by Adam Schupak

For several years, Steve Stricker has been the big cheese of Wisconsin golf. So, it goes without saying that the 50-year-old Stricker, a 12-time PGA Tour winner, wanted a chance to play in the first U.S. Open to be contested in his native state. As he wrote in the official tournament program, "On Thursday, June 15, the sound I most want to hear is a starter's announcement: 'Now on the tee, from Madison, Wisconsin, Steve Stricker.' "

When it became apparent that Stricker wouldn't earn a spot in the field at Erin Hills through one of the first 15 exemption categories, he turned to No. 16: the special exemption. Stricker wrote a letter asking the USGA to give him a free pass based on his career credentials and hometown ties.


by Gary Van Sickle

What is the opposite of a hot streak? That’s what the U.S. Golf Association is on right now. 

Consider the poor putting surfaces at Chambers Bay two years ago, the Dustin Johnson penalty fiasco at Oakmont last year that resulted in a major rules change and the Anna Nordqvist sand-granule-penalty fiasco during a playoff at the U.S. Women’s Open last year, which also resulted in a major rules change.


USGA needs to reconnect with public golfers

I will have to differ with you on a few of your points about this year's Open, the USGA and Erin Hills (“It’s time for USGA to get it right with U.S. Open,” June 12, Heaven forbid, I might have to disagree with Jack Nicklaus, as well. 

This tournament is more about history than anything else. There have been great tournaments on great courses won by great players. Shinnecock is a great course, Olympic is not, but there is a lot of U.S. Open history there. When you say that the USGA "represents much of North America," you are essentially incorrect. The USGA is made up of people primarily from the old exclusive clubs like Winged Foot, Maidstone, Newport Country Club, National Golf Links, Merion, etc. There are many more public and public-access courses and players than there are at private clubs. So why not have the U.S. Open at good public courses?


In the news

Announced: By the Tour, the addition of the North Mississippi Classic to the 2018 schedule, in a three-year deal. The event will be playedApril 19-22 at Country Club of Oxford.

Added: Three additional qualifying spots, bringing the total number to 15, available to the 360 players at five sites in the Final Qualifying field July 4for the British Open, which will be played July 19-23 at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England.

Selected: By the NCAA, Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., as host course for the 2020, ’21 and ’22 Division I men’s and women’s championships.


Hunt Valley Country Club in suburban Baltimore will introduce its newly renovated Ridge 9, a three-in-one course, on June 24. The Ridge 9 offers nine holes of golf, plus 18 holes of two other games designed for a traditional golf course: disc golf and foot golf. Hunt Valley, an Arcis Golf property in Phoenix, Md., also features its 18-hole The Valley course.


Sea Pines Resort has announced its “Summer Golf Specials” for afternoon play on its three courses on Hilton Head Island, S.C. Visitors can play all three Sea Pines courses – Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage, Heron Point and Atlantic Dunes – after 1 p.m. throughSept. 17 for $389 per person. Heron Point and Atlantic Dunes can be played during the same period for $199 per person.


Renovation work on Troon North Golf Club’s Monument course has begun, with a reopening of the Tom Weiskopf-designed layout set for September. Troon North’s Pinnacle course remains open for daily-fee play.


Los Robles Greens of Thousand Oaks, Calif., has been honored by Golf Inc. magazine for the course’s recent renovation, according to Arcis Golf, which manages the club. Among the changes, Los Robles Greens removed 30-plus acres of turfgrass and redesigned its irrigation system in an effort to conserve up to one-fourth of the course’s water use.


Nippon Shaft recorded its 10th and 11th victories on major world golf tours during the past weekend. Nippon products were used by the victors of the European Tour’s Lyoness Open and the Champions Tour’s Principal Charity Classic, according to the Japanese golf shaft manufacturer.


The Annika Foundation, the charitable organization of World Golf Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam, is preparing to return to Sorenstam’s native Sweden for the European portion of its junior schedule. The sixth annual Annika Invitational Europe will be played June 20-22 at Halmstad Golf Club. Defending champion Beatrice Wallin of Sweden will be among the 78 junior girls from 20 countries entered.


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.
June 22-25 Tour: Lincoln Land Charity Championship
Panther Creek CC, Springfield, Ill.
PGA Tour: Travelers Championship
TPC River Highlands, Cromwell, Conn.
European Tour: BMW International Open
Munich (Germany) Golf Club
June 23-25
Symetra Tour: Island Resort Championship
Sweetgrass GC, Harris, Mich.
LPGA: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship
Pinnacle CC, Rogers, Ark.
Champions Tour: American Family Insurance Championship
University Ridge GC, Madison, Wis.

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