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Jun 17, 2015 | 08:46 AM

Local Knowledge

The U.S. Open at Chambers Bay near Tacoma, Wash., might not be a home game for Jordan Speith, but it is for his caddie, Michael Greller, 38, a former school teacher who used to caddie at the course during his summers off. Therein lies a story. A former college golfer from Iowa, Greller had moved to the Pacific Northwest and was attending the 2006 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash when he saw one of the competitors, Matt Savage, carrying his own bag and impulsively offered to caddie for him. When Chambers hosted the 2010 U.S. Amateur, Savage recommended Greller to his friend Justin Thomas, a fellow Louisville native, who then passed along Greller's name to Gavin Hall the following year when he came to the Gold Mountain to play in the U.S. Junior Amateur. But Hall tweaked his wrist two weeks before the event and had to withdraw, which led to him caddying for Spieth, another friend of Thomas's. Spieth ended up winning his second U.S. Junior to join Tiger Woods as the only multiple winners of the 67-year-old championship. Spieth then asked Greller to caddie for him at the 2012 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, where the Texan was low amateur. When Spieth turned pro the following year, he approached Greller about joining him on tour. It now seems like a no-brainer, but a lot of good amateurs have failed to make it as a professional. Greller agreed but hedged his bet by taking a one-year leave of absence from teaching. But then that July, Spieth won the John Deere Classic and the rest is history. Two weeks later, Spieth and Thomas attended Greller's wedding on the grounds of Chambers Bay, where they even got to get in a pre-wedding round. Talk about destiny.

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Jun 16, 2015 | 09:07 AM

Wide Open

With two days to go before the start of the U.S. Open nothing seems certain except uncertainty. The pundits are pulling their punches, no one willing to predict whether the winning score at first-time host Chambers Bay will be ten under, even par, or ten over, and there is no clear favorite to take the title. British bookie Ladbrokes has Rory McIlroy at 7-1 and Jordan Spieth at 8-1. Then it’s a jump up to 16-1 for Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, and Justin Rose. Rickie Fowler is at 20-1 and no other player is better than 25-1. The title defender Martin Kaymer is a 40-1 shot while floundering Tiger Woods is at 66-1 (the same odds as Byeong-Hun An). Past U.S. Open Champions Graeme McDowell, Ernie Els, and Geoff Ogilvie get no respect at 100, 150, and 200-1, respectively, and experience with the links brand of golf presented by Chambers doesn’t seem to count for much as Scotsman Stephen Gallacher goes off at 300-1 and veterans Colin Montgomerie and Darren Clarke tip the scales at 1000-1. The real one to beat will be the golf course, a grueling eight-mile walk with several extremely steep hills. This year more than ever, it seems the U.S. Open Champion will be the last man standing.

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Jun 15, 2015 | 06:31 AM

U.S. Open Week Is Finally Here!

Has there been a major championship with as much build-up as this week’s U.S. Open? It's the first time the tournament is coming to the Pacific Northwest, to a new golf course (and quite a wild one, at that!) that’s entirely fescue; plus it's the first big test for the Fox Sports team. That’s a lot to look forward to, so here’s what you need to know about when to watch. (All times Pacific.)

 

Thursday, June 18     9 a.m.-5 p.m.        Fox Sports 1

                               5-8 p.m.                        Fox

 

Friday, June 19         9 a.m.-5 p.m.        Fox Sports 1

                               5-8 p.m.                       Fox

 

Saturday, June 20     11 a.m.-7 p.m.      Fox Sports 1

                               4-7 p.m.                       Fox Deportes

 

Sunday, June 21       11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Fox

                               7-10:30 p.m.               Fox Deportes

 

Monday, June 22       11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.    Fox

Playoff, if necessary   11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.    Fox Deportes

Furthermore, Golf Channel will air more than 60 hours of coverage from Chambers Bay. Along with the daily Morning Drive, there will be Golf Central all afternoon and evening Monday-Wednesday, and then in the morning and late evenings on tournament days. Plus, there’s a Tournament Preview Roundtable show on Wednesday, June 17, from 4-5 p.m.

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Jun 12, 2015 | 09:28 AM

A U.S. Open For You

There’s a lot of pre-tournament talk about Chambers Bay, the municipal course outside Tacoma, Washington, where the U.S. Open will be held next week. Observers and players are calling it quirky, calling it a links, calling it difficult—but if you’re lucky, you can call it yours. “The Chambers Bay Challenge” is a way for you to win a two-night trip to the Open venue for two, plus a chance to win $1 million. Golfers who play at participating courses managed by KemperSports (which also manages Chambers Bay) while the Open is going on June 18-21 and get a hole-in-one on a designated hole will win the all-expense-paid trip. Then, once there, if they make an ace on Chambers’ 17th, they’ll walk away with the million. For more information and to see the list of participating courses, go to kempersports.com.

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