Why this Open Championship will go down as one of the all-time greats

 

 

Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson put on a duel for the ages in the shadow of historic Royal Troon where Stenson eventually came out victorious.
Like a title fight in boxing, two golf heavyweights went toe to toe, drilling putt after putt. Mickelson, a hall-of-famer wasn’t able to handle to deadeye ball striking of Stenson, who is one of the game’s most dangerous iron players.
Eventually, Stenson would hit the biggest putt of his life on the 15th hole. A massive, 51-foot putt that shook the golf world and did all but win him the Claret Jug.

To top that off, he hit another beautiful putt to finish the tournament and give him his first major championship. It was also Sweden’s first male major victory.
So, where does this Open Championship rank as one of the all-time greats? When you have two very popular players playing the best golf of their life on arguably the game’s biggest stage, it’s certainly a valid debate.
Mickelson is one of the greatest short game players that golf has ever seen. Meanwhile, as mentioned, Stenson is a streaky ball striker who will nail greens at will.

Ultimately, that’s what Stenson did, and his putter lid up at the most critical time. Stenson’s play is a huge reason why we love sports.
We love to see athletes do the most incredible things before our eyes. Stenson’s incredible play with his irons and his putter certainly dropped some jaws.

Even if Mickelson and Stenson weren’t the top two guys running away with it and if it were two less popular golfers, it would have still been an incredible performance. I say this as a simple reminder that you don’t need the juggernaut names to enjoy a historic performance.
Stenson for years has been in the group of “best golfer never to win a major” and amazingly, he and Dustin Johnson both broke that shackle this year. Johnson won the U.S. Open at Oakmont last month, despite a controversial call by the USGA.

Danny Willett, although not as popular with Americans, was 12th ranked in the world when he won the Masters back in April. This helped prove to many that he deserved to be a top 15 player in the world.

After those two performances by Willett and Johnson in golf’s first two majors, Stenson laid the hammer down at The Open. This tournament also has show us once again why The Open very well may be golf’s best major, even better than the Masters.
Zach Johnson had hit some huge shots to go into the playoff at St. Andrews last year, where he’d eventually win it in unfavorable weather conditions. Now, this year, we see one of the greatest ball striking and putting shows we may ever see in major golf.
With Mickelson’s and Stenson’s play, The Open continues to win more hearts with fans everywhere. It’s already a great tournament If you love history and links style golf courses.
And to witness the play of Stenson and Mickelson has made golf’s oldest major that much more enjoyable. The most impressive thing about the tourney this year was that these guys were so dominant, that J.B. Holmes who was in third place, finished 11 shots behind Mickelson, 14 behind Stenson.
This type of dominance is one those moments that you will look back on many years down the road. It will be played during highlight reels of many Open Championships in later years.
Another thing that made the Open great is the presence of Harold Varner III, the first African American golfer to get his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour. Varner III ended up finishing in a tie for 66th place but despite this, the PGA Tour rookie made the cut in tough Royal Troon conditions.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Varner III has stated that he’s “not a role model” but one can’t help but appreciate the young golfer’s play this year. As a rookie, he has four top 10 finishes and now has made a cut in his second major appearance, first as a Tour pro.
If Varner III can continue to play well, even if quietly, he can have a lasting impact on the game. It’s not to put pressure on him as his attitude is phenomenal but leading by example could help bring a new interest in the game.
Varner III slowly keeps showing that he truly belongs on the PGA Tour. He’s currently one of the longest drivers on Tour.
Andrew “Beef” Johnston also continues to grow in popularity. After hitting his second shot on 18, and after approaching the green, he received a reception as if he won the tournament, even though he was 17 shots back of Stenson.
Johnston became an instant fan favorite for his quote after winning the Open de Espana on the European Tour for his first professional victory. Johnston said he was going to get “hammered” and stood by his words as he indeed partied hard.
He’s also popular for his fun and friendly nature as well as his large beard. So his solid play at The Open has made him catch even more hearts of golf fans everywhere.
But, with a historic performance, one we may not see for quite some time, was the star moment of this particular Open. Stenson is already a beloved figure in golf for his humorous nature and dashing ball striking abilities and his first major win has truly proven that he’s one of the best golfers on the planet.
NBC’s first Open Championship coverage was also highly anticipated. Little did the broadcasters know that they’d be covering one of the best duels in golf history.
No doubt that NBC will look forward to covering their second Open which will be held at Royal Birkdale in 2017 in hopes at more historic moments. They look to build off the success they with the U.S. Open coverage that they had for many years and so far, it’s been a great start.
Stenson has 17 combined PGA and European Tour victories including a major.
Overall, the 2016 Open Championship was incredible, and Royal Troon proved to be a tough test of golf as expected.

Stenson took the stage, put on a show, and took his bow in the most dramatic way possible.
Bring on the PGA Championship.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio!


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Five Players to watch out for at the Masters

It’s one of the biggest events in sports and certainly the biggest golf tournament of the year. With the Masters closely approaching, we may be looking at one of the most unpredictable tournaments in years with the slew of new talent.

Defending Masters champion Jordan Spieth has been slumping a bit and this opens the door for anyone to capture the Green Jacket this year. So, here are five players to look out for during the Masters (Feel free to check your fantasy squad).

NOTE: List is in no specific order.

1. Jordan Spieth: Just because he’s slowed down a little bit this year, doesn’t mean he’s not dangerous anymore. Spieth won the first tournament of the year at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions by eight strokes and is still one of the deadliest putters on Tour, ranking in the top five in putting average.

 A key thing for Spieth going into the Masters will be his approach game. He ranks 148th in Greens in Regulation, and with Augusta’s sneaky greens, the last thing Spieth wants to do is hack around and then drill a long putt…for double bogey.

Despite not making the greens in regulation, expect his putter to save him on numerous occasions during the tourney.

2. Adam Scott: It’s clear so far that Scott has been the hottest golfer on Tour this year, winning two times in a row at the Honda Classic and the WGC — Cadilac Championship. The 2013 Masters champion is obviously no stranger to Augusta, and is an all-around monster statistically.

Scott ranks ninth in driving distance, sixth in greens in regulation and first in strokes gained. Augusta is a course that favors the power hitters as well as the players who have keen eye in golf course design.

This will suite Scott perfectly, as there are a few driveable par-5’s for Scott to bomb it off the tee and leave him close enough to go for them in two(Vicious club twirls are encouraged). With one Masters win already under his belt, and the combination of power and ball striking, look for Scott to make plenty of noise at golf’s first major.

3. Bubba Watson: With two Masters wins in a three year span (2012 and 2014) that are still relatively fresh, and a win at the Northern Trust Open this year, it’s tough to sleep on Watson. Although he can be unpredictable, Watson has remained fairly consistent this year, finishing in the top 15 in four of his last five starts.

Watson is known for his mammoth tee shots as well as his remarkable recovery ability. However, a flaw in Watson’s game is his putting as he ranks 138th in strokes gained.

He does rank first in the world in greens in regulation which will be a huge benefit for his flat stick. Like Scott, Watson is capable of reaching par-5’s in two and although he may not make every eagle, he has an excellent opportunity to leave himself with some easy birdies.

It’s all a matter of staying in the fairway for Watson who ranks 123rd in driving accuracy percentage. If he does this, he’ll be a threat to contend for his third Green Jacket on the weekend.

4. Kevin Kisner: Kevin Kisner has quietly become one of the best golfers in the world, with four top-10 finishes including a second place finish at the WGC-HSBC Champions and a victory at the RSM Classic. Kisner put himself on the map after dueling it out with Rickie Fowler in what arguably was the best Players Championship in the tournament’s history (Fowler would win it in a playoff).

His placement on the map only continues to grow as his consistency hasn’t stopped. What separates Kisner from other players on this list is his deadeye accurate drives, as he ranks eight in the world in driving accuracy.

Not only is he accurate off the tee, he’s a terrific bunker player and putter, ranking fourth in sand save percentage and third in putting average. He doesn’t have jaw-dropping power, but he’s good enough, ranking 90th in driving distance.

However, Kisner will need to stay in the fairway as often as possible if he wants to be in contention come Sunday. Hitting from the rough is one of his weak points, ranking well over 100th in scrambling from the second cut.

He’s a streaky player who is capable of being a birdie machine, as he has 158 in 34 total rounds played this season. Keep an eye out for Kisner who may surprise some people this year.

5. Rickie Fowler: Many have been wondering if Fowler has included himself as part of the “big 3” of golf which includes Spieth, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy. The one thing that’s held many people back from including him in this group is the fact that he’s the only one not to win a major.

This could change, as Fowler’s consistency continues with four top-10 finishes this year, including a second place finish at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Although he didn’t quite take out the trash at TPC Scottsdale, he’s without a doubt hungry for that first win of the 2016 season and his first career major.

Out of everyone on this list, Fowler is the most balanced, ranking in the top 10 in the world in an incredible seven key statistics. His worst stat is driving accuracy where he ranks 98th in the world, other than that, there’s more single digits than an online PlayStation username (You already know).

Look for the 2015 Players Championship winner to make things interesting if he sets his putter on fire over the weekend.

Other players to keep an eye out for:

Rory McIlroy – The four time major champion is seeking his first Masters victory to complete the career grand slam. McIlroy finished solo in fourth at last year’s tournament and expect McIlroy to be relaxed, knowing that he has won four majors already.

