15th Annual Gerry Dulac Parkway West Rotary Charity Classic
Monday, July 29th
Sewickley Heights Golf Club
Benefits Robinson Twp. Parks & Recreation Department and Parkway West Rotary Charities
Includes: 18-hole Scramble, Gift, Continental Breakfast, Dinner, Auction.
Register online at parkwaywestrotary.com
Special Editions of the Golf Show
ARDMORE, Pa. -- Justin Rose stood in the middle of the fairway at the final hole at the Merion Golf Club, ready to create some history of his own.
Not far away was the plaque in the middle of the fairway, commemorating Ben Hogan's famous 1-iron shot in the final round of the 1950 U.S. Open that forced a playoff -- a playoff Hogan won just seven months after a horrible auto accident that nearly claimed his life.
Photographers were lined not far behind Rose, hoping to perhaps recreate the black-and-white photograph of Hogan that remains the most iconic in golf.
"I walked over the hill, I saw my ball on a little upslope with the green waiting to be hit," Rose said. "That image is kind of hard not to escape that this was my turn to kind of have that iconic moment."
And Rose delivered.
His 4-iron from over 220 yards scooted past the hole, settled on the back fringe and allowed Rose to par the final hole to give him a scintillating, two-shot victory at the 113th U.S. Open for his first major championship.
"I think I did Hogan justice with the shot I hit," Rose said.
Rose, the No. 5 player in the world, celebrated the moment by staring at the sky and pointing to the heavens to salute his father, Ken, who died of leukemia in 2002.
Rose becomes the first player from England to win the U.S. Open since Tony Jacklin in 1970.
"You don't often have the opportunity to dedicate victories to someone you love," Rose said. "[Sunday] was about him and being Father's Day. That was my time. The clouds had parted, it was kind of ironic. It was a beautiful evening, and, the way it worked out, I felt I needed to do that."
The victory by Rose handed Phil Mickelson another heart-breaking U.S. Open defeat.
Needing a birdie at the final hole to force a playoff, Mickelson made a bogey from the left rough and finished tied for second with Jason Day of Australia. It was the sixth time Mickelson has finished runner-up at the U.S. Open, more than any player in history.
The 18th hole, a 511-yard par 4, didn't yield a birdie in the final two rounds of the championship.
"For me, it's very heart-breaking," Mickelson said. "This could have really changed how I looked at the U.S. Open and the tournament I'd love to win.
"This was probably my best opportunity, certainly heading into the final round with the way I was playing and the position I was in."
Mickelson either held or shared the lead after each of the first three rounds and carried a one-shot lead into the final round. And he put himself in position to win his fifth major championship and first U.S. Open when he holed a wedge from 75 yards for an eagle at No. 10 to take a one-shot lead.
It was Mickelson's first eagle at a U.S. Open since the 13th hole of the fourth round in 2009 at Bethpage Black. At the time, that eagle tied him for the lead with Lucas Glover.
"To see that ball go in, I thought I was in good position," Mickelson said. "Until that hole-out at 10, it seemed that I hit putts that just wouldn't go in."
Mickelson, though, bogeyed three of the final six holes to end any chance of winning his first U.S. Open. His final-round 74 left him at 3-over 283, tied with Day (71).
Hunter Mahan, who began the final round just a stroke off the lead, shot 75 and finished tied for fourth with Jason Dufner (67), Ernie Els (69) and Billy Horschel (74).
Meantime, Rose had five birdies and five bogeys in his final-round 70, but it was back-to-back birdies at Nos. 12 and 13 that started him on his way to victory.
"It feels absolutely amazing to me," Rose said. "It takes the pressure off. But it's a moment when you look back and think childhood dreams have come true."
Mickelson looked as though his dream of winning the U.S. Open might come true when he holed a wedge from the heavy rough for eagle at No. 10, a 290-yard par 4. When the ball went in the hole, Mickelson jumped in the air, both arms raised above his head, in celebration.
That allowed him to leapfrog Rose and Day back into the lead.
