Today marks the 19th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, and large portions of the West Coast are being ravaged by wildfires, so it’s a good time to give our thanks to firefighters. Our thoughts are with those who currently find themselves in dangerous situations, and we can only hope for a quick resolution.
Let’s talk some golf.
Bring ’em out
The brutal conditions we saw at the Women’s Open didn’t show up at the ANA Inspiration on Thursday, but the big-name players did. Nelly Korda (66), Madelene Sagström (67), In Gee Chun (67), Danielle Kang (68), Brooke Henderson (68), Lydia Ko (69), Sung Hyun Park (69), Hannah Green (69), Sei Young Kim (69), Brittany Lincicome (69), Georgia Hall (69), Lexi Thompson (70), Anna Nordqvist (70), Nasa Hataoka (70), and Stacy Lewis (70) are all in the top 25 at Mission Hills Country Club. Leaderboard
You couldn’t have asked for a better start to the week! It stinks that we don’t get to watch Jin Young Ko defend her title, but the rest of the ladies stepped up on Thursday. There are plenty of major champions young and old on the leaderboard as well as a few potential underdogs. One of the latter is 17-year-old U.S. Women’s Amateur winner Rose Zhang, who put together an opening round of 71. The stage is set for a memorable weekend in Rancho Mirage.
U.S. Open “rota” debate szn
One week ahead of the U.S. Open, the USGA announced it is opening a “Golf House Pinehurst” in North Carolina. The new location will feature multiple testing facilities, along with a visitor center and museum. But the bigger news is the USGA’s concurrent announcement that Pinehurst No. 2 will become the U.S. Open’s first “anchor site.” The host of the 1999, 2005, and 2014 U.S. Opens is now also on tap for 2029, 2035, 2041, and 2047. Asked whether more anchor sites would be added in the future, USGA CEO Mike Davis said, “I would say yes, with no specificity right now on what those sites might be.”
The notion of a “U.S. Open rota” has been debated for a long time. It still seems unlikely that the USGA will establish a rota as formal as the R&A’s for the Open Championship, but frankly we’re indifferent on the matter. What’s important is that the U.S. Open continues to visit the country’s top courses and present adequate challenges for today’s top players. Our own Garrett Morrison addressed the rota idea in depth last year.
(Addendum: we’re very excited to see majors at No. 2 on a regular basis.)
Russell Knox took the top off the defense during the first round of the Safeway Open in California. He shot a bogey-free 63 to lead by one shot over Sam Burns. Leaderboard
Trey Mullinax leads the Evans Scholars Invitational on the Korn Ferry Tour through one round at Chicago Highlands. Leaderboard
Michael O’Keefe, the actor who played Danny Noonan in Caddyshack, will caddie for New York club professional Danny Balin during two U.S. Open practice rounds at Winged Foot. Full Story from Mark Cannizzaro
Brooks Koepka announced that he will not play at Winged Foot. The 2017 and ’18 U.S. Open champion also withdrew from the Northern Trust last month, ending his 2019-20 PGA Tour season. It appears that his knee injury is more serious than he sometimes makes it out to be.
John Daly revealed to Golf Channel yesterday that he has been diagnosed with bladder cancer. “Well, you know what, I always tell people I’ve lived one hell of a life,” he said. “No matter what happens, I’m not scared to die or anything.” Best wishes to Long John. Full Story from Will Gray
The backboarding at the ANA Inspiration is hard to miss.
The Latest from The Fried Egg
The Fried Egg Podcast, Episode 190: Geoff Ogilvy – Winged Foot, the U.S. Open, and the FedEx Cup Playoffs
Geoff Ogilvy, winner of the last U.S. Open contested at Winged Foot, joins the podcast to preview the 2020 U.S. Open. Andy and Geoff start by discussing the FedEx Cup Playoffs and Geoff’s thoughts on the format. Then they delve into Geoff’s winning effort in 2006 and his predictions for the 2020 edition. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
Shotgun Start: A backboard bonanza, Anchor Site angst, and Tyler Duncan’s tweets
First off, the Shotgun Start is making a wine blend with Smith Devereaux and they could use your creativity in coming up with a name for it. Next, this Friday episode is a stream of consciousness whip around the world of golf. There’s discussion on the “fog” surrounding the Safeway Open, the obscene backboarding going on at the ANA Inspiration, and Phil quickly coming back down to earth after his successful foray on the senior circuit. In news, Andy and Brendan discuss the USGA setting up shop in Pinehurst and also making No. 2 an anchor site for the U.S. Open. They discuss their level of “rota fatigue” and if they could help with oversight at the ball testing facility. Brooksy’s WD from Winged Foot is lamented and the PGA of America POY that does not count the Tour Championship is celebrated. They sign off with a few thoughts on the new 50-event PGA Tour schedule. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.