Archive for June, 2019

The Open 2019 – Will American’s continue to dominate…

Friday, June 28th, 2019

Brooks Koepka - the Open 2019 - The Social GolferWith only a few weeks until The Open 2019, we look at the continued domination of Golf Majors by the Americans and discuss if the trend is set to continue into this year’s tournament…


Looking ahead to The Open 2019 – The stats…

When Gary Woodland birdied the 18th at Pebble Beach a few weeks ago he did more than secure his first career major.

Woodland’s lengthy putt brought all four men’s majors back into American hands.

It’s a quite unusual spell of dominance from the US players which hasn’t been repeated for several decades.

A victory for an American at The Open 2019 Championship in July will make history but will it happen?

Not since 1982 have all four men’s golf majors in a calendar year been won by players from the same country.

Craig Stadler, Raymond Floyd, and two Tom Watson titles secured American dominance that year.

The game is very different over 35 years later but it seems as if the US superiority has returned.

It caps an unusual run of wins which was continued by 35-year-old Gary Woodland who secured his first major.

It was an impressive final round for Woodland.

The Kansas-born golfer hadn’t made the top ten of a major championship prior to his weekend at Pebble Beach.

A second-round 65 gave him the lead over his rivals which held out until Sunday morning.

Englishman Justin Rose teed off in second-place with PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka not too far behind.

Koepka birdied four of the first five holes to go joint-second with Rose at -11.

The 12th proved an important hole with Koepka failing to take advantage of Woodland’s bogey and remaining one behind.

The eventual winner survived this mid-round stumble to push clear of the pack with a birdie on 14.

A lengthy cross-green pitch gave him confidence on 17 before Woodland sealed the win on the final hole.

“Once the putt on 18 went in, I let it come out of me, it’s special to win here at Pebble Beach

“I probably feel more nervous now than I was all day today”

“I really felt good all week”.

We’ve been preparing for this, we’ve worked hard”

“It’s obviously uncomfortable to be in the lead at a major, but I am trying to enjoy being uncomfortable! I tried to enjoy the pressure and really thrived on it”.

“Rosey’s a good buddy, so playing with him helped me. And Koepka, what he’s done lately is unbelievable. He got off to a hot start, and I was just trying to keep that cushion”

Woodland is right about Koepka.

His countryman has been on an incredible run of results in majors lately.

Koepka has won the last two US Open Championships.

The last man to do that was Curtis Strange back in the 1980s and a time of American dominance.

Some things remain the same as we enter another round of US superiority in men’s majors, with 9 of the last 11 men’s major titles have been won by Americans.

Koepka has four of them but the variety is impressive.

Woodland joined Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, and Tiger Woods in that list of recent winners.

Francesco Molinari’s 2018 Open win and Sergio Garcia’s success in the 2017 Masters at Augusta National were the sole successes for the rest of the world.

Gary Woodland - the Open 2019 - The Social GolferLooking ahead to The Open 2019 – The Favourites…

But will that continue in July?

The tour heads to the United Kingdom and the Open 2019 Championship in July.

The 148th edition of the tournament will take place at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.

Taking into account the above, its no surprise that Koepka is the early favourite to lift the Claret Jug at 15/2 on Betway as of 25 June.

Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy is in second at 9/1 and cannot be counted out on home soil.

The recent major winners will continue to threaten.

Tiger Woods cannot be dismissed after his US Masters victory but the American dominance goes beyond that.

Seven of the top ten ranked men’s golfers are American with Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele joining their countrymen.

The pair turned pro this decade but both are already challenging the leaderboard.

Schauffele looks on the cusp of his first major with three top-five finishes in his last five.

The 148th Open 2019 Championship will be as fiercely contested as ever.

Recent history suggests the Claret Jug is heading back across the Atlantic with a spell of real American dominance.

Nine of the last 11 men’s majors have been won by golfers from the United States.

Gary Woodland will want to add to his victory on Pebble Beach but he faces a tough field dominated by countrymen.

Brooks Koepka, Tiger Woods, and Dustin Johnson won’t be far behind, as will Rory McIlroy on home soil.

If this continues then the Americans should have a decent Ryder Cup team next year!


By Ian Mullins

 

Pebble Beach Golf Club – US Open 2019…

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Pebble Beach Golf Club - The Social GolferToday the third of 2019’s Golf’s major begins, with this year seeing the tournament return to Pebble Beach Golf Club for the first time since 2010.

