consequently, I put myself behind the 8-ball early in my rounds."

      Woods was playing in his first U.S. Open since 2015. He is back on tour after recovering from four back surgeries.

      --Field Level Media

  • Short game bites Tiger in opening-round 78
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, June 14, 2018

    The prevailing wisdom entering the 2018 U.S. Open was that in order for Tiger Woods to be a factor, he had to drive the ball better than he has during this latest comeback.

    • Woods entered the week 188th on the PGA Tour in driving accuracy at 54.66 percent, but 16th in scoring average (70.035).

      So it was a major red flag when Woods hit his first four fairways during Thursday's opening round but had yet to hit a green in regulation. He was 4 over at that point, and several facets of Woods' game would let him down during an 8-over par round of 78 at Shinnecock Hills, which chewed up and spit out many of the game's brightest stars Thursday.

      "We thought there were probably close to seven to nine birdieable holes out there," Woods said. "Now, with the wind blowing, that changed dramatically. And also where they put some of these pins, you can't get to them."

      Woods played in the afternoon wave, so he was well aware of the carnage out on the course ahead of him as only two players from the morning finish under par.

      "It was pretty evident nobody was making any birdies in the morning," he said. "Lots and lots of bogies and higher, and 'others.' My game plan was not to make any 'others' and make birdies. Didn't do very well there."

      Woods has gotten off to notoriously slow starts throughout 2018, and Thursday was no different. He hit the opening green with his approach shot, but the ball didn't hold and rolled off the back. Woods failed to get the ball to the putting surface with his next two attempts -- one chip and one putt -- and finally tapped in for triple bogey.

      Woods bogeyed No. 2 and was 4 over before he could really get into his round.

      An inauspicious start, to say the least, but Woods has made a habit of grinding his way out of early deficits this year.

      It appeared Thursday might continue that trend as he went even-par over his next 10 holes and arrived at the par-4 13th hole at 4 over -- well within striking distance of the leaders who were hovering just under par.

      Woods reached the green in regulation, but was 40 feet from the hole and left his birdie putt six feet short. He then pushed his par putt right, his bogey putt right coming back the other way and stumbled away with a double bogey that dropped him to 6 over.

      That brought Woods to the toughest hole on the course Thursday, and he pushed his 3-wood way right off the tee into the fescue on No. 14. His second shot from an uphill lie hooked left into the gallery. Woods hacked out short of the green, chipped to 10 feet and two-putted from there for double bogey.

      Ever the grinder, Woods did steady the ship enough to par each of his final four holes and card a 5-over 40 on the grueling back nine. At nine shots off the lead, Woods will have to rebound during the morning wave on Friday to have any shot of making the cut.

      --Field Level Media

  • PGA of America pres arrested, charged with DUI
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, June 13, 2018

    PGA of America president Paul Levy faces an Aug. 2 court date in the Southern California desert on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol.

    • According to Palm Desert police, Levy was involved in a one-car collision on June 7, when his vehicle allegedly swerved off a major road and hit a sign post.

      Officers reported that Levy, 57, was uninjured but that he showed signs of being intoxicated. He was arrested and booked into Riverside County Jail in Indio.

      The PGA of America issued a statement that read, "Paul Levy has accepted responsibility for his terrible lapse in judgment last Thursday. He has expressed deep regret and fully understands how irresponsible his actions were. The PGA of America will support Paul as he seeks counseling, faces the consequences of his actions and works through the legal process in the months ahead."

      Levy, the former CEO and general manager of Toscana Country Club in Indian Wells, Calif., became PGA of America president in November 2016.

      The PGA of America oversees golf pros in the country and organizes the PGA Championship events on the PGA Tour, LPGA and PGA Tour Champions.

      --Field Level Media

  • Take 5: Who's primed to win first major at 2018 U.S. Open?
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, June 13, 2018

    Among the top 10 favorites to win the U.S. Open across numerous sportsbooks, only Spain's Jon Rahm and the United States' Rickie Fowler have yet to win their first major titles.

    • Rather than tag them as the best players in the world yet to hoist a major trophy, they may be the place to start when trying to predict the 2018 champion at Shinnecock Hills. While the return of Tiger Woods dominates the headlines and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy are among the presumptive favorites, golf is chock full of young talent.

      It's a different golfing world than when Woods won the U.S. Open in 2000 and went on to win 12 of the next 35 majors. No one has dominated like Woods did since his last major 10 years ago, and only Jordan Spieth (2017 Open Championship) has added another major to his among the past 10 major champions.

      The top five candidates to take home their first career majors this weekend:

      5. Tommy Fleetwood, England: Fleetwood was in contention late into Sunday at Erin Hills last year and has the game to handle the windy conditions the players will face in Southampton this week. Fleetwood will have to steady his nerves in order to be a factor come the 72nd hole. While he has risen to No. 12 in the world and won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January, Fleetwood faded off the pace with an even-par 72 in the final round after opening 2-over through his first eight holes on Sunday.