Rose, though, wasted little time tying Mickelson for the lead, hitting his approach at the par-4 12th to 2 1/2 feet for birdie. Then, after being bothered by a noise from the gallery on his tee shot at the short par-3 13th, he made a 16-footer for birdie to jump back in the lead.
"I came back with birdie-birdie on top of his eagle," Rose said. "It gave me a little wiggle room coming down the stretch."
Rose, though, started to list. He all but shanked a greenside bunker shot at No. 14 and made a bogey, then made another when he three-putted at the par-4 16th.
But he clinged to a one-shot lead because Mickelson, two groups behind, elected to play a chip shot from the putting surface at No. 15 and ended up with a bogey. Mickelson said he chose a wedge rather than a putter for the 40-foot shot because of a hump in the putting surface.
"You find out about yourself," Rose said. "You wonder if you can handle it. And, when you discover you can handle it, you want to do it again and again."
Final U.S. Open leader board
Player R1 R2 R3 R4 Tot
Rose 71 69 71 70 +1
Day 70 74 68 71 +3
Mickelson67 72 70 74 +3
ARDMORE, Pa. -- Phil Mickelson has had more heartaches at the U.S. Open than any player in history. That's because he has had more second-place finishes at the U.S. Open than any player in history.
Mickelson, who has been a runner-up five times, gets another chance today to win the major championship he covets most when he carries a one-shot lead into the final round of the 113th U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club.
And he thinks he is as ready as ever to not add to his dubious record.
"Let's go, I can't wait to get back out," Mickelson said. "It's got the makings to be something special."
Mickelson is the only player under par after three rounds at Merion after shooting 70 Saturday to finish at 1-under 209. That is good for a one-shot lead on Steve Stricker, Hunter Mahan and 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel heading into the final round.
It is the third day in a row Mickelson has either held or shared the lead at Merion.
Mickelson has had the third-round lead at the U.S. Open only once before, and that was in 2006 at Winged Foot, scene of the biggest heartache of all. That's when he tried to hit a high-risk recovery shot from the trees and double-bogeyed the final hole to hand the title to Geoff Oglivy.
"I love being in the thick of it," Mickelson said. "It's been so fun, even though it's been heart-breaking. I feel better equipped heading into the final round than I think I've ever been."
While nearly all the players around him kept falling away in Merion's brutal closing stretch, Mickelson did the opposite. He narrowly missed birdies at Nos. 15 and 16 before energizing the huge grandstand crowd at No. 17, the 245-yard par 3, when he hit a 4-iron to 10 feet and made birdie to jump into the lead.
"The 4-iron I hit, I just stood there and admired it," Mickelson said
But after hitting a 4-wood approach from 274 yards through the green at No. 18, Mickelson made bogey at the finishing hole to shrink his lead to one.
The par-4 18th hole, which was playing at 530 yards, did not yield a birdie in the third round -- the first time in three days a hole did not have a birdie. It has played as the toughest hole in the tournament with a 4.71 stroke average.
"Every shot requires great focus," Mickelson said. "It's just a penalizing golf course."
Mickelson has three Masters titles and a PGA Championship on his resume, but he will have five of the top 22 players in the world chasing him in his attempt to add another.
Stricker, who made 15 pars in a round of 70, is one shot back at 210. He was the only player among the top six on the leader board to par the final two holes Saturday. He is tied with Schwartzel and Mahan, each of whom bogeyed the final two holes.
Stricker's only mistake was a double bogey at the par-3 ninth when he watered his tee shot. But he made up the shots with birdies at No. 10 and 12.
"It would mean a lot, it really would," Stricker said. "But it's going to be a challenge. I'm not the longest hitter in the field. There are some holes out here that I really have to work hard to make par."
Luke Donald (71), who played the final two holes in 3 over, and Justin Rose (71), who also bogeyed the final two holes, are another shot back at 211. They are tied with Billy Horschel, who began the day as the second-round co-leader with Mickelson.
Only Schwartzel has won a major championship among the contenders.
"I should have done better," Donald said. "It was disappointing."
