HENDERSON-MICKELSON TEE OFF KPMG WEEK

  THE DONALD ROSS COURSE at French Lick Resort celebrating 100 years, book your tee time now through Frenchlick.com. Coming in July Shepherds Rock at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington PA. One of Pete Dye’s final courses Nemacolin.com    _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Editor and Director of Content. Follow Rory to Olympia Fields and this weeks KPMG Championship, and on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter @GogBlogGuy.

IT’S here. KPMG/PGA/LPGA Championship week at Olympia Fields is on the tee.

Several golf greats started the week with skills competition on the 8th hole of the South Course at host club Olympia Fields.

KPMG Ambassadors Phil Mickelson and Stacy Lewis, along with defending champion Brooke Henderson, and star Lydia Ko.

A great afternoon was had by all, as this week of major championship golf, and a seminar for the benefit of women got underway. After the competition both Henderson and Mickelson spoke with the media.

Click here to hear interviews with KPMG defending champion Brooke Henderson (1st) and then Phil Mickelson.

Olympia Fields, IL – June 26: Mike Greenberg speaks with Phil Mickelson, Brooke Henderson of Canada, Lydia Ko of New Zealand and Stacy Lewis of the United States during a Skills Demonstration at the 2017 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship held at Olympia Fields Country Club on June 26, 2017 in Olympia Fields, Illinois. (Photo by Montana Pritchard/PGA of America)

This week at 150 of the top female professionals will descend on the Olympia Fields Country Club for the 2017 KPMG PGA Championship.

In 2018 the championship will remain in the Chicago area when it moves north to the Kemper Lakes Golf Club in Kildeer in north suburban Lake County.

In addition to Henderson, Lewis and Ko, other top players in the field do include. Na, Yeon Choi of Korea, Paul Creamer, Charley Hull, Christie Kerr, Brittany Lang, Belen Mozo of Spain, Gerina Piller, Morgan Pressel, and Lexi Thompson.

Tickets are on sale on line or at Olympia Fields Country Club. Round 1 is Thursday with the final round wrapping up on Sunday afternoon. There is television coverage all four days with Thursday and Friday on The Golf Channel, and on the weekend on NBC.

The Gog Blog returns with a full review of the KPMG Championship on Wednesday.

JOHN DEERE FIELD COMING TOGETHER

       THE AMERICAN FAMILY INSURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP this afternoon, with guest host Steve Stricker. Getting closer to the opening of the Preserve, stay tuned in to DuPagegolf.com and this website for details. This course should be on your bucket list. ______________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Editor and Director of Content, follow Rory on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter @GogBlogGuy AT TPCDeereRun

The John Deere Classic is getting ready to approach the first tee of the TPC Deere Run Golf Course, from July 10-16.

Defending Champion Ryan Moore is expected to be back from the injury that kept him sidelined out of the U.S. Open, to defend his title won last year.

There is more good news coming from John Deere as the field keeps getting stronger every week.

Kevin Kisner a recent winner at Colonial Country Club and Si Woo Kim who won The Players Championship at Sawgrass are early commitments. Past champion Brian Harman winner at Wells Fargo and runner up at the U.S. Open will join the field as well.

DYLAN MEYER defending champion in the Western Amateur and University of Illinois standout, and Ryan Moore 2016 John Deere Classic Champion will be part of the 2016 JDC field.

Two past U.S. Amateur Champions Kelly Kraft from 2011 and Erin Hills, along with 2015 champion Bryson DeChambeau from Olympia Fields will play this year. In the Illinois contingent in addition to Meyer is Steve Stricker, sponsors exemption Nick Hardy now headed into his senior year at Illinois. Alum’s Scott Langley  D.A. Points and Brian Campbell.

Two other playing just moving on from their NCAA days, include Stanford’s Maverick McNealy of Stanford and Wyndham Clark of Oregon.

Some of the past champions at John Deere include, JDC board member Zach Johnson (2012), Jonathon Byrd (2007) and Sean O’Hair (2005).

More recent commitments include Daniel Berger winner at Memphis and Charlie Hoffman who contended at the US Open, and was the winner of the 2016 Valero Texas Open. Some 25 players in the field at Erin Hills for the U.S. Open at Erin Hills, are expected to play in the John Deere Classic.

The new purse that gives the winner $1,000,000 for the first time in tournament history, and a new plane that will take the British Open players over sea’s in style, should continue to bring in more top players as the deadline approaches.