      4. Hideki Matsuyama, Japan: Few players can go as low as the streaky 10th-ranked Japanese star. After dominating the golf world for a stretch at the end of 2016 and the beginning of last year, Matsuyama's results have been all over the board. He doesn't have a top-10 finish since tying for fourth at the limited field at the Tournament of Champions in January, finished 19th at the Masters and missed the cut at The Players.

      However, Matsuyama has started to show improved form of late, with a tie for 17th at the Byron Nelson and a tie for 13th at the Memorial that included a first-round 65. When he's on, no one runs hotter than Matsuyama, who tied for second at Erin Hills.

      3. Rickie Fowler, United States: No one seeking his first major title has more near-misses than Fowler, who has three more opportunities to get the major monkey off his back before he turns 30 in December. He has finished second at the Masters, U.S. Open and The Open, along with a tie for third at the PGA. Fowler is always hovering around the first page of the leaderboard but has yet to put it all together on a Sunday in a major.

      Fowler has long been criticized for his play down the stretch when in contention, but he narrowly missed chasing Patrick Reed down at the Masters in April. Fowler got engaged since tying for eighth at the Memorial two weeks ago. He has the short game to contend at any U.S. Open, and perhaps he has the life contentment to find his golf Zen this Sunday.

      2. Branden Grace, South Africa: The feisty 5-10 South African isn't a household name in the U.S., but I've been expecting a major title breakthrough from Grace since watching his bulldog mentality during strong runs at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship three years ago. He enters the week as a dark horse, but Grace is a grinder who knows how to tame difficult courses.

      Grace won the Nedbank Golf Challenge in November, finished second at the BMW SA Open in January and hasn't missed a cut in 10 months. He plays all over the world, but has focused most of his build-up to the Open in the U.S. After tying for 24th at Augusta, he posted T-46th at The Players, T-3 at the Byron Nelson, T-5 at the BMW PGA Championship in Europe and then T-52 at the Memorial.

      1. Jon Rahm, Spain: The 23-year-old is one of five players with an opportunity to wrest the No. 1 ranking from Johnson this week. The former Arizona State star admitted the same opportunity earlier this year got to him on consecutive tournaments as he faded over the weekend and he enters this week at No. 5 - the highest among non-major winners.

      Rahm is often his own worst enemy on the course, but he is as talented as any player in the 156-man field. He was ranked 766 in the world before finishing as the low amateur in the 2016 U.S. Open. It would be a spectacular story if the Spaniard can take over No. 1 for the first time just two years later.

      Just missing the cut: Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Tyrell Hatton, Francesco Molinari and Alex Noren.

      --Derek Harper, Field Level Media

  • Venerable Shinnecock Hills will be a stern test at U.S. Open
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, June 13, 2018

    If it seems like the whole focus of this year's U.S. Open at venerable Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southhampton, N.Y. is making sure things go off without a hitch, well, there's a reason for that.

    • The last time the national championship of American golf was played at this venue, in 2004, brutal, unfair conditions led to an average final-round score of 78.7 and no players under par.

      The famous par-3 seventh took its pound of flesh from the players and was nearly unplayable because of, according to the United States Golf Association (USGA), a "perfect storm" of wind, sun, hole location and the accidental rolling of the green prior to the third round.

      Shinnecock Hills is one of the five founding clubs of the USGA back in 1894.The second-ever U.S. Open was held at this venue in 1896, but 90 years went by before it hosted again.

      The 2010 U.S. Open champion, Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, said the USGA's "line" for fairness of a golf course under national championship competition starts and finishes on the greens.

      "I watched the coverage of 2004's final round on television and the greens looked to be about a foot too quick," McDowell explained. "That was the root of the problem. And that is the most important line. It is architecture versus agronomy. When you have old-school architecture mixed with modern agronomy it can lead to trouble."

      After seeing players dominate the long and wide Erin Hills in Wisconsin in last year's U.S. Open, the USGA ordered a fairway narrowing at Shinnecock Hills in the fall of 2017.

      The greens that were tough in 2004 are still going to be a challenge, but there are better course-management tools in place to make sure that what happened in 2004 won't happen this time around.

      The starting field of 156 golfers will be cut after 36 holes to the low 60 scorers (and ties). In the event of a tie after 72 holes, a two-hole aggregate playoff will take place following the completion of Sunday's final round - it's the first year that this tiebreaker has been employed by the USGA.

      This is the fifth U.S. Open hosted by Shinnecock Hills, which will be set up at 7,440 yards and will play to a par of 35-35-70. The yardage for each round of the championship will vary due to course setup and conditions.

      The former champions are James Foulis in 1896, Raymond Floyd in 1986, Corey Pavin in 1995 and South African Retief Goosen in 2004.

      The 1986 edition was held on a completely revamped course. Floyd, at age 43, entered the final round three shots behind and shot a 66 in difficult scoring conditions to win his fourth major. Conditions were similar in 1995, with no one under par. Pavin played the final 10 holes in three-under-par on the way to a 68 and the win.

