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Jun 06, 2013 | 10:10 AM

A Different Shade of Green at Pinehurst

While all eyes will be on Merion Golf Club and the playing of the 113th U.S. Open next week, the folks at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club are in full prep mode for the hosting of the 2014 U.S. Opens—men's and women’s—in consecutive weeks. The resort is sticking with the current bentgrass green surfaces on its fabled No. 2 Course, which was extensively restored by Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw in 2011. However, the greens have been converted on No. 8, which is currently closed and will reopen in July, to ultradwarf bermudagrass, a heat-tolerant varietal that can stand up to high summer temperatures in the North Carolina Sandhills. The resort’s No. 3 Course will close in August and reopen in October after its greens are resurfaced. After the wear and tear of two consecutive national championships, the turtleback putting surfaces on Pinehurst No. 2 will be converted to ultradwarf bermudagrass in July, 2014.

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Jun 05, 2013 | 10:53 AM

Merion Fore! Cast

Just who will win the U.S. Open at Merion next week and how low the winning score will be depend more on Mother Nature at this point than Mike Davis, the USGA Executive Director and setup man. Superintendent Matt Shaffer says that an inch of rain fell Monday night but the 10-day forecast looks good, which should lead to the firm and fast conditions everyone is hoping for. One forecast we can count on is tight fairways (just 22–25 yards wide), deep rough, and fast greens. Just how deep and fast we won’t know till next week, but one difference at this year’s Open is that there won’t be a first cut of rough that has been one of Davis’ trademark. The start of the rough will contain a "bevel cut," however, that will make a shot at the edge of the fairway more playable.

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Jun 04, 2013 | 09:22 AM

Longest Day Recap

The highlights from Monday’s final stage of qualifying for the U.S. Open:

  • At the main qualifier in Ohio, Charlie Hoffman bounced back from an 81 on Sunday at the Memorial with a 65-68 to take medalist honors, while at 9:02 p.m., Luke Guthrie sank a five-footer on the third playoff hole to eliminate Mike Weir, Steve Flesch, and Jason Kokrak.
  • In Maryland, Lee Janzen was disqualified for wearing steel spikes. (Two of the 11 qualifying sites allowed spikes, nine didn’t—and the USGA claims to champion one set of Rules for all?)
  • D.A. Weibring’s son Matt led the qualifiers in Dallas, but at other sites illustrious offspring weren’t as fortunate: Steve (Hale) Irwin, Andy (Johnny) Miller, and Case (Russ) Cochran all fell short, while the saddest story was Arnold Palmer’s grandson Sam Saunders, who missed by one stroke after his second round included a missed four-inch putt.
  • In Memphis, Scott Langley’s ace helped him punch a ticket to Merion.
  • 54-year-old Jay Don Blake was the medalist at St. Louis, while 18-year-old Gavin Hall tied for first in New York (birdieing his final four holes).
  • Five major champions will not be adding to their trophy cases next week: Davis Love III, Ben Curtis, Justin Leonard, Todd Hamilton, and Trevor Immelman.
  • The “How Did He Get to the Final Stage?” award went to Austin Amaya, whose 90-83—173 brought up the rear in California.
  • In Texas, Ryan Palmer and Zack Fischer went 44 holes before darkness ended their playoff for the last spot: This morning, Fischer won on the 12th playoff hole.
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Jun 03, 2013 | 08:26 AM

Golf's Longest Day Is Today

The U.S. Open at Merion doesn’t tee off until next Thursday, but for about 1,000 golfers, it begins today with sectional qualifying. Golf Channel is calling Monday, June 3, “Golf’s Longest Day,” and they are covering it from dawn to midnight with on-site reporting. From Maryland to Washington state, Florida to California, Golf Channel correspondents will be at all 11 qualifying sites reporting on the action, with others hosting from their Orlando-based studios and streaming at GolfChannel.com. If you’re not actually out there competing for one of the fewer than 70 spots still up for grabs at Merion, it’s the most complete way to keep track of who is.

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