Jason Day– The 2015 PGA Championship winner had a terrific season last year and looks to continue that success. With his first major under the belt, and a powerful swing, look for Day to lick his chops going into Masters week.

Hedeki Matsuyama – Since turning pro in 2013, Matsuyama has already collected two wins, including a win at this year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open. The rising star is also, arguably the streakiest player in the world, leading the Tour in birdie average.

Louis Oosthuizen – Another long hitter off the tee who won the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews. He also went into a playoff against Bubba Watson at the 2012 Masters in which Watson won on a historic recovery shot.

Look for Oosthuizen to get a little revenge at this year’s Masters.

So, there’s the GP Golf Report yearly Masters picks for 2016. Hope you enjoy them, and again feel free to use some of these for your fantasy team….if you dare, I can’t guarantee your success.

Almost time for the Masters!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio! I’ll be tweeting and retweeting Masters stuff next week!


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An evaluation and sunset of a fun PGA tour season

After a reign of dominance by Jason Day the last five or six weeks, Jordan Spieth got back to his winning ways, earning the FedEx Cup on Sunday. He shot a -9 beat Danny Lee by four shots at the Tour Championship at East Lake.

 

It was just a perfect ending to one of the most historic golf seasons we’ve probably ever witnessed. Jimmy Walker started off hot like he normally does, winning twice early in the season.

 

Then Dustin Johnson won, and placed well in most tournaments to complete a very solid comeback season. He’d go on to have 11 top 10 finishes which is tied for second best with Jason Day. DJ came back with full force and is inching ever so close to that first major.

 

Then Jordan was simply a man on fire, winning The Masters and U.S. Open back-to-back to go along with three other wins including the John Deere Classic, where he got his first win a couple of years ago. He defeated a red hot Tom Gillis for the victory. Jordan would also place in the top five in all four majors, mirroring what Rickie Fowler did just a year earlier, except Jordan won two of the majors.

 

Rickie, who was voted along with Ian Poulter as the “Most Over Rated Player in Golf”, proved his haters wrong and with a vengeance. Rickie would go on to win three times this season with victories at The Players Championship at the famed TPC Sawgrass, a win at the legendary Scottish Open and a win at the Deutsche Bank Championship at Arnold Palmer’s TPC Boston.

 

He shut the door down on all three wins and put on the most remarkable display at Sawgrass while practically making a mockery of Alice Dye’s 17th hole, arguably the most famous hole on the planet. These performances made Ian Poulter the lone title holder of “Most Over Rated Golfer”. Ouch Poults.

 

Bubba Watson who was fresh off of his second Masters victory, also quietly put together a nice season, winning two times with a win very early in the season in late 2014 at the WGC-HSBC while also winning the Travelers Championship and having three runner-ups. He however finished tied for 38th at the Masters and missed the cut at the U.S. Open.

 

Nonetheless, he had 10 top 10s (Say that fast three times) to finish off a solid season and at the end of the day, he still has two Masters wins. Not bad.

 

Zach Johnson, who was already being whispered about around the golf world as a potential hall of famer, has made his chances even better. ZJ went on to win the Open Championship at St. Andrews for his 12th PGA Tour win and second major title.

 

Getting his major titles at courses most would say are more aimed for the power hitters, ZJ used his deadeye accuracy and clutch putting to earn his wins. What’s more impressive is that he had to battle bad weather at both, proving that he’s one of the better bad weather players in golf.

 

Arguably one of the most accurate golfers of all-time, Zach has made a push for his ticket to the Hall of Fame. Some will say he needs more wins, some will say he’s a lock, but he definitely put himself in the conversation with the win at St. Andrews.

 

Robert Streb has very quietly put together a great season. He won the McGladrey Classic very early in the season and would remarkably end up with nine top 10 finishes and 16 top 25 finishes.

 

He has become one of golf’s most dangerous putters, finishing 24th in the world in Strokes Gained (Putting). Don’t sleep on Robert with the driver, as he ranked 36th in the world in driving distance.

 

Great putting and great power make a deadly combination and wouldn’t surprise me to see Robert make a little noise next season.

 

Rory McIlroy had a solid season winning two times in three weeks and finishing with seven top 10s. Sure, he didn’t quite have the “Rory McIlroy Year” that many were expecting but that in huge part is due to the slaughter of all golf courses courtesy of Jordan Spieth.

 

Despite that, Rory is still one of the top dogs in the game and may be already considered on of the “greats” (Gotta be careful with how I say that). Can never argue with four majors and double digit victories but with the slew of new talent emerging, it could be harder for him to run away with 20+ victories….and complete the career grand slam at Augusta National.

 

It’s been quite a strong year for rookies. They say there’s a “big 4” in golf (Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler) but how about the big four of rookies this season?

 

Nick Taylor, Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger and Tony Finau all had some very solid seasons with Taylor notching up a win. Daniel Berger maybe having the best season of all and may potentially win the Rookie of the Year award.

 

Berger finished with 13 top 25’s and six top 10’s. You can definitely make an argument for Finau who is a beast with 16 top 25’s and five top 10’s but Berger has two runner-ups which would seal the deal on that.

 

Taylor, although had a win, only had one top 10. no doubt that all of these guys will be on Tour for a long time and they aren’t afraid to shred up courses across the country.

 

Just and outstanding rookie class to go with an already amazing season.

 

Ahhh, Danny Lee. He was once looked at as one of the game’s rising starts. He still very well could be at only 24 years of age.

 

After a mostly slow start to the new PGA Tour season, D-Lee started to spark like a firecracker, winning the historic Greenbrier Classic at The Old White TPC and then finishing tied for third at the John Deere Classic, tied for fourth at the Quicken Loans National, tied for sixth at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and then just finishing tied for second at the Tour Championship.

 

He’s not going to dazzle you with amazing drives down the fairway but he, like Robert Streb, has a hot putter, ranking 23rd in the world in Strokes Gained. He’s also one of the most dangerous players out of the bunker, ranking seventh in the world in Sand Save Percentage.

 

Is D-Lee just another one of the growing number of young stars, making his mark? Keep a close eye out for him in the new PGA Tour season.

 

Look out Lydia Ko, you may not be the best New Zealand golfer after all! Aw screw it, yeah she is!

 

This leaves us with Jason Day. The one man who almost crashed Jordan Spieth’s Player of the Year tour.

For at least the past five years, Jaydee has had some close calls at the majors. Probably the most famous being his runner-up finish at the infamous 2011 Masters (Year after Phil Mickelson won, Tiger Woods’ strong return, Rory’s collpase, Martin Kaymer’s fall from world number one. All happened here).

 

After that, it seemed to be a lock that he would grab a major, and after more close calls, many started to wonder if he would he was going to be stuck like Dustin Johnson who also has had many close calls at the majors. The spotlight wasn’t on Jason much at the time as a lot of it was focused on Johnson who, in those days was the “next great American golfer” and has put together a great career but just hasn’t won that major.

 

So it seemed as if Jason was put in the same boat as DJ. Well, he dove off the off the boat and into the ocean as he finally broke the ice.

 

He would go on to have a monster season, winning five times and finishing in the top 10 in three of the four majors, winning one of them at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits (He finished tied for 28th at the Masters). He’d go on an incredible run, winning four times in six weeks, eventually leading to him taking the crown as the new world number one golfer.

 

It looked like it was just going to be the Jordan Spieth show most of the year but little did we know that Jason had other plans. If anything, it’s a very exciting time to be a golf fan with four young, skilled and humble guys leading the charge (Spieth, Day, McIlroy and Fowler).

 

There has been talks that maybe Jason may get the Player of the Year award over Jordan but with his win at the Tour Championship on Sunday, I think Jordan pretty much locked it up. Plus, Jordan won two majors in a row while Jason got the one at the PGA.

 

Either way, Jason definitely threw his name in the conversation and I’m sure he will be voted POTY by a publication or two. When you win four times in six weeks including a major, that’s just insane and I highly recommend that Jaydee sees a doctor immediately on this winning issue thing he’s having.

 

Jordan will be next in line behind him.

 

But what an unbelievabele season it has been on the PGA Tour. I think the sport of golf has reached many new fans thanks to some amazing highlights and memories.

 

The new generation of golf has finally arrived and is looking very strong so far. Crazy thing is, it’s not over yet!

 

We still have the President’s Cup and it’s going to be like an all-star showdown at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Korea. Some of the top players will be duking it out for the always beautiful and shiny President’s Cup.

 

Highlighting the U.S. squad are Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker while the International squad is highlighted by Jason Day, Adam Scott and the aforementioned Danny Lee. Jay Haas will be the captain of the Americans while Nick Price will lead the International team.

 

The sport of golf is only going to get stronger from a commercial standpoint and with the fun, young characters who aren’t afraid of any type of shot, the fanbase will only continue to grow. As for the actual sport itself, the solutions are all right in front of you such as nine hole courses, par-3 courses, pitch & putt courses, etc.

 

But with the growing popularity of the PGA Tour, it will no doubt help bring more followers into giving the sport a try and taking some swings. It’s absolutely amazing how fast this new generation has started to blossom like a rose in the Spring time.