      Then in 2004, with the final round of the championship being conducted in dry and breezy conditions that made some of the putting surfaces all but unplayable, Goosen birdied the 16th hole while Phil Mickelson double-bogeyed the par-3 17th. Goosen won by two strokes and claimed his second U.S. Open title.

      Mickelson will be playing in his 27th U.S. Open, the most of any player in the field. This event is the only one of the four majors that has eluded him.

      "This is certainly one of my favorite courses," Mickelson said. "It's the best setup, in my opinion, that we've seen, and the reason I say that is all areas of your game are being tested. There are some birdie holes. There's some really hard pars. There's some fairways that are easy to hit, fairways that are tough to hit.

      "The chipping and short game around the greens are going to be a huge factor this week," Mickelson added. "The challenge of the greens being extended and all the contours will continue to take balls further from the hole. You end up in fairway and have a shot, albeit a difficult one."

      The 2017 purse was $12 million, with Brooks Koepka, the winner, earning $2.16 million. This year's total purse and earning breakdown will be released after the event.

      Koepka said he sees the challenges at this year's U.S. Open in the same way he saw it last year at Erin Hills, and that he would play the two courses in a similar fashion.

      "The fairways are obviously not as wide, but I think the fairways out here are pretty generous," Koepka said. "Like Erin Hills, it's a second shot golf course. That's how I see it. I feel like you've got to position your iron play, put it in the right spots, put it below the hole, things like that.

      "And to be honest with you, if it keeps firming up the way it has over the last two days, it could be a little links style too. I could see that. Pitching just short of the green, running up, things like that."

      Among the benefits enjoyed by the U.S. Open winner are: an exemption into this event for the next 10 years; an invitation to the other three majors (the Masters Tournament, the Open Championship, and the PGA Championship) for the next five years as well as to the next five Players Championships; and exempt status on the PGA Tour for five years.

      The top 10 finishers (and ties) are exempt for the following year's U.S. Open while the top four finishers (and ties) are invited to next year's Masters Tournament.

      Three-time U.S. Open winner Tiger Woods will play in the event for the first time since 2015. He said the course at Shinnecock Hills has changed plenty since 2004.

      "From the two times I've played it previously, it's a lot longer," Woods said. "The fairways seem to be about twice as wide. It's a very different -- very different test, very different look. So many of the trees are gone.

      "When I played here in '95 and '04, you know, we had that six-inch, four- to six-inch high rough right off the greens," Woods added. "It was a very different type of setup. This is very different. Balls run off much further around these greens, and that gives the players so many different options to choose from. It doesn't just have to be a high towering shot. We can utilize the ground and have that be an ally."

      Woods hasn't won a major in 10 years since prevailing in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines when he outlasted Rocco Mediate in a famous 91-hole battle.

      --Field Level Media

  • Golf Glance
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, June 13, 2018

    PGA TOUR

    • LAST WEEK: FedEx St. Jude Classic (Dustin Johnson)

      THIS WEEK: U.S. Open, June 14-17

      Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Southampton, N.Y. (Par 70, 7,445 yards)

      Purse: $12 million (Winner: $2.16 million)

      Television: Thursday-Friday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. ET (FS1), 6-9 p.m. ET (FOX); Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. (FOX); Sunday, 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. p.m. ET (FOX)

      Defending Champion: Brooks Koepka

      Koepka birdied three consecutive holes on the back nine at Erin Hills last year to win by four shots, tying Rory McIlroy's 16-under 272 U.S. Open scoring record to par. ... Tiger Woods is playing in his first U.S. Open since 2015. His last major victory came at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in 2008 - which is also the last time he finished within three shots of the winner in a major. ... The USGA announced in February that it scrapped the 18-hole Monday playoff for a two-hole aggregate format to be played immediately after Sunday's round. If players remain tied, it will move into sudden death. ... Shinnecock Hills has the oldest clubhouse in the United States. Twelve holes opened in 1891, with six more added in 1894. Shinnecock played host to the second U.S. Open in 1896 (won by James Foulis) when the course played to just 4,423 yards. It has since hosted three more Opens (1986, Raymond Floyd; 1995, Corey Pavin; 2004, Retief Goosen). ... About 450 yards has been added to the course since 2004, with the goal of restoring the course back to the strategy intended by William Flynn's redesign in 1937. ... There are 156 players in the field, with the top 60 and ties making the cut after the second round.

      NEXT WEEK: Travelers Championship, Cromwell, Conn.

      LPGA TOUR

      LAST WEEK: ShopRite LPGA Classic (Annie Park)

      THIS WEEK: Meijer LPGA Classic, June 14-17

      Blythefield Country Club, Grand Rapids, Mich. (Par 72, 6,624 yards)

      Purse: $2 million (Winner: $300,000)

      Television: Thursday-Sunday, 1:30-4:30 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)

      Defending Champion: Brooke Henderson

      Henderson set a tournament record with her winning score of 21-under last year. ... All four previous champions are in the field (Sei Young Kim, 2016; Lexi Thompson, '15; Mirim Lee '14). ... Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn is the only two-time winner on the LPGA Tour this season. She leads the official money list ($1.7 million) and is atop the Rolex Player of the Year standings (150 points) and Race to CME Globe (2,450). ... This week marks the halfway point of the 32-event LPGA Tour schedule.

