Wednesday, June 21

'SLUGFEST': U.S. Open Champion Brooks Koepka on Sports Illustrated Cover


HITTING NEWSSTANDS TOMORROW, the next issue of Sports Illustrated features U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka, who owned Erin Hills last week with a 16-under par performance that put him in the record books.

The cover story written by senior writer Alan Shipnuck includes this observation from U.S. Ryder Cup assistant captain Steve Stricker:

"[Koepka] looks like he wants to fight you… He looks like he wants to punch you in the mouth. That's what I like about him—he's got an edge. For sure it's intimidating to play against. You get a guy who is built like a linebacker and pounds the crap out of the ball, and then looks over like he wants to brawl, yeah, that has an effect."

Tuesday, June 20

Phil Mickelson and Jim 'Bones' Mackay End 25-Year Player-Caddie Relationship


IT'S OVER. BOTH RELEASING STATEMENTS, Phil Mickelson and his caddie Jim "Bones" Mackay announced they are moving on from an on-course working relationship that dates back to 1992.

As far as I know, the news comes as a complete surprise to the golf world. It might be more shocking than Brooks Koepka's record performance at the U.S. Open or the DUI for Tiger Woods.

A Phil and Bones breakup? No way. They smiled, they talked and talked and talked, they joked, they seemed like brothers.

"Player-caddie relationships don't often last that long," Mackay said in his statement. "I wish Phil nothing but the best. His game is still at an elite level, and when he wins in the future (definitely the Masters), I will be among the first to congratulate him."

Phil said this: "Our decision is not based on a single incident. We just feel it's the right time for a change. My relationship and history with Bones far exceeds golf. He has been one of the most important and special people in my life since the day we met and I will always be grateful for everything he has done for me."

Mickelson, who just turned 47, will have his brother Tim on the bag for the rest of the season. Lefty's next tournament is The Greenbrier Classic in July.

Friday, June 16

Love Story: Dru in the Field, Davis on the Bag

Davis Love IV and his father/caddie Davis Love III on the 15th hole
during the first round of the U.S. Open.
(Copyright USGA/John Gress)

















OF COURSE, FATHER'S DAY IS SUNDAY, and I'd say that Davis Love III caddying for his son Dru at Erin Hills is near the top of feel-good stories.

The elder Love spoke to Golf Channel earlier in the week about carrying for his son.

"It has been exciting for Dru," Love said. "I got him through the local qualifying and then he made it on to the sectional on his own while I was trying to play. Obviously this week playing in his first major championship in his first week as a professional, it is pretty incredible to be on the bag.

"People have been asking me, 'Don’t you wish you were playing?' I don't think I'd rather be playing than to get to do this. What a great experience it is for me and hopefully I can help him."

It will also be a test of endurance for the 53-year-old Love.

"I've caddied for him in 72-hole tournaments in the past," he said, "but not on these kinds of hills and not with this pro bag. It is going to be a challenge for any caddie this week. It is going to be a long walk for everybody. Once we get inside the ropes, the adrenaline will take over and I'll be able to make it."

Dru Love shot a 71 in the first round and is currently at 1 over, which is the projected cut line.

Thursday, June 15

Rickie Fowler Fires 'Stress-Free' 65 to Lead U.S. Open at Erin Hills

Rickie Fowler hits his tee shot on the 18th hole
during the first round of the U.S. Open.
(Copyright USGA/JD Cuban)

















IN SEARCH OF HIS FIRST MAJOR, Rickie Fowler took a big step on Thursday at Erin Hills in Wisconsin. Fowler fired a sizzling 65 that included no bogeys to grab the lead in the 2017 U.S. Open.

"You don't get many rounds at the U.S. Open that are stress-free," Fowler said. "I've been swinging well all through the start of the week. It was nice getting off to a quick start."

As USA Today reported, Fowler birdied three of his first five holes and striped the ball all day long. He hit 12 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in regulation. It didn't hurt that he played in the morning when conditions were better. But it was a great round in every respect, tying him with guys named Nicklaus and Weiskopf who also opened the 1980 U.S. Open with 7-under rounds (in their case 63).

Three early players (Brian Harman, Tommy Fleetwood and Brooks Koepka) were two shots back at 67. Australian Marc Leishman is also currently 5 under through 14 holes.

Tuesday, June 13

2017 U.S. Open: Erin Hills Preview

HERE'S THE GOLF COURSE EVERYONE is talking about this week.

Or complaining. Or whining. Or cussing.





From the USGA Fact Sheet.

