Monday, March 27, 2023

DJ, DeChambeau to lead 4 LIV golfers to US Open

BROOKLINE, Mass ( Associated Press) — Fans of The Country Club are welcoming golfers who decided to take the money and participate in the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Tour.

The US Open course itself, not so much.

Only four players to have signed with the breakaway tour made the cut in the 1 over on Friday, led by Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed. About a dozen others who joined the 54-hole tour missed the cut in 3 overs and went after 36 holes.

Johnson chased down 68 runs in the first round on Friday with 73 runs. He said he had not heard any feedback from fans about his decision to play at LIV Golf, which has been heavily criticized because it is backed by the Saudi government.

“Obviously, it is a good sports town, and a lot of people come out and support the event. The fans have been great,” Johnson said. “I haven’t really noticed any difference.”

Bryson DeChambeau and Richard Bland also made it through the weekend, coming in 2 overs after 36 holes. Sergio Garcia and James Piatt were among those in the plus-4 who just missed.

Other defectors who weren’t so lucky included six-time major champion Phil Mickelson – and six-time US Open runner-up – who has become the face of the new tour. He scored 73 runs on Friday and crossed 11 overs.

Louis Osthuizen scored 69 in the second round, but chased 77 from Thursday. Jed Morgan tops the rear in the 16th over.

Johnson’s name was the biggest surprise on the list of players for the first LIV event outside London, mainly because he has been the best player in golf over the past decade and said in February that he would remain. The Daily Telegraphy reported that he was paid $150 million to sign.

Johnson was among those who resigned his PGA Tour membership, and he lost his sponsorship with the Royal Bank of Canada. Dating the Saudi international in early 2021, he went 16 months without a win, and his world ranking fell to 16th.

“It was a difficult decision, but I have great confidence in the decision I made,” Johnson said. “I’m certainly happy and obviously looking forward to this weekend and the rest of this year’s events.”

still streaking

Harris English scored 69 on Friday, with 36 holes equal to 2 overs, to keep his momentum of making the cut in the majors.

English, who finished third at the US Open in Torrey Pines last year and fourth in Winged Foot a year ago, hasn’t made a single major cut since the 2014 PGA Championship. That’s 15 straight times that he’s teed it into a major and made it over the weekend—the longest active streak in golf. He’s still trying to win his first in a big.

Englishman, a two-time winner last year, broke into the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time in his career. But after playing at the Sony Open in January, he underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip and missed four months, including the Masters and PGA Championship.


MJ Dapheu’s troubles at the US Open on Friday began with cheap carpeting in a hospitality suite on the left side of the 14th fairway.

If only that was the worst of it.

There was nothing about Dapheu’s shot from the deck of the hospitality suit that could have predicted his freefall from 6-under par and a three-shot lead outside the top 10 by the end of his second round. He hit that shot on the railing, then sent it about 250 yards to the rough left of the green, even with the pin.

But he dumped the first pitch shot and bogged it down. He followed with another bogey at number 15, then cleared a ball from a greenside bunker at number 18 and finished there with a double bogey.

The South African scored 2 over 72 and closed their day at 1 under and ended the morning after spending most of the morning alone in the lead.

“A crazy fight,” said Dapheu. “Obviously, I’m disappointed. But you expect the US Open to come and bite us at the golf course at some stage during the week.

It has hardly gone through the worst daffy.

A story on Details the depression and doubts that have been a part of Dapheu’s life over the past decade. It started when his future mother-in-law died in a freak accident. This continued when the financial pressure of playing golf for a living became almost too much.

Recently, he had to battle with COVID-19. But golf, and life, has gotten better of late. A series of strong finishes on the Korn Ferry Tour have helped him secure his PGA Tour card for 2022-23. He wrapped it up in time to play in a US Open qualifier that was not originally on his schedule.

He came in 296th place in the week. The best advice he’s received over the years has come from someone in his country who knows a little bit about the US Open. Two-time champion Ritif Goosen has been Dapheu’s mentor.

“He’s given me simple advice,” said Dapheu. “Try not to do it too much. Hit the middle of the green. Stay within yourself and focus on the six feet directly around you.”

hardy’s plan

Apart from returning on Thursday, Nick Hardy could be listed as the last player to make it to the US Open. The USGA was saving a spot if either Cameron Champ or JJ Spahn won the Canadian Open, which would have been their second PGA Tour win in the previous 12 months, and was thus exempt.

Both missed the cut and Hardy was in. And now he will be among the last players to go over the weekend at The Country Club after a round of 69-68 for 3-under 137.

This is his fourth US Open, and it is already different from the others because of how many holes Hardy has played throughout the week. That was not entirely by design. He injured a tendon in his wrist in a deep, rough shot in New Orleans. It kept him out for five weeks, and he said he went 30 days without turning the club.

Failing on a vow to find a hobby, at least time taught him to slow down.

“I’ve learned that I don’t need to grind for six, seven, eight hours a day,” he said. “I don’t need to touch a club every day to keep it up and keep my feelings true.”

At times in the last US Open, he would play 36 or 45 holes to get to the first round. This week, he played 18 holes on Tuesday and did only light work on Wednesday.

It seems to be working.


Associated Press Golf writer Doug Ferguson and national writer Eddie Peles contributed to this report.


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