All week there was chatter about the poor condition of the greens at Chambers Bay. The pros expected better, especially at a U.S. Open, one of the four major championships in golf.
I learned in 2010 at the first U.S. Open I covered that talking to players on Sunday after they’re finished enduring what’s deemed as the toughest test of golf is one of the most amusing days of the year — because they tend to vent and rant. However, this time around, there was plenty of complaints about the greens throughout the week.
Get excited for the Irish Open to kick off Thursday morning at Royal County Down Golf Club, a brilliant test of golf with a spectacular layout and scenery — no wonder it’s one of the world’s greatest courses. Not enough is said about the venue, which has that “it” factor and special atmosphere that only the best major championship sites possess. In other words, RCD, which is located about an hour from Belfast in Northern Ireland, feels like it could host an Open Championship and this event feels notably distinct.
Timing is always everything, isn’t it? I was walking back to the media center from a nearly empty range when I saw Ernie Els, one of two players still practicing on the eve of the European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship. I almost kept going, but I figured golf fans would love to see The Big Easy hitting balls. In other words, it was a perfect moment to use Periscope — and it turned out to be even better than I thought.
Ernie, who was in charge of the redesign at Wentworth, the event’s venue, saw me watching him and pointing my phone at him, so he said hello and asked what I was doing (mostly, I think he was surprised to see me on this side of the pond because there isn’t much American media here). I started to explain Periscope to him and his interest piqued. I mean, he got really into it — he answered questions, demonstrated a swing tip, showed off his clubs and more.
You can watch the video above, but you should really download Periscope if you can and watch it on the app for the full effect because you can see all the comments and how Ernie was interacting with fans.
Ernie Els hasn’t had the best season of his career — not by a long shot, but he feels like his game is finally taking a turn for the better. He’s been enduring some growing pains following a couple of changes. There’s been the equipment switch from Callaway to Adams. He’s back to using the short putter after a couple-year dalliance with the belly putter. He’s also been enduring a nagging injury to his back and ribs due to the wear of tear of too much practicing and playing.
Ernie Els is a two-time Open champion, but he shot himself out of the tournament with an opening 79. The worst part of his round came on the first hole when his tee shot struck a spectator in the face. Els saw the man’s bloody face, and after the round, said, “I felt pretty bad about it because I was trying to hit it, you know, left, which I did. And obviously I probably should have started to move the people left on the left side, but I didn’t do that. So I really felt bad hitting it there into the people, and hurting the guy the way I did. Hopefully, he’s better now, but it wasn’t very nice.”
Some of you have asked where you could watch my TV work. Well, the answer to that is Fox Sports International in 30 countries across Asia! But, obviously, most of you guys are not from that area and can’t access that channel.
I’ve picked just a few features and several of my favorite interviews with the men and women from the U.S. Opens at Pinehurst to post on my YouTube page. Enjoy!
First, here’s a preview piece to the first week on the challenges the players would face on unique Donald Ross course that was restored by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.
The world is mourning the death of the beloved former South African President Nelson Mandela. Even Tiger Woods, who hasn’t been thrilled with Golf Channel as of late, gave a post-round TV interview to pay tribute to Mandela following the first round of the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, the tournament he hosts that also benefits his foundation (but denied GC’s request after he shot 62 to take the second-round lead on Friday).
Ernie Els is not happy with the European Tour’s increased playing requirements, where competitors are being required to make starts two of the last three events leading into Dubai to be eligible for the $8 million season finale. He’s so upset that he’s skipping next week’s flagship final event in Dubai, according to Andrew Both’s Reuters report:
How did this idea all come about? Well, it started as a joke, of course. After all, wouldn’t it be funny and wouldn’t it add some excitement to the dreary, weather-delayed Presidents Cup if someone went streaking at Muirfield Village?