The Open Qualifying Series (OQS) is an international qualifying series involving events on the world’s leading golf tours. Now in its second year, the OQS plays in integral role in determining the field for the Open Championship at St. Andrews next week. The Open Qualifying Series offers players the opportunity to qualify for golf’s oldest major championship at events on the PGA TOUR, European Tour, PGA TOUR of Australia and Japan Golf Tour. Players on the PGA TOUR have the chance to qualify at three events: Travelers Championship, The Greenbrier Classic and this week’s John Deere Classic.
The top four players, not previously eligible, who finish among the top 12 (and ties) at the Travelers Championship and The Greenbrier Classic earned entry into The Open Championship. The top player among the top five (and ties) at the John Deere Classic qualifies. If there are ties for the final spot(s), qualifiers will be determined by Official World Golf Ranking. The four players that qualified from the Greenbrier Classic are Danny Lee, David Hearn, James Hahn and Greg Owen. At the Travelers Championship, four players qualified for The Open Championship: Brian Harman (3 rd), Graham DeLaet (4th), Carl Pettersson (5th), Luke Donald (T7).
James Morrison, Jaco Van Zyl and Rafael Cabrera-Bello qualified after the final round of the Alstom Open de France on Sunday. Morrison finished three strokes behind the winner Bernd Wiesberger, who is exempt for The Open. The 30-year-old Englishman, who won his second European Tour title at the Open de Espana in May, shot a final round four-under-par 67 and will make his second appearance in golf’s oldest Championship after finishing tied 23rd at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2012. “I cannot wait, it’s every boy’s dream. I played at Royal Lytham in 2012 but to play at St Andrews is even better. It’s the home of golf and I can’t wait to get there now. It is not easy to finish top five any week but to finish second and secure a place is even better,” said Morrison. “I love it at St Andrews. It is one of the only golf courses where you get that feeling. As soon as you turn up at St Andrews you have that amazing feeling in your body. I have seen all the videos and photos of the stands going up – it is going to be rocking.”
FootJoy has introduced a progressive new golf shoe for women, called emPOWER. These won’t be confused for your mother’s golf shoes, as the saying (kind of) goes! “When we speak with female players during our market research visits, the two most important shoe attributes they request are, almost unanimously, ‘comfort and style,’” said Mike Foley, Director or Footwear Marketing. “The emPOWER shoe was made to address those two attributes head on by combining aggressive, contemporary styling with innovative underfoot comfort features.”
In recent years golf has embraced the notion of athleticism and used color to help accent a younger looking curb appeal, especially in footwear. FootJoy has made a conscious effort with this with the introduction of emPOWER, somewhat akin to its HyperFlex model that was introduced earlier in the year for the men’s market.
The DNA (another in the strong line up from FootJoy) of the #1 shoe in golf is comfort and emPOWER continues in this theme but includes a vibrant look that is certain to appeal to women of all ages. Its distinctive look begins with a BreathEasy sports mesh upper. The color-splashed upper delivers premium breathability, keeping the foot cool throughout the day, while maintaining a 2-year waterproof protection.
emPOWER will be available at once will be five laced ($135.00) styles plus one model featuring the Boa Closure System ($155.00).
This week’s U.S Open is being played at Chambers Bay. The venue was the creation of Robert Trent Jones Jr. His father and brother are also known for their golf course work. In fact, Robert Trent Jones Sr. is regarded as the most significant golf architect of the 20th century. New York Times Bestselling Author and internationally distinguished historian James Hansen has written a definitive, monumental account of the life of Robert Trent Jones in his new biography A DIFFICULT PAR: Robert Trent Jones Sr. and the Making of Modern Golf.
Hansen tells the life story of the man behind many of the defining forms, shapes and challenges of modern golf course. Between 1930 and 2000, Jones designed or redesigned a staggering number of golf courses, over 400, spread over 43 U.S states and 27 other nations. A DIFFICULT PAR refers to Jones’s essential design principle that every hole on a golf course should be, “a difficult par but an easy bogey.” His creations came to host 79 national championships, including 20 U.S Opens, 12 PGA Championships, two Ryder Cups and a President’s Cup. However, the book is more than golf course architecture as it also delves into the Open Doctor’s life, including the challenges he had with his sons. “My book sheds a very bright light on what has been a long-lasting feed between Jones’s two sons, Bob Jr. and Rees,” said Hansen. “A Difficult Par looks at the feud from every possible angle. It reviews all extant materials illuminating the thoughts of Robert Trent Jones Sr. and his wife Ione about the antipathies between their sons. Those materials include personal letters never before seen outside the family as well as difficult oral history interviews conducted by Trent Sr. during the last decade of his life. To his dying day, Trent Sr. remained stubbornly optimistic that his two sons would not only someday reconcile but also come back to work together for the parent company. Unfortunately, I feel that there is absolutely no hope that the two brothers will ever let bygones be bygones.”