PAR AND YARDAGE                

Erin Hills will be set up at 7,741 yards and will play to a par of 36-36—72. The yardage for each round of the championship will vary due to course setup and conditions.

ARCHITECTS                            
Erin Hills, located 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee in the Kettle Moraine region, was designed by the team of Dr. Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry and Ron Whitten. The public facility opened for play in 2006. Covering 652 acres, the area was host to icy fingers and streams from the last glacier to cover south central Wisconsin. The course features bentgrass greens and fine fescue fairways. The design team oversaw a major renovation to the layout in 2010.

COURSE RATING         
Based on the course setup for the championship, the USGA Course Rating™ is 78.4 and the Slope Rating® is 147.

2017 U.S. Open: First and Second Round Tee Times

FOLLOWING ARE TEE TIMES for Thursday and Friday at the U.S. Open at Erin Hills in Wisconsin. I've highlighted a handful of marquee groups or groups of interest.

All Times CDT

Thursday (June 15), hole #1 / Friday (June 16), hole #10

6:45 a.m. / 12:30 p.m. – Jordan Niebrugge, Mequon, Wis.; Talor Gooch, Choctaw, Okla.; Kevin Dougherty, Murrieta, Calif.

6:56 a.m. / 12:41 p.m. – Andres Romero, Argentina; Brice Garnett, Gallatin, Mo.; TBD

7:07 a.m. / 12:52 p.m. – Yusaku Miyazato, Japan; J.T. Poston, St. Simons Island, Ga.; Aaron Rai, England

7:18 a.m. / 1:03 p.m. – David Lingmerth, Sweden; Paul Dunne, Republic of Ireland; Haotong Li, Chinese Taipei

7:29 a.m. / 1:14 p.m. – (a) Stewart Hagestad, Newport Beach, Calif.; Chez Reavie, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Gene Sauers, Savannah, Ga.

7:40 a.m. / 1:25 p.m. – Brandt Snedeker, Nashville, Tenn.; Alex Noren, Sweden; Tyrrell Hatton, England

7:51 a.m. / 1:36 p.m. – Rafa Cabrera Bello, Spain; Thomas Pieters, Belgium; Brooks Koepka, West Palm Beach, Fla.

8:02 a.m. / 1:47 p.m. – Gary Woodland, Delray Beach, Fla.; J.B. Holmes, Campbellsville, Ky.; Jason Kokrak,Charlotte, N.C.

8:13 a.m. / 1:58 p.m. – Russell Knox, Scotland; (a) Scott Gregory, England; Martin Laird, Scotland

8:24 a.m. / 2:09 p.m. – Kevin Kisner, Aiken, S.C.; Billy Horschel, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.; Branden Grace, South Africa

8:35 a.m. / 2:20 p.m. – Webb Simpson, Charlotte, N.C.; Ernie Els, South Africa; Lucas Glover, Tequesta, Fla.

8:46 a.m. / 2:31 p.m. – Tyson Alexander, Gainesville, Fla.; (a) Christopher Crawford, Bensalem, Pa.; Max Greyserman, Boca Raton, Fla.

8:57 a.m. / 2:42 p.m. – Matthew Campbell, Rome, N.Y.; Garrett Osborn, Birmingham, Ala.; (a) Walker Lee, Houston, Texas

Thursday (June 15), hole #10 / Friday (June 16), hole #1

6:45 a.m. / 12:30 p.m. – TBD,; Ted Potter Jr., Ocala, Fla.; Daniel Chopra, Sweden

6:56 a.m. / 12:41 p.m. – Shugo Imahira, Japan; TBD; Matthew Wallace, England

7:07 a.m. / 12:52 p.m. – Charley Hoffman, San Diego, Calif.; Jason Dufner, Auburn, Ala.; Hideto Tanihara, Japan

7:18 a.m. / 1:03 p.m. – Jeunghun Wang, Republic of Korea; Thomas Aiken, South Africa; Bradley Dredge, Wales

7:29 a.m. / 1:14 p.m. – (a) Scott Harvey, Greensboro, N.C.; Jamie Lovemark, San Diego, Calif.; Michael Putnam, University Place, Wash.

7:40 a.m. / 1:25 p.m. – Brian Harman, Sea Island, Ga.; Tommy Fleetwood, England; Bud Cauley, Jupiter, Fla.