“The John Deere Classic is thrilled to have a great mix of elite veteran players and young players coming to TPC Deere Run to compete on a great golf course in front of tremendous fans,” said tournament director Clair Peterson. More players can commit up until July 7th.

For more information on the John Deere Classic, visit Johndeereclassic.com.

NEW EQUIPMENT& APPAREL ON THE MARKET

  THE GREEN STREET GRILLE owned and Operated by Jim McWethy and Mike Munro (Golf Dome Guys) is now open for business. The Green Street Grille is 120 Green Street in Bensenville, SW of O’Hare Field. THE PRESERVE at Oak Meadows in Addison is inching closer towards an opening day, stay clicked in here or at Dupagegolf.com for details on golfers back this summer to The Preserve. #Dupagegolf.  _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Editor and Director of Content. Follow Rory to The Irish Course at Whistling Straits, and on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter @GogBlogGuy.

NO GOLF SEASON is complete without new products coming on the market, right in the middle of golf season. So if your ready to make some changes on the fly, now might be the time.

A chance to look at some of these products will be this Saturday at Cog Hill when there is a last minute Fathers-Day demo day.

In the mean time here is some of whats coming out right now.

It’s starts with the folks at Callaway Golf, who are already having a great year with the launch of the HOT new Epic Driver. Now from Callaway with their purchase of OGIO Products earlier this year, OGIO is now fully connected into the Callaway family, so check out the line of golf bags, travel products and coolers.

Titleist Players Collection Stand Bags

TITLEIST has introduced a new line of stand bags that are now available for purchase.

The new designs are lightweight with an advanced stand and strap systems. The new collection of bags includes the Players 4 bag, Players 5 bag, Players 14 stand bags. There is now a Players 5 StaDry model for golfers not afraid to play in the rain. A new valuables pocket completely waterproof will add even more to the Stay Dry bag.

The Players 4 bag ($195) comes in 12 color combinations, Players 5 bag ($220) comes in nine colors. Players 5 StaDry ($225) comes in four color combinations, Players 14 is available in seven color combinations ($325). For more details see titleist.com/golf-gear/bags.

SCOTTY CAMERON/TITLEIST has expanded his list of Cameron and Crown new four new models for 2017, available this Friday. The putter are designed and cut to 33 inches, perfect for the golfer requiring or comfortable with a short putter. The four new models include the Select Newport, Select Mallet, Futura 5MB and the Futura 6M.

“Our initial Cameron and Crown release was very well received, and we continue to hear great feedback from golfers who are benefiting from the 33 inch set up,” said Cameron. “I’ve always said that the length sets the eyes, and the eyes set the path. FOr those men, women, and juniors who need a shorter putter, it gets their eyes in the right position to make a proper stroke while maintaining good posture and balance.”

Cameron and Crown costs are US MSRO $410 and MAP $379. Scottycameron.com.

John Daly wins the Champions Tour Insperity Invitational with the new Vertical Groove Driver. See Vertgolf.com

Champions Tour player John Daly won his first Champions Tour event, winning the Insperity Invitational, with the new Vertical Groove Driver. It was Daly’s first win in America since 2004.

The driver on the market since late 2016, was first played on the Champions Tour by Rocco Mediate. While Mediate didn’t win the tournament he did lead the field in driving accuracy at more than 90%.

Daly said that he didn’t hit his irons very good in rounds 2&3, so he left his week be decided by his driver and putter. Daly said his win was “not pretty” but in the end he got it done and that is what matters.

The Vertical Groove driver claims up to 40% straighter ball flight, and 10 yards longer off the tee.

The club is now available in both left and right handed models, and has lofts of 8, 9.5, 10.5 and 12. It’s standard shaft is an Aldila NV2K, options in shafts include the Fujikura and Mitsubishi shafts. Suggested retail is $399.00 See more Vertgolf.com for more details.

THE BIG “A” in apparel Antigua has announced it’s Spring 2017 Windwear Collection. Starting with the “Adavnce” a long-sleeve, half zip pullover, that works as windshirt but includes a waterproof fabric that keep one dry from light rainy weather. It’s style and lining allows for great flexibility. Another part of the collection, includes the stylish “Tour” design, which is short-sleeve pullover windshirt with a half-zip placket, and multiple pockets. It’s lightweight mesh fabric, allows for that breathe of fresh-air when you need it. Want less !, yes how about “Conquer” a sleeveless model with comparisons to Tour, and like Tour has a fabric and style that allows for wear on and off the course, and looks fashionable in any setting.

