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  • Johnson Walking Tall In Memphis

    11 Jun 2012

    Contributed Content from GlobalGolfPost

    While Dustin Johnson was gone, he certainly was not forgotten and he clearly remembered how to win. Johnson broke away from a tightly bunched pack with birdies late in the final round to win the FedEx St. Jude Classic on Sunday.

    Johnson, 27, won his sixth PGA Tour event and has now won at least one tournament in each of the past five years. And he heads into this week’s U.S. Open running on a high in confidence and form. Johnson had missed 11 weeks on Tour because of a back injury and returned just two weeks ago at the Memorial Tournament.

    Johnson shot a final-round 66 to finish 72 holes at 9-under 271 on the par-70 TPC Southwind. He wound up winning by one over John Merrick, but it was much closer than that in the early afternoon in Memphis.

    Players were started early Sunday morning in threesomes, hoping to avoid a forecast of afternoon thunderstorms so the competitors could easily get out of town to travel to San Francisco today for the U.S. Open.

    About midway through the back nine, 11 players were within one shot of the lead that was held at times by Johnson, Merrick, Rory McIlroy, Chad Campbell and Nick O’Hern.

    But Johnson made birdies on the par-5 16th and the par-4 17th to take the lead for good. He safely found the fairway on the treacherous par-4 18th and two-putted from 30 feet to capture the win.

    McIlroy, Campbell, O’Hern and Merrick all stood on the 18th tee needing a birdie to catch Johnson, and only Merrick was able to make as much as a par. McIlroy drove it in the water off the tee and made double-bogey, O’Hern drove in the water and saved bogey, while Campbell missed the the green with his second and couldn’t get up and down. Merrick drove in the right rough, couldn’t reach the green and saved par from the right of the green.

    Merrick, who started the day in a three-way tie for the 54-hole lead with O’Hern and Davis Love III, shot 68 on Sunday to finish second, one behind Johnson at 8-under 272. It was by far Merrick’s best finish of the year. He had missed seven cuts in 15 events and his best finish was a T33 at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    Ryan Palmer shot a 4-under 66 on Sunday and tied for third at 7 under with Campbell, O’Hern and Love. Ken Duke tied for low round of the day with a 65 to post a tie for seventh with McIlroy, Seung-Yul Noh and Robert Allenby.

    Get your daily dose of golf news at WGTGolf.com.

    PHOTO: Associated Press

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  • 2012 U.S. Open Pairings Announced

    08 Jun 2012

    The USGA has announced the first and second round pairings for the 2012 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club on June 14-15, 2012.

    The headliners are Tiger, Phil and Bubba, golf's biggest stars paired together, along with a lot of fans.

    The USGA continues to have some fun with the pairings, notably the C's of Carl, Charl and Charles, as well as KJ, YE and KT from Korea.

    Everyone will be rooting for the Qualifiers, featuring Casey Martin, Dennis Miller and Stanford golf team local, Cameron Wilson. Martin's last U.S. Open was in 1998 and has since been cleared by the Supreme Court to use a golf cart to ride between holes due to a medical condition. Miller was trying for the 12th year to qualify for the U.S. Open, and on the 4th playoff hole appeared to leave his putt on the lip of the hole, but it amazingly dropped in...and he's in the national championship. 

    Note, due to course configuration, players will be in threesomes and teeing off on Holes #1 and #9, instead of the typical #10. All times US Pacific Standard. TV coverage in the United States on the Golf Channel on Thu/Fri and NBC Sat/Sun.

    See Full 2012 U.S. Open Pairings

    Highlighted U.S. Open Pairings

    Headliners - Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson

    • Thu 7:33a, Hole #9 
    • Fri 1:18p, Hole #1

    The C's - Carl Pettersson, Charl Schwartzel, Charles Howell III

    • Thu 8:06a, Hole #9
    • Fri 1:51p, Hole #1

    Team Korea - K. J. Choi, Y. E. Yang, K. T. Kim

    • Thu 8:28a, Hole #9
    • Fri 2:13p, Hole #1

    The Qualifiers - Casey Martin, Dennis Miller, A-Cameron Wilson

    • Thu 12:45p, Hole #1
    • Fri 7:00a, Hole #9

    Under The Radar - Martin Kaymer, Hunter Mahan, Justin Rose

    • Thu 1:25p, Hole #9 
    • Fri 8:10a, Hole #1

    UK Stars - Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood

    • Thu 1:29p, Hole #1
    • Fri 7:44a, Hole #9 

    The Contenders - Jason Day, Louis Oosthuizen, Jason Dufner

    • Thu 1:47p, Hole #9
    • Fri 8:32a, Hole #1

    The Bro's - Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Ryo Ishikawa

    • Thu 1:58p, Hole #9
    • Fri 8:43a, Hole #1

    Photo Courtesy of Golf Channel

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  • 2012 Virtual U.S. Open Cut Line Update

    07 Jun 2012

    Let's take a quick look at the leaderboard in the 2012 Virtual U.S. Open Qualifier being played on World Golf Tour at www.wgt.com.

    See Full Virtual U.S. Open Leaderboard

    With over 1 million rounds played since May, the top qualifying score is currently an impressive 53, shared by 4 WGT players: JayJensen, Ffudd, genorb, Win1Soon.

