Jun 19, 2015 | 09:55 am

Bumpy Ride

Perhaps the biggest story to come out of the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay yesterday is the condition of the greens. The blotchy, dried-out surfaces look horrible on TV, but that wouldn't matter if they rolled true. According to a number of players, they don't. Darren Clarke called them the worst major champioinship greens he had ever seen and another player said it was like putting through cauliflower when the poa flowers in the afternoon. Masters champ Jordan Spieth complained that the practice green was a lot faster than the ones on the course, while Sergio Garcia tweeted that "the greens are as bad as they look on TV" and that the U.S. Open "deserves better deserves better quality green surfaces that we have this week but maybe I'm wrong!" Welcome to muni golf, gentlemen!

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Jun 18, 2015 | 06:29 am

U.S. Open: Small Screen Version

It’s finally here. The U.S. Open, probably the most anticipated major championship of the year, starts today. But you have to go to work rather than curl up in front of the big screen for four days? Don’t worry, you can follow the action on USGA apps that are free for the iPhone, iPad, and Android. From your phone or tablet you’ll be able to follow featured groups and holes, watch highlights, see 360-degree coverage, as well as check the leaderboard, call up individual player and hole stats, and watch three channels of live streaming coverage, hole flyover videos, updates, photos, and more. There’s also an interactive spectator map for those lucky enough to be at Chambers Bay. As for the rest of us, make sure those devices are charged. We sure are!


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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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