 

It was just last year when we saw Rory as the only true rising star in the sport. Fast forward a year later and we have a freakin’ “Big 4” now.

 

It really is astonishing and it’s so much fun and I hope you enjoy the ride (Make sure to have your safety belt on!). The next generation of golf is right in front of our eyes!

 

And oh, by the way, Jordan Spieth just won the Player of the Year and Daniel Berger just won the Rookie of the Year. Not too shabby!

 

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio! I retweet retweets and post a lot of golf with some occasional random stuff! 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Another beautiful “Day” at the PGA and the bright future of golf

 

Well, all four majors are in the books and all were spectacular. The PGA Championship for the second straight year proved why it’s more than just the “fourth major”.

 

Also, for the second time, Whistling Straits shined as the host course. What once was an abandoned military base, has now hosted three PGA Championships and will host the Ryder Cup (Yes, the RYDER CUP) in 2024.

 

It just shows you the imagination of one Pete Dye as he and his wife once again put together a legendary course. Crazy thing is, it’s in some ways, still relatively new, being built back in 2000 but it is already one of the great courses in the world.

 

And just a couple of hours away from me here in Chicago, it’s easy to make the trip up there. Views of Lake Michigan on every hole ain’t so bad either!

 

But this year’s PGA Championship was LOADED with story lines.

“Will Jordan Spieth win it for his third major this year?”

 

“Will Dustin Johnson come back to Straits and play well or will the bunker incident forever haunt him?”

 

“Will DJ also ever come through and win a major?”

 

“What about Tiger Woods? Is he ever going to play well in the majors again?”

 

“Rory McIlroy just came back from injury? How will he play?”

 

“Jason Day has also fell short in majors. Will he come through here?”

 

And sooo many other questions as well. Justin Rose had said earlier in the week that he was going to make some noise at the PGA and scarily enough, he was right!

 

He didn’t win, but finished in the top five.

 

The leaderboard even featured the likes of Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau who are arguably the hottest rookies in the sport today. That’s what makes the PGA Championship so much fun to watch and why it’s so exciting.

 

You never know who’s going to be hanging around on top of that leaderboard. It could be a rookie or a former champion from some 15 to 20 years ago.

 

OR it could be a Joe Schmo (Well, everybody knows that Joe Schmo is the greatest golfer of all-time. One does NOT simply question the great Joe Schmo’s talent!). Either way, it adds to the unpredictability that really makes the PGA Championship, the grand finale of the majors.

 

Jason Day who has really had a terrific year, went on to win it for his first major title. He beat Jordan Spieth (Who else?) by a few strokes and also beat others like Branden Grace, who also has played some solid golf this year as well as the aforementioned Justin Rose, who is a potential hall of famer.

 

His win also broke the all-time record for lowest score in a major, shooting -20 to take the title. He beat Tiger Woods’ record of -18 which was set in 1997 at The Masters.

 

Let me say that I am really happy for Jason Day who I’ve been asking for at least four or five years, “When is he going to capture that first major? He’s so good!”.

 

Ever since he finished second at The Masters back in 2011 (Charl Schwartzel won it and really helped put South African golf back on the map), I thought it was only a matter of time and I know you thought the same.

 

And now, here we are, four, almost five years later, and Jaydee is a major champion. He was seeking huge putts all weekend which ultimately, led him to raising the Wanamaker Trophy in victory.

 

And Just to show how classy his partner, Jordan Spieth was, on one of the holes, late in the Sunday round, Jaydee hit a great lag putt that stop right near the hole. Jordan then gave a thumbs up as to say kinda “Nice putt, you’re going to win this thing”.

 

Jaydee has been through a lot in his life to get to where he is now. His dad died when he was 12, he became an alcoholic at the same age and was getting into trouble at school. His first golf club was found in a dumpster by his father and his mother had to sell their home to use the money for Jason’s golf program/clinic.

 

His caddie, Colin Swatton, is the one who really put his foot on the acceleration in Jason’s career. He was the one who kept him busy with golf so he didn’t continue to get in trouble.

 

You see, the ol’ stereotype for golf is that every golfer is rich and spoiled and that’s nothing but a bunch of crap. I’m tired of hearing that, especially when people don’t know the players’ backgrounds.

 

In relation, and I think I mentioned this before but I got my first club from a flea market for $2 or $3 and I would just go to the school playground and hit shots. You don’t need to be rich nor do your parents need a doctorate degree to love golf.

 

Jason is a wonderful example of that and I think he can relate to a lot of people out there. I think golf gets picked on and ripped a lot because of the “Rich, Strict and Snobby” stereotype but I think non-fans can really appreciate the sport a lot more with a guy like Jason winning.

 

I’m not saying that anyone has to go through the crap Jason went through to be appreciated. Absolutely not, nobody deserves what happened with him.

 

But I think the fact that he did deal with these things and the fact that he came out such a great person out of it all, really makes you want to root for him and teaches powerful lessons about life. And like Jordan Spieth, it’s so easy to pull for a classy player who’s humble with his/her words, especially in a sport like golf, which unfortunately is an “All me” sport or a “Meh, I’m a cool person but it’s still all bout me”.

 

To hear little things like “Dustin should be holding this trophy right now” (Jordan said this after his win at the U.S. Open) and “To beat a great player like Jordan….” (Jason  after his PGA win) is jaw-dropping because you just don’t see guys giving credit too often out there. Unless I’m missing something and I need to get my ears checked but I rarely hear these things out there.

 

Not only is Jason a great person and an awesome guy with the fans, he’s simply one of the most dangerous players in the world. The fact that he’s starting to close out tournaments and slam the door shut, just makes him that more deadly.

 

Now that he has the first major won, I think we’ll definitely see more which will only make The Masters next year that much juicier. Barring injuries, the field will be absolutely insane!

 

Jason also gave us this unforgettable fist pump. As if nothing was going to stop him:

 

 

Back to Jordan Spieth for a minute. He reached number one in the world rankings surpassing Rory McIlroy and at the start of the year, he was ninth in the world (Yes, NINTH!).

 

So although he didn’t win, he got a heck of a consolation prize. There are many people out there say he’s a “boring” player and usually those fans are European fans that don’t want to see an American on top again.

 

And it’s cool! I understand! That’s why the Ryder Cup is such a great event, because of the heated rivalry between European and American fans and really shows the passion.

 

But to say Jordan is “boring” is just plain asinine. Can someone please define the term “boring” in golf?

 

Making long putts, hitting crazy recovery shots out of the bunker, the clutch shots, etc. Yeah, that’s totally boring, I’mma go to sleep.

 

Yeah, you’re nuts.

 

And to be fair about it, when Martin Kaymer played dominated the U.S. Open last year, many fans were saying that was boring as well. More than likely, those saying that were American fans.

 

So, the fact that Jordan is the new number one, and European fans are eager for Rory to retake that spot, makes the “Battle of the continents” that much more exciting in golf.

 

Back to Jason Day though; I think his win officially painted the picture of what the future holds for golf. The new generation is here and it’s very exciting and it’s just going to continue to grow.

 

I think the “THE GAME NEEDS TIGER!” stuff has finally started to die down a little as people slowly start to realize what’s going on here. The game will be great with, or without Tiger and Phil Mickelson.

 

I think many of us act like childish lunatics when guys like Tiger or Phil aren’t at their best and this looks like it’s finally making progress to come to a stop. If anything, having Tiger and Phil along with the new generation of talent would make things twice as interesting but it’s not going to ruin the game if they aren’t in it to win it.

 

The talent now is way too good and the fact that Jordan, Rory and Jaydee are top three players in the world highly represents this new class of talent. And the fact that these three players are all from three of these player rep three separate countries, makes things that more exciting for those of you who are full of “country pride”.

 

The game is full of colorful characters that are skillful with a golf club. If anything, THAT is what golf needs.

 

New generational talent that has a swagger on and off the course.

 

If you’re a Tiger, Phil or Ernie Els fan, I think it’s time for you to loosen the shackles and appreciate what we have going today.

 

So what’s next for Jaydee after his PGA Championship win? I see him winning more majors.

 

How many? It’s anybody’s guess.

 

The fact that he had the lowest score in major championship history on a Pete Dye course is mind boggling and impressive. He has the skills that can lead him to many more titles to come.

 

One thing’s for sure. Jason is now a leader of the new generation of golf along with guys like Rory and Jordan.

 

We can’t dwell on the past with guys like Tiger, Phil and Ernie. Greatness doesn’t happen overnight.

 

You can’t appreciate today’s young talent if you don’t let them become great. Stop relying on the past and rely on the future.

 

The new generation is here, it’s fun, and the future shined bright over Lake Michigan on Sunday afternoon.

 

Follow me on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio! FedEx Cup Playoffs is right around the corner and should be great! Or you can just follow me for no apparent reason. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Play 9 Day: Nine Ways to grow the sport of golf

 

Play 9 Day is the USGA’s awesome new movement, that promotes the fun and convenience of playing 9 holes over 18 holes. This movement first started last year and quickly became a success.

 

They just finished they’re second year and are already looking ahead to next year. With the movement being such a success, what are nine ways to grow and expand the sport of golf?

 

Here are mine (Note: this is NOT a top nine list. Just a general list of nine):

 

On the way to first tee box: Playing nine holes – Can’t start this list without mentioning the reason why it’s being written. Playing nine holes over 18 is a great, quick, and usually inexpensive way to get a round in and enjoy golf.

