by Gary Van Sickle

One in a series of previews for the June 15-18 U.S. Open

Welcome to Nine Degrees of Wisconsin golf. Everything you need to know about golf in America’s Dairyland, host of next week’s U.S. Open at Erin Hills, can be covered in nine names:

1. Andy North. The tall man from Madison won a pair of U.S. Opens seven years apart (1978, ’85). He was one of the great scramblers. I once watched him work through his bag in the Muirfield Village practice bunker, deftly splashing with his sand wedges and all the way down to his 3-iron without much difference in the result. He was also a great lag putter. Those two skills made him a contender on the stupid-hard USGA setups of the 1970s and ’80s. North didn’t get the credit that he deserved because he finished with only three career wins, even though two were as big as they come. Physical problems beset him, and I lost track of how many surgeries he had after he passed the 25 mark.


by John Gordon

The original Softspikes were introduced in 1993, primarily to alleviate damage caused by traditional metal spikes to greens and, not coincidentally, wooden bridges, walkways, clubhouse carpets and floors. Not long after, courses began banning metal spikes. Today, they are history, except for some PGA Tour pros.

But those original, relatively benign, plastic Softspikes hold little resemblance to the oversized clawed cleats on many new golf shoes. Despite its best intentions, the golf industry might have created a multi-fanged monster. Have we traded those little “Christmas tree” metal spike marks for a pinball-like putting game caused by plastic ones?


Credit Mickelson for not imposing on others

Phil Mickelson understood the calendar issues well in advance (“Mickelson’s likely WD at Open exposes USGA flaw,” June 5,

To his credit, he didn't ask or demand the non-celebrity parents to reschedule their lives, a problem of the one-tenth of 1-percenters. Mickelson saw the optics and made the right choice.


Entered: Into the U.S. Open, Michael Putnam, who will replace Ryan Moore, who has withdrawn because of an undisclosed injury,Morning Read has learned. Putnam, 34, who won three times on the Tour from 2010 to 2013, was the first alternate out of the Columbus, Ohio, sectional.


Keeping score


Number of players who have won a PGA Tour event and then gone on to win the U.S. Open in the next week.


Number of players who are competing this week in the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn., who have qualified for next week’s U.S. Open: Daniel Berger, Ryan Brehm, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Roberto Castro, Kevin Chappell, Stewart Cink, Bryson DeChambeau, Ernie Els, Harris English, Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Russell Henley, J.B. Holmes, Billy Horschel, Brooks Koepka, Graeme McDowell, William McGirt, Troy Merritt, Phil Mickelson, Francesco Molinari, Trey Mullinax, Garrett Osborn, Scott Piercy, J.T. Poston, Jonathan Randolph, Chez Reavie, Andres Romero, Xander Schauffele, Adam Scott, Brian Stuard, Daniel Summerhays and Peter Uihlein.


Maryland golf courses stand to benefit from grants awarded by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America to encourage best-management practices. The Mid-Atlantic and Eastern Shore chapters received $7,500 grants. They were among the nine chapters that received a total of $67,000 from the GCSAA.


June 7-10
Men’s amateur: Monroe Invitational
Monroe GC, Pittsford, N.Y.
June 8-11
European Tour: Lyoness Open
Diamond CC, Atzenbrugg, Austria
LPGA: Manulife LPGA Classic
Whistle Bear GC, Cambridge, Ontario
Men’s amateur: Palmer Cup
Atlanta Athletic Club, Johns Creek, Ga.
PGA Tour: FedEx St. Jude Classic
TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tenn. Tour: Rust-Oleum Championship
Ivanhoe (Ill.) Club
June 9-11
Symetra Tour: Four Winds Invitational
Blackthorn GC, South Bend, Ind.
Champions Tour: Principal Charity Classic
Wakonda Club, Des Moines, Iowa
June 14-17
Men’s amateur: Sunnehanna Amateur
Sunnehanna CC, Johnstown, Pa.
June 15-18
LPGA: Meijer LPGA Classic
Blythefield CC, Belmont, Mich. Tour: Air Capital Classic
Crestview CC, Wichita, Kan.
PGA Tour: U.S. Open
Erin Hills, Erin, Wis.
June 16-18
Symetra Tour: Decatur-Forsyth Classic
Hickory Point GC, Decatur, Ill.
June 18-22
Junior: Western Junior
Park Ridge (Ill.) CC
June 19-24
Men’s amateur: British Amateur
Royal St. George’s GC, Sandwich, England
June 20-21
Junior: Pepsi Little People’s Tournament
Westview GC and Knights of Columbus Par 3, Quincy, Ill.
June 21-24
Men’s amateur: Northeast Amateur
Wannamoisett CC, Rumford, R.I.

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