U.S. Open: First round finally complete, Landry leads Westwood, D. Johnson by a stroke

Jordan Spieth shot a 2-over 72 in the first round of the U.S. Open, which was better than Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Danny Willett and Phil Mickelson. (AP Photo)
Jordan Spieth shot a 2-over 72 in the first round of the U.S. Open, which was better than Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Danny Willett and Phil Mickelson. (AP Photo)

OAKMONT, PA. – The first round finally is in the books at the U.S. Open and Andrew Landry’s 4-under 66 has held for the lead.

Landry, who took 65 shots Thursday before play was suspended and returned early Friday to knock in a 10-foot birdie putt on his final hole (No. 9) of the first round, leads Lee Westwood and Dustin Johnson by one shot.

Westwood’s birdied his final two holes early today after returning to finish his round to get to 3-under. Johnson was among the 78 golfers who started their first round today and were schedule to play 36 holes.

Thursday’s first round was suspended at 4:30 p.m. while in its third weather delay.

Johnson shot a bogey free round with birdies on Nos. 6, 11 and 14, including draining a 35-footer on No. 11.

Landry, Westwood and those who had morning tee times on Thursday, will play their second round early Saturday and, for those who make the cut, start their third round Saturday afternoon.

Just 11 golfers shot under par on the notoriously difficult Oakmont C.C. track in the first round, including amateur Scott Scheffler from the University of Texas who carded a 69.

The course is expected to get even more difficult as it dries out during the weekend.

A group of three golfers sit at 2-under led by Sergio Garcia. Scheffler is one of five golfers at 1-under, including Bubba Watson, ranked No. 4 in the world.

Among those at even par and tied for 12th is Jupiter’s Daniel Berger, who is coming off his first tour victory last weekend at the St. Jude Classic.

The biggest names are among those struggling the most. Jason Day, No. 1 in the world, finished 6-over, No. 2 Jordan Spieth is 2-over, No. 3 Rory McIlroy had an ugly 77 for 7-over and No. 5 Rickie Fowler is 6-over. Masters champion Danny Willett (No. 9) is 5-over and Phil Mickelson came in at 4-over with five bogeys on his final nine holes including three in his last four.

 

McIlroy equals worst round in a U.S. Open with a 7-over

OAKMONT, PA. – Rory McIlroy, the No. 3 ranked golfer in the world, isn’t out of the U.S. Open just yet but it likely will take a spectacular round just to make the cut.

Rory McIlroy struggled to a 7-over 77 in his opening round at the U.S. Open.
Rory McIlroy struggled to a 7-over 77 in his opening round at the U.S. Open.

McIlroy shot a 7-over 77 in the  first round, which ended this morning, equaling his worst round in an Open. He was the worst of a group that included Rickie Fowler (6-over) and Master champion Danny Willett (5-over).

McIlroy,  the 2011 U.S. Open champion, had eight bogeys, including his final three holes. He hit just five of 14 fairways.

“You see guys shooting 66, 67, there are scores out there to be had but you really need to be in control of your golf game,” McIlroy said. “The last couple of days I wasn’t in control. I need to go and shoot something like a 66 to give myself any chance.”

McIlroy will not tee off again until Saturday morning. The revised format announced Friday morning after play was suspended Thursday afternoon during the third delay because of storm weather is as follows: The players who returned this morning to finish their first round are done for the day and will return early Saturday to play their second round and, for those who make the cut, at least start their third.

Those who never got on the course on Thursday are scheduled to play 36 holes today, although that will be difficult with the final group is scheduled to tee off at 4:42 p.m.

Andrew Landry continues to lead after setting a record for the first round of a U.S. Open at Oakmont C.C., 4-under 66. Lee Westwood finished his first round at 3-under.

 

U.S. Open: Weather halts first-round play for second time

 

Rory McIlroy was 1-over par through 6 holes at the U.S. Open when play was suspended. (AP photo)
Rory McIlroy was 1-over par through 6 holes at the U.S. Open when play was suspended. (AP photo)

UPDATE: 12:11 p.m. ET: Play has been halted again due to weather.


UPDATE, 11:23 a.m. ET: The horn has sounded and play has resumed at Oakmont.


OAKMONT, Pa. — With a major squall line moving through Western Pennsylvania, the U.S. Open suspended play just after 10 a.m.

Oakmont received 1.1 inches of rain Wednesday night and more was expected this morning and again late afternoon. The rain typically helps soften the slick greens and hold tee shots in the fairways.

Andrew Landry is the leader with a 3-under-par through 11 holes. Landry birded Nos. 10, 17 and 2 before being called off the course.

Of the 78 golfers on the course, 11 were under par – including Jordan Spieth through 4 – and 54 were over par. Jupiter’s Daniel Berger, coming off his first PGA Tour victory last week at the St. Jude Classic, is even par after 8 holes. Berger bogeyed the 609-yard par-4 No. 4 and made up the stroke on the next hole with a birdie.

Rory McIlroy is 1-over through 6 holes and Masters champion Danny Willett is 1-over through 5. Rickie Fowler is 2-over through six.

The high score belongs to Mike van Sickle, who is 7-over through 6.