Donald, who had made six consecutive pars on the back after a birdie at No. 10, bogeyed No. 17 from the green-side bunker to fall out of a tie with Mickelson, his playing partner. Then, at the 18th, he tried to gouge his third shot from the nasty rough below the green and saw his ball careen left across the putting surface. The ensuing double bogey dropped Donald into a tie with Rose.
Schwartzel, the 2012 Masters champion, bounced back from a bogey at the second hole to make four birdies in the next eight holes. But, after holding the lead for most of the day, he bogeyed the final two holes to shoot 69 -- one of six sub-par scores on the day.
"Whenever you shoot under par on Saturday at the U.S. Open, you can't be too disappointed," Schwartzel said.
Tiger Woods looks as though he will continue his five-year victory drought in major championships after shooting 76. He is at 9-over 149.
It is the second poor performance in a row for Woods, who already has four PGA Tour victories in 2013.
ARDMORE, Pa. -- Word of advice to Zach Johnson or any other professional athlete who wants to slam the place where they compete or the organization that facilitates their rich-and-famous lifestyle:
Do it after you have succeeded, not failed.
Do it after you've made the cut, or, better yet, are on the leader board.
Don't do it after you shoot 11-over 151 for two days and miss the cut in an U.S. Open for the fifth time in 10 starts.
But that's what Johnson, a nine-time PGA Tour winner and former Masters champion, did after shooting 77 in the second round at Merion Golf Club. He assailed the United States Golf Association for their course setup and made known his distaste for playing in their championships.
"I would describe the whole golf course as manipulated," Johnson said. "It just enhances my disdain for the USGA and how it manipulates golf courses."
Johnson was not alone with his observations. After the second round, everyone from Tiger Woods to the placid Luke Donald talked about the difficult pin positions. Woods, the world's No. 1 player, said the USGA did that because, with the soft conditions at Merion, it wanted to protect par.
But Johnson went a bit further with his criticism.
"I think Merion is a great golf course, if you let Merion be," he said. "But that is not the agenda,"
To be sure, while what Johnson said carries a certain amount of truth, his timing makes his complaints sound like sour grapes. Worse, it makes him look like a whiner, which he is not.
In some circles, Johnson was viewed as a pre-Open favorite, a short hitter who controls his ball, hits lots of fairways and has a wedge game that is good enough to win a green jacket. That type of player is not only a good fit for Merion, it is a good fit for most U.S. Open venues.
But Johnson has never done well in the U.S. Open, and his frustration got the best of him on his way out of town. He accused the USGA of "manipulating" the course to produce the score it would like see win the championship.
Can the USGA manipulate a golf course?
A perfect example is what happened when the U.S. Women's Open was staged at Oakmont Country Club in 2010, three years after the men's national championship.
In 2007, Angel Cabrera won the U.S. Open with a score of 285, 5-over par. But, three years later, the USGA set up the same course in such a manner that Paula Creamer's winning score was 3-under 281.
Granted, the holes were shortened and the greens slowed a foot or two on the Stimpmeter. But the deep bunkers with the steep lips were still the same. The tight fairways were still the same width. And it wasn't like they were giving free lifts from the grass ditches that run through 12 of the 18 holes.
But Creamer finished under par because the USGA set up the course with favorable pin locations -- locations even the members weren't accustomed to seeing. With shorter holes and easier flags, the best female players in the world made Oakmont look like something it's not -- easy.
On the final day, eight players had rounds in the 60s, including Na Yeon Choi, who shot 66. In 2007, there were eight rounds in the 60s all week.
Saturday, on the same course that frustrated Johnson, six players shot under par in the third round. Jason Day, who shot 68, made five birdies. So did Henrik Stenson, including three in a row. Amateur Michael Kim, who shot 71, had a stretch of four birdies in six holes.
Does that make the USGA wrong? Absolutely not.
Mike Davis, executive director and the man responsible for course setup, has been the best thing to happen to the U.S. Open. He has not only been progressive and innovative in setting up Open venues, he has been more than fair in doing so.
He took over that job after the USGA lost control of the course at Shinnecock in 2004, and there has not been a repeat of that fiasco since.
In the future, if someone wants to rip the USGA about course setup, do so from somewhere near the top of the leader board. Not as you're driving out the gate.