ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) — Jordan Spieth's spirited bid for a Grand Slam was stopped Monday by Zach Johnson, who is no longer just a normal guy from Iowa.
Not with a Claret Jug to go with that green jacket.
Johnson captured his second major, winning The Open in a playoff over Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman that capped off five wild days at St. Andrews and a suspense-filled final round.
The 39-year-old Johnson now has two majors among his 12 PGA Tour victories, an astounding record and an example that a good wedge game and putter can still go a long way in this era of the long ball. Johnson was in tears when he was interviewed off the green, and he cradled the jug after his acceptance speech.
"I'm grateful. I'm humbled. I'm honored," Johnson said. "This is the birthplace of the game, and that jug means so much in sports."
For 115 years, the United States Open Championship has aimed to challenge the best professional golfers in the world with tough greens, narrow fairways, and thick rough. The winner must show resilience, determination, and be willing to take risks. No one did these three things better this year than 21-year-old Jordan Spieth, who on Sunday became the youngest U.S. Open champion since 1923.
Having shot rounds of 68, 67, and 71, respectively, going into championship Sunday, Spieth was in good position to win the tournament at four shots under par, tied for a four-way lead.
Transporting a city is not an easy task.
The USGA managed to do such a thing for this year’s U.S. Open Championship. With all the tents, grandstands, even an entire courtyard for spectators, Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, Washington, was completely transformed for the largest golf tournament in the United States.
The festivities started almost a week before play began on Thursday, June 18. There was a Flag Day ceremony in Spectator Square on June 14, with activities for younger fans. There was also a golf course simulator and the opportunity to take a lesson from a professional golf coach.
When I arrived, the first things I noticed were the differences between Chambers Bay and most other golf courses. For starters, there’s only one tree on the entire course, a fir tree between the 15th and 16th holes.
At 15 years old, most teenagers are focused on their first years of high school, entering driver’s education programs, and maybe playing a sport or two for fun. At 15, golf sensation Cole Hammer is doing all of this — and then some.
On Thursday, Hammer became the third-youngest golfer to ever play in a U.S. Open, at 15 years, 9 months, when he shot a three-over 77 at Chambers Bay golf course in University Place, Washington. He had qualified for the Open two weeks earlier, in Dallas, Texas, by shooting rounds of 64 and 68 on a par 70 course.
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Jordan Spieth got more than redemption and a green jacket Sunday. He took his place among the best in the game with a Masters victory for the ages.
One year after Spieth lost a bid to become the youngest Masters champion, the 21-year-old Texan turned in one of the most dominant wins ever at Augusta National. He never let anyone get closer to him than three shots after his record start. He never gave anyone much hope on Sunday.
Spieth closed with a 2-under 70, missing a 5-foot par putt on the final hole that would have set yet another record. Instead, he tied the score set by Tiger Woods in 1997 at 18-under 270.
"This was the ultimate goal in my golf life," Spieth said.
The organization TGA — which stand for Teach, Grow, Achieve — runs after-school golf and tennis programs across the country for kids in grades Pre K-8. The program started in 2003 when Joshua Jacobs wanted to teach golf to underprivileged and special needs kids. The program began in Southern California, and is now in 2,600 schools across the country with more than 280,000 kids participating. TGA also offers a similar program for tennis.
Recently, I joined a golf class in Dallas. As a non-golfer, I fit right in with the eight other beginners in his class. We were put in four groups, each going to a different station. Mine went from chipping to long drive to putting to agility drills.
Spring has sprung, the birds are chirping, and top-notch golfers worldwide are getting ready to go to Augusta for the biggest and most prestigious golf event of the year: the Masters.
In 2014, Bubba Watson won the coveted green jacket. This year, who will go home rocking some green? Here are my five picks for the 2015 Masters Golf Tournament.