 

 

Ernie Els shared spotlight with O.J. Simpson, Arnold Palmer 22 years ago at Oakmont

By  Tom D’Angelo

Ernie Els captured his first major at the 1994 U.S. Open.
Ernie Els captured his first major at the 1994 U.S. Open.

OAKMONT, Pa. — Ernie Els was on the verge of winning his first major when all the attention was diverted from Oakmont to Southern California.

The Jupiter resident was just 24 when he captured the 1994 U.S. Open, but after the first round, nobody was paying much attention. That’s because on the second day of the tournament the nation was captivated by a white bronco meandering along the L.A. freeways in which O.J. Simpson was a passenger.

“Well, I knew there was a car chase going on,” Els said following his practice round on Tuesday for this week’s U. S. Open. “I think that whole weekend was getting kind of weird. I think they cut the golf coverage to go to L.A., some helicopter chasing the Bronco down the highway.

“I didn’t know much about O.J. Simpson but he was very famous to have all of L.A. chasing.”

Police following white bronco in which O.J. Simpson was a passenger 22 years ago Friday.
Police following white bronco in which O.J. Simpson was a passenger 22 years ago Friday.

The chase was 22 years ago Friday. Three days later, with Simpson still dominating the headlines, Els notched the first of his four majors on the second sudden death hole to defeat Loren Roberts after Colin Montgomerie was eliminated in an 18-hole playoff.

Els was tied for seventh entering the weekend, four shots behind Montgomerie. He shot to the lead with a 66 on Saturday and then carded a 73 on the final day to slip into the three-way tie at 5-under.

The ’94 Open was Els’ second. This year he is playing in his 24th.

“When you win a U.S. Open, Oakmont is one of the iconic venues,” he said.

The tournament was memorable for other reasons: It was Arnold Palmer’s final U.S. Open. Palmer, 64, had not played in the tournament in 11 years but he received an exemption since it was in his home state.

Els recalls the commotion surrounding Palmer’s final round on Friday, the same day as the chase.

“I remember all the people on 18,” he said. “And then afterwards, I saw the replay of his press conference where he got quite emotional. That was quite something.

“Yeah, it was quite a week.”

 

Video: Who is going to win the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont?

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How far over par could the winner be this week at the U.S. Open?

PGATOUR.com’s John Swantek and Noah Coslov talk about the course and the favorites and make their picks to win this weekend at Oakmont Country Club.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, Jordan Spieth of the United States and Rickie Fowler of the United States talk during a practice round prior to the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club on June 13, 2016 in Oakmont, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, Jordan Spieth of the United States and Rickie Fowler of the United States talk during a practice round prior to the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club on June 13, 2016 in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Tiger Woods to skip US Open at Oakmont

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For the third time in the past six years, the U.S. Open will go on without three-time champion Tiger Woods.

Tiger Woods of the United States speaks to the media during a press conference in a practice round prior to the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on August 11, 2015 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Tiger Woods of the United States speaks to the media during a press conference in a practice round prior to the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on August 11, 2015 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Woods said on his website Tuesday that he is not ready for tournament competition and will skip the U.S. Open next week at Oakmont, along with his Quicken Loans National the following week at Congressional.

“While I continue to work hard on getting healthy, I am not physically ready to play in this year’s U.S. Open and the Quicken Loans National,” he said. “I am making progress, but I’m not yet ready for tournament competition.”

Woods first missed the U.S. Open in 2011 when he was recovering from leg injuries. He missed in 2014 at Pinehurst No. 2 while recovering from his first back surgery a week before the Masters that year.

He has not played since a tie for 10th in the Wyndham Championship in August. Woods had two more surgeries on his back after that, in September and October.

Meanwhile, his absence fueled speculation about when he might return, even though Woods repeatedly has said he does not know. Woods played five holes when he opened his golf course in Houston, and also was seen swinging a club at a junior clinic in South Carolina and at his media day at Congressional — three swings from 100 yards to the 10th green, all of them in the water.

Jack Nicklaus said last week at the Memorial he expects Woods to return.

“I think Tiger would have liked to have played this week,” Nicklaus said. “He’s just not ready.”

Since Woods was exempt from having to qualify because he won the 2008 U.S. Open, his spot will be filled by an alternate from the 12 sectional qualify sites, though it was not clear which one. The USGA compiles an alternate list that is based on how many spots each qualifying site was allocated and the strength of each field in determining the list.

When qualifying ended on Tuesday, and with Woods saying he will not play, 149 of the 156-man field for Oakmont was set.

The USGA set aside six spots for any players who crack the top 60 in the world ranking after this week. One of them will be William McGirt, who now is No. 44 in the world after winning the Memorial. If fewer than five more players get into the top 60, the extra spots also go to the main alternate list.

But if a player who qualified has to withdraw, his spot is taken by the alternate from his qualifying site.

Meanwhile, speculation on when or if Woods returns this year will resume after two weeks. The Greenbrier Classic, which he has played twice in the last four years when not dealing with injuries, is July 7-10. That’s one week before the British Open at Royal Troon.