      NEXT WEEK:

      Champions Tour

      LAST WEEK: Principal Charity Classic (Tom Lehman)

      THIS WEEK: OFF.

      NEXT WEEK: American Family Insurance Championship, Madison, Wisc.

      --Field Level Media

  • Woods eyes contention while relishing U.S. Open return
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, June 12, 2018

    When the U.S. Open came around in 2017, Tiger Woods was watching at home, texting some of his former competitors, unsure if he would ever face golf's toughest test again.

    • Woods was less than two months removed from his fourth back surgery -- to address sciatica and severe back and leg pain -- and hadn't competed at the U.S. Open since 2015, when he missed the cut by 11 strokes.

      "I was just given the OK to start walking again, start moving around, and this was, what, June," Woods told reporters Tuesday. "So I hadn't been cleared to start lifting yet.

      "And so it was about just having my standard of life. Forget golf. Can I actually participate in my kids' lives again? That's something that I had missed for a few years, and that was the main goal of it."

      Woods' reflection on his recovery came during his press conference at Shinnecock Hills, N.Y., two days before he will make his return to the U.S. Open. It will be his 10th event of the year and the first time he has played in each of the season's first two majors in three years.

      "To go from there to where I'm at now, I had no expectation of getting this far," Woods continued. "A lot of this is pure bonus because of where I was. To be able to have this opportunity to play USGA events, to play against these guys, best players in the world, it's just a great feeling and one that I don't take for granted."

      Woods' return to the PGA Tour has been far from ceremonial, as he has worked his way up to 80th in the world after beginning the year at No. 656.

      He authored back-to-back top-five finishes in March, including a tie for second at the Valspar Championship. He also shot 10 under over the final two days of The Players Championship to tie for 11th, and was tied for seventh entering the final round of the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago before settling for 23rd. Victory remains elusive, but he has repeatedly threatened.

      When asked if he's surprised he hasn't won a tournament yet given how many times he's been in contention, Woods paused, and then said, "Probably."

      "There's two ways of looking at that," he said. "I've given myself chances to win, which I didn't know if I was ever going to do again, and, also, then again, not happy with the fact that I didn't win because I loved how it felt being there."

      Woods' biggest bugaboo of late has been his putting, which he said he "worked on pretty hard this past week" after repetitive issues at the Memorial. Woods finished that tournament 72nd out of 73 players in strokes gained putting while missing seven putts from inside five feet in just four rounds. By comparison, Woods missed nine such putts during the entire 2006 season.

      He currently ranks 89th on the PGA Tour this season in shots gained putting and 119th in putting percentage from five feet.

      He likes his chances of improving with the putter this week on poa annua greens -- the type of grass he grew up putting on -- but acknowledged other parts of his game have gone missing in key moments this season. The way he sees it, that's just part of the game.

      "Golf is always frustrating," Woods said. "There's always something that isn't quite right, and that's where we, as players, have to make adjustments.

      "And, you know, you've seen the tournaments I've played in this year: There's always something. Hopefully, this is one of those weeks where I put it all together and even it out, and we'll see what happens."

      If it all comes together, Woods would find himself contending for his first major title since he won a decade ago at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, which might be something of a foreign experience after so many years.

      However, long known for his intense mental approach as much as physical skill, Woods doesn't expect any issues re-acclimating to the pressure-packed environment in the event that he finds himself atop the leaderboard on Sunday.

      "Whether there will be any extra pressure, I think that's just natural there would be," Wood said. "I mean, it's a major championship. There's only four of these a year.

      "That would be a nice problem to have, and so hopefully I can do that."

      Woods hopes to ease his outside concerns during the tournament by sleeping on his 155-foot yacht, "Privacy," at Sag Harbor Yacht Club, less than a 15-minute drive to Shinnecock Hills.

      "Yeah, staying on the dinghy helps," Woods joked. "There are a few guys this week who have said it's taken them from the hotel 2 1/2 to 3 hours and there's a good chance that someone might miss their (tee time). You get a little traffic, maybe a little fender bender, and it's not inconceivable someone could miss their time."

      The convenience does come at a cost. According to USA Today, docking fees at Sag Harbor Yacht Club run $7 per foot, meaning Woods will be out $1,085 a day unless he receives a discount.

      --Field Level Media

  • Full-time NHL ref Rank embracing U.S. Open dream
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, June 12, 2018

    Garrett Rank is a full-time NHL official from Ontario, which limits his free time to work on his touch around golf greens several months a year.

    • But Rank, 30, kept his golf game sharp on the road, and earned co-medalist honors at his sectional qualifier in Georgia last week to earn a spot in his first U.S. Open.