 

Traditionalists think 18 is the only way to play but to be real, nine hole courses came before 18 hole courses. Nine and 12 for that matter. St. Andrews started out as a 12 hole course where players would play 10 twice, making it 22 holes. Eventually, it just turned into playing 18.

 

Musselburgh Links, the second oldest course in the world (First round was documented in 1567), started off as a seven holer, then became a nine and still is a nine today. Oakhurst Links, the oldest course in America was and still is a nine hole course. therefore, 18 holes is NOT the true and traditional way to play so we need to erase this from our brains.

 

If you want to find a nine hole course in your area, then I recommend you check out the USGA’s Play 9 website: http://www.usga.org/play9info/

 

1. Playing par-3, putting and pitch & putt courses – Par-3 courses are usually nine hole courses and are much shorter and cheaper than a regular nine holer which is already cheap. These are an excellent way to introduce kids to and still have a fun, golf experience. It’s also a great way to test your accuracy.

 

I can relate, having played my first of many rounds on a small par-3 course in Chicago. Par-3 courses are a joy to play and feature very interesting course design features.

 

Pitch & Putt is very similar. Except the courses are even smaller than a par-3 courses.

 

With a Pitch & Putt track, you’re relying on pitch shots and flop shots to nail the ball close to the hole. It’s a ton of fun, it’s extremely affordable and it is played on an amateur tour level all around the world.

 

Putting courses are similar to mini-golf courses. Difference is that they are professionally designed to test even the streakiest of putters.

 

At the same time, they are great for the whole family to enjoy. They are inexpensive to design and inexpensive for the golfer while also taking less time.

 

Some courses are 18 holes set on one giant green. Some putting tracks are 18 separate holes. Some even have hazards such as bunkers and water.

 

Think of it as a full sized course shrunk down in size.

 

Some of the most famous putting designs include the newly opened PunchBowl course at Bandon Dunes and the Thisledhu course at Pinehurst. Probably the most legendary is the Himalaya putting course at the Old Course at St. Andrews.

 

It received a phenomenal 5 out of 5 rating on Trip Advisor. There were over 200 reviews and 188 gave the Himalaya course a perfect 5 out of 5.

 

Driving ranges are excellent locations for putting courses. Top Golf, which I’ll get to later, has a putting course at their Chicago location and although they call it a mini-golf course, I definitely see it more as a putting course.

 

Here’s one of my favorite sites on the web when I want to look for any of these small beauties: http://www.par3-executive-golf.com/index.html

 

2. The Sport of Long Drive – Long Drive is a sport where competitors attempt to hit the golf ball as long as possible. In most cases, this includes screaming after hitting a gorgeous tee shot.

 

It can be quite intense as you just never know who’s going to pull it off. You need to not only hit the ball the furthest, but need to keep it in-bounds on a giant field that looks similar to a football field.

 

The LDA (Long Drivers Association of America) is the home of Long Drive and carries the Re/MAX Long Drive Championship which has rapidly grown. Thanks to the coverage from Golf Channel, the Re/MAX Long Drive Championship has been seen by thousands of fans worldwide.

 

Probably the two most popular players of all-time are Jason Zubak and Jamie Sadlowski who are both instrumental in Long Drive’s popularity. Jeff Flagg of Alabama is the current champion, defeating the extremely accurate Jeff “The Critter” Crittenden.

 

Besides, who doesn’t love seeing golf balls being smashed 400+ yards? Coolest stuff ever and can definitely be a huge draw for younger, casual, new generation fans. The events are usually held in hot places such as Nevada and Texas.

 

Las Vegas has been the legendary location for the Championship.

 

The only thing is that the events aren’t spread enough across the country. There should be events in locations all over the U.S. to help get the sport out the many all over and provide a fun event for everyone to enjoy.

 

I understand it can be tricky with all of the space that is needed but it would be great. This is a cool way to get many young sports enthusiasts into golf.

 

If they see an LDA event and see guys booming the ball so far, they’ll think “WOW! That’s so cool!”

 

You can learn more about the LDA at their website at LongDrivers.com.

 

3. Using less clubs and/or making cheaper sets – OK, so this one’s a biggie for those who are trying to get into golf. Price of equipment.

 

When there’s 14 clubs in a bag, it can definitely raise prices. But then again, who really needs 14 clubs? You don’t. All you really need is five, maybe six clubs, seven max.

 

What needs to happen here is instead of being forced to get a set of 14, there should be sets of five or six, better yet, have the customer choose how many clubs he/she wants and accumulate the price then. It would make the price much cheaper and will make walking the course more of a joy than a pain (You can always grab a push cart if you have too and I’ve seen some for about $50).

 

4. Playing Urban/Street Golf – Urban Golf is playing golf anywhere and everywhere you want. This is an excellent way for those who can’t really afford the time or money to playing on a course, to get some golf in.

It is actually the very first form of golf. Before courses, Dutch sailors would hit rocks with sticks around the town of St. Andrews and they would count their strokes along the way.

 

This being before the Old Course at St. Andrews even being discovered. The rest as they say, is history.

 

With Urban Golf, the rules are simple; find a target, whether you’re at the park, in the city, on the beach or at a school, find targets to aim for and hit to that spot in as less strokes as possible.

 

It’s highly recommended that you use softer golf balls or short flight golf balls such as the Almost Golf balls or the Birdie Ball. All you need is one club but can use two if you want to putt.

 

But really, all you need is a pitching wedge or 7-iron. One of the most beautiful things about Urban Golf is that YOU are the golf course designer. You choose or set up the targets.

 

You can use baskets or buckets if you want or the guys over at Birdie Ball and Almost Golf also carry targets you can get. Every year, there is a European Urban Golf Cup which is in a World Cup style format with teams representing each country (Except the U.S. but this HAS to change and the EUGC has said quite a few times that they’d gladly welcome an American squad.).

 

A U.S. Urban Golf organization needs to happen very soon and a U.S. Open wouldn’t be so bad either at some of the country’s finest parks.

 

5. Playing FootGolf – Do you have a kid that loves soccer and golf or loves soccer but is up in the air about golf? FootGolf is one of the most rapidly growing sports in the world.

 

This gives many players a chance to experience the joys of playing on a golf course and hitting off of lush, green fairways while still bringing in the fun of playing soccer, the world’s most popular sport. What makes this so powerful is that, there are millions, upon millions of soccer enthusiasts worldwide and this gives soccer fans a chance to get on the course and enjoy playing golf, but with a soccer ball.

 

The goal is exactly the same as golf except you’re kicking a soccer ball and you’re aiming for a giant hole. You can check out the AFGL’s (American FootGolf League) website for info and gear.

 

6. Convenience in golf – Another major obstacle in golf has been the convenience of the game. What makes sports like basketball and soccer so wildly popular, is how simple and convenient it is to play. Basketball, all you need is a basketball and a court. In soccer, all you need is a soccer ball and a soccer field/pitch or you can set up your own goals pretty easily.

With golf, you’re carrying a long, heavy bag full of clubs. This can be tough, especially for those of you who live in a busy city and have no vehicle.

 

And more than likely, if you are in an environment like that, you probably live in an apartment which can be cramped and a full set of clubs can get in the way. There needs to be much more “pick up and play” convenience in golf.

 

Thankfully, DV8 Sports had just recently released their set of clubs, which is conveniently tucked into a backpack. These are interchangeable clubs and are perfect for those of you who need your clubs with you everywhere you go (Like me).

 

It also fits beautifully into the Urban Golf scene as well. Makes a perfect fit for the adventure golfers out there and yes, they are very gorgeous clubs.

 

7. Golf video games – Video games have become an entertainment juggernaut ever since the first games came out in the early 80’s such as Pong, Pac Man and Donkey Kong (DK made Mario, then named Jumpman a megastar). If you know me, other than golf and other sports, I am a video game lover and play any chance I get.

 

In some ways, video games helped me love golf. I remember getting ready for my first lesson at my local course (The same course that features the little par-3 course I mentioned), and I decided to download the demo for Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08.

 

The demo had you playing as Tiger and playing the first three holes at TPC Boston. I remember really enjoying bombing it off the tee with Tiger at Boston, with all of the beautiful and colorful Fall leaves all around Arnold Palmer’s design.

 

It was just a stepping stone to how I officially fell in love with the game. My first lesson was cancelled because the coach had another lesson that same day so I hit the driving range and hit a few driver shots which officially made catch the bug.

 

And I was someone who didn’t know anything about golf except Tiger, Michelle Wie, and a little bit of John Daly. I knew about none of the courses, the first course I really heard about was Pebble Beach and that was about it.

 

It all started with video games for the most part. And now, we have three great golf games that are available to play.

 

The Golf Club which features a very deep golf course design feature, allows you to create any course you want, whether it looks realistic or weird and totally out there. The gameplay is also a ton of fun. There are over 70,000 courses to play in the game because of the course design feature.

 

Perfect Golf, a game by Perfect Parallel, is a game for the PC that also features a golf course design feature. There has been plans to make the game available for home consoles such as the PS4 and Xbox One.