The PGA Championship is two weeks after Troon, followed by the Travelers Championship, the John Deere Classic and the Wyndham Champion. Woods has never played the Travelers Championship and has not played at John Deere since he was a 20-year-old rookie.

After that, he would not be eligible for any PGA Tour event for the next six weeks during the FedEx Cup and Ryder Cup.

Exclusive: Jack Nicklaus ‘disappointed’ WGC is leaving Donald Trump’s Doral course

MIAMI: Jack Nicklaus chips on the 18th during the second round of the Genuity Championship at Doral on March 2, 2001. (Staff Photo by Scott Wiseman/The Palm Beach Post)
MIAMI: Jack Nicklaus chips on the 18th during the second round of the Genuity Championship at Doral on March 2, 2001. (Staff Photo by Scott Wiseman/The Palm Beach Post)

As was reported earlier Wednesday, the PGA’s annual golf tournament at Donald Trump’s Trump National Doral course is relocating to Mexico City. The PGA said Tuesday night — and repeated again Wednesday — that it was leaving South Florida because it was unable to find a title sponsor to replace Cadillac.

Reached for comment, golf legend and North Palm Beach resident Jack Nicklaus was frustrated with the idea of the tournament leaving South Florida.

“I am disappointed for Doral and the city of Miami,” he told the Post. “Both have been a staple on the PGA Tour schedule, as well as my own, since my rookie year in 1962.”

[Dave George: After 54 golden years, Doral deserves better than to be discarded like this]

Yet the 18-time major winner does see some positives in the tournament moving south of the border.

“I have always believed that golf is a global game,” he continued, “and I have made it a lifelong mission to travel the world to introduce and grow the game by either playing it or designing golf courses. So I am delighted that an event with the significance of a World Golf Championship is coming to Mexico City, and I think it is a huge positive for the Tour and the game itself.

“My only hope is that golf played at its highest level will soon return to Miami and Trump Doral.”

The 76-year-old Nicklaus recently praised Trump, the presumptive Republican candidate for president, on “CBS Sunday Morning,” saying he likes “what Donald has done … he’s turning America upside down. He’s awakening the country.”

Nicklaus said he anticipates voting for Trump in November.

PGA tournament leaving Donald Trump’s Doral course for Mexico City

The annual PGA golf tournament at Donald Trump’s Trump National Doral, the course just west of Miami, will be relocating to Mexico City, according to various reports Wednesday.

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump makes an appearance prior to the start of play during the final round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral Blue Monster Course on March 6, 2016 in Doral, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump makes an appearance prior to the start of play during the final round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral Blue Monster Course on March 6, 2016 in Doral, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Butch Buchholz, who ran the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at Trump’s course, told the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson that the PGA informed him Tuesday night that it was leaving South Florida because it was unable to find a title sponsor to replace Cadillac.

This news comes approximately six months after the PGA said it would reevaluate the future of the tournament at Doral — which has been held in Doral since 1962 — because of Trump’s controversial comments about Muslims and other non-native Americans.

Trump addressed the situation Tuesday evening on Fox News:

“I mean, I just heard that the PGA Tour is taking their tournament out of Miami and moving it to Mexico as an example. They’re taking it — it’s at Doral, it’s at — they used one of my places. They’re moving their tournament, it’s the Cadillac World Golf Championship. And Cadillac’s been a great sponsor, but they’re moving it to Mexico. They’re moving it to Mexico City which, by the way, I hope they have kidnapping insurance. But they’re moving it to Mexico City. And I’m saying, you know, what’s going on here? It is so sad when you look at what’s going on with our country.”

As ESPN points out, it is unclear what effect if any Trump’s “politically charged comments on the campaign trail had any impact on the move. In January, the PGA Tour pledged its commitment to the tournament and Miami but said it would review the future upon completion of the March event.”

According to the Golf Channel, the relocated tournament will be played in 2017 at the Club de Golf Chapultepec outside Mexico City and will be sponsored by the Grupo Salinas conglomerate.

Trump released this statement Wednesday afternoon:

“It is a sad day for Miami, the United States and the game of golf, to have the PGA Tour consider moving the World Golf Championships, which has been hosted in Miami for the last 55 years, to Mexico. No different than Nabisco, Carrier and so many other American companies, the PGA Tour has put profit ahead of thousands of American jobs, millions of dollars in revenue for local communities and charities and the enjoyment of hundreds of thousands of fans who make the tournament an annual tradition. This decision only further embodies the very reason I am running for President of the United States.”

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem is scheduled to speak during a news conference at 4:30 p.m. ET at the Memorial Tournament.

The WGC-Cadillac Championship hosts the world’s top golfers, with only 50 invited golfers allowed to participate. Adam Scott won the tournament in 2016, and past winners include Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson.

More to come on this developing story.

[Trump makes appearance at namesake golf course in Doral for PGA event]

[Rory McIlroy has strong opinions on Donald Trump, presidential race]

[Jack Nicklaus says Trump is “turning American upside down]

[Doral abuzz over whether Donald Trump will appear at PGA tournament]

[2016 Honda Classic: Golfers react to PGA Tour’s rift with Donald Trump]