7:51 a.m. / 1:36 p.m. – Hideki Matsuyama, Japan; Rickie Fowler, Murrieta, Calif.; Jon Rahm, Spain

8:02 a.m. / 1:47 p.m. – Lee Westwood, England; Ross Fisher, England; Graeme McDowell, Northern Ireland

8:13 a.m. / 1:58 p.m. – Danny Willett, England; Zach Johnson, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Angel Cabrera, Argentina

8:24 a.m. / 2:09 p.m. – Matt Kuchar, Sea Island, Ga.; Francesco Molinari, Italy; Patrick Reed, Houston, Texas

8:35 a.m. / 2:20 p.m. – Martin Kaymer, Germany; Jordan Spieth, Dallas, Texas; Dustin Johnson, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

8:46 a.m. / 2:31 p.m. – (a) Joaquin Niemann, Chile; Stephan Jaeger, Germany; Joel Stalter, Luxembourg

8:57 a.m. / 2:42 p.m. – Daniel Miernicki, Portland, Ore.; (a) Sahith Theegala, Chino Hills, Calif.; TBD

Thursday (June 15), hole #1 / Friday (June 16), hole #10

12:30 p.m. / 6:45 a.m. – Jack Maguire, St. Petersburg, Fla.; Corey Conners, Canada; Ben Kohles, Sea Island, Ga.

12:41 p.m. / 6:56 a.m. – Eddie Pepperell, England; Chan Kim, Gilbert, Ariz.; TBD

12:52 p.m. / 7:07 a.m. – Jhonattan Vegas, Venezuela; Yuta Ikeda, Japan; Sean O'Hair, Chadds Ford, Pa.

1:03 p.m. / 7:18 a.m. – Andrew Johnston, England; Brian Stuard, Jackson, Mich.; George Coetzee, South Africa

1:14 p.m. / 7:29 a.m. – Marc Leishman, Australia; Pat Perez, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Si Woo Kim, Republic of Korea

1:25 p.m. / 7:40 a.m. – Russell Henley, Charleston, S.C.; (a) Scottie Scheffler, Dallas, Texas; Harris English, Sea Island, Ga.

1:36 p.m. / 7:51 a.m. – Bubba Watson, Bagdad, Fla.; Adam Scott, Australia; Sergio Garcia, Spain

1:47 p.m. / 8:02 a.m. – Henrik Stenson, Sweden; Charl Schwartzel, South Africa; Louis Oosthuizen, South Africa

1:58 p.m. / 8:13 a.m. – Jimmy Walker, Boerne, Texas; Justin Thomas, Goshen, Ky.; Paul Casey, England

2:09 p.m. / 8:24 a.m. – Jason Day, Australia; Justin Rose, England; Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland

2:20 p.m. / 8:35 a.m. – Steve Stricker, Madison, Wis.; Stewart Cink, Duluth, Ga.; Phil Mickelson, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

2:31 p.m. / 8:46 a.m. – Ryan Brehm, Traverse City, Mich.; John Oda, Honolulu, Hawaii; Jonathan Randolph, Oxford, Miss.

2:42 p.m. / 8:57 a.m. – (a) Mason Andersen, Chandler, Ariz.; Derek Barron, Tacoma, Wash.; Roman Robledo, Harlingen, Texas

Thursday (June 15), hole #10 / Friday (June 16), hole #1

12:30 p.m. / 6:45 a.m. – Wade Ormsby, Australia; Oliver Bekker, South Africa; Kyle Thompson, Greenville, S.C.

12:41 p.m. / 6:56 a.m. – Brandon Stone, South Africa; Troy Merritt, Meridian, Idaho; TBD

12:52 p.m. / 7:07 a.m. – Satoshi Kodaira, Japan; Daniel Summerhays, Fruit Heights, Utah; Alexander Levy, France

1:03 p.m. / 7:18 a.m. – William McGirt, Moore, S.C.; Keegan Bradley, Woodstock, Vt.; Kevin Na, Las Vegas, Nev.

1:14 p.m. / 7:29 a.m. – (a) Brad Dalke, Oklahoma City, Okla.; Wesley Bryan, Augusta, Ga.; Brendan Steele, Idyllwild, Calif.

1:25 p.m. / 7:40 a.m. – Nick Flanagan, Australia; Richie Ramsay, Scotland; Bryson DeChambeau, Clovis, Calif.

1:36 p.m. / 7:51 a.m. – Daniel Berger, Jupiter, Fla.; Roberto Castro, Atlanta, Ga.; Bill Haas, Greenville, S.C.