TO FIND ANTIGUA online see Antigua.com, or ShopAntigua.com. To visit Antigua on social media see facebook, twitter or youtube.

The new Hayate (hi-yaw-tay) Miura Driver $639.00 MAP

Miura Golf has launched a new driver called “Hayate” that does translate to “the sound of the wind”, says Bill Holowaty, COO or Miura Golf.

Holowaty says that Miura has worked hard to create a forged excellence for golfers who don’t have consistent ball striking in their game.

Shinei Muira, son of clubmaker Katsuhiro Miura (the company founder and legendary designer since 1957) has now created a driver and and family of fairway woods that the Muira family is proud have it’s name on. This new driver will increase ball speed and provide launch characteristics for golfers of every level. Now complete with a floating weight structure, that allows for up to 8 grams of movable head weight. The clubhead’s style is a matte black crown finish, and can be purchased in a 9.5 or 10.5 degree of loft. It’s price will vary depending on the shaft of your choice.

The Hayate fairway woods have been created for use off both the tee and fairway. The clubs low center of gravity provides maximum ball flight. Variable heel and toe weighting allow for more draw and fade. MAP is $539.00

Miura CB 2008 Irons for all levels of golfers.

The new Miura CB 2008 Irons, are forged Irons that all levels of golfers can play, as the concept being introduced by Miura is that improvements in technology can help golfers of all skill levels.

Holowaty says that,” the midsize clubhead combines a soft carbon forged face and neck with a composite pocket cavityback. The design creates a wider sole, lower center of gravity, larger sweet spot and more forgiveness.”

The process now being used at Miura’s Himeji factory in Japan, is one where soft carbon steel integrates into a forged face. As a result the sweet spot power bridge is integral to the process. The 5-8 Irons have one form of pocket cavity, while the 9-Iron and PW are one piece forged. The Cb 2008 creates a deeper center of gravity, that gives the player more forgiveness, an option all golfers will enjoy. Each Iron is $339.00 MAP.

NEED MORE, well Miura didn’t stop there. How about two new Irons to the Miura Golf (MG) collection. First is the CB-1008 cavityback, and the MB-5005.

MIURA CB-1008 Cavityback Iron $279.00 MAP.

The CB-1008 has been created from a billet of soft carbon steel. It’s wider sole (19mm) on the 7-Iron will add to the clubs playability and it’s forgiveness.

The new weight distribution in the sole, combined with a lower center of gravity, will allow for forgiveness and increased launch angle, found especially in the mid to long Irons. The CB-1008 is MAP $279.00 per club.

Miura has taken 15 grams of weight, and redistributed it on the club so the design looks more like a blade Iron. The design was to create an iron that looks like a blade but performs more like a cavityback. The movement of weight has created a larger sweetspot and a lower center of gravity. The 5005 is slightly longer from heel to toe, that should add more confidence for all golfers when they stand over the ball. The MB-5005 has MAP of $329.00

For more information on Miura the staple of golf equipment in Japan for 60 years, please visit MiuraGolf.com or on social media follow Miura on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

THE GOG BLOG RETURNS THIS WEEK… RS

THE GOG BLOG SPEAKS OUT-ERIN HILLS AND USGA A WINNER

  THE FRENCH LICK RESORT home of the Sr. LPGA Championship coming this July, see Frenchlick.com for details. NEXT WEEK at Olympia Fields, the KPMG/PGA Women’s Championship, its time for another major in Chicago and Olympia Fields is delivering for all the golf fans. For tickets visit KPMGWomensPGA.com #Itsamajor         ______________________________________________________________________

ERIN HILLS WILL REOPEN ON JULY 1ST FOR PUBLIC PLAY AND STAY.

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Editor and Director of Content. Follow Rory on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter @GogBlogGuy.

IT’S IN THE BOOKS, call it a wrap or just plain over. The 2017 U.S. Open is in the Brooks (Koepka) that is, and the first U.S. Open in the Midwest in 14 years is complete. Brooks Koepka is the winner, and the seventh straight major winner, to be a first time major winner.

Koepka tied Rory McIlroy’s record of 16 under par, to have the lowest winning score in U.S. Open history. Congrats Brooks, you earned it. This years open had more rounds under par than any open ever, breaking the record of 124 set at Medinah in 1990. It also marked the first time since 1993 that neither Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods were not in the field. Not sure how much they were missed if at all.

Former John Deere Classic Champion Brian Harman bidding to win his first major, and become the first left-handed player to win the U.S. Open, fell short during the back nine on Sunday when Koepka went on a birdie binge. Harman finished T-2.

