19th Hole

Greg Ellis
Great Golf Academy
Goodyear, AZ

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The Lucky Open

The 115th U.S. “LUCKY” Open wrapped up this past Father’s Day and this was the most memorable Open that I can remember. Unfotunenately, this is not for many good memories. Chambers Bay got a “bad rap” and it was not the fault of the grounds crew or facility. They did a great job and did EXACTLY what the USGA wanted done for conditioning the golf course.  In my opinion the USGA should be embarrassed for the way this event was contested on a very poorly conditioned golf course. They had 8 years to prepare for this event and showcase the Pacific Northwest. I am sure this turned off a lot of players from wanting to go to Chambers Bay and blow $300 on greens you don’t even see at the local public golf course with a $35 green fee.

The layout of the golf course was, as Phil Mickelson said, “Interesting”.  Granted, I am a traditionalist and like seeing the tree lined fairways and 6 inch rough. However, I loved the layout and the set-up, other than the flip flop on Thursday and Friday of the par on 1 & 18. All the golf course was mising was a clowns mouth and a windmill to complete the OBSTACLE COURSE. This was goofy golf at its highest level. 

The event could have come down to who is the player that had the fewest bad rolls on the greens or bounces into fescue and bunkers. However, it was interesting, the professionals adapted by Sunday and some of the scores improved. The final 2 hours were riveting and I watched with great anticipation. Jordan Speith, Dustin Johnson and Jason Day were in the hunt all week. Louie Oosthuizen played great for 54 holes and almost pulled it out. Brandon Grace came out of nowhere. Wow…what a finish. If I had to give the USGA any credit, they did set the golf course up for Sunday to showcase the final three holes for a great showdown. They got it right. 

Brandon Grace had the Open locked up and blows it out of bounds on 16 and makes a double bogey. After 16 holes, Jordan Speith was 6 under par and a 3 shot lead, the Open is locked up by Speith now. Jordan blows his tee shot right on 17 and makes double and now a 1 shot lead and let’s Dustin, Louie, and Brandon all back in with one hole to play. By the way, it is the PAR 5 18th. Jordan hit a perfect drive and more perfect second shot to 15 feet for eagle. Two putts for Speith and a one shot lead with one man to dodge for his second major championship. Dustin answered the call with his own perfect drive and perfect second shot. Johnson was 10 feet away from his first major; but it might as well have been 100 feet. Vertigo would not keep Jason Day out of the mix. He was putting on the 72nd hole when he probably should have been done on Friday while battling his Vertigo. Jason was and is amazing. Jason putts first and shows Dustin the line. Dustin steps up and strokes his first putt four feet by. All he has to do is make the come backer and we have an 18 hole playoff on Monday. Not to be. I think Dustin felt the comebacker was automatic and quick hit the second putt. He decelled on the putt and the toe passed through making the putt miss to the left and Jordan Speith is your US Open Champion. While all of the talk following his win should have been about Jordan’s record setting victory, it was about an abysmal job by the USGA and the golf course conditions. By the way, Jordan has a great chance to win the Grand Slam. Stay tuned.

Be sure to tune in to the Bunker to Bunker Golf Show every Saturday morning from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. on Arizona Sports 98.7 fm or on the internet at www.arizonasports.com; click on Sports, click on listen now for more tips and updates on all of the week’s golfing news in the Valley and around the world. Tune in to hear Greg and co-hosts Jim Hill, and/or Marty Monaghan for a comprehensive look at the golf world for the week. 

Greg is also the General Manager at the Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia, in Peoria, AZ. Be sure to visit him and play the only 5-Star rated golf course by Golf Digest – Best Places. Call Greg at 623.328.5100 for a starting time.