1:47 p.m. / 8:02 a.m. – Adam Hadwin, Canada; Emiliano Grillo, Argentina; Cheng-Tsung Pan, Chinese Taipei

1:58 p.m. / 8:13 a.m. – Scott Piercy, Las Vegas, Nev.; Shane Lowry, Republic of Ireland; Jim Furyk, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

2:09 p.m. / 8:24 a.m. – Matthew Fitzpatrick, England; Peter Uihlein, Jupiter, Fla.; Byeong Hun An, Republic of Korea

2:20 p.m. / 8:35 a.m. – Kevin Chappell, Fresno, Calif.; (a) Maverick McNealy, Portola Valley, Calif.; Bernd Wiesberger, Austria

2:31 p.m. / 8:46 a.m. – Xander Schauffele, San Diego, Calif.; Trey Mullinax, Birmingham, Ala.; (a) Cameron Champ, Sacramento, Calif.

2:42 p.m. / 8:57 a.m. – Sam Ryder, Longwood, Fla.; (a) Alex Smalley, Wake Forest, N.C.; Andy Pope, Orlando, Fla.

(a): amateur

Friday, June 9

LeBron James Is Down 3-0, and His Golf Swing Isn't Looking Good Either


HE MAY BE KING JAMES ON THE COURT, but LeBron is something else altogether on the course. He clearly needs more range time. A lot more. The offseason is coming soon.

Thursday, June 8

Golf on TV: FedEx St. Jude Classic, Manulife LPGA Classic, Lyoness Open, Principal Charity Classic


From a Golf Channel press release.

ORLANDO, Fla. (June 7, 2017) – The PGA TOUR returns to Memphis this week for the FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind, the final event on the PGA TOUR before next week’s U.S. Open. The LPGA Tour conducts its first of two events in Canada this season when it stages the Manulife LPGA Classic in Cambridge, Ontario. The PGA TOUR Champions is in Des Moines for the Principal Charity Classic. Finally, the European Tour is in Austria for the Lyoness Open.

PGA TOUR

FedEx St. Jude Classic
Dates: June 8-11                                                                         
Venue: TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tenn.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         4-7 p.m. (Live) / 8-11 p.m. (Replay)
Friday              4-7 p.m. (Live) / 9:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday          1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-2 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday            1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-2 a.m. (Replay)

Tournament Airtimes on CBS (Eastern):
Saturday          3-6 p.m.
Sunday            3-6 p.m.

Broadcast Notes:
Berger defends: Daniel Berger won by three strokes to claim his first PGA Tour victory.
Headlining the field: Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Daniel Berger, Steve Stricker, Charl Schwartzel, Jim Furyk, Ernie Els and Davis Love III.

LPGA TOUR

Manulife LPGA Classic
Dates: June 8-11                                                                         
Venue: Whistle Bear Golf Club, Cambridge, Ontario

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         1:30-3:30 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 a.m. (Friday replay)
Friday              1:30-3:30 p.m. (Live)
Saturday          3-5 p.m. (Live)
Sunday            3-5 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Masson  defends: Caroline Masson finished one shot ahead of Karine Icher, Minjee Lee and Mi Hyang Lee to claim her first LPGA Tour win.
Headlining the field: Ariya Jutanugarn, In Gee Chun, Lexi Thompson, Shanshan Feng, Brooke Henderson, Brittany Lang, Suzann Pettersen, Caroline Masson and Amy Yang.

EUROPEAN TOUR

Lyoness Open
Dates: June 8-11
Venue: Diamond Country Club (Diamond Course), Atzenbrugg, Austria

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         5-7 a.m. / 9-11:30 a.m. (Live)
Friday              5-7 a.m. / 9-11:30 a.m. (Live)
Saturday          5:30-10 a.m. (Live)
Sunday            5:30-10 a.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:
Wu defends: Ashun Wu defeated Adrian Otaeugi by one shot to claim his second European Tour win.
Headlining the field: Miguel Angel Jimenez, Matthias Schwab, Bernd Wiesberger, Mike Weir, Ashun Wu, Sepp Straka and Luca Cianchetti (a).

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

Principal Charity Classic
Dates: June 9-11                                                                         
Venue: Wakonda Club, Des Moines, Iowa

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Friday              7-9 p.m. (Tape delay) / 5-7 p.m. (Streaming on Golf Channel Digital)
Saturday          7-9 p.m. (Tape delay) / 5-7 p.m. (Streaming on Golf Channel Digital)
Sunday            7-9 p.m. (Tape delay) / 5-7 p.m. (Streaming on Golf Channel Digital)

Broadcast Notes:
McCarron defends: Scott McCarron finished one stroke ahead of Billy Andrade and Miguel Angel Jimenez for his first career PGA TOUR Champions win. 
Headlining the field: Bernhard Langer, Scott McCarron, Tom Lehman, David Toms, Woody Austin, Damon Green, Fuzzy Zoeller, Peter Jacobsen and Gary Koch.