      "I've got a real job," Rank said Tuesday at Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, N.Y., site of the Open which tees off Thursday. "So I consider this like the pinnacle of my golf career this week. I'm going to go out there and, obviously, I have internal expectations on how I want to play and what I want to do. But at the end of the day, this is just a celebration for me and my family and friends."

      Rank's dream was to play professional hockey. That was derailed by a cancer diagnosis in 2011. Rank said he needed a way to stay connected to hockey, and embraced the idea of becoming an official without distancing himself from another sports gift, his golf game.

      "Growing up in Canada, you're kind of born with a pair of skates on your feet so hockey is probably our No. 1 sport. But golf is getting there," he said. "I made a promise to myself that whatever panned out first, whether it be reffing or golf, then that's what I was going to choose to do as my career."

      Rank said he likely made it to the NHL level as an official ahead of schedule because the league caught wind of his golf prowess. Players are growingly aware of Rank's golf game. Many players find their way to a course on off days and even the morning of a night game.

      Rank said he played in a golf benefit with Travis Hamonic when Hamonic played for the New York Islanders. But when Rank shot a 58, it wasn't long before he was approached on the ice for tips from golf-crazed players and coaches. For the record, Rank was "uninvited" to Harmonic's fundraiser in subsequent years.

      "One day on the ice when I made a bad call and he wasn't happy with me, he revoked my invitation," Rank said.

      Last season, rank officiated 73 regular-season games and three more in the playoffs, his first career postseason assignment.

      Rank said his referee assignments in the NHL are handled by someone familiar with is part-time passion, which results in more assignments in Phoenix and Florida during the dead of winter.

      "I'd be lying if I told you I didn't play," Rank said of in-season golf opportunities. "I try and play as much as I can. I probably didn't play as much as I would have liked to this year. It's tough to travel with the hockey equipment and then bring your golf bag in tow. So any time I do go play, it's with rental clubs or playing out of my buddy's bag. ... I get invited to play a lot of really cool places. That's the great thing about the amateur golf game is the network and opportunities that are provided through that. And now through this week, qualifying for this, it kind of creates a bigger story, and I'm sure there will be a ton of opportunities in every city I go to next year to play a lot of golf."

      Australia's Aaron Baddeley and Mackenzie Hughes are the other golfers in Rank's threesome Thursday, which Rank described as a dream scenario in more ways than one.

      "That was great for me. I couldn't have got a better group, I don't think. I attended Mackenzie's wedding. We're great friends," Rank said. "We played on the Canadian national team for three years together. So very comfortable. It will be kind of nice for me, as I'm sure I'll be really anxious and nervous. And just to have that familiar face beside me in battle is huge. And then it's cool, like Aaron Baddeley growing up was a huge name and still is a big name in golf. Secretly, it's cool. Like I saw all the guys on the range today, and I'm just here as kind of like a little fan boy."

      --Field Level Media

  • Johnson reclaims world No. 1 ranking; Phil back in Ryder Cup field
    By Field Level Media / Monday, June 11, 2018

    Dustin Johnson reclaimed his spot atop the Official World Golf Rankings after winning the FedEx St. Jude Classic on Sunday, bumping reigning FedExCup champion Justin Thomas to the No. 2 spot.

    • Johnson, who held the world's No. 1 ranking for 64 consecutive weeks before Thomas' T11 finish at The Players Championship in May knocked him down to second, shot a 4-under 66 on Sunday and capped his win with a highlight-reel hole-out for eagle.

      "It means a lot," Johnson said about his return to the top. "It was a long way to get there, and I held it for a long time, and obviously JT took it from me for a little while. It was nice to finish like that and get it back."

      Johnson will play in the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills this weekend, but history will be stacked against him. No player has ever won the U.S. Open after winning a tournament the week prior.

      Johnson won the 2016 U.S. Open for his first major championship.

      Justin Rose remains third in the latest OWGR rankings. Jordan Spieth also leapfrogged John Rahm into the No. 4 spot. Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Brooks Koepka and Hideki Matsuyama round out the top 10.

      Despite his bump in the OWGR, Johnson is still third in the latest Ryder Cup standings, behind Masters champion Patrick Reed and Thomas. Spieth and Koepka round out the top five there.

      Phil Mickelson accounted for the only change in the top 10 of the Ryder Cup standings, leapfrogging Bryson DeChambeau back into the top eight. Mickelson finished tied for 12th on Sunday in Memphis, Tenn.

      The top eight spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team will be determined based on points following the 100th PGA Championship scheduled to conclude Aug. 12. Three additional spots will be named by captain Jim Furyk following the Dell Technologies Championship scheduled to finish on Sept. 3, with the final spot scheduled to be announced after the BMW Championship slated to be completed on Sept. 9.

      The four majors in 2018 are weighted heavily in the U.S. Ryder Cup team points race, with winners receiving two points per $1,000 earned at the Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship, and all other players receiving 1.5 points per $1,000 earned. That's compared to one point per every $1,000 earned in regular PGA Tour events in 2018 leading up to the Aug. 12 cutoff.