THE 117TH US OPEN at Erin Hills USGA.org

Koepka’s score of 16 under par has raised some eyebrows about the toughness of Erin Hills, was it set up the right way for a US Open, does it deserve one more chance, or will the USGA never bring the men’s US Open back to Erin Hills again.

Per Mike Davis the Executive Director of the USGA and the man who oversee’s the US Open, it will take a few weeks for Davis and his team to pour over all the data they have, but at some point the numbers will tell if Erin Hills is back again as a U.S. Open future site or the main U.S. Open location in the Midwest.

Golfers on Golf’s Rory Spears (L) with USGA Executive Director Mike Davis (M) and BIG 3 Partner/Illinois Golfer Editor Tim Cronin (R)

The USGA will work with Golfers on Golf Radio and try to make Davis available for interview at some point this summer, and give him a chance to put his swing on a full recap of open week.

I spent six days at Erin Hills this past week and never thought that the winner would be 16 under par, not even as the wind blew hard in the morning hours of Fathers Day and Sunday at the U.S. Open.

I do believe Davis when he says, both he and the USGA are not obsessed with even par winning the championship. If they were, there would not have been 60 yard wide fairways this past week. Granted both Davis and his team were working with a new venue (one Davis signed off on to make it happen), and anytime your in that situation there is a learning curve. With that issue to deal with, Davis and crew error’d on the side of caution, as the USGA didn’t need a circus at the open for the third straight year, and they didn’t have one.

Maybe Erin Hills should get a trophy !

The good news is that there wasn’t a controversy this year over rules or bad greens.

There were no major rules issues, and greens were just fine thank you. There was a few off the courses issues that you can not blame on the USGA.

There was a blimp crash, the pilot was the only person on board when it went down about a half mile from Erin Hills. The blimp had no connection to the USGA or Erin Hills, the pilot has some burns on his back and legs, but they are not considered by doctors as life threatening. A 94 year old man passed away on Friday during Round 2, he was given immediate medical treatment, and received it more likely faster than he would have at home. The fan died in an on course ambulance. Perhaps at 94, it was just his time to go play a course like Erin Hills in sky. All of us at Golfers on Golf send his family and friends our condolences.

There was a water issue at one hydration station, some E-Coli was found and the USGA moved in right away to address the problem. They also released the information of what happened to the media, before the media even knew what happened. The USGA PR department gets an A+ here.

I got a chance to speak with Steve Stricker and Jordan Spieth, and both did make it clear that the players they were speaking with, on a whole liked the golf course. A factor that Davis said would be taken into consideration. I have to believe if Stricker and Spieth are getting the kind of feedback they said they were, Erin Hills will get another U.S. Open. The question remains if Erin Hills and maybe Oakland Hills in Michigan become the front runners for Midwest U.S Opens, it doesn’t bode well for the USGA to bring an open back to Chicago anytime soon.

There are some factors involved here that most media outlets aren’t reporting. The players and the USGA loved the fact that Erin Hills owner Andy Ziegler did not open the course for public play before the championship in 2017. A first for the U.S. Open, which led to the field having maybe the most pristine course in open history. Something that can help the scoring as well. Since Erin Hills isn’t running carts down the fairway everyday either, really reduces the wear and tear on the fairways and rough. the other thing is that the players seemed to enjoy the over-sized locker room tent built for the open. There was space inside the clubhouse (unlike Chambers Bay) but the USGA elected not to use it. The short walk from the locker-room to the range and the media tent was liked by all.

My view was close up since I was on site for six days in a row. I only had limited access to seeing the product on television as Fox presented it to the world. The information I have received about the broadcast still is, that Fox in year three, isn’t much better than they were in year 1 at Chambers Bay. I know many fans of golf, baseball and football are not fans of Joe Buck. Paul Azinger gets passing grades and so does architect Gil Hanse and a few more. Holly Sonders is nice to look at (yes she is) but the majority of viewers are saying she is eye-candy and not bringing much to the broadcast. I can say that she is bringing high-heels so big and wide she can barely walk in them, it was fun to she her try and make it around the TV compound in those shoes. I’ll say this about Buck, he’s no Jim Nantz, but I’ll take him over Dan Hicks any day. It is too bad that Johnny Miller was not on-air with Fox while Justin Thomas broke Millers U.S. Open record in Round 3.

