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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Golf

Rory McIlroy not concerned if he does not win another major

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy has impressively won four majors during his young career, but none have come since 2014. That does not seem to have him worried.

Speaking before the Irish Open, McIlroy said that he’s not too concerned about not winning another major.

Rory McIlroy not concerned if he does not win another major.

“It’s still my career, and I still want to make the most of it and I still feel like I have a lot of time to make my mark on golf, but at the same time it doesn’t keep me up at night thinking, if I never won another major, I can’t live with myself,” McIlroy said, via Golf.com. “There are other things in my life that are more important than golf.”

The 29-year-old is now married and seems to have a more balanced life perspective. And though he’s missed three straight cuts at the US Open — including last month at Shinnecock Hills — McIlroy has seven top-10 finishes at majors since 2015.

Currently No. 8 in the world golf rankings, McIlroy hasn’t exactly fallen off even if he hasn’t captured a major in a few years. He still has time to get another — including maybe the elusive Masters.

Dustin Johnson sends classy tweet after US Open

Dustin Johnson sent a classy tweet after the US Open on Sunday.

DJ entered Sunday tied for the lead at the US Open. He shot an even par 70 in the final round and ended up three over for the tournament, two strokes behind champion Brooks Koepka.

Johnson congratulated Koepka on a “well deserved win” and said it wasn’t his day.

Johnson could have easily complained about conditions at Shinnecock Hills or something else, but instead he took the high road. Keep in mind that he went late in the round on Saturday after the course was already beaten up and ended up with a 77. That could be considered a disadvantage that really hurt his total score.

Joe Buck avoids Brooks Koepka girlfriend topic this time

Brooks Koepka girlfriend

Brooks Koepka’s US Open win was somewhat marred last year by a broadcast snafu from FOX, so this time around, Joe Buck chose to avoid the topic for the most part.

Koepka made a putt for bogey on 18 at Shinnecock Hills that allowed him to finish 1 over for the round and first at the US Open. After making his putt, Koepka hugged his caddie, got daps from Dustin Johnson and Curtis Strange, celebrated with his father, and then he shared a big kiss with girlfriend Jena Sims.

Buck mentioned Koepka’s caddie, father, and Strange all by name, but he stayed silent during the smooch Koepka shared with Sims.

So why is that significant? Last year, Buck misidentified Koepka’s girlfriend as his previous one. He later had to correct things and note that Sims was Koepka’s new girlfriend.

Later after Koepka’s second straight win at the US Open became official, FOX showed Koepka walking with Sims before they did a recap. That time Buck mentioned Jena, and emphasized her name. He knew it would be an issue people would be watching out for and adjusted accordingly.

Phil Mickelson responds to US Open disqualification talk

Phil Mickelson moving ball

Phil Mickelson angered many a golf purist on Saturday when he intentionally hit a ball on the putting green before it came to a stop, and there was some talk that the five-time major champion should have been disqualified for the stunt. Mickelson heard that chatter, and it inspired him to place a call to the USGA.

Mickelson said he intentionally took a two-shot penalty on the 13th hole at Shinnecock Hills to take advantage of the rules. USGA CEO Mike Davis said Mickelson called him on Saturday to make sure he wasn’t supposed to be given the boot.

“Phil really did want to understand how the rule operates,” Davis said, via Randall Mell of the Gold Channel. “Frankly, as he said to me, `Mike, I don’t want to play in this championship if I should have been disqualified.’

“He was really wanting information to say, ‘Help me understand, because I’ve been hearing stuff in the media that maybe it’s a disqualification.’ I said, ‘Phil, that’s simply not the case.’ I’m not going to speak for Phil, but it seemed he was very appreciative of that, and said, `Listen, it would be helpful if the USGA clarified that, just to make sure everybody understands how that rule operates.’”