      The 42nd Ryder Cup will be held at Le Golf National in Paris this September. Future venues include Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis., in 2020; the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome in '22; and Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, N.Y., in '24.

      Europe has yet to announce the home courses for the 2026 and '30 Ryder Cups. After returning to Hazeltine (Chaska, Minn.) in '28, the next U.S. course will be The Olympic Club in San Francisco in 2032.

      --Field Level Media

  • Fowler gets engaged to pole vaulter-turned-model Stokke
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, June 9, 2018

    PGA star Rickie Fowler is off the market.

    • So is viral pole vault star turned fitness model Allison Stokke, for that matter.

      Fowler popped the question to Stokke on a beach Friday, with fellow pro Justin Thomas there to document the moment (she said yes, by the way.)

      "Today is National Best Friend Day so I wanted to lock mine down...I WON!!," an Instagram post by Fowler read, showing a photo of Fowler on bended knee in front of Stokke.

      Stokke, then 17, was an unwitting internet phenomenon in 2007 when photos of her at a high school track meet were published online to a salacious response. The photographer who took the photos sought to have them taken down, but they had been widely disseminated already.

      She continued competing through college and, later, in national events, but began fitness modeling for Nike and other apparel companies in 2015.

      Thomas and Fowler are both scheduled to play in next week's U.S. Open.

      --Field Level Media

  • Tiger-Thomas-Johnson, Mickelson-McIlroy-Spieth headline U.S. Open groups
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, June 7, 2018

    The biggest names in golf will be packed into a handful of featured groups when the 118th U.S. Open begins next Thursday at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y.

    • Playing in his first U.S. Open since 2015, three-time champion Tiger Woods will tee off at 1:47 p.m. ET on Thursday alongside the world's first- and second-ranked players, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson, respectively. Johnson spent 64 weeks holding the top spot in the world rankings from February of 2017 until this past May, when Thomas grabbed the honor for the first time in his career.

      Woods has held the title on 10 different occasions for a total of 683 weeks at the top, more than double any other player (Greg Norman, 331) and more than seven times the third-most ever (Nick Faldo, 97). Woods, whose last major victory came at the 2008 U.S. Open, currently ranks 80th in the world after starting the year at No. 656.

      That threesome is scheduled to get an earlier start in Round 2, teeing off 8:02 a.m. Friday.

      Two other marquee groups will get going early Thursday morning, beginning with defending champion Brooks Koepka, two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson and former world No. 1 Jason Day at 7:40 a.m. Day and Koepka currently rank eighth and ninth, respectively, in the world, while Watson sits 19th.

      Teeing off 22 minutes later on the back nine will be six-time runner-up Phil Mickelson, 2014 champion Rory McIlroy and 2015 champion Jordan Spieth. Spieth and McIlroy currently sit fifth and sixth, respectively, in the rankings. Mickelson, who ranks 20th and needs the U.S. Open to complete a career grand slam, finished second most recently in 2013 to Justin Rose.

      Between the Koepka-Watson-Day and Mickelson-McIlroy-Spieth groupings will be a trio of Masters champions, as Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson and South Africa's Charl Schwartzel are set to tee off at 7:51 a.m. Thursday.

      Among other notable groupings is a trio of Spaniards, with world No. 4 Jon Rahm, 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia and Rafael Cabrera Bello starting at 1:14 p.m. on Thursday.

      The first grouping of the 156-player field will get started at 6:45 a.m. Thursday, with all rounds expected to be underway by 2:42 p.m.

      --Field Level Media

  • Golf Glance
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, June 6, 2018

    PGA TOUR

    • LAST WEEK: Memorial Tournament (Bryson DeChambeau)

      THIS WEEK: FedEx St. Jude Classic

      TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tenn. (Par 70, 7,244 yards)

      Purse: $6.6 million (Winner: $1.188 million)

      Television: Thursday-Friday, 4-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 3-6 p.m. ET (CBS)

      Defending Champion: Daniel Berger (Twice)

      Berger is trying to become the first three-peat champion on the PGA Tour since Steve Stricker won the John Deere three consecutive years from 2009-11. Berger has won the event both times he has entered, representing both of his career victories. ... Berger does not have a top-10 finish in 11 starts this season. ... No. 2 Dustin Johnson is the top-ranked player in the field and is making his first appearance since 2016. ... No. 5 Phil Mickelson is the highest of six players in the top 30 of the FedExCup rankings in the field. He has finished in the top three in three of the past five years. ... Brooks Koepka enters the week having shot a 63 in three of his past five rounds on Tour. ... Chilean Joaquin Niemann plays his first event after joining the Tour on Monday as a Special Temporary Member with three top-10 finishes in his first five professional events. ... Twenty-nine players in the field will compete in the U.S. Open next week. Johnson (2016) and Koepka ('17) claimed their first major titles at the U.S. Open after playing in the St. Jude the past two years. ... The best U.S. Open finish by a winner of the St. Jude in the same year was a tie for third by Fred Couples in 1993, when the event was conducted two weeks before the Open.