 

EA Sports just released Rory McIlroy PGA Tour which features beautiful graphics one some of the big name courses such as TPC Sawgrass, St. Andrews and Whistling Straits. The game also features a couple of fun fantasy courses and a Night Club mode with different mini games to play and could be very appealing to kids.

However, the game currently only has 12 courses but the game will not be a yearly title so there’s supposed to be more courses added in the future.

 

In previous golf games, there has been motion control featured where you can have a more authentic golfing experience at home. With the new Project Morpheus coming out for the PS4 next year among others, let’s hope motion control makes it’s way back into golf games.

 

8. Playing Night Golf – Night Golf has started to become more popular and has proven to be a very smart move, especially for those who get out of work in the evening. Installing lights on courses will help keep the course open all night long and keep golfers cool since the sun isn’t out.

 

Probably the coolest and funnest ways to enjoy Night Golf is by going to TopGolf and let me tell you, TopGolf is an absolute blast and has exploded across the country. I remember when there only a few, now they’re everywhere!

 

TopGolf is a driving range that is open all day and night and is not only just driving range, but a target practice game where you can test your accuracy and earn points. You can also watch sports and eat food in the little bar & grill spot and they usually give you a free bowl of popcorn while you play.

 

Music also plays in the background while you enjoy your game and there are heaters so you can play in the winter time. I remember playing out there in 20 degree weather and it was fun and I stayed warm enough to enjoy everything!

 

There’s even a beautiful mini golf course that you can play at night at the WoodDale, IL location (The one I’ve been to many times).

 

Going back to the Rory McIlroy PGA Tour video game’s Night Club feature, it could definitely help expand the popularity of Night Golf if many gamers play and enjoy the game.

 

Then, there’s a company called GlowGear that sells Night Golf gear so you can enjoy it yourself or if you’re a golf course owner, you can set up your own Night Golf events. The folks at GlowGear are also big Urban Golf enthusiasts as well which is awesome.

 

Night Golf is a great way to keep the fun going all night long.

 

9. PowerPlay Golf –  PowerPlay Golf is a new way to enjoy golf. It was created by amateur golf legend and golf course designer Peter McEvoy along with sports venue owner David Piggins and golf agency owner Andy Hiseman. It is played on nine hole courses.

 

The rules of PowerPlay Golf are just like Stableford, but you have two flags to choose from on each hole instead of one. You have a white flag and a black flag.

 

Now, here’s where the fun and strategy come into play. The white flag is the safer play, however, you will be rewarded with less points. If you were to go for the black flag, you’d get more points but would be the much more difficult play.

 

This takes the strategy of golf course design to a whole new level and brings a whole new level of excitement.

 

There was a PowerPlay Golf tournament that was filmed for TV and featured golf legend Gary Player, major champion Paula Creamer and Paul Casey among others.

 

unfortunately, there are no directories for where to find a PowerPlay course and the website is pretty basic, only featuring an email address. You can visit the website at PowerPlay-Golf.com and grab the email and send in any questions you may have.

 

However, one of the main three reps from the PowerPlay group has said that they are trying to bring PowerPlay Golf back into play. That would be so awesome if they did, and I know they could too. The guy I talked to was awesome.

 

You can also get some more info on PowerPlay Golf on the Wikipedia page.

 

Just another great variation of golf that has a chance to sky rocket if all goes well.

 

On the way back to the clubhouse: The First Tee program – Since we finished our nine hole round, it’s time to head back to the clubhouse, and how can I get through this list without mentioning The First Tee program? I was in The First Tee about six years ago as kinda both a member and minor mentor.

 

It really is a terrific program and you learn a lot from it. It teaches you things like respect, honesty and responsibility. These are just three of the “Nine core values” which pretty much makes The First Tee what it is.

 

You also get taught some basic fundamentals of the game while you learn these core values. Many kids who join The First Tee, usually do well in school and improve grades among other things.

 

Golf has that kind of power and I think The First Tee needs to definitely be recognized more often. The great thing is, it has quickly become one of the best youth programs in the country.

 

The PGA Tour has done a superb job of promoting it and I think it’ll just continue to get stronger and stronger.

 

If you want some more info on The First Tee, then visit TheFirstTee.org.

 

So. there you have it, these are just some of the many ways you expand the great sport of golf. Golf is the most versatile sport in the world so I think we definitely need to take advantage.

 

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio and send me tweets with YOUR thoughts on how to expand the sport!

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Another Beautiful Sunset for St. Andrews at the Open Championship

St. Andrews Golf Links is not only the most legendary golf course in the world, but maybe the most legendary venue in sports. The Old Course once again provided us with a terrific Open Championship.

It was one of the best Opens we’ve had in a while. Players like Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Martin Kaymer, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Adam Scott as well as amateurs, Jordan Niebrugge and Paul Dunne both made runs.

Dunne was leading the Open going into Sunday, and had he held on to the lead, he would’ve been the first amateur to win the Open since the great Bobby Jones did back in 1930. That was a time where he got the grand slam and a time where amateur golf was much more popular than professional golf.

Ultimately, the (A) would finish tied for 30th on Sunday but nonetheless put on an incredible display of skill. Dustin Johnson was playing like a man on a mission and did great all weekend until Sunday hit, as he went from -15 to -7.

For a while, the leaderboard looked very similar to the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. DJ, Jason Day, Louis Oosthuizen (Last player to win Open at St. Andrews) and Jordan were all towards the top of the leaderboard yet again.

With DJ, falling off, J-Day, Jordan and Louis were hanging on along with Marc lieshman and Zach Johnson. Louis, Marc and Zach got into a playoff to see who would claim the Claret Jug.

Jason and Jordan both had great chances to join the three in the playoff but Jordan missed out on a birdie opportunity while Jason missed a 25 footer to tie it. Despite DJ falling and despite Jason and Jordan’s missed opportunities to get into the playoff, all three of these players (Especially Jordan for obvious reasons) have had monster seasons so far.

Lieshman, ZJ and Louis went into the playoff and was a fun playoff. Liesh was hanging on but it ultimately turned into a battle between Louis and Zach.

In the end, Louis missed a big putt that would’ve extended the playoff and Zach would go and win his second career major. Zach played great golf with his signature deadeye accuracy on a course that’s designed perfectly for power hitters.

He also dominated Augusta with pure accuracy through nasty conditions to win the Masters back in 2007. Augusta is also a power hitter’s paradise, specially on the par-5 13th hole where you get to the green in two.

Although the hope of many was that Jordan would keep his grand slam hopes alive with a win at St. Andrews, Zach Johnson is quite a popular player in his own right and is arguably the nicest guy in golf which makes him an even more popular winner. Zach’s win also put him a rare group, being only the sixth player to win The Open Championship at St. Andrews and win The Masters at Augusta, two of golf’s most prestigious courses.

Jack, Tiger, Slammin’ Smamy Snead, Faldo and Seve are the others to accomplish this.

And with his second major win, Zach is the fourth player in the World Golf Rankings top 15 (He moved to 12th) to have won multiple majors and the only one to have won The Masters and Open for his titles. Only others with multiple majors are Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson, currently the world’s top three players.

Also, according to GolfDigest.com, among active players, Zach has more wins than anyone on Tour with 12. Only active golfers that have more are Tiger, Phil Ernie Els, David Duval, and David Toms.

Zach has more majors than Duval and Toms however and is only two more wins from surpassing both of them as both Duval and Toms ironically have 13 wins and both won their only major in 2001 (Geez, talking about mirroring each other’s career!). So, if Zach wins two more, only the big three of Tiger, Phil and Ernie would have more wins among active players and that my friend is insane.

As mentioned several times, Zach Johnson is an accuracy machine. He’s hit 484 fairways out of 672 and the most consecutive fairways he hit was 28.

He’s also tied for second in top-10 finishes this year with eight, finishing only behind Jordan Spieth with 12. The young stud, Hedeki Matsuyama and seven time winner Brandt Snedeker are the only others with eight top-10s.

Here are some fun highlights from Zach’s impressive Open win before we wrap things up:

Zach’s caddie, Damon Green just seems like a blast doesn’t he? Almost like a caddie version of 1982 Masters champion, good ol’ Craig Stadler. A fun loving ‘WALRUS!” (In Marv Albert voice).

Some might have thought that Zach was leaving Damon hanging but I think he was just being respectful as Louis missed the putt to extend the playoff. Still a funny moment.


Seeing this almost made me choke up as well. A win like this seriously couldn’t of happened to a better guy.

So what’s going to happen for guys like Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, and Louis Oosthuizen moving forward? We already know Jordan will just continue to win and make a mockery of courses everywhere (Rory, look out!) and it wouldn’t really shock me if he won the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits but am not making predictions yet.

Louis has seemed to found a zone again that won him his only major in 2010 at the Open Championship, also at at St. Andrews. One of the longest hitters in the game, and a solid recovery player, Louis could definitely make some noise for the third straight time at a major at the PGA.

From there? It’s anyone’s guess but Louis seems like he’ll be back to contending for another major again and he very well could do it.

So, what about Jason Day and Dustin Johnson? Both have played some terrific golf in majors yet just can’t seem to win it.

DJ’s major losses clearly eclipses Jason’s losses as DJ a few times has had the major in the palm of his hands and drop into the sand bunkers filled with scorpions, spiders and snakes (Eeeh!). Famously, the longest hitter the game and a very popular player, DJ probably could’ve had two majors right now.