    Just a few shots back, but safely qualified, are some familiar (and amusing) WGT player names from past Virtual U.S. and British Opens, including: zant, Starsandros, mongo441, jakestanfill7, dansamcam, TugboatDoug.

    Also safely qualified are the recent Virtual U.S. and British Open winners, including:

    • mrenn29 - 2011 Virtual U.S. Open champ
    • StoneColdKiller - 2011 Virtual British Open champ
    • BolloxInBruges - 2010 Virtual U.S. Open champ
    • AvatarLee - 2010 Virtual British Open champ

    Congratulations to everyone who's qualified and played!

    Watch Virtual U.S. Open Replay Video Highlights

    The top 156 scores (plus ties) by Sunday 6/17 will all qualify for the exciting championship rounds. The current Cut Line is 59, meaning everyone at 59 and lower will qualify. However, there are 147 players at 58 or better, so if another 9 players post 58 or better, then the Cut Line will move to 58. In other words, if you're at 59 or higher, then you're on the bubble and should try to post a lower score.

    For all you mortals out there -- don't worry, you don't have to shoot a 58, a 68 or even a 98, because this year, just entering in the Virtual U.S. Open Qualifier gives you a chance to win the same grand prize: a trip for two to the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion (limited of course to countries that allow residents to win those prizes. Sorry, blame the lawmakers and lawyers.) So everyone should be sure to post at least one round for a chance to win.

    Play the Virtual U.S. Open Qualifier

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  • 2012 U.S. Open: Hole 17 at The Olympic Club

    06 Jun 2012

    With the 2012 U.S. Open just one week away from starting, there's a lot of focus being put on the challenging golf course where the championship will be played: The Olympic Club Lake Course in San Francisco, but there's one hole that's likely to give up the most birdies and eagles.

    This year's championship course is 7,170 yards, which is 373 yards longer than when The Olympic Club hosted the national championship in 1998, and will play at a par 70. Read our analysis of some of the hardest holes here.

    However, so far during the 2012 Virtual U.S. Open being played on World Golf Tour, hole 17 at The Olympic Club's has scored the lowest below par on average. For the first-time ever, this 522-yard hole is being played as a par 5 instead of a par 4, but it's still no push-over.

    With its short tilted fairway, it's key for players to find the best location right-center of the fairway and then try to reach the green in two shots. But the elevated green has a small landing area and balls can slide off to the right. Hitting the green-side bunker on the left also makes for a challenging bunker shot to get it close but also to keep it on the green without rolling down the hill towards the green-side trees and 18th hole fairway.

    Depending on the hole location, we're likely to see some eagles and birdies on the 17th hole at the U.S. Open, but maybe some bogeys as well. Either way, it will be significant in deciding the 2012 U.S. Open champion.

    Anyone can play this hole at The Olympic Club now, free online without signup at World Golf Tour. 

    Play hole 17

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

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  • Tiger Roars In Jack’s Den

    03 Jun 2012

    Contributed by Vartan Kupelian of GlobalGolfPost

    Nothing gets Tiger Woods' adrenalin flowing or his golf game soaring like the thought of matching a Jack Nicklaus record.

    Woods went one better Sunday. Not only did he move into a share of second place with Nicklaus on the all-time list of PGA Tour winners – with 73 – Woods did it in Nicklaus territory. He did it at Muirfield Village Golf Club on a course Jack built and at Jack's Memorial Tournament.

    "It’s awfully special to have won and do it here," Woods said. "Just makes it that much more special."

    It was the fifth victory for Woods at the Memorial Tournament. He birdied three of the last four holes – including an uncanny hole-out at the 16th hole – to chase down the faltering duo of Rory Sabbatini and Spencer Levin.

    Woods shot a final-round 5-under-par 67 for a 279 total, 9-under par. Sabbatini shot 72 to tie Andres Romero (67) for second, two shots behind Woods. Levin shot 75 to tie for fourth at 283.

    The victory enabled Woods to complete the Legends Slam this year. In March, Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill for his first victory in 27 Tour events. It was the seventh time Woods won that event.

    And now only Sam Snead, with 88 career victories, is ahead of Woods and Nicklaus.

    Nicklaus called the hole-out at the 16th hole, "The most unbelievably gutsy shot I’ve ever seen."

    "Leave it short, the tournament is over," Nicklaus said. "If it goes long, it's in the water and the tournament is over. He takes a full swing and lands it exactly where you have to land it and it trickles into the hole like a two-foot putt."

    Right. And the tournament was over.

    "I’ve seen a lot of shots in golf," Nicklaus said. "I don’t think I've ever seen a better one under the circumstances."

    For good measure, Woods finished with a birdie at the 18th hole. He also made birdie at the par-5 15th to start the key sequence.

    Woods' victory comes two weeks before the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club and once again entrenches the man who has won 14 major championships as a favorite.

    "I had it all," Woods said of his ball-striking at Muirfield Village. "To birdie three of the last four holes was a nice finish. To pull off that shot at 16 was pretty sweet, too ... I went for it and I pulled it off. For it to land as soft as it did was kind of a surprise. I didn't think it was going to get there."

    Get your daily dose of golf news at WGTGolf.com.

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