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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WATCH: Zach Johnson Gets a Rare U.S. Open Hole-in-One

How often do you see this at the U.S. Open? Zach Johnson hit one on the ninth hole at Pinehurst. Although he has no chance of winning this year, he hit one of the best shots of the year. Zach is known as one of the game’s best accuracy players possibly only behind Henrik Stenson. What’s better than an ace? Not a lot. Zach nailed it. Watch with open eyes.

This is what accuracy kings do despite their scores. Be sure to leave your thoughts! I’m ALWAYS listening!

Follow me on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio just because.


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Report: Tiger Woods caught in another potential penalty….but nobody noticed, is Tiger a legit cheater?

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Uh Oh, more Tiger troubles are brewing. First, Woods was told when he was asked to break down his own girlfriend’s (Lindsey Vonn) skiing technique, he rudely said “hell no” according to fellow Yardbarker site Sportress of Blogitude which could rub Lindsey the wrong way and now he might be in trouble for yet another penalty but this time there might actually be a lot of blame on him. On Saturday, during a commercial break of NBC’s coverage of the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, his ball on the 13th green was apparently moved to a different spot from where it was before the break. Golf pro and NBC broadcaster, Notah Begay III noticed the situation and explained it.

“Tiger was walking around reading his putt, had already set it down. It was sitting there for quite some time, and, as he stooped in behind it, the ball kind of tipped over, so I think they need to figure out whether he needs to replace it or play it from where it lies.” Begay said according to Yahoo! Sports.

Studio announcer Roger Maltbie quickly shot back: “I believe the question is if he’s done nothing to cause it to move” according to Yahoo! Sports.

Since the World Challenge is practically an exhibition tournament, there weren’t that many cameras available in NBC’s arsenal not to mention the commercial break came up which interfered a bit. Either way, it looks like Tiger could expect more criticism and opinions from writers all over for this incident. The only thing I think that can save him is the fact that again this was only an exhibition at best and not a major or a big tournament like The Players Championship or BMW Championship. At the same time it is his tournament so that’ll give many writers something to talk about. It’s very interesting though. Makes you wonder if he moved the ball or not. The key question I think would be is was there any breeze in the air that could have possibly moved the ball? If not, then I have a feeling that Tiger might have moved it.

If he did in fact move it then he won’t be able to whine about this one as people will probably pound him for it except for the Tiger heads. One thing I learned from being a big sports fan rooting for a favorite team or golfer is that you should always think with your head and not with your heart if you want to be taken seriously. What I mean by that is to the die-hard Tiger Woods fans, be honest with your opinion on this if you think he moved the ball or not, don’t just go straight into defense mode. Being honest is thinking with your head. You can say he didn’t move it but just don’t say because he’s Tiger and you want to defend him. I know it’s tough but I know you can do it! Just take a deep breath and exhale! Myself, I’m not sure, I’ll let it play out and feel free to join me in doing so friends.

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WATCH: Zach Johnson makes a shot that needs to be seen to believe considering the circumstances

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On Sunday, Zach Johnson won the last Northwestern Mutual World Challenge being played at Sherwood Country Club in a playoff against none other than Tiger Woods. How did “ZJ”get into the playoff you ask? Well, I’ll let this little video below tell you the story. Just remarkably clutch. Video courtesy of PGATOUR.com.

Wow, just unreal. To handle that type of pressure and hitting that amazing shot is simply impressive. This is a prime example that we love sports. You’re playing against the current best golfer in the world at HIS TOURNAMENT and you come out of nowhere to tie him on that incredible shot to get into a playoff and then to win it was the icing on the cake. Not only was it a great shot but it was nearly spot on and all was left was a tad bit of backspin as it rolled into the cup. It was only fitting that Zach Johnson who is arguably one of the most accurate hitters in golf history nailed that shot. Way to go homie! You just earned yourself a golf clap and a cookie! Let me know what you guys thought about the shot!

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Team USA Captain Couples Says Johnson is Good to Go

Zach Johnson, arguably the best control player on Tour is ready to go for this year's President's Cup.

Zach Johnson, arguably the best control player on Tour is ready to go for this year’s President’s Cup.

 

After Zach had suffered the flu, President’s Cup team USA captain Fred Couples says that Zach Johnson is ready to go and ready to help lead team USA to victory. Many wondered if Zach would be ready after suffering his flu like symptoms and now many American fans can rest easy now as arguably the king of accuracy is back on the course. Now, some people may think that he’s not a big part of the team but for one, you hope the guy is alright and two, he is a HUGE part of the team because although the US squad is loaded, you would have been missing your best control player and it’s very important to have a great control player in a team event. Without a great control player, your team will have to rely and power and that’s not always what you want.

You want guys who guaranteed fairways and greens on almost ever swing and that’s what Zach’s capable of doing. `He’s also a very solid putter and keep make birdies at will and when you have that on your team, the chances of you winning are even greater. So, having him on the team will be a plus against a young International team that although on paper, doesn’t look good, can potentially give a solid fight against team USA and it helps when you have Adam Scott, Ernie Ells, Angel Cabrera and the ever dangerous Jason Day on your team so I don’t think the International team will go down easy so that’s why having Zach for team USA is a boost. Freddy didn’t see Zach but did talk to him a few times and says that he’s OK so that’s a good sign plus, Zach told Freddy that he wants to head to the course and work on his chipping and putting and that’s a great way to start practicing.