Maybe Stricker is right, after his final round he suggested that the players would be fine with smaller fairways, but rough that wasn’t so deep. A few minor tweaks here and there, and everyone would be happy. If that’s all it takes, then I hope to see everyone back at Erin Hills in 2027, or 2029 after Oakland Hills is handed the next Midwest based U.S. Open. One tweak from us media types, a shuttle cart from the media parking lot down to outside the media tent please, is that too much to ask. RS

BROOKS KOEPKA WINS THE 117TH US OPEN AT ERIN HILLS

         THE FRONT VIEW AND THE ARIAL VIEW OF THE ERIN HILLS CLUBHOUSE

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Editor and Director of Content. Follow Rory to the 18th green at the 2017 US Open at Erin Hills, and on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter @GogBlogGuy.

REPORTING FROM ERIN HILLS (ERIN WI.)

The US Open all of us here in the Midwest have for, for so long is over. Brooks Koepka  with a final round 67 (-16) has won the 117th U.S. Open Championship at Erin Hills, and now it’s on to Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on Long Island in New York.

But before we move on to 2018, 2017 needs a proper send off, and the stretch run during Open Sunday at Erin hills is one that will have people talking for sometime. With Jordan Niebrugge officially breaking the record of Rounds under Par at a US Open. Niebrugge recorded the 125th round under par of the week, it broke the old record of 124 set at Medinah in 1990.

Right before Niebrugge finished, 2015 US Open Champion Jordan Spieth wrapped up his week with a 3 under par 69, his best round of the championship. Spieth called the round his best in a while, and said that he would play in Hartford next week. But when asked about the John Deere Classic by the Gog Blog he said definitely a chance,yeah. that’s been successful for us in the past. Spieth added that most of the players really liked Erin Hills, and supported a return to the course for another U.S. Open down the road.

The leader board was bunched as the leaders made the turn, 8-10 players had a chance to win the championship. But then one-by-one they started fall back except for one player, Hidecki Matsuyama who made five birdies on the back nine to close with a 66 (-6) and a -12 for the championship. He was the leader in the clubhouse and posted the number that had to be beat. When all was over, only Koepka could.

US Open Champion Brooks Koepka at the championship press conference.

Rickie Fowler who started the week strong with a seven under par 65, and the early two shot lead after 18 holes never seemed to get much going after Thursday and was unable to mount a Sunday charge starting the day just two shots back. Tommy Fleetwood was another who could not muster a run to challenge Koepka as he spend his day, giving back a shot to par on holes right after a birdie putt had fallen. Justin Thomas who set a US Open low scoring record with a 63 on Saturday, had nothing left on Sunday. He bogeyed three of the first four holes and never mounted a Sunday charge.

Hometown hero Steve Stricker shot his second consecutive 3 under par 69 on the weekend to finish at 5 under par. At about 4:30 in the afternoon Stricker was actually the leader in the club house, but when asked about it he joked that his score would win nothing. But as always Stricker was thankful for all the support from the fans, said he heard from many players that were enjoying the golf course. He expected the US Open to come back to Wisconsin someday. Stricker will play his American Family Insurance event on the Champions Tour next week, before taking two weeks off and then heading to the John Deere Classic and the British Open.

When the dust finally settled at Erin Hills, it was all about what they say at the Masters every year. The back-nine on Sunday, when Brooks Koepka simply made more putts than anybody else. Brian Harman bidding to be the first left-handed golfer to win the US Open Championship, made bogeys on holes 12 and 13 to derail his chances. Harman’s drive on 12 found the hay, and he could not get up and down on the par 3, 13th. Harman’s last charge was a near hole-in-one on the par 3, 16th. But when the tee shot came up a foot short, all Harman could do was make birdie and trim Koepka’s lead to three shots with two holes to play. A bogey on 18 left him at even par for the round, and four shots back when it was all over. He finished T-2 with Matsuyama.

While that was happening, Koepka started his birdie run to pull away. After Koepka made birdie on the par 3, 16th hole to open a four-shot the championship was basically over. With the win Koepka became the 7th straight first time major winner, and he tied the lowest final round score to par (-16) previously set by Rory McIlroy in 2011 at the Congressional Country Club.

Click here to hear the  championship interview with winner Brooks Koepka.

The low-amateur award went to Scottie Scheffler who finished at 1 under par, beating out Cameron Champ by 1 shot when Champ’s birdie attempt from 15 feet on 18, just slid by the cup.

A record number of players (31) broke par for the US Open.