He’s had a remarkable year after some off the course crack issues sat him down last year. He’s won once and finished in the top 10 in The Masters and U.S. Open and had the lead at The Open before falling apart on the weekend.

I’m sure he would like nothing better than to make a redemption at Whistling Straits where he infamously grounded his club in a bunker in which he thought was rough or dirt. This is a perfect time for him to turn on the jets and he’s knows the course.

It’s just a matter of if he let’s the 2010 PGA haunt him or not. He came out of the gate flying at The Open (And he’s off!) after his missed chance at the U.S. Open so who knows, maybe it’s all out of his head. It was five years ago after all..right?

I can see him making another run at Pete Dye’s “Bunker Paradise” though.

So, this leaves us with Jason Day. I’ll tell you right off the bat that he’ll get his.

When that is, I’m not sure but he’ll win a major or two. This dude’s an absolute monster skills wise and the scary thing is that he’s really started to figure it out with strong finishes at both the U.S. Open and Open Championship.

There’s nothing he sucks at. His only weakness is driving accuracy but he’s top 50 in everything else, including third in driving distance (Apparently, he has jet fuel in his driver) and hit the longest drive this year at 409 yards.

Crazy thing is that he’s not that big. He’s 6’0″ which to some of us is tall but most of the big boppers on Tour are tall such as Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Charlie Bejan and Tony Finau.

All tall dudes. Only exception is Rory who’s only 5’10” but J-Day would probably out-drive the crap out of Rors to be honest.

Does hitting long drives win tournaments? Not exactly but that’s the thing with Jason.

He’s not just a big hitter, he’s kinda good at every freakin’ thing. He’s second in birdie average and 14th in scoring average among key stats.

Will he win the PGA this year? Probably not, but it wouldn’t be a shock if he was competing again. I think he’s contended enough times in majors to not get the “major jitters” and his first real shot at a major was at the 2011 Masters, the same Masters where Rory famously fell apart. Jason finished in second that day.

He’s only 27 and has too much skill in the tank to not have a major soon here.

All of the majors have been absolutely terrific this year and am just as excited as you are about the PGA Championship. One thing I love about the PGA is how unpredictable it is because you never know who’ll win it and could introduce us to knew stars in the making.

Going back to Zach Johnson though; one of the questions that has quietly been going around for at least a year but has picked up steam since is; “Is Zach Johnson a Hall of Famer?”.

With 12 PGA Tour wins and two major titles to his credit I would say yes, but if not, then he’s so darn close. Freddy Couples got in with 15 Tour wins and a Masters win so I think the opportunity is wide open for Zach.

St. Andrews, thank you once again for another great Open Championship. Although it rains a lot in Scotland, the sun always shines bright on you.

And Zach? If there were 10 top five lists of “Nicest guys in golf”, ZJ would be in all of them. As for the HoF, I think he can at least crack open the pearly gates and peak inside the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio as we hop on the ship and sail to Pete “Diabolical” Dye’s Whistling Straits! YAR!


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British Open Championship Prediction

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It’s a special time of the year as the Open Championship is upon us. And there is no better place on earth to host the oldest major than at St. Andrews, the “Home of Golf”.

The world’s oldest golf course, St.Andrews will continue to test the bet golfers in the world with its deadly bunkers, hilliness, and different green slopes. It’s also a hot spot for the long hitters to overpower it.

I’m going to make a quick prediction with who will win this year’s British open. We talk about “power”.

Louis Oosthuizen, who was the last player to win the Open at St. Andrews back in 2010 (A year before fellow South African Charl Schwartzel would win the Masters), and finished runner up with Dustin Johnson at this year’s U.S. Open is considered a powerful driver, and prevailed.

Don’t be surprised to see Louis come in with a great shot at winning. He’s not always on top of the leaderboard but can be a very dangerous player.

He’s in the top 50 in driving distance and greens in regulation. A winning combination.

He’s also not bad in scrambling (recovery), ranking 72nd in the world out of the 800+ players on the PGA Tour. However, problems that could ruin his chances at a St. Andrews repeat are his putting and driving accuracy.

He’s well into the 100s in these categories. He should still be competitive as he seems to remember the course and his solid recovery skills could make up for any errant drives.

Jordan Spieth has obviously been a major topic going into the Open as he goes for the third leg of the rare “grand slam” of golf. Jordan has proven time and time again that putting is critical to winning the big tournaments.

He’s actually a better driver than you might think however, as he ranks in top 100 in driving distance. His putter and recovery ability is why he’s the no.2 player in the world though.

Jordan is in the top 10 in both putting and scrambling. Two things that will play a key role coming out of St. Andrews’ bunkers and putting on its greens.

The pressure shouldn’t be a problem for him to try to get that third straight major. It’s all about how St. Andrews plays and unpredictable Scottish weather.

There are two more golfers I’d like to bring up before making my choice and pick a couple of honorable mentions. Both play very similar styles of golf and one has a major and the other doesn’t (Yet?..).

Let’s start off with two-time Masters champion, Bubba Watson.

Bubba in my mind seems like a golfer who could win three, four or maybe even five Masters tournaments but no other major. A Jimmy Demaret like career which, for ol’ Jimbo included three Masters title and no other major and earned his way into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Bubba, for the most part, seems like he’s on that path. A guy who can play well at Augusta, but can be very quiet in the other three majors.

His best finish in one of the other three majors was a runner up finish in the infamous 2010 PGA Championship at Pete Dye’s Whistling Straits, which involved a Dustin Johnson penalty in which he grounded his club in one of Whistling’s many, camouflaged bunkers (Although there we’re signs posted everywhere saying not to ground the club in any sand). Bubba would ultimately lose in a playoff to Martin Kaymer who would eventually go on to win a Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass and a U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 (Destroying everything in his path).

But I think Bubba has a good shot to turn the tide, and put himself in good position at this year’s Open at St. Andrews. We tend to criticize Bubba for his roller coaster of motions (You listening Universal Studios? New ride for you called “Bubba’s eMotion”) but can’t argue that he’s one of the most  exciting players in the game today.

What’s makes his playing style so fun to watch? His combination of power off the tee and amazing scrambling ability.

Like Jordan, Bubba is a terrific recovery player. In fact, he ranks fifth in scrambling.

Time and time again, Bubba makes our jaws drop with incredible recovery shots and will work well for him at St. Andrews. He’s not an accurate driver at all but makes up for it so well with his recovery game.

All he really needs to do is keep his emotions in check (Sound familiar?). If he tune the “Bubbameter” down to zero, then he could have a strong weekend.

The other gentleman I was talking about is the aforementioned Dustin Johnson who, as you should know by now had famously three putter at this year’s U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, to end up losing to Jordan Spieth. After yet another heartbreaking loss in a major, what is DJ thinking right now?

Does he want revenge? Or will that three putt haunt him?

The longest hitter on the planet right now, DJ has the raw talent to win a major. Many of us have been asking though; when will it happen?

He’s had his share of heartbrakes in majors but I think it’s fair to say that the loss at Chambers Bay was the toughest. He was in fire with the driver but couldn’t get it done with the putter.

To be real with you, I definitely think DJ will come into St. Andrews off the a smoking hot start. I think he’ll go crazy at this thing but do I think he’ll win? I’ll get to that shortly.

He and Bubba are almost a mirror of each other. Both hit the ball a mile, aren’t super accurate, and are both solid scramblers (Bubba’s fifth rank in scrambling still beat’s DJ’s 42nd ranking  which is still very solid in his own right). Other than DJ’s number one rank in driving distance, and his solid 42nd rank in scrambling, it seems that he doesn’t have any other strength…except he’s on of the game elite scorers.

He ranks an incredible third in the world in scoring average, in huge part thanks to his microwave style of play, very similar to that of Jordan Spieth who I call the “Texas Microwave”. DJ has also been very consistent this year, compiling an impressive seven top-10 finishes and a win.

This leaves us with Rickie Fowler, or “Mr. Over Rated” as some might of called him but Rickie has had a real nice season so far winning twice. Both of these wins include a historic performance at the Players Championship, which included three deadeye shots (On Sunday in regulation play and two more in the playoffs against Sergio Garcia and Kevin Kissner) at one of the toughest and most famous holes in the world in TPC Sawgrass’ 17th.

The other win was at the Scottish Open at Gullane which is one of the legendary courses in the world. He beat the always dangerous Matt Kuchar for the title.

Rickie has proven his clutch ability this year and with his two wins this season, he is quickly starting to become one of golf’s shutdown closers. Sure, he has three career wins and not 10, but he’s had his share of top five finishes and in  nearly all of those, he makes you sweat (The one time where YOU might be the worst water hazard on the course).

The thing is about Rickie is that he doesn’t have a “signature” skill per se. His best skill is power off the tee as he is 46th in driving distance and is also fairly accurate as well, ranking 89th in driving accuracy.

Other than those two things, he’s 100+ in every other major category. I think his great sense of course management and ability to be clutch has helped him a lot.

He just won the Scottish Open which was at a links course so it wouldn’t be too much of a shock if he plays well at St. Andrews. As we know, St. Andrews  is probably the most unique layout in the world but it also can play fairly short which Rickie can use to his advantage if he combines power with strong course management from the fairways to the slopes of the greens.