Back then Tiger was about to enter the wilderness and it was Graeme McDowell who ended the week victorious!

However, let us take a closer look at the club and the course!

Pebble Beach Golf Club – The History…

Universally heralded as one of the finest and premier Public Course in the US.

Pebble Beach has hosted the US Open event on five previous occasions.

Previous winners include…

2010 – Graeme McDowell

2000 – Tiger Woods

1992 – Tom Kite

1982 – Tom Watson

1972 – Jack Nicklaus


However, here’s what the Pebble Beach Golf Club website said about its own history…

Pebble Beach Golf Club – The 20th Century…

February 1919 – In the early part of the 20th century, Samuel F.B. Morse is challenged with making the Pebble Beach area an attractive real estate investment in order to find a buyer.

He decides to create a one-of-a-kind golf course with unsurpassed beauty and an element of difficulty that will always be challenging.

Morse utilizes the extraordinary talent and vision of two great amateurs, Jack Neville and Douglas Grant, to design the course, and Pebble Beach Golf Club officially opens on February 22 1919.

Making 2019 its 100th birthday!

December 1926 – Del Monte hosts the 1926 Monterey Peninsula Open on Pebble Beach Golf Links, putting up a $5,000 purse and attracting most of the top golfers—professionals and amateurs (However, we’re not sure if there were any high handicappers involved!)

Harry “Light Horse” Cooper of Texas wins with a 72-hole score of 293, five over par.

September 1929 – Pebble Beach hosts its first “Major”: the U.S. Amateur.

Field favourite Bobby Jones ties for medalist honours but loses his first 18-hole match.

Minnesota’s Jimmy Johnston beats the field with a 4 & 3 win in the final 36-hole match against Oscar Willing.

August 1935 – In the heart of the Depression, Pebble Beach Golf Club hosts the California State Open after a long hiatus.

Pebble Beach head professional Cam Puget wins the event on his home course, pocketing the $300 first place money.

Pebble Beach hosts the event again in 1936 and 1948.

September 1940 – The USGA returns to Pebble Beach for the 1940 U.S. Women’s Amateur, which is won by defending champion Betty Jameson.

The USGA also schedules the 1942 U.S.

Men’s Amateur for Pebble Beach Golf Links, but it was cancelled due to World War II.

January 1947 – The Bing Crosby National Pro-Am golf tournament is played for the first time at Pebble Beach (after being played for six years at Rancho Santa Fe before World War II).

September 1947 – The U.S. Amateur returns to Pebble Beach and is won by Skee Riegel.

September 1948 – The U.S. Women’s Amateur returns to Pebble Beach. It is won by Grace Lenczyk.

April 1950 – Among the first of the tournaments of the newly formed LPGA is the Weathervane Transcontinental Women’s Open, which is won by Babe Zaharias at Pebble Beach in 1950.

It returns in 1951 and is won by Patty Berg.

Pebble Beach Golf Club - The Social Golfer v2

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January 1958 – For the first time, television covers the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am.

Bing Crosby hosts the broadcast of the final round live from the 18th green.

September 1961 – Pebble Beach again hosts the U.S. Amateur, attracting one of the top international showings to date, as it follows just weeks after the Walker Cup is held in Seattle.

Jack Nicklaus sees Pebble Beach Golf Links for the first time and decides he likes it—defeating Dudley Wysong 8 & 6 in the final match.

June 1972 – Pebble Beach Golf Links hosts its first U.S. Open golf championship.

After defeating Johnny Miller in the 1972 Crosby, Jack Nicklaus returns to Pebble Beach and wins the U.S.

Open by 3 strokes with a 2-over par 290.

August 1977 – The Company hosts its first PGA Championship tournament. Lanny Wadkins wins on the third hole of sudden death.

June 1982 – The U.S. Open is held at Pebble Beach Golf Links for the second time.

It features the battle between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus and the most talked about shot in golf.

Watson needs birdie to win but completely misses the 17th green.

To accomplish his mission, he sinks his legendary chip shot. He also birdies 18 and defeats Nicklaus by two strokes with a 6-under par 282.

January 1986 – The Crosby Clambake becomes the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament.

