Rory McIlroy, Michelle Wie and Chambers Bay Earn Spots in Alan Shipnuck's Heroes and Zeros
I had a chance to inspect Chambers Bay last week, including a three-hour tour with its auteur, Robert Trent Jones II. It’s gonna be a mind-expanding Open.
The course will feature some of the wildest greens in the history of our national championship and its massive scale—100-yard wide fairways, endless ribbon tees—will accommodate an incredibly varied setup from day-to-day. It doesn’t favor any type of player, per se, just one with a ton of talent, imagination, precision and patience.
A traditional old venue like Winged Foot—narrow fairway, high rough, small, heavily guarded greens—dictates how a player must navigate each hole. Chambers is an expansive canvas that will encourage artistic expression. It can’t get here soon enough.
1. Rory. If his win at the Match Play was a rebuttal to Jordanmania, this masterpiece at Quail Hollow can be interpreted as a rebuke to the Rickiepalooza. So if, say, Patrick Reed takes the Memorial, that’ll pretty much clinch this U.S. Open for McIlroy.
2. The Euro tour. Wentworth is by far the best event this week and, better yet, the suits over there actually understand the value of letting reporters bring fans closer to the action, which is why the tour is allowing Periscope during practice rounds.
3. Minjee Lee. At Kingsmill, the rookie by way of Australia became only the seventh player in LPGA history to win an event before turning 19. Massively impressive, even if by Ko standards Lee is already washed up.
4. Phil. He’s not dead yet! A sporty tie for fourth offers some hope that Mickelson can cobble together enough game to get his heart broken yet again at the Open.
5. Roland Thatcher. Nine birdies, one eagle and no bogies adds up to a very macho 60 at the Web.com’s BMW Charity Classic.
1. Roland Thatcher. But, for the love of Geiberger, how the cuss do you leave a putt for 59 SHORT?!
2. Michelle Wie. I love everything about her and her game…except for her brittleness. Bursitis in Wiezy’s hip led to a W/D at exactly the wrong time as the LPGA season is just about to heat up.
3. The Regions Tradition. The Senior tour “major” (don’t mind the title sponsor!) featured a mistake-filled finale pitting charisma-free Jeff Maggert (below) against low-wattage journeyman Kevin Sutherland. I’m not sure how I accidentally erased it, unwatched, from my DVR.
4. Colorado. The Buffs' led after the first round of the NCAA golf regionals but collapsed with two 300+ rounds and failed to move on to nationals. If only there was some newly legalized way for them to numb the pain upon returning home.
5. Miguel Angel Jimenez. The swashbuckler extraordinaire had a chance to win his national championship but bogeyed the 70th and 71st holes. Something tells me he’ll rally from the disappointment.