So who do I think will win this year’s Open Championship?

It’s a very tough choice but I think I’ll go with……Rickie Fowler.

Because as mentioned, Rickie figures out ways to play well without any main strength in his game. He wins with good course management and his clutch ability when he’s in the hunt.

He’s also fresh off of a Scottish Open victory and didn’t need to travel far at all to get to St. Andrews. He’s fresh off of a links course experience as well which he’ll take to the Old Course and use to his advantage.

Now, it would be awesome to see Jordan get his third straight major to get the third leg of the grand slam but I think he’ll fall just short to Rickie. Jordan would finish runner up or at least in the top five because he’s way too good.

Louis Oosthuizen will finish in the top 15 at least, in my opinion. I’m sure it’s very easy to remember the course you last won your only major which was only five years ago.

As for Bubba and DJ, like I mentioned before, I think DJ will get off to a hot start and I think it’s anyone’s guess from there. Bubba I think will play well early and have some great highlights but will ultimately make the cut barely.

Some other players to look out for:

Jimmy Walker – He’s the best putter on the planet (numero uno in strokes gained) yet has been fairly quiet in majors. He’s a rare all-around player. Only weakness is his scrambling ability.

Matt Kuchar – who almost won the Scottish Open has a deadly combination of putting, recovery and overall kindness and charm. Don’t be surprised to see Kuch climb the leaderboard this week.

Tiger Woods – Had a solid showing at the Greenbrier but that’s not the point to be honest. He has great familiarity with St. Andrews and he’s one of the two or three greatest course managers of all-time. He’ll do well if he heats the putter up.

Adam Scott – The future hall of famer was oh so close at the Open in 2012 before losing to Ernie Els. He also had a very strong showing at this year’s U.S. Open, finishing tied for fourth, his best U.S. Open finish ever. He’s very powerful off the tee and is a greens in regulation machine.

Tom Gillis – Ahh, good ol’ Tom Gillis. You’re probably like who the f#*& is Tom Gillis? Well, unless you don’t watch golf, Tom was the man who almost won the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run before losing to Jordan Spieth in two playoffs. What helped Tom play so well all week? His deadeye accuracy off the tee and from the fairway. He’s also top 50 in both scrambling and putting. Not bad.

Jason Day – He’s one of the friendliest guys on Tour but is also one of the toughest. Obviously, his gutsy play to finish the 18th hole at Chambers Bay after suffering from vertigo stands out. But he’s by far one of the most dangerous players on the planet. An all-around monster with only a weakness of driving the ball with accuracy. Only thing blocking his monstrous status is a major but he’s so freaking close.

Tom Watson – How about a true swan song for us all Tom?

So there you have it! I chose Rickie Fowler to win the British Open at St. Andrews this year!

Who is YOUR pick(s) to raise the Claret Jug this year? Would love to hear them!

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio! I’ll be tweeting and retweeting a lot about the British Open and the legendary St. Andrews Old Course! I’ll also retweet retweets since that’s a thing apparently!


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A wild end to a terrific U.S. Open

Well, there you have it folks! One of the most highly anticipated U.S. Opens in years has concluded and if anything, concluded in stunning fashion.

The day began with Jason Day and Dustin Johnson leading the tournament. Jason, who had suffered vertigo the day before, showed nothing butbpure toughness throughout despite falling out of the lead.

DJ was en fuego with the driver hitting all of the fairways while in famous Dustin Johnson fashion, booming it a long way. However, his putter was fresh out of the bag ice as he three putter couple of time during the round but despite that, was still in pretty good shape.

Meanwhile, Rory Mcilroy was off to a flaming hot start going -6 which included an incredible 72ft putt. Many thought perhaps Rory would make push for his 2nd U.S. Open title but ultimately finished his day at Even par thanks to a couple of bogies.

Jordan Spieth made a push and would lead the tournament by two shots. I thought it was over then because the “Texas Microwave” is hard to stop when he’s up by a couple of shots.

With a couple of holes left however, Jordan double bogeyed and ended up being tied with 2010 British Open champ Louis Oosthuizen at -4.

Louis had just finished his round when Jordan dropped. Then DJ made a push and he was -4.

It looked like it could’ve been a thre man playoff. Four man playoff if Branden Grace hung on.

But then, Jordan Spieth birdied the 18th at Chambers Bay to take the lead. DJ had other plans and had an excellent chance to win it or send it into an 18 hole playoff on Monday after two glorious shots to reach the green.

He had a chance to win it with an eagle putt but missed that. Then had a great chance to extend the tournament with a four footer but missed that leaving him with a three putt and lose in heartbreaking fashion to Jordan who would capture his second straight major title.

With Jordan’s win, it just shows just how strong the talent in golf is today. Rory Mcilroy and Jordan Spieth have now won all four majors in 2014 and 2015 combined (Rory won the Open and PGA last year while Jordan won the Masters and U.S. Open this year).

As Peter Allis’ parody Twitter account (Also known as Tweeter Allis) said, “splendid”. Splendid indeed.

Everyone wants someone to carry to torch for golf which is why so many fans are desparate about Tiger coming back and playing at his best. Well, I think Tiger can rest easy knowing the young kids like Rory and Jordan are carrying this torch.

Both players are gentleman as well which is very important. Jordan went on to say how DJ should have been hoisting the U.S. Open trophy instead of him.

PGA Tour golfers just don’t say things like that. It’s always “I played great today and was dialed in” without giving any credit to the opponent.

That’s just pure class on Jordan’s part.

The U.S. Open ratings weren’t high this year but it could have simply been the new broadcast team and fans weren’t used to it, causing them not to watch. Besides, if guys like Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcilroy, Dustin Johnson (Currently the top 3 players in the world in no particular order) continue to play at the level they’re playing, golf’s ratings will rise. Just go back to last year’s PGA Championsip.

Remarkable ratings and thia was the PGA which is usually “number 4” and sometimes number five in some fans’ mind behind the Players Championship at the iconic TPC Sawgrass.

Yet, the PGA last year had one of the best ratings in years. That’s a great sign of things to come.

I think the people who only wanna watch Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods are missing out on the greatness we’re witnessing here.

Would I love to see Tiger, Phil, Jordan, Rory, Rickie Fowler and DJ all tied going into the back nine of a major? ABSOLUTLEY and who wouldn’t?

But guys like Tiger and Phil aren’t the only reasons I’m watching. I’m looking for greatness and if guys like Rory and Jordan win again, that to me would be as great as Tiger getting his 15th major or Phil getting his 6th.

Because you’re witnessing the new generation of greatness. I think golf is in awesome shape with the strong roster of talent.

Sure, I think another major for Phil and Tiger would be more important in terms of legacy but seeing the young bucks win is terrific.

It’s a little unfair to guys like Jordan that we continue to talk about Tiger’s struggle or Phil’s runner-ups at the U.S. Open rather than a player who’s on his way to a potential grand slam.

As for Chambers Bay, I think it could be terrific PGA Championship host course as the PGA always has some great tournaments when played on links courses like Kiawah Island and Whistling Straits (Both are Pete Dye designs) which will host this year’s PGA.

Here’s looking forward to what could be an outstanding Open Championship. Don’t be surprised if Dustin Johnson turns St. Andrews into his power playground, especially after that tough loss in the U.S. Open.

The question that’s being asked is, “Will DJ come back with evengance or will the loss haunt him?”. It’s anybody’s guess at this point but if he could put the loss behind him, he could shred the Old Course, especially because he’s proven that he’s good at links courses.

After two great majors this year, it’s to look forward to the oldest major of them all at golf’s oldest course. Should be an exciting one!

St. Andrews is ALWAYS a treat!

Leave your thoughts below on who you think will win at the Open Championship at St. Andrews this year!

You can follow me on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio! I’m talking anything and everything golf as well as golf video games and of course the Open Championship!


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Is Calvin Peete one of the most under rated golfers of all-time?

Peete

Last week, we lost two important and iconic figures in golf. Pete Brown, who was the PGA Tour’s first African-American winner as well as one of the best players to come out of the United Golfers Association (Or some may call, the “Negro Leagues of Golf”) and Calvin Peete who was one of the most dominant players in the 1980’s.

Pete would have a terrific career, winning 14 times globally including his two PGA Tour victories. Both wins weren’t exactly walks in the park either.

He defeated Dan Sikes in 1964 at the Waco Turner Open for his first victory. Sikes would go on to win six times on Tour.

Pete’s second win was even tougher as he defeated Tony Jacklin in a playoff at the Andy Williams-San Diego Invitational (Now known as the Farmers Open) in 1970. Jacklin had won the Open Championship the previous year and would go on to win the U.S. Open the same year Pete defeated him in the San Diego Invitational.

Before his PGA Tour success, Pete had a solid career in the UGA winning the USG (Negro) National Open an incredible four times. He also won the Long Star Open four times.

Pete would go on to be a head teaching pro at the Madden Golf Course in Dayton, Ohio. He was the pro at the hilly course for 20 years.

Pete’s remarkable career brings us to Calvin Peete. Calvin was best known as one of the most accurate players in golf.

He was also famously known for his outstanding victory at the Players Championship in 1985. This is a wonderful time to celebrate Calvin as the Players Championship is upon us as you’re reading this.