November 1988 -The 2nd Annual Nabisco Golf Championships—which in 1991 became The Tour Championship—brings the top 30 golfers to Pebble Beach.

A rain-delayed final round ends with Curtis Strange and Tom Kite tied; Strange wins on the second playoff hole and becomes the first golfer to win more than $1,000,000 (lifetime) on the PGA Tour.

June 1992 – Pebble Beach Resorts hosts the U.S. Open for the third time.

Under brutal winds, Tom Kite shoots an incredible par round and wins his first major with a 3-under 285.

November 1998 – Pebble Beach Company constructs the new 5th hole of Pebble Beach Golf Links, as designed by Jack Nicklaus.

August 1999 – The 99th U.S. Amateur Championship becomes the ninth USGA championship held on Pebble Beach Golf Links and the first to also use Spyglass Hill for the medal-qualifying rounds.

In the final, Tennessee’s David Gossett defeats South Korea’s Sung Yoon Kim 9 and 8.

Pebble Beach Golf Club – The 21st Century…

June 2000 – The U.S. Open returns for the 100th playing of the championship.

Tiger Woods captures the trophy, besting his nearest competitor by 15 strokes and tying the lowest 72-hole score ever in the national championship.

July 2001Golf Digest ranks Pebble Beach Golf Links as the No. 1 Golf Course in America—the first time a public course has been so honoured.

June 2010 – The U.S. Open Championship returns for the fifth time to Pebble Beach Golf Club.

Furthermore, a number of course enhancements—all under the direction of legendary Arnold Palmer—are completed to strengthen player appreciation, heighten the challenge and exceed guest and championship expectations.

In a championship where a score of par is the most meaningful, the then 30-year-old McDowell posts an even-par 284 for the 72 holes.

He becomes the first European winner since England’s Tony Jacklin in 1970.

Pebble Beach Golf Club – The Future…

Regardless of who comes out top this weekend, you can be sure Pebble Beach Golf Club will continue to be at the forefront of world golf with future events including a first U.S. Women’s Open in 2023.

In addition, it will host a seventh U.S. Open in 2027.

Furthermore, every February, the PGA Tour visits for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, a tradition that began in 1947.

 


Pebble Beach Golf Club US Open – Who’s your money on…

As with previous TSG articles on Golf’s majors, it’s always good to see who the favourites are and this year we have Tiger back in the mix!

Whilst his odds are much improved since his win at The Masters and given he has won here before, it could be argued he should be the favourite.

However, the betting at the time of going to press is as follows…

  • Johnson, Dustin – 7/1
  • McIlroy, Rory – 8/1
  • Koepka, Brooks – 10/1
  • Woods, Tiger – 11/1
  • Cantlay, Patrick – 18/1
  • Fowler, Rickie – 20/1
  • Spieth, Jordan – 20/1
  • Rose, Justin – 25/1
  • Schauffele, Xander – 25/1
  • Thomas, Justin – 25/1

Obviously, these odds are pre-tournament but there are many providers of live betting odds too, just search Google.

In the meantime, we look forward to watching the field compete on some of the best greens in the world!

UK TV coverage is available via Sky Sports.

Enjoy!


By Ian Mullins

 

Golf Rules in 2019 – Major changes made…

Sunday, June 9th, 2019

The Social Golfer - The Rules of Golf in 2019 2Did you know there were major changes to the Golf Rules in 2019?

After much debate over the last few years, the governing bodies sat down and made some drastic changes to the rules of golf.

But which ones were adopted by the R&A and which were made into ‘Local Rules’?

In addition, it is your job to know these rules and ignorance is not a defence!

Here’s a rough guide to the golf rules in 2019…

 


1. Golf rules in 2019 – When things happen to your ball in play…

– Ball at rest accidentally moves when you are looking for it.

There is no longer a penalty

– Marking your ball, you accidentally move it or the marker

There is no longer a penalty

– Replacing a moved or lifted ball (i.e. identifying your ball)

Ball is placed in the estimated spot not dropped

– Ball in motion hits a bag, club, cart etc

There is no longer a penalty (Ball is played from where it stops)

– Ball is double hit when a stroke is played

There is no longer a penalty

 


The Social Golfer - The Rules of Golf in 2019 22. Golf rules in 2019 – Taking relief…

– Drop in a specific drop zone or as near to a relief area as possible

– Ball is dropped from knee height

– Ball comes to rest within the club length or relief from the drop, if it does not after two attempts it is placed.

