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WGT Golf News

  • History of The U.S. Open

    17 Apr 2012

    As we get ready for the 2012 U.S. Open, held this year on The Olympic Club in San Francisco, and virtually on World Golf Tour, we take a look back at the history of this world-renowned championship. 

    The United States Open Championship (U.S. Open) is the second of four major championships in golf, including the Masters, British Open and PGA Championship. It has been conducted by the United States Golf Association (USGA) since it began in 1895. The first U.S. Open was held on the nine-hole course of Newport Golf and Country Club, and played four times in one day (for a 36-hole competition) by ten professionals and one amateur. The surprise winner was Horace Rawlins, 21, the assistant professional at Newport. Rawlins scored 91-82-173 with the gutta-percha ball. The prize money totaled $335, and Rawlins won the $150 first prize. He also received a gold medal and custody of the Open Championship Cup for one year, presented by the USGA.

    In its first decade, the U.S. Open was conducted for amateurs and the British wave of golf professionals coming to the United States. It wasn't until 1913 that the U.S. Open really took off, when Francis Ouimet, a 20-year-old American amateur, stunned the golf world by defeating famous English professionals, Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, in a playoff. Another surge in the championship's popularity coincided with the amazing career of Georgia amateur Bobby Jones, who won the U.S. Open four times (1923, 1926, 1929, 1930). In 1960, Arnold Palmer scored a record comeback win at the U.S. Open when he fired a final round of 65 to come from seven strokes off the lead, cementing his dashing image. Jack Nicklaus' historic assault on the professional record book began when he won the first of his four U.S. Open Championships in 1962, his rookie season as a professional. Nicklaus, who also won in 1967, 1972, and 1980, is one of only four golfers to win four U.S. Opens. The others are Willie Anderson, Bob Jones and Ben Hoga. 

    In more recent years, the current defending champion from Congressional is Rory McIlroy with an impressive eight stroke victory. Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open in 2002, 2002 and 2008, and Retief Goosen in 2001 and 2004. However, the most famous modern U.S. Open champion may be Payne Stewart, who won the title in 1991 at Hazeltine and in 1999 at Pinehurst. Months later, Stewart died in a tragic plane accident at the age of 42, but his famous winning fist-pump is commemorated in a life-size statue overlooking the 18th green at Pinehurst.

    Today, the U.S. Open is staged at a variety of courses each year in mid-June so that the final round is played on the third Sunday, which is Father's Day. In the U.S. Open, noted for being golf’s toughest test, par is always a good score and can often be good enough to win. Normally, an Open course is quite long and will have a high cut of primary rough (termed "Open rough" by the American press and fans), undulating greens (such as at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2005, which was described by Johnny Miller of NBC as "like trying to hit a ball on top of a VW Beetle"), and pinched fairways (especially on what are expected to be less difficult holes). Note that the format of the U.S. Open has changed several times. The USGA extended the championship to 72 holes in 1898, with 36 holes played on each of two days. In 1926, the format was changed to 18 holes played each of two days, then 36 holes on the third day. In 1965, the present format of four 18-hole daily rounds was implemented for the first time. The only break in the U.S. Opens since 1895 was 1917-18 for World War 1 and 1942-45 for World War II.

    To learn more about the 2012 U.S. Open, visit the USGA site for more information, and stay tuned for weekly updates from WGT.


    Photo credit: GETTY IMAGES

  • WGT GOLF UPDATE: Pettersson Wins RBC Heritage by Five Strokes

    16 Apr 2012

    At the RBC Heritage tournament this past weekend at Harbour Town Golf Links, Carl Pettersson fired a 69 for -2 in Sunday's final round, and finished the tournament at -14 to win his fifth PGA Tour title. Pettersson also tied countryman Jesper Parnevik for most ever wins on tour by a Swedish player.

    During the tournament, Pettersson birdied three of the first five holes, opening with a birdie and adding two more on the par-3 #4 and par-5 #5 holes. Just behind Pettersson was Zach Johnson, the 2007 Masters champion, who was the only rival to make a run for the tournament on Sunday. Johnson answered a bogey at the par-3 #7 hole with a birdie at nine, but took another bogey at #10. A birdie at the par-5 #15 allowed Johnson to pull within three strokes of Pettersson, but Johnson bogeyed the #16 and #18 holes while Pettersson parred #17 and #18 to complete the victory five strokes ahead. Johnson posted a 70 in the final round to finish -9, while Colt Knost's chances for his first PGA Tour title fell apart with 74 for a -8 for the tournament.

    Top-ranked Luke Donald needed to finish eighth or better to retain his world ranking, but tied for 37th and will fall behind Rory McIlroy in the official world golf ranking. McIlroy initially secured the #1 ranking in March at the 2012 PGA Honda Classic, where he shot a -12 to win the tournament by two strokes over Tiger Woods.

    Final PGA Leaderboard


    Photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Special Offer on Callaway Golf Balls

    13 Apr 2012

    Get 3 free Callaway virtual golf balls when you buy $10 or more WGT Credits. 