      Television: Thursday-Friday 4-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 3-6 p.m. ET (CBS Sports)

      NEXT WEEK: U.S. Open, Shinnecock Hills GC, Southampton, N.Y.

      LPGA TOUR

      LAST WEEK: U.S. Women's Open (Ariya Jutanugarn)

      THIS WEEK: ShopRite LPGA Classic

      Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club - Bay Course, Galloway, N.J. (Par 71, 6,217 yards)

      Purse: $1.75 million (Winner: $262,500)

      Television: Friday, 1:30-3:30 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 5-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)

      Defending Champion: I.K. Kim

      Kim won last year's event by two shots over 2016 champion Anna Nordqvist to claim her fourth career LPGA Tour title. She went on to claim her first major title at the Women's British Open in August. ... One of three 54-hole tournaments on the Tour along with the NW Arkansas Championship and the TOTO Japan Classic. ... Nordqvist (2015-16) is one of five two-time event champions. The other playing this week is Stacy Lewis (2012, '14) ... Nordqvist ('16) shares the tournament scoring record of 17-under with Annika Sorenstam (1998, 2005). ... Three players from New Jersey are in the field: Marina Alex (Wayne), Taylor Totland (Tinton Falls) and Joanna Coe (Mays Landing). ... The 36-hole cut will be made to the top 70 and ties following Saturday's second round.

      NEXT WEEK: Meijer LPGA Classic, Grand Rapids, Mich.

      Champions Tour

      LAST WEEK: OFF.

      THIS WEEK: Principal Charity Classic

      Wakonda Club, Des Moines, Iowa (Par 72, 6,831 yards)

      Purse: $1.75 million (Winner: $262,500)

      Television: Friday-Sunday, 7-9 p.m. ET (Gold Channel - tape delay)

      Defending Champion: Brandt Jobe

      Jobe won at 14-under, one shot better than Kevin Sutherland and Scott McCarron, for his first victory in 32 starts on the Champions Tour. It was Jobe's first professional victory since the 1998 Mizuno Open on the Japan Golf Tours. He has six top-10s since last year's victory. ... McCarron won the event in 2016. ... Bernard Langer returns to competition after attending his son's high school graduation and seeks his first victory at the Principal Charity Classic, one of only eight events on this year's 27-event schedule he has yet to win. ... The par-4 first hole was the third-hardest opening hole on Tour in 2017 (4.167).

      NEXT WEEK: OFF.

      --Field Level Media

  • NHL ref qualifies for U.S. Open
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, June 5, 2018

    With the NHL season winding down, referee Garrett Rank found a good way to kick off his summer vacation: by playing in golf's U.S. Open.

    • Rank, 31, earned a spot in the national championship on Monday, tying for first with Michael Hebert in regional qualifying at Ansley Golf Club in Roswell, Ga. He posted a score of 2-under-par 142 over two rounds with fellow NHL referee Daniel O'Rourke serving as his caddie.

      Rank shot two eagles in the first eight holes en route to winning his place in the U.S. Open, which starts June 14 at Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, N.Y.

      "I'm just really proud of all the hard work and the dedication and time you put into the game. There will be a lot of really proud people back in Elmira (Ontario, his hometown)," Rank said. "I just can't thank people at home enough. My dad passed away a few years ago, and he'd be really jazzed to be there."

      Rank is no stranger to golf. He was the runner-up in the 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur, and he made the cut in the 2016 RBC Canadian Open on the PGA Tour while competing as an amateur. Rank also participated on the Canadian golf team in the 2015 Pan American Games at Toronto.

      In 2011, Rank underwent treatment for testicular cancer.

      Rank first refereed an NHL game in 2015 and got a full-time job in that profession the next year. This season, Rank refereed 73 regular-season games and three playoff games.

      "Was next to the best players in the world on the ice," he told Sportsnet. "Next week I get to play with the best golfers in the world. It's a pretty cool life I'm living right now."

      --Field Level Media

  • 'Beef' Johnston qualifies for U.S. Open
    By Field Level Media / Monday, June 4, 2018

    The U.S. Open is adding some beef to its field in 2018.

    • Literally.

      Andrew Johnston of England, a fan favorite known as "Beef," tied for first in a U.S. Open qualifier in Surrey, England, on Monday. The finish earned him a berth in the Open, which tees off June 14 at Shinnecock Hills in New York.

      This will be the third straight Open for Johnston, 29. He finished tied for 42nd at Erin Hills in Wisconsin last year and tied for 54th at Oakmont in Pennsylvania in 2016. He has yet to claim a PGA Tour victory but has one European Tour win and two Challenge Tour titles.

      Johnston first earned acclaim after his only Euro Tour win, the 2016 Spanish Open. After winning the event, Johnston said, "I can't wait to get back to North Mid [North Middlesex Golf Club], get hammered and see my mom and brother and spend time with them and just celebrate."

      He has since become a popular follow when on American courses.