– Club length must be measured by the longest club in your bag.

– Searching for your ball is limited to 3 minutes.

– Any ball embedded (in the general playing area) may be lifted (but not cleaned).

– If you are taking relief you may change your ball

 


3. Golf rules in 2019 – Areas of the course…

– If a ball is blown by the wind or other, it can be replaced in its original spot.

– A player may repair any damage they see on the green, including spike marks.

– A player can now touch the line of the intended putt.

– A player can now putt with the flag in while on the green.

– Hazards Red and Yellow are now known as ‘Penalty Areas’.

– Players can now remove any debris they find in a ‘Penalty Area’.

– Relief from all ‘Penalty Area’s’ can be lateral if it is unreasonable to go back behind the ‘Penalty Area’. This may need a local ruling.

– Opposite side relief is now removed, so if your ball clears the ditch water hits the bank and fall back into the water. You take a drop within two club lengths from the marked Penalty Area

N.B. The R&A concluded you CANNOT drop for ‘3’ when you hit your ball Out of Bounds (from the Tee Box) unless a ‘local rule’ has been set at the Golf club at which you are playing. TSG has decided to accept this rule on social games BUT not at TSG Major events!

 


4. Golf rules in 2019 – Bunkers…

– Removal of special restrictions on moving loose impediments: 

There is no longer a penalty if you touch or move loose impediments in a bunker.

– Relaxed restrictions on touching the sand with your hand or club when your ball is in a bunker: 

You are now prohibited only from touching the sand (1) with your hand or club to test the condition of the bunker, (2) with your club in the area right behind or in front of the ball or (3) when making a practice swing or the backswing for your stroke.

– New unplayable ball relief option

For two penalty strokes, you may take relief outside the bunker by dropping a ball back on the line from the hole through where your ball was at rest in the bunker

 


5. Golf rules in 2019 – Damaged clubs…

– Use of damaged clubs:

You may keep using any club that is damaged during the round, no matter how it happens (for example, even if you damaged it in anger).

– A player may not replace a damaged club unless the player was not responsible for the damage

Current rule:  A player may replace a damaged club if it is “unfit for play” and was damaged in the “normal course of play.”

 


The Social Golfer - The Rules of Golf in 2019 2

6. Golf rules in 2019 – Damaged Ball…

– Substituting another ball for a cut or cracked ball:

You may substitute another ball if your ball in play on a hole has become cut or cracked while playing that hole; but you are no longer allowed to change balls solely because the ball has become “out of shape.”

 


7. Golf rules in 2019 – Other equipment…

– New rule: The use of DMDs (Distance Measuring Devices) is allowed unless a Local Rule has been adopted prohibiting their use.

 


8. Golf rules in 2019 – Advice and help…

– A caddie is not allowed to deliberately stand on or close to the extended line of play behind a player while the player is taking his or her stance until the stroke is made.

– A caddie may lift and replace the player’s ball on the putting green without the player’s specific authorization to do so

 


Did you know there were major changes to the Golf Rules in 2019?9. Golf rules in 2019 – Pace of play…

– Recommends that a player takes no longer than 40 seconds when set to make their shot.

– ‘Ready Golf’ is encouraged but only when it is safe and reasonable to do so.

– A new “Maximum Score” form of stroke play is recognized, where a player’s score for a hole is capped at a maximum score (such as two times par, a fixed number or net double bogey) that is set by the Committee.

 


10. Golf rules in 2019 – Playing in the spirit of the game…

– Explains and reinforces the high standards of conduct expected from players and gives Committees the discretion to disqualify players for serious misconduct.

– Committees are given authority to adopt their own code of player conduct and to set penalties for the breach of the standards in that code.

– When a player has good reason to mark and lift a ball to identify it, check for damage or see if it lies in a condition where relief is allowed (such as to see whether it is embedded), the player is no longer required first to announce to another player or his or her marker the intent to do so or to give that person an opportunity to observe the process.

– When determining a spot, point, line, area or other location under a Rule, a player’s reasonable judgment will not be second-guessed based on later evidence (such as video review) if the player did all that could be reasonably expected under the circumstances to make an accurate estimation or measurement.

 


By  Paul Houghton

 

For more information on the rules of golf visit – www.randa.org/en/rulesoverview