It had rained 2½ inches the night before, so Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, was a muddy mess when I arrived Saturday morning for the third day of the BMW Championship golf tournament.
After two rounds at the PGA Tour’s penultimate event of the season — part of the FedExCup Playoffs — Australia’s Jason Day was five strokes clear of the field, at 18 under par. (Day would go on to win by six strokes, finishing Sunday’s final round at 22 under for the tournament to retain his lead in the FedExCup standings.)
When the grounds opened Saturday just after 9 a.m., throngs of fans streamed in, and so did I. The first tee times would not be until 10, but there was still plenty to see and do. Many fans rushed for the coveted bleacher seating at several holes. Others watched players warm up at the practice green and driving range.
As I made my way to the media center, I was immediately struck by how amazing the entire set-up was. Numerous buildings and bleachers, plus lots of pathways, had been built just for the tournament. It was essentially a temporary village: Other than the clubhouse and the course itself, most of the tournament infrastructure I saw on Saturday would be gone by Monday.
For nine weeks every summer, 60 boys call Sankaty Head Golf Course on Nantucket Island their home. These boys have the privilege of attending Sankaty Head Caddie Camp, the last residential caddie camp in the country.
Sankaty Camp has been running 85 years without any interruption. It opened in 1930 when there were a lot of caddie camps around the country. Slowly, though, they began shutting down. World War II required young men to fight, and after the war clubs could not afford to keep them open.
But Sankaty has stayed in operation. "This camp exists because membership believes in it,” says camp director David Hinman. It costs $400,000 to run the camp, and the funding comes from member donations.
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) — Given a third straight chance to finally win a major, Jason Day promised a fight to the finish in the PGA Championship.
Turns out the biggest fight was to hold back the tears.
Worried that this year might turn out to be a major failure, Day never gave Jordan Spieth or anyone else a chance Sunday. He delivered a record-setting performance at Whistling Straits that brought him a major championship he started to wonder might never happen.
Day was in tears before he even tapped in for par and a 5-under 67 for a three-shot victory. He sobbed on the shoulder of Colin Swatton, his caddie and longtime coach who rescued Day as a 12-year-old struggling to overcome the death of his father.
And then came high praise from Spieth in the scoring trailer when golf's new No. 1 player told him, "There's nothing I could do."
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.