SUNDAY, JUNE 18, 2017
by Alex Miceli

For most of its previous 116 years of competition, the U.S. Open has been a test of endurance and patience, salvaging pars while sprinkling in the occasional birdie for sanity.

After Saturday’s third round, the U.S. Open has turned into a gunfight at Erin Hills, with player after player making birdies and the occasional eagle, as Justin Thomas did on the 637-yard par-5 18th to shoot 63 and briefly hold the lead.  

 



by Gary Van Sickle

Caddie Jimmy Johnson provided a big clue about Justin Thomas three years ago during the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

“He can hit shots that other guys can’t,” Johnson said with an admiring shake of his head. “Like Tiger used to.”

Johnson, a veteran caddie who gave up Steve Stricker’s bag to work for Thomas (at Stricker’s insistence, by the way), does not lie. Thomas, 24, made history Saturday at Erin Hills. He shot 63, the 31st time that’s been done in a major championship, and trails Brian Harman (67, for 12-under 204), the 54-hole leader, by one stroke.

 


by Adam Schupak

Captain America made an appearance at Erin Hills on Saturday. Patrick Reed, who earned that nickname as the U.S. Ryder Cup hero at Hazeltine, didn't have a cape Saturday, but he wore his Team USA navy-blue pants for the first time in competition since the October matches. It's part of a patriotic red, white and blue ensemble that he has been wearing all week at the U.S. Open, at the suggestion of his wife. 

"First time I've worn them in competition, yes,” Reed said. “I've worn them a lot around the house and stuff like that and practice. They felt good."

 


by Steve Elling

The groan among the newspaper boys was palpable. Mind you, complaining among the golf beat writers is nothing new, but when I asked Paul Azinger a few years back about his borderline addiction to foosball, other scribes thought it was irrelevant, a waste of valuable interview time.

At the time, Azinger was seated at the dais of the podium as the Ryder Cup at Valhalla in Louisville, Ky., so the writers had a point in principle, because access to captains was limited. But deep down, after a quarter-century in the spotlight, Azinger undoubtedly would deliver a funny story, a one-liner or a self-deprecating aside.

 


by Barry Cronin

In 1999, when Pete Kowalski started with the communications staff at the U.S. Golf Association, the organization gave out 1,500 media credentials to the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No.2.

The media scene has changed a lot since then. These days, most local newspapers no longer employ dedicated golf writers. The local sports columnist, who might have traveled to cover the major championships, for the most part no longer does, for budgetary or other reasons.

 


Fox can’t fake it

The USGA’s awarding of its championships to Fox can only be called a travesty. Unless you've actually broadcast golf and have experience with the various nuances of the game, you can't fake it as Fox has done for the past three years.

Just because you announce other sports doesn't mean you can call golf (Joe Buck).

 



0

Number of combined major championships won by the top 16 players in the U.S. Open, in 273 combined starts, entering today’s final round at Erin Hills.

2

Number of strokes by which par was reduced at Blythefield Country Club in Belmont, Mich., site of the Meijer LPGA Classic, after flooding prompted officials to play the par-5 fifth hole as a par 3. American Lexi Thompson shot 64, which was 5 under on Saturday, for a 15-under 196 total and one-stroke lead. South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace (61), South Koreans Sung Hyun Park (62) and Jenny Shin (63) and Canadian Brooke Henderson (67) are tied at 14-under 197.

 


Pick the U.S. Open winner

There's still time to enter the Pick the U.S. Open Winner Contest, sponsored by Morning Read and “The Grill Room Golf Show,” for a chance to win the cutting-edge Vertical Groove Driver by Vertical Groove Golf – The New Face of Golf (vertgolf.com).

Simply send your pick to entry@thegrillroom.com. You can enter more than once, but make sure that your entry arrives before 1 p.m. EDT today.


CALENDAR
June 15-18
LPGA: Meijer LPGA Classic
Blythefield CC, Belmont, Mich.
Web.com 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
Web.com 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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