ZACH JOHNSON TALKS US OPEN AND HIS CLUBS

      THE PRESERVE at Oak Meadows coming this summer, stay clicked in here or visit DuPagegolf.com MIKE MUNRO & JIM MCWETHY invite you to try the Green Street Grille in Bensenville, now open for business. 120 W. Green Street #Eatatgreenstreet       ______________________________________________________________________

 

      ZACH JOHNSON has the hardware at Wrigley Field (L), the trophy is coming into sight for a handful of golfers at the 2017 US Open. The Gog Blog by Rory Spears, follow Rory on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter@GogBlogGuy. On the 18th green at Erin Hills.  _____________________________________________________________________

REPORTING FROM ERIN HILLS… Zach Johnson’s third round 68 left him in s better mood, in fact he says it was one of his best rounds of the year. He finished strong and made a solid birdie on 18 to end the day. His position on the leader board went from 50 something to 20 something. Nothing like moving day at the US Open.

With the way the scores went in the afternoon, Johnson doesn’t have a chance to win the US Open this year, but he does have a chance to be in solid form by the time the John Deere Classic comes along.

After winning the British Open in 2015, Johnson was playing some if his best golf since winning the Masters a few years earlier. But Johnson was one of a handful of players who jumped equipment companies at the end of the year, and he jumped to the PXG group headed up by owner Bob Parsons.

But what Johnson didn’t do, was allow the Parsons people to work with him on the equipment change and make the most of it. Once he did that, the change has started to take off. Johnson didn’t make any excuses on Saturday after Round 3 at the US Open, in fact he took full blame for the rough start with PXG.

Click here to hear the interview with Zach Johnson after his third round at Erin Hills.

Johnson says he will play at Hartford before taking a couple of weeks off, he will be well rested as he comes into John Deere Classic Week starting on July 10th. Johnson will be looking to win his second John Deere Classic title next month, and he continues to serve on the tournaments board of directors.

For tickets and information on the John Deere Classic, do visit Johndeereclassic.com.

HARMAN HOLDS ON-ROUND 3 US OPEN

   THE 18TH HOLE AND THE TROPHY NOW IN SITE FOR A FEW PLAYERS AT THE 117TH US OPEN at Erin Hills. See USGA.org or USOPEN.com for more information.      _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Editor and Director of Content. Follow Rory to the US Open, and on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter @GogBlogGuy. With the US Open trophy on the 18th hole.

REPORTING FROM ERIN HILLS, IN Erin Wisconsin.

54 down and 18 holes to go, that’s what several players are thinking as three rounds are in the books at Erin Hills.

For former John Deere Classic Champion Brian Harman, Sunday will be the biggest round of his life, and that is saying something.

You see for Harman, this isn’t his first USGA rodeo. in 2003 Harman won the USGA Junior Championship, in 2005 he was part of the USA Walker Cup team that won at the Chicago Golf Club. A win that earned him and his teammates a trip to the White House to meet President George W. Bush in the Oval Office.

US OPEN LEADER and former John Deere Classic Champion Brian Harman speaks at media day at TPC Deere Run in 2015.

But now 12 years after his Walker Cup win, Harman has a chance to win a major championship. The US Open that it is. Harman shot a third round 5 under par 67, that gave him a one shot lead over three players and it was one of those three that stole the show.

Justin Thomas who already has a few PGA Tour wins this year under his belt, simply went and smashed Johnny Millers US Open record 63 with a 63 of his own.

Thomas shot his 63 on a par 72 course, while Miller did it on Oakmont that was set on a par 71 course. After the round was complete Miller made some comments to Golf Channel since he was on property for a sponsors event. While he congratulated Thomas, Miller said it was a great round for the Milwaukee Open. Miller says Erin Hills with it’s 60 yard wide fairways, certainly isn’t the 22-32 yard fairways seen at tree lined opens in the past.

2017 does seem to be the year of the kinder, gentle USGA, but with Erin Hills being a new US Open venue, the USGA has erred on the side of caution. Toss in some overnight rains to soften things up a bit, and Erin Hills doesn’t have the greatest front line of defense, and these players can attack the greens.

Brian Harman holds the John Deere Classic Trophy after winning in 2014.

Thomas had a short putt for eagle on 18 to make his 63, when he did the gallery went crazy and gave Thomas a well deserved standing ovation.

After a 31 on the front side, Thomas kept up his charge. A 63 at a US Open, and Thomas did have not one but two bogeys.

Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood from England are tied with Thomas one shot back of Harman. Then there is Rickie Fowler who is not dead yet, and only two shots back after a 68.