The USGA said the two-stroke penalty was the proper ruling. Some people weren’t satisfied with Mickelson’s excuse, and frankly the 48-year-old didn’t seem to care. Whether the two-strike penalty was harsh enough or not, it’s hard to feel like Mickelson didn’t act childishly and out of frustration. That’s something that’s very uncharacteristic of the World Golf Hall of Famer.

USGA CEO admits US Open course was ‘too tough’

FOX US Open

Even the USGA CEO is admitting that the course at Shinnecock Hills in New York was playing too hard on Saturday at the US Open.

USGA CEO Mike Davis spoke with FOX after the completion of Saturday’s third round and addressed the biggest subject of debate: the course conditions. Davis said the course had gotten too tough.

“We want the US Open to be tough. We want it to be a complete test. But there is no doubt, if you look at how this morning played vs. this afternoon, it was a tale of two golf courses,” Davis said. “No doubt we would admit there were some aspects of this setup that went too far … well-executed shots were not only not rewarded, but in some cases they were penalized. We don’t want that.”

Davis says the area where they really screwed up was misjudging the wind.

“Frankly, we just missed it with the wind. It blew harder than we thought it was going to blow. And the greens got fast. The firmness was OK, but the speed was too much for the wind that we had.

“We would say it was a very tough test but probably too tough this afternoon,” he ultimately concluded.

This is a response that would probably leave many players satisfied. The course already had claimed many of the world’s top players who did not make the cut. Then you had Phil Mickelson shoot a career major-worst 81 on Saturday and commit a serious penalty that had everyone talking. Rickie Fowler shot an 84. Leader Dustin Johnson only had one birdie Saturday and especially struggled on the front nine.

The most critical comments came from Zach Johnson, who said that the USGA had lost the course.

Brooks Koepka, who is tied for the lead, said he hoped they would water the greens plenty ahead of Sunday’s final round. It seems they may take his advice.

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Zach Johnson critical of US Open: ‘They’ve lost the course’

Zach Johnson

Zach Johnson was critical of the US Open course after shooting 2-over 72 on Saturday at Shinnecock Hills.

The two-time major winner said after his round that “they’ve lost the course.”

“It’s pretty much gone. The latter part of the day for us is pretty much shot, which is unfortunate. It’s in my opinion some of the best land and certainly one of the best venues in all of golf. Shinnecock Hills is beautiful, but unfortunately, they’ve lost the golf course,” Johnson said in an interview with Sky Sports.

“I feel for the membership right now. I feel for the spectators who are seeing absolute pure carnage, unless they want to. I feel for the USGA because I don’t think that was their overall intent from the very beginning.

“When it comes to things that happen in the past, you got to err on the side of a conservative approach. And that wasn’t done today.”

“It’s too dismissive,” former USGA director David Fay said on the FOX telecast in response to Johnson’s comments. “It’s close to the edge, it’s not what it was in 2004. The greens are a little softer. It’s difficult — a course like this.”

The wind at the course has made conditions tough both on Thursday and Saturday. Some of the best golfers in the world — Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Jason Day — failed to make the cut. Phil Mickelson carded an 81 on Saturday and was so frustrated he pulled a little kid move on the course.

The references to 2004 have to do with the last time the US Open was played at Shinnecock Hills. The conditions were so poor that they even had to water greens during play that were so baked out — something Mickelson referenced before the tournament.

Shinnecock Hills was already under the microscope prior to this event, and in the eyes of many, they’ve failed.

Phil Mickelson has harsh response to critics of his penalty

Phil Mickelson moving ball

The difficult course at Shinnecock Hills took its toll on Phil Mickelson Saturday, who pulled a questionable sportsmanship move.

Mickelson putted a moving ball on the 13th hole during his third round of the US Open, taking a two-stroke penalty in the process.

The five-time major winner acknowledged his frustration had gotten the better of him and that he did it intentionally. He also said that critics need to “toughen up.”

The response from Phil on the course was certainly out of character. His defiance afterwards and lack of apology will certainly lead to only more controversy.