If you’re looking for another good read this year, especially for Father’s Day, consider A DIFFICULT PAR.
Golf has been described as a good walk spoiled. However, it provides opportunities for individuals to meet people they otherwise wouldn’t. It rarely gets any attention, yet it can be a pathway to life long friendships. The common bond of golf and specifically a round shared with someone new can easily open up a new world for anyone, regardless of their skills.
Such is the case for Scott Dow, who found Ian Jennings through happenstance. Golf was their common bond, which led to some remarkable adventures centered around the game. One American, the other English came from different backgrounds that had golf in common with each other. They created the Flem Cup, an intensely competitive trans-Atlantic golf match spanning five years between amateur teams from the US and England. The remarkable true story, however, that grew out of a great friendship and love of golf would take some twists and turns neither would ever see coming.
The inaugural match in November of 2001 proved to be everything anyone could hope for, if not more as the intensely competitive golf matches collided head-on with hilarious off-course antics, resulting in a week to remember. Many can identify with a random meeting over golf that leads to further excursions along with playful hi jinx along the way. While this true story results in several years of good natured back and forth, unfortunately this story takes sharp left turn.
As Fathers Day quickly approaches, many dads would appreciate the opportunity of a good read and perhaps one they can identify with. The Flem Cup, by Scott Dow offers a different perspective on what golf provides to the masses that are hopelessly addicted to it. However, this is more than simply just a story with an inexplicable tragedy. Where the story would ultimately end is in the unlikeliest of places – the place where the priceless gift of hope can be found. If you’re looking for ideas for Dad this year, the Flem Cup a worth a try. It is available through Amazon in Kindle form or paperback ($15.99).
In a effort to differentiate Parsons Xtreme Golf from the rest of the pack, the young company has added Anna Rawson as its spokesperson. It is her second time with company founder, Bib Parsons, Rawson, who first partnered with him in 2009 as a GoDaddy Girl. She will be featured in a series of ad campaigns created by BIG YAM, The Parsons Agency. The Australian model is also an avid golfer, having played on the Ladies European and LPGA Tours. She is a recent MBA graduate from Columbia Business School, but its unknown how that came into play for the sake of this latest endorsement deal.
“PXG is reinventing how people think about their golf equipment,” said Anna Rawson via a company press release. “The company isn’t asking anyone to change the way they play – they’re simply inviting golfers to improve their game by expecting more from their clubs. Not only do the clubs increase my distance and accuracy, they are strikingly beautiful. Just what I want in my bag. I couldn’t be more thrilled to help build what I believe will be an iconic brand.” Rawson will host a series of Internet videos offering golf tips and tricks. These ads and videos are slated to roll-out in late summer 2015.
“From tee to green, you’ve never played like this before,” said company founder and American entrepreneur Bob Parsons. “With just one swing you can feel and see that PXG clubs are unlike anything else – and you can bet that our marketing is going to make some noise and shake-up the industry too.”
It remains to be seen what the upcoming U.S Open has in store for both players and fans. It is after all relatively unknown, but its reputation seems to already be preceding it. It began when Mike Davis, USGA Executive Director and the person responsible for the staging of the national championship, stated, “I would contend that there is no way, no way, a player would have success at Chambers Bay unless he really studies the golf course and learns it. The idea of coming in and playing two practice rounds and having your caddie just walk it and using your yardage book, that person's done. Will not win the U.S. Open.”
It sparked some push back from the show ponies on the PGA TOUR, who will compete on the venue for the first time next week. “As far as the greens are concerned, it's not a championship golf course. Tee to green the course is OK. It's not bad. It's a great piece of land, great scenery. Very fair off the tee. We played it soft. The greens were rolling 9s (on the Stimpmeter). If they get it rolling 10 and 12, it will be interesting. Put a quarter in the machine and go for a ride,” said Ryan Palmer to USA Today. “The green complexes are something else. With some of the pin placements, you will see some guys play it 30 yards left, 30 yards right or 30 yards long, and next thing you know you'll have a 2 footer. Or you'll be 75 feet from the pin. You have to spend so much time on the greens, practice rounds are going to take eight hours. Every green has like five or six greens on it,” he added.
“With the way the Tour is, no one is going to go out there and play ten practice rounds,” observed world #1, Rory McIlroy after his win at Wells Fargo. “I'm going to go up a little early. I'm going to play a couple practice rounds the weekend before and then I'll probably play another, you know, 18 holes. So I'll play three practice rounds. It's a bit of an unknown to most people. I think you can fall into the trap of trying to over prepare and then -- you can do all the preparation you want. At the end of the day there's going to be someone lifting the trophy at the end of the week.”