Click here to hear the interviews with both Steve Stricker and Jordan Spieth.

Both Stricker and Spieth basically declared themselves out of it, and that was before both Thomas and Harman went wild in the afternoon. Jordan Niebrugge was over par for his third round, and with Stricker right behind him for two holes in the early going, there were large galleries of Wisconsin-ites in tow. Stricker did birdie three of four holes coming in, but one late bogey didn’t help after a tee shot found a bunker.

Stricker will be hoping for a great final day to make a run at a Top 10 spot which will give him a free pass into the 2018 US Open Shinnecock, but after admitting he was tied in Round 3, it’s hard to believe Stricker has much in the tank for Sunday.

Zach Johnson snuck up the leader board a bit with a 68 that left him T-26 with another veteran Jim Furyk. Johnson called Saturday one of his best rounds this year, as he settles in with his PXG clubs. (more on that coming soon).

Spieth was one of the top players who made the cut. Six of the worlds Top 10 did not, including numbers 1-2-3. But after a +4 (76), he admitted he would head home and start looking for something. Hopefully after round 4 he will talk about his upcoming schedule and maybe a stop at the John Deere Classic.

8:51 is the first tee time in the morning for round 4. The leaders will tee off just before 3 PM, a way too late start, but TV does that to events like this. 32 players broke par in Round 3, a record for the US Open. If Harman wins the US Open he would be the fourth player in history to win the USGA Junior and the US Open. He would join Johnny Miller, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth.

THE GOG BLOG returns with a recap of the US Open on Sunday night.

TIE AT THE TOP AFTER ROUND 2 AT THE OPEN

  

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Editor and Director of Content. Follow Rory to the US Open at Erin Hills, and on Facebook, linkedin and Twitter @GogBlogGuy. With the US Open trophy at Gino’s East in Rosemont.

REPORTING FROM ERIN HILLS, site of the 2017 US Open, and the 117th playing of our nations national championship.

There is a log jam at the top of the leader board at 7 under par. So much for everyone being 13 under by the end of Round 2.

Instead the leaders are no further under par after Round 2, than Rickie Fowler was after Round 1.

At 7 under par we have Paul Casey, former John Deere Classic Champion Brian Harman, Brooks Koepka, and Tommy Fleetwood. Fowler is 1 shot back along with Jamie Lovemark. The round of the day went to Chez Reavie who matched Fowlers opening round score of 65.

For all of the Wisconsin fans the good news was that Steve Stricker and Jordan Niebrugge, the home town boys each made the cut on the number at +1 (145). So they are both at Erin Hills for the weekend, bad news is that a pairing of the two players that would have had a huge following, did not happen when the USGA put them one group apart. Niebrugge at 9:10 and Stricker in the next group at 9:21. Had they been paired together it would have been a good pairing for both players who are looking to breakout and post a low number.

There are five past US Open winners in the field for the weekend and they include, Webb Simpson from 2012 at the Olympic Club, Martin Kaymer from 2014 at Pinehurst, Jordan Spieth from 2015 at Chambers Bay, Jim Furyk at Olympia Fields in 2003, and Ernie Els with championships at Oakmont and Congressional.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson ended up +4 missing the cut by three shots, he had the cut made on the number with six holes to play, but three bogeys down the stretch cost him the weekend. 2013 champion Justin Rose missed the cut by 1 shot. But even bigger surprises were Jason Day at +10 and Rory McIlroy who carded a -1 (71) in round two came up four shots short. In his post round press conference Day said McIlroy locked in and was hitting everything flush the last six holes, but by then it was too late. When Johnson’s title defense crashed in the early evening on Friday, it marked the end of world players #1-2-3, who be Friday night trunk slammers at the US Open.

OPEN NEWS..The USGA sadly reported a fan died on property during the round. A 94 year old man, a resident of Wauwatosa a suburb of Milwaukee passed out in the grandstand of the 6th hole. He was given immediate medical attention and taken to a nearby ambulance where he was pronounced dead. It was deceased first day on site at the open.

2016 Masters Champion Danny Willett who has struggled with his game for sometime, posted an 80 in round 1, and then today turned in a WD shortly before his afternoon tee time. Willett said he was suffering from a back injury, which if that’s the case might explain his poor play of late.

IF Brian Harman wins the US Open, he would be the first left-handed champion of the US Open. The US Open is the only major that has never had a left handed champion.

The yardage for Round 2 was 7,839, a little longer than Round 1, in fact the Par 5 18th hole was pushed back all the way to the 676 yard maximum.