      Among those who failed to qualify in Surrey are three-time major winner Padraig Harrington and Lee Westwood, who has three runner-up finishes at majors but has never won one. He finished third at the U.S. Open in 2008 and 2011.

      Chase Koepka, younger brother of defending Open champ Brooks Koepka, also failed to qualify.

      Johnson's two-round total of 10-under par 134 tied him with fellow Englishman James Morrison for the top score. The top-14 finishers qualified for the Open.

      --Field Level Media

  • Discovery signs $2B rights deal with PGA Tour
    By Field Level Media / Monday, June 4, 2018

    Discovery Inc. signed a 12-year, $2 billion agreement with the PGA Tour for media rights to broadcast events in 220 international markets, both parties announced on Monday.

    • The partnership will begin in 2019 and run through 2030, with Discovery planning to broadcast coverage of around 150 tournaments annually -- including about 40 PGA Tour events -- on television and via over-the-top video streaming on various screens and devices.

      "The game of golf is a global game," PGA commissioner Jay Monahan said at a press conference. "...Our No. 1 area of focus is growing and diversifying our fan base and doing our job as an organization and as an industry leader to accelerate the growth of the game on a global basis given the strong platform that we have with our players."

      "When we looked at the PGA Tour... we looked at the fan base, and we said, this is an extraordinary opportunity to build a global platform, an ecosystem around golf that will nourish and excite every golf fan everywhere in the world," Discovery CEO David Zaslav added, saying his company plans to become "the new global Home of Golf."

      The PGA already has U.S. agreements with Golf Channel (for weekday coverage) and NBC and CBS (weekend) for broadcasting tournaments, along with separate agreements for each of the four major tournaments: ESPN and CBS partner for the Masters, CBS takes the PGA Championship, NBC has the British Open, and Fox Sports has the U.S. Open.

      Discovery has moved steadily into sports over the last several years, having owned and operated Eurosport since becoming the majority shareholder in 2014. Eurosport provided extensive coverage of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang this year, including access through the OTT streaming service Eurosport Player, which is expected to be a major part of the company's partnership with the PGA.

      According to the Tour, Discovery will broadcast around 2,000 hours of content per year on the six tours that the PGA operates: PGA Tour, PGA Tour Champions, Web.com Tour, PGA Tour Latinoamérica, PGA Tour Canada and PGA Tour China.

      Alex Kaplan, the former executive vice president of Eurosport Digital and previously an NBA media executive, will serve as president and general manager of the joint venture between the PGA and Discovery.

      --Field Level Media

  • DeChambeau knocks Mickelson out of Ryder Cup position
    By Field Level Media / Monday, June 4, 2018

    Phil Mickelson is on the outside looking in again at the eight automatic qualifying spots for the 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup team.

    • Bryson DeChambeau vaulted five spots to No. 8 with his playoff victory at the Memorial Tournament on Sunday, which earned him 1,602 U.S. Ryder Cup team points. With 3,888 points, he is 76 ahead of Mickelson, who dropped one spot after tying for 15th at Muirfield Village.

      DeChambeau also climbed 16 spots to a career-high of No. 22 in the world golf rankings -- two spots behind Mickelson, who temporarily moved into the coveted automatic positions in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings with a victory at the WGC-Mexico Championship in March. Since then, he has one top-10 finish in six events -- a tie for fifth at the Wells Fargo Championship.

      The top five spots in the U.S. standings remained unchanged, with Masters champion Patrick Reed leading the way. He is followed by world No. 1 Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka. Rickie Fowler leap-frogged Bubba Watson for No. 6.

      Just behind Mickelson among those outside the automatic spots are The Players champion Webb Simpson at No. 10, Matt Kuchar, Brian Harman, Aaron Wise, Kevin Kisner and Jimmy Walker.

      Tiger Woods, who is a Ryder Cup co-captain but is also trying to earn a playing spot on the team, remains outside of the top 25 in team points. He did rise three more spots to a season-high 80th in the world rankings.

      The top eight spots will be determined based on points following the 100th PGA Championship scheduled to conclude Aug. 12. Three additional spots will be named by captain Jim Furyk following the Dell Technologies Championship scheduled to finish on Sept. 3, with the final spot scheduled to be announced after the BMW Championship slated to be completed on Sept. 9.

      The four majors in 2018 are weighted heavily in the U.S. Ryder Cup team points race, with winners receiving two points per $1,000 earned at the Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship, and all other players receiving 1.5 points per $1,000 earned. That's compared to one point per every $1,000 earned in regular PGA Tour events in 2018 leading up to the Aug. 12 cutoff.

      The 42nd Ryder Cup will be held at Le Golf National in Paris this September. Future venues include Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis., in 2020; the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome in '22; and Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, N.Y., in '24.

      Europe has yet to announce the home courses for the 2026 and '30 Ryder Cups. After returning to Hazeltine (Chaska, Minn.) in '28, the next U.S. course will be The Olympic Club in San Francisco in 2032.

      --Field Level Media