So what we do know at this point is an unknown venue and some outspoken words regarding it. But who better than the architect that created it to offer some insight into what will be on display. “When the game starts, the course is the silent partner,” noted Robert Trent Jones Jr. “This course, Chambers Bay, has its own voice. Its long and fairly wide open. The 13 and 14th holes are 100 yards wide,” he continued. “As the designer, I consider myself the goalkeeper. I am the defender. If you go to the Ritz Carleton every week you know what to expect. The U.S Open course is known for being a very tough test. The USGA is unique; I consider it the priesthood of the game. It is ensconced in the sport. It has a history of providing stern tests. The times have changed with equipment, turf, etc. Golfers by definition don’t like surprises. Chambers Bay is full of surprises and Mike Davis is a master of surprises. Hopefully, the course will provide a great challenging test but as usual there will be some grumbling,” he added.
What sets Chambers Bay apart from the previous 27 venues to host the national championship is that it represents a hybrid of sorts. Golf on the PGA TOUR is predominantly played in the air. While golf in the British Isles is essentially played on the ground. Links courses, for those unfamiliar with them, are known for providing some precocious, if not unusual bounces. A well-struck shot can be punished if it lands in the wrong spot. Jones Jr has incorporated what might be the best of both worlds with the staging of the national championship at Chambers Bay.
To add to some of the intrigue on Chambers Bay and the back-story behind it, Mike Davis explains how the USGA came to selecting the site that has many talking about it before ever laying eyes on it. “I can remember roughly 10 years ago sitting in my office in Far Hills, New Jersey and the phone rang and it was one of our regional directors who happened to be based on the West Coast and said, ‘Mike, there's this site out in the Pacific Northwest that one day might be good enough to host a U.S. Open.’ I'm holding phone (thinking) I heard this before. But what was interesting about it is, number one, it was the Pacific Northwest,” he noted. Since play began for the U.S Open in 1895, it has never been to this part of the country. Davis was then informed that the property was right on the Puget Sound and almost a thousand acres. “So all of a sudden you're thinking, well, okay, we have enough land for the infrastructure,” Davis observed. “And then it's owned by the county. It's going to be public access. Which is wonderful. The fact that people are going to be able to play a U.S. Open course is something very special,” he continued. “And then the last thing was, oh by the way, it's all sand. And anybody that knows anything about golf courses knows that any golf course built on sand is always going to be better than a course built on heavy soils. This was intriguing because it's right on the water and as Bob Jones liked to say, it was a sand box out there. But this was all envisioned. This was created. Everything was really man-made. And it sure doesn't look man‑made now."
Søren Kjeldsen, Eddie Pepperell and Tyrrell Hatton qualified for the 144TH Open at St Andrews after today’s final round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation.
In blustery and showery conditions at Royal County Down in Northern Ireland, the leaders struggled to hold their ground in the final round and Denmark’s Kjeldsen, England’s Pepperell and Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger, who was already exempt for The Open, finished tied on two-under-par for the championship before going into a play-off.
In the end, Kjeldsen birdied the first play-off hole to win the play-off and joined Englishmen Pepperell and Hatton in securing the three places available in golf’s oldest Championship.
Kjeldsen, a three-time winner on the European Tour, led going into the final round but struggled with four dropped shots on his front nine. A birdie on the 12th steadied the ship but he dropped further shots on the 14th and the 17th to finish with a five-over-par 76.
The 40-year-old will make his seventh appearance at The Open and his second in the Championship at the home of golf after he finished tied 37th in 2010. The Dane’s best finish in The Open was in 2009 at Turnberry when he finished tied 27th.
Pepperell, who managed four top five finishes in five events on the European Tour last season, didn’t drop a single shot on his way to a final round two-under-par 69, which included birdies on the 8th and 13th holes.
The 24-year-old, who has one win on the Challenge Tour to his name, enjoyed a successful amateur career, representing England in the Eisenhower Trophy and playing for Great Britain and Ireland on three winning Jacques Leglise Trophy teams. He was runner-up to Tom Lewis in the 2009 Boys Amateur Championship at Royal St George’s. The Englishman played in the 2013 US Open at Merion but will make his debut in The Open at St Andrews.
Hatton bounced back from three bogeys on the back nine to birdie the 17th and par the last hole to finish on a one-under-par total of 283 and a tie for fourth with Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello. He secured the final qualifying place in The Open by virtue of his higher position in the Official World Golf Ranking.
The 23-year-old will make his fourth appearance at The Open and his second at St Andrews after he qualified for the 2010 Open as an amateur. This is the second consecutive year that Hatton has secured a place at The Open through the Qualifying Series after finishing tied fourth at the 2014 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open to secure a place at Royal Liverpool.