    These Callaway virtual golf balls are your free with this special offer. Buy credits as often as you want during the Heritage Tournament now thru Sunday 4/15. 

    Get Free Callaway Balls

    Callaway's Tour i(z) Vapor Balls are the longest Callaway virtual golf balls giving you more distance on your shots in the tournament. Use your WGT Credits to upgrade your virtual equipment, play in Ready-Go's and paid tournaments, or compete against your friends for credits in Matchplay Challenges, Skins Challenges and the latest Blitz Challenge games.

    *Offer available only to WGT players buying $10 or more WGT Credits 4/12/12-4/15/12, receive 3 free Callaway's Tour i(z) Vapor Ball virtual golf balls.

  • Free Tournament on Harbour Town During Heritage Weekend

    12 Apr 2012

    WGT players can tee it up during the Heritage Tournament on WGT's virtual Harbour Town golf course from Thursday 4/12 thru Sunday 4/15.

    Play Free Tournament on Harbour Town

    This 9 hole closest-to-the-hole tournament is unlimited play, so try as many times as you want for your best score. The Top 70 scores split an expanded pot of 50,000 WGT Credits!

    While you're playing the Harbour Town online tournament this weekend, you can also catch the RBC Heritage Tournament live on television. Now in it's 44th year on the PGA Tour, the Heritage kicks off today in South Carolina. There's just something about The Heritage and Harbour Town and iconic lighthouse…

  • WGT GOLF UPDATE: Bubba Watson Wins 2012 Masters

    09 Apr 2012

    In a heart-pounding sudden death playoff at the 2012 Masters on Sunday, Bubba Watson hooked a shot from the pine straw on No. 10 to defeat Louis Oosthuizen and win his first-ever major golf tournament. Earlier in the day, 2010 British Open champion Oosthuizen produced the first double eagle on the second hole in Masters history, which also launched him into the tournament lead at 10-under. Watson was still four shots back after Oosthuizen made his "albatross" and was able to keep a very good eye on the leader since they were playing partners. On No. 13, Watson made a tricky 6-foot putt that would be the first of four straight birdies. Watson then tied it on No. 16 and after the two made par on No. 17, Watson just missed a 20-foot putt for birdie that led them into the playoffs. In the second hole of the playoffs, Oosthuizen came up short of the green and pitched past the hole, then missed the final putt that could have pushed the playoff to a third hole. In the end, it was Watson's wedge on the second hole that helped him save par and secure his win at the Masters.

    There were several moments that made this year's Masters exciting and spectacular to watch. Peter Hanson had an incredible day on the course Saturday where he birdied five of his last seven holes, shooting seven-under 65 for the day. Hanson finished the tournament 8-under. Phil Mickelson birdied the par-five No. 13 each of his first two rounds, and then buried a 25-foot eagle on the same hole Saturday. Unfortunately, Mickelson essentially took himself out of the tournament with a triple-bogey on No. 4, and finished on Sunday with 8-under as well. Westwood tightened up his game on Sunday with 7 birdies in the final round, but missed several putts and eventually finished 8-under overall.

    Final Masters Leaderboard

  • New on WGT, The Olympic Club, host of the 2012 U.S. Open

    08 Apr 2012

    World Golf Tour is excited to announce the release of The Olympic Club, host of the 2012 U.S. Open!

    You can now play the Virtual U.S. Open Front 9 Challenge with 9 closest-to-the-hole shots on the first 9 holes of The Olympic Club. New this year, both the best score AND one lucky random player will each win $500 USGA gift card prizes.

    They Olympic Club is located in San Francisco and has the honor of hosting five U.S. Open Championships, in 1955, 1966, 1987, 1998 and 2012. Now you can experience for yourself the challenges that the Pros will face during the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club in June.

    The Back 9 Challenge and Full 18 Strokeplay will launch in early May with expanded prizes. Stay tuned for more details on The Olympic Club, U.S. Open and Virtual U.S. Open on WGT over the coming months.


  • New RocketBallz Clubs and Free Rentals During The Masters

    05 Apr 2012

    New TaylorMade Rocketballz virtual golf clubs and free club rentals during The Masters weekend.


    The hottest clubs on the PGA Tour, the new TaylorMade RocketBallz virtual golf clubs, are now available for WGT players.

    Featuring a new driver, wood, rescue, irons and a discounted full set...all with increased distance.

    RocketBallz start unlocking at levels 7 and 26, and the top-performing clubs start unlocking at level 68.


    We're celebrating the first major PGA tournament of 2012 with a special offer for everyone.

    WGT players can rent any virtual club in the Pro Shop for free during The Masters weekend.

    Play with the new TaylorMade RocketBallz, PING G20, NIKE Method 1 Putter or other top virtual clubs, free on WGT from Thu 4/5 thru Sun 4/8.