Calvin was a self-taught player, much like some of the players you see today such as Jim Furyk and Bubba Watson. He developed his swing and learned how to use course management to his advantage on his way to victory.

Calvin would go on to have an amazing career on the PGA Tour after joining in 1975. It didn’t take him very long to adjust to the new level of golf on Tour.

He would win an impressive 14 times worldwide, 12 on the PGA Tour and twice on the Japan Golf Tour. 11 of his 12 Tour wins were all in 1980’s making him one of the most dominant players of a single decade.

Only Tom Watson and Tom Kite had more wins in the 80’s than Calvin. Watson and Kite are both in the World Golf Hall of Fame.

You ready for this? After Calvin’s first victory in 1979 in the Greater Milwaukee Open in which he won by a convincing five strokes defeating Victor Regalado, Jim Simons and Lee Trevino, he would go on to win a really impressive four times in 1982.

Calvin would once again win the Greater Milwaukee Open in that magical 1982 season, again defeating Regalado. He would then win the Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic by two strokes for second win of the season and his third of his career.

Calvin destroyed the field in his next two wins in 1982, starting with a win at the B.C. Open, defeating 1976 U.S. Open champion Jerry Pate by a whopping seven strokes. The next dominate performance came at the Pensacola Open where also won by seven strokes, defeating Dan Halldorson and Hal Sutton, completing his remarkable 1982 season.

His most dominant statistical season came in 1984. Although he only won one tournament that year (Texas Open), he would go on to win the prestigious Vardon Trophy and Byron Nelson award for having the lowest average score for the year.

Huge names in the sport of golf have won these awards. Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, Lee Trevino, Sam Snead and Billy Casper are among those names.

1985 was arguably the season Calvin will be forever known for. He would win twice on Tour that year, getting a win at the Phoenix Open for his first winning by two shots.

The second win of that year came at the Tournament Players Championship, famously known today as simply The Players Championship. The win has made him a legend in golf’s “5th Major” and TPC Sawgrass alike.

Probably the highlight of his win was the incredible shot he hit on the world-famous 17th hole. He hit a beauty that landed softly on the green, leaving him with an easy putt. He would go on to win by three strokes, defeating Chicago native D.A. Weibring who ironically beat Calvin in the 1979 Ed McMahon-Jaycees Quad Cities Open (Now the John Deere Classic).

He also would lead the Tour in driving accuracy a jaw-dropping 10 years straight. This helped him make two Ryder Cup teams in 1983 at PGA National and 1985 at The Belfry.

In his rookie debut in the Ryder Cup, Calvin would help lift the U.S. to victory with his solid 2.5 point performance including a win in the always high pressured Singles matches. His second appearance at the Ryder Cup in 1985 wasn’t as good as his rookie debut but was still solid getting 2 points for team USA.

The U.S. squad unfortunately would lose to the European team by 5 points.

Arguably, the most accurate player in golf history who has a resume that speaks for itself, Calvin Peete very well could be one of the most under rated players of all-time.

He’s not in the World Golf Hall of Fame. Sure, some may say that he was a major title shy of the Hall.

But couldn’t The Players Championship be a major title? In my eyes personally, it is, and he should be in the hall of fame.

He defeated a field of legends at the Players and no other tournament not named the U.S. Open has a tougher field than the Players. Keep in mind the course he played on.

TPC Sawgrass is by far one of the most iconic golf courses on the planet. Like the Masters, The Players is played at the same course every year which is a unique for a major tournament.

Although it’s the same venue every year, players still seem to have a hard time at it, especially at “Florida’s Amen Corner” of holes 16, 17 and 18. Calvin used his incredible accuracy to beat one of the toughest fields in golf on one of the toughest courses in the world.

Now, if that isn’t major worthy to place him in the Hall of Fame, then I don’t know what is. If The Players Championship was a major, Calvin would have 12 PGA Tour wins including a major which to me is definitely enough for the Hall of Fame, not to mention his Ryder Cup appearances.

This makes us wonder, what if The Players was a major? Would he be in the Hall by now? Could he still get in anyway?

Most hall of famers do have at least one major so if The Players Championship were an official major, I’d say he’s in. Because practically destroying the 1980’s PGA Tour and having a major title under your belt is pretty darn convincing.

One thing’s for sure. We know that with the legacy he left at The Players and with the tournament going on as we speak, Calvin will be forever known as one of the greatest players to ever step foot on Pete Dye’s TPC Sawgrass.

Here’s a video of Calvin’s win at The Players and immediately you’ll see his impressive shot on Sawgrass’ iconic 17th hole:

The short par-3 couldn’t stand a chance.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio


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With Masters Win, Is Jordan Spieth the Best U.S. Golfer?

jordan-spieth-9

One of the more interesting and newer debates in golf just to add to the long list of arguments has been “Who is the best American golfer right now?”. Now, we clearly already know who the best European player is and that would obviously be Rory Mcilroy.

 

But for at least the past year or two, the big question was always “Who’s the best American golfer?”. After winning two Masters tournaments in three years, there was talks of Bubba Watson being that guy to rep the “Red, White and Blue” but inconsistency hasn’t been too kind to the long hitter.

 

So how about the dude who just won the Masters? Is Jordan Spieth the best American golfer on Tour right now?

 

Now, some of you might say “DUH! Of course he is! He’s the number two ranked player in the world!” and that he is. However, it’s still fun to debate and I think consistency plays a big role in this argument.

 

Jordan has been very consistent the last couple of years and it’s great to see a young player like that grab his first major. That said, there have still been some others who have also been quite consistent as well, the only difference is that Jordan has a major now.

 

Matt Kuchar, Patrick Reed, Jimmy Walker and Dustin Johnson have played very well. Specifically Walker and Johnson who seem like they’re towards the top of the leaderboard each week.

 

J.B. Holmes has even come out and looked like his old self on the course which is always nice to see. He’s put together a nice season so far and is now in the top 12 in the World Golf Rankings.

 

With all this said, I still think Jordan is the best American golfer. He’s a unique one as well, using recovery and streaky putting skills to win tournaments.

 

He’s also an excellent closer. Like, he’s a guy I would have out there on the 18th hole to close things out if the Ryder Cup or President’s Cup allowed last-minute substitutions.

 

These are things that make great golfers what they are. If you can sink putts even under the heat of battle, close things out in the final few holes, and get yourself out of trouble in key moments, then you’re a truly great player.

 

It’s not always about bombing it off the tee and Jordan showed us this time and time again. He’s currently the best American golfer on Tour.

 

HOWEVER, this could change quickly if guys like Jimmy Walker or Dustin Johnson win a major this year. The Players Championship, as amazing as a tournament it is and as terrific a course TPC Sawgrass is, doesn’t really count.

 

If guys like Jimmy or DJ win at Sawgrass, then I still think Jordan would be the best American. But those two guys specifically are the closest ones right now to being as good or topping Jordan.

 

And I’m someone who really thinks The Players Championship should be a major.

 

Bubba, as nice of a Masters run he’s had, still just isn’t up to par with the likes of Jordan, Jimmy or DJ, at least THIS year. As good as Patrick Reed has been playing, I’d still take Jimmy and DJ over him any day of the week and that’s not a knock on Patrick, it’s just that Jimmy and DJ are just that good.

 

Sure, Jimmy was quiet in the Masters but you’d be surprised how things can change once the next majors come around. You’ll look at the leaderboard for the U.S. Open and be like “Huh? I don’t remember seeing him at the Masters!”.

 

Plus, Jimmy seems like he enjoys playing on links courses and the U.S. Open as you know will be at the beautiful Chambers Bay (Yes, there is a tree on it called “Lone Fir”, yes, so much “FIR”!). DJ also plays well on these types of courses it seems, like he did at Whistling Straits in the 2010 PGA Championship.

 

He ultimately got disqualified however after the infamous “lies rule” controversy where he hit a shot that he wasn’t supposed to hit. With the PGA Championship back at Whistling Straits yet again, he will definitely look to get revenge on the Pete Dye designed layout.

 

So the best American conversation can really change in a hurry if guys like a Dustin Johnson, or a Jimmy Walker, or a Patrick Reed, or a Bubba Watson win either one of the next three majors this year. The chances of that? Extremely high, especially how well these guys have played.

 

Bubba just needs to be more consistent and put emotions aside. If he does that, he’s one of the most dangerous players in the world, and one of the most exciting.

 

Now, if Jordan wins another major this year, then the title of “Best American Golfer” will remain his for at least a couple more years. Not only that, he’ll be a threat to Rory’s top spot if he does so which can lead to some unbelievable golf down the road.

 

So, at the moment, Jordan Spieth is the “Golf King of America” but it will be so exciting to see how he and the others do at tournaments like The Players, U.S. Open, etc.

 

Here are the current top five American golfers according to the Official World Golf Rankings:

1. Jordan Spieth

2. Bubba Watson

3. Dustin Johnson

4. Jim Furyk

5. Jimmy Walker

Oh, and just for good measure, there are 12 Americans in the top 20. That’s over 50% of the top 20.

 

Sorry Tiger, Phil and Ernie fans but if you don’t love seeing what’s going on in golf right now, then I’ll give you the phone number to the nearest doctor’s office. The golf doctor would like to have a talk with you!

 

Follow me on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio because I’m weird and like golf and video games and stuff!


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