PHIL MICKELSON, AN OPEN TITLE AWAY TO COMPLETE A GRAND SLAM
In preparation for the United States Open, Phil Mickelson took a reconnaissance mission to Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, and made this statement, “I think this year’s U.S. Open is the greatest setup going that I have seen in my 25-whatever years of playing the U.S. Open.”
The five-time major winner who is an Open title away from becoming the sixth golfer to complete a career Grand Slam.
For all his achievements, Mickelson, who will turn 48 on Saturday, owns one dubious distinction at the Open — six times, he has been the runner-up.
When he finished in a three-way tie for second in 2009, the United States Golf Association only had one silver medal available to hand out during the awards ceremony. Mickelson, who would have another runner-up finish in 2013, famously said, “I’ve got four of those. I’m good.”
This will be his third Open at the famed William Flynn-design of Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on the South Shore of eastern Long Island.
OTHER U.S. OPEN: PLAYERS TO WATCH
Even as the world No. 1 ranking has shuttled between Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas of late, Rose has been no less exceptional over the past 10 months.
Rose also had 11 other top-15 finishes during that time frame, rising to No. 3 in the world that matched his career high. The 37-year-old is also a former Open champion, having won five years ago. The last time nobody broke par over 72 holes. Rose shot a 1-over par 281, making no worse than bogey and emerging as the only man to post no round higher than 71.
A four-month layoff to allow a nagging wrist injury to heal yielded quick dividends for the Open’s defending champion. Koepka’s third start back produced a tie for 11th at the Players Championship, and he followed by placing second behind Rose in Fort Worth.
A playoff victory at the Memorial Tournament gave the unconventional DeChambeau his fifth top-5 finish of 2018. The 24-year-old Californian’s analytical mind should play well on a classic layout known for deceptive looks, subtle breaks and potentially extreme consequences. Although the 24-year old from CA has a “mad scientist” reputation, he also has an analytical mind and should play well.
Simpson tried to get a head start before the “belly putter” ban went into effect, going so far as to break his belly putter in two in late 2014 so he wouldn’t be tempted to go back. Simpson’s caddie, recently estimated that it might have cost Simpson $5 million in tournament earnings. Fast-forward to 2018: Simpson ranks No. 6 in the Tour’s strokes-gained putting measurement. If he can bring that stroke to Shinnecock Hills, it’ll be a potent combo with his solid ball striking.
This is the 10th anniversary of Woods’s epic 2008 Open crown and it remains his last major title as well. It is also the end of his 10-year exemption for winning that Open, sending him back into the qualifying pool unless he can win another major, finish among the top 10 at Shinnecock, qualify for the Tour Championship or get his world ranking into the top 60 a year from now.
NICKLAUS RECEIVES LINCOLN MEDAL
Golf’s history’s greatest champion, Jack Nicklaus was presented with the Lincoln Medal at Ford’s Theatre Society Annual Gala at Ford’s Theatre on June 10 while celebrating the legacy of President Abraham Lincoln.
Nicklaus is just the fourth person in history—and the first athlete or sportsperson—to be honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2005), the Congressional Gold Medal (2015) and now the Lincoln Medal.
Entertainer and philanthropist Marie Osmond also good friend to Barbara and Jack Nicklaus, flew from Las Vegas to introduce Jack and present him the Lincoln Medal.
Through tears, Nicklaus credited his wife Barbara, and all five children—Jack II, Steve, Nan, Gary and Michael—for his success.
“Everything good that has happened for me in the game of golf has been because of my family,” he said. “They give my life meaning and purpose, and I wouldn’t be standing here today without their love, support and inspiration. So, my biggest thank you goes out to them.”
The gala performance was preceded by a reception at The White House, hosted by the First Lady, and followed by a seated dinner at the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum.
PGA TOUR VIDEO GAME…COMING
The PGA Tour recently announced a licensing agreement with developer HB Studios that will see Tour branding featured in HB’s upcoming “The Golf Club 2019″ video game.
Per a release, the game’s career mode will take players “on an authentic journey through Q-School, the Web.com Tour and a 32-tournament PGA Tour season, including the FedExCup Playoffs, to become the FedExCup champion.”
The initial launch will also feature “six precise replicas” of TPC courses played each year on Tour: TPC Summerlin, TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course, TPC Sawgrass, The Players Stadium Course, TPC Southwind, TPC Deere Run, and TPC Bosto.
“We are so excited for the launch of ‘The Golf Club 2019’ featuring the PGA Tour that highlights some of our best tournaments,” said Len Brown, PGA Tour chief legal officer and executive vice president of licensing.
“We are absolutely ecstatic and proud to be an official licensee of the PGA Tour, one of the most prestigious sports organizations in the world,” said Alan Bunker, CEO of HB Studios.
The deal between HB and the Tour is a multi-year agreement aimed at building and expanding the franchise over potentially multiple editions.
“The Golf Club 2019” video game is set for an August release on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.
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