  • WGT GOLF UPDATE: 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Preview

    03 Apr 2012

    The 76th annual Masters Tournament commences this Thursday, April 5, 2012, on August National, and is considered by many as the most-anticipated Masters in history. While world ranking players are en route for the tournament the week, including last year's winner Charl Schwartzel and No. 1 ranked player Luke Donald, the burning question among golf enthusiasts is whether Tiger Woods will return to major championship form. Woods has had good performances at The Masters in the past, but no official PGA Tour victories in over 2 years, until recently winning his seventh title at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The win, less than a month ago, instantly gave credence to the notion that Woods was once again a favorite for a fifth green jacket. Watch Tiger Woods tee off on Thursday at 10:35 a.m. ET.

    World-ranked No. 2 professional golfer Rory McIlroy dominated the 2011 Masters for three rounds, but a disastrous drive at the 10th, which came to rest seemingly in someone's backyard, resulted in McIlroy falling into a tie for 15th. Recently, McIlroy crushed the field in a victory at the U.S. Open at Congressional, which was the launching point to the top of the world rankings, albeit a brief one. McIlroy was No. 1 for just two weeks after he won this year's Transitions Championship. With his form, McIlroy is a clear choice at Augusta this year.

    A list of favorites for The Masters has to include Phil Mickelson because he's won the title three times (the green jackets came in 2004, 2006 and 2010). At the Pebble Beach Invitational, and paired in the final round with Woods, Mickelson made every putt spanning the California coastline. Mickelson had a good showing this past weekend with a tie for fourth in his Houston Open title defense.

    With these three contenders, The Masters is set up for a wildly entertaining tournament this year!

    Tune in to the official Masters Tournament site for live coverage, and watch for more updates on the tour from the WGT Blog.


  • WGT GOLF UPDATE: Hunter Mahan Wins By 1 Stroke in 2012 Shell Houston Open

    02 Apr 2012

    At the 2012 Shell Houston Open, Hunter Mahan held on to a one-stroke lead over Carl Pettersson during the final four holes and shot a 1-under 71 for the win on Sunday. With this victory, Mahan took over the top spot in the latest FedExCup standings and became the first two-time champion on TOUR in 2012. Additionally, he moved to No. 4 in the world rankings, the first time he's ever been the highest-ranked American.

    Pettersson needed a victory to secure a spot at the 2012 Masters Tournament this coming weekend at Augusta National Golf Club, but unfortunately couldn't gain a stroke down the final stretch. He missed a birdie putt from 20 feet away on 18 that could have forced a playoff, and instead made par to finish at 1-under for the day and 15-under for the tournament.

    Louis Oosthuizen began the day two strokes ahead of the field, but struggled on the front nine. He shot 6-over through 10 holes before hitting three birdies over the final stretch to save face at 3-over on the day and 14-under for the tournament. Four players took fourth place at 12-under, including Phil Mickelson.

    Three-time major champion Ernie Els finished 10-under and fell short in his bid to earn an automatic invitation to this week's Masters tournament. Els needed a victory to avoid missing Augusta for the first time since 1993; however, the Masters could offer a special invitation to Els. Els has played well this year, earning top-five finishes at the Transitions Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational. 


  • Last Chance to Enter the Free WGT Winter Tour

    28 Mar 2012

    Don't miss the last month to enter into the WGT Winter Tour, brought to you by SkyCaddie. Over 50 prizes are being given away to players at all tiers. The Top 100 scores from the March Qualifiers will play for the March Championship, and  the Top 10 scores will each win a $100 Amazon gift card. Seven lucky players will be selected at random in a Sweepstakes drawing (1 player from each Tier: Hack, Amateur, Pro, Tour Pro, Master, Tour Master, Legend) and get a dozen free NIKE virtual golf balls. Additionally, 1 lucky Sweepstakes winner will receive a free SkyCaddie SGXw course mapping device.

    Play Free March Qualifier

    Congratulations to our February Qualifier winners in the WGT Winter Tour!

    The following players each won the February Qualifier sweepstakes prize of 12 virtual NIKE golf balls:

    • hpabemelman
    • hallgarr
    • theocckid
    • yetyrant
    • Jkalavik
    • golfer342

    Additionally, the following one lucky sweepstakes winner received the SkyCaddie SGXw (a $499 value): pwhernon

    Eligible tournament players with the Top 10 scores in the February Qualifier round received $100 Amazon Gift Cards, here are the top eligible tournament players from the tournament leaderboard:

    1. 115 - Hanswurst72
    2. 118 - xXxxMarcxxXx
    3. 118 - jimbean346
    4. 118 - JCOlson
    5. 119 - sunshinewilly
    6. 119 - TigerWoods2011
    7. 119 - bulfrog2004
    8. 119 - stevenharkin
    9. 120 - PRIESTESS
    10. 120 - Wontonamo

    The top three players from the final February Championship round qualified to compete in the WGT Winter Tour Final Championship round. The top three players are:

    1. Hanswurst72
    2. xXxxMarcxxXx
    3. jimbean346


    *See tournament rules for details and eligibility.

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