FIRST ROUND 3 tee-time is 8:26 Am Tyler Light and Webb Simpson. For more information on the US Open see USGA.com or USOPEN.com.

FOWLER TAKES LEAD AFTER DAY 1 AT US OPEN

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Editor and Director of Content, follow Rory to the US OPEN, and on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter @GogBlogGuy

  THE 117TH US OPEN IS UNDERWAY at Erin Hills in Erin Wisconsin. The 18th hole and bleachers (L) and the US Open Trophy on 15 (R) USOPEN.com for more details.                           THE US OPEN the 117th edition is underway and Rickie Fowler at 7 under par after Round 1 is the leader. Yes even under par a 65, since this years par is 72. Paul Casey is one shot back at 6 under with a group of players at 5 under par.

Steve Stricker, Wisconsin’s very own is at 1 over par 73, after he started birdie-birdie and was quickly 2 under par, but Stricker gave it back with bogeys on holes 3 & 4. Jordan Niebrugge also from Wisconsin also shot 73.

Some of the worlds top players had troubles with Erin Hills. Jason Day needed a birdie on 18 to avoid shooting 80, he carded 79. Rory McIlroy was only 1 shot better with a 78. Defending Champion Dustin Johnson was 3 over par over the last four holes to finish with a 3 over par 75.

” I simply did not putt very well, I missed a lot of good birdie opportunities,” said Johnson. ” That was the key. If I don;t three putt today I shoot even par. I did hit it well enough to day to shoot a good score.”

Phil Mickelson did withdraw from the championship after realizing there was no way he could attend his daughters graduation and make his tee time. The Phil Mickelson announcement along with a blimp crash were the two big stories of the morning along with Fowler going very low. A blimp not affiliated with the USGA or Erin Hills or TV rights holder Fox Sports crahsed near the golf course, shortly after take off. The pilot suffered major burns after an explosion when the blimp hit the ground.

With the Mickelson WD, it marked the first time since 1993 that both Mickelson and Tiger Woods were not in a US Open field. Mickelson was replaced by 30 year old Roberto Diaz of Mexico, the first alternate at the Summit New Jersey sectional qualifying.

Steve Stricker is interviewed after Round 1 at the US Open at Erin Hills.

Fowlers 7 under par 65 tied the lowest first round score in US Open History. The other 7 under rounds were 63’s shot in 1980 at Baltusrol by both Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf. The championship was won by Nicklaus. More recently both Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson shot 65’s at Chambers Bay in 2015, but those 65’s were only 5 under par.

With low scores on day 1, what will the USGA do, to make things tougher on day 2, we will see.

Click here to hear interviews with Rickie Fowler and Steve Stricker.

For more information on the US Open visit USOPEN.com

STRICKER SPEAKS OUT- THE OPEN AT HOME

       THE BOOK ON ERIN HILLS by Gary D’Amato, with pictures from Paul Hundley, book signing in the merchandise tent tomorrow 5-7 PM at Erin Hills. The US Open trophy on the 15th hole at Erin Hills, follow the US Open here, or at USOPEN.com or USGA.com.  _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Editor and Director of Content. Follow Rory all week at the US Open, and on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter @GogBlogGuy.

Home town guy Steve Stricker made no bones about it, he had to make the field at the first U.S. Open in his home state. He did.

His letter for a special exemption into the field was turned down by the USGA, so Stricker had no choice but to go qualify at a USGA sectional site in Tennessee.

The good thing for Sticker, the USGA and all his fans in Illinois and Wisconsin is that Stricker made it through, winning at 10 under par.

Stricker is one of the veterans at US Opens, he has played in plenty of them, but he had to play in this one, even at age 50. Regardless of where he finishes this is one week he will never forget.

Steve Stricker enjoying the fans at Erin Hills site of the US Open. Photo by Joy Sarver.

Stricker opened round 1 with two straight birdies on holes 1 and 2, but then bogeyed holes three and four to fall back to even par.

Since then Stricker has fallen back to +1 after another bogey. He is now +1 with three holes to play in his first round.

His galley is a big one, and the state of Wiscosnin has come out in force to support him, hoping he will be here for all four days of the championship.

The Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Champions Tour event is next week in the Madison Wisconsin area, on the University Ridge golf course. That tournament as well should be a fun one.

 

Click here to hear the interview with Steve Stricker, as he talks about Erin Hills and his journey to get to the 117th US Open in his home state.

For more on Steve Stricker and the US Open, see USOPEN.com or USGA.com.