It’s always best to start around the greens because it’s the most important aspect of the game because it can save you from total disaster if you hit a bad tee shot and have to hit a good recovery shot to reach the green. So, when you reach the green, you can get out of there with a par or bogey rather than a double or triple bogey. So, now that team USA is at full strength, will they run away with this year’s President’s Cup or will it be a battle? Let me know in the comments section and please share this post if you enjoy it! Here are the full President’s Cup rosters: http://back9network.com/article/2013-presidents-cup-rosters/ Keep it real all, from Chicago with love.


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PGA Tour 2013: And the Winner of the BMW Championship is…..

Nick Watney Hitting a Shot From the Fairway During Sunday's Round at the BMW Championship.

Nick Watney Hitting a Shot From the Fairway During Sunday’s Round at the BMW Championship.

Zach Johnson Holding the Trophy After a Fantastic Display of Golf on Sunday at the BMW Championship.

Zach Johnson Holding the Trophy After a Fantastic Display of Golf on Sunday at the BMW Championship.

Accurate golfers have been the hot players at this year’s BMW Championship as we’ve seen Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson dominate the field but only one can come out on top. Many, including myself thought Jim Furyk had a legitimate chance to pull it out but it was former Masters champion Zach Johnson who came out victorious. Zach showcased his amazing accuracy off the tee and in the fairway as he is known for and finished strong with a 16 under par win. Behind him, almost coming out of nowhere was Nick Watney who finished with an amazing 7 under score for the day. Nick, who’s one of the more powerful hitters off the tee showed a great display golf which could have easily been his victory. Watney is also one of the best on Tour when it comes to hitting the greens from the fairway as he is 13th on Tour in that category and he was certainly taking advantage. I think Zach just handled the pressure better which he can do at times and being a player as accurate as he is definitely helps a lot. Zach was on fire all day and finished with a terrific 65 on the day while Watney shot a phenomenal 64.

Johnson looks to have the edge going into the Tour Championship after his stellar performance and to knock off a streaking Jim Furyk. Watney will also hae some moment as he had the best round of the day despite coming up short of the victory and Watney may have slightly more tools in the bag as he too is fairly accuarte and he has a little more pop in his driver however one main advantage that Johnson has over Watney is his putting. Watney is not very good on the greens but his accuracy with his ions and wedges help him get close enough to the cup for an easy putt but if he has a long putt then it could be trouble for him. Johnson has a much better chance to make putts from 20 or more feet out and that’s a huge advantage to go along with his incredible accuracy. Jim Furyk ended up collapsing, finishing with round of 71 falling three shots back of Johnson. So, the Tour Championship should be fun as there should be a ton of blood (Or Coca Cola) thirsty players looking to reedeem themselves after having a shot at the BMW. You can view the full BMW Championship leaderboard by clicking here, courtesy of Fox Sports.


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Three Cheers for the Red, White and Boo!

Boo Weekley, Your 2013 Crowne Plaza Invitational Champion and 2008 Ryder Cup Hero

Boo Weekley, Your 2013 Crowne Plaza Invitational Champion and 2008 Ryder Cup Hero

Once, a beloved Ryder Cup hero, pulled off a victory at Colonial for his third career PGA Tour victory. Doesn’t seem like a lot but he has been finishing fairly strong in tournaments throughout his career so he could have won at least two or three more tournaments. He’s a very good golfer and has great touch around the greens. He’s not a great putter but his approach from 200 yards out is terrific as he ranks 20th on the PGA Tour in that category. If his recovery and putting skills can improve then he will win many more tournaments on Tour but those are arguably the two most important skills to have and he doesn’t have them right now but is very good in every other area. Although his putting as a whole isn’t the best, his putting out of 25ft is phenomenal.

He’s a terrific ball striker and hits his irons and wedges well. He’s also extremely accurate off the tee and the more fairways he hits the more he’ll take advantage of his incredible Ball Striking skills. He’s 4th on Tour in Ball Striking and 18th in Driving Accuracy Percentage which shows how good of a player he is. Despite only having three wins, he is easily one of the most under rated players on Tour. He’s nearly masterful at skills a lot of other players don’t have. His putting just isn’t up to par. If he was a much better putter then he would be very dangerous on Tour. He’s 185th on Tour in Putting/Strokes Gained.

If his putting is improved then he could rise up in the ranks on Tour unless other skills start to fall off but when a player’s Accuracy and Ball Striking is as good as Boo’s, it’s almost impossible not to finish in the top 25 almost every tournament. He’s also terrific with Eagle opportunities, he’s 3rd on Tour with eight Eagles this season. He defeated another very accurate player and defending champion in Zach Johnson and an all around player in Matt Kuchar who then was the highest ranked player in the field. He’s finished in the top 10 three times this year, ranking tied for 8th, tied for 6th and 2nd respectively. The Tampa Bay Championship, where he finished 2nd, could have been his third victory before his victory at Colonial but just came up short.

He also has never finished worse than 70th all season with the exception of two missed cuts, one being at the Sony Open at the beginning of the season and one just last week at the HP Byron Nelson Championship ironically. So keep an eye out for Boo this year, although he’s still a very popular player, he’s an under rated player this year so keep an eye out because his latest victory in five year could be a momentum booster and the season is still fairly young.


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