THE GOG BLOG SPEAKS OUT-IT’S U.S. OPEN WEEK.

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THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS-Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy and on Facebook or LinkedIn. With the U.S. Open trophy.

IT’S NOT BIG and it’s not heavy like the Stanley Cup or the Wanamaker trophy.

But it’s something pretty special to wrap your hands around. The U.S. Open trophy will go to the best player in the field this week at Winged Foot Country Club in Mamaroneck New York.

Could it be Phil Mickelson this time, since Phil would never let people down at Winged Foot. A great funny ad by the folks at Callaway Golf, kudos to Lefty for playing along. If you haven’t seen it you should, look it up on-line.

It seems weird having the U.S. Open at a time when the NFL is heading for week 2, and the NHL is almost headed into the Stanley Cup finals. Major League Baseball is in the stretch drive for the post-season and here comes the U.S. Open. Next thing you know the Masters will go head to head with the start of the college basketball season, instead of being played right after the final four.

In a year that’s been strange and different, the U.S. Open brings us back to something that’s traditional. This year only 144 players instead of 156 get to play in the U.S. Open, (a smaller field due to less daylight) and this time around, nobody made it into the field through qualifying. There won’t be an 18-hole playoff on Monday, if there is a tie at the end of play on Sunday night. But in this case, let’s hope the tee-times start early enough on Sunday, so there is time for a playoff before it’s get dark. TV are you listening. NBC is back with the U.S. Open on it’s network this year. Fox is gone and now locked in on the NFL.

Dan Hicks will be in the booth, and most likely be back to rooting on Tiger. Without Johnny Miller to reel him in unfortunately, maybe NBC can have Johnny stop by the booth for the weekend. It wouldn’t be a bad idea. Len Ziehm and I will discuss the U.S. Open more in detail later this week on our podcast Volume 27, do stay tuned-in.

ONE FINAL THOUGHT on the U.S. Open. I’m all for the expanded presence of the USGA in Pinehurst the home of american golf, and Pinehurst No.2 getting 4 more U.S. Open’s. But the talk of keeping the U.S. Open in just a six or seven course rotation does more harm than good. There are plenty of good courses around the country that have the overall size and footprint to handle a U.S. Open. The shortlist of courses being mentioned leave out the Midwest, and the West Coast minus Pebble Beach. The sport of golf needs it’s majors spread around the country to grow the game. Sports like Tennis get hurt because there is only one major in the USA, and it’s always in New York.

THE EVANS SCHOLARS INVITATIONAL at the Chicago Highlands Golf Club, finally had some good weather on Sunday. The players were due, after three days of rainy, windy and cooler weather.

When it was over, Curtis Thompson had his first win on the Korn-Ferry Tour. Thompson is better known for being the brother of Lexi Thompson the LPGA star. His sister wasted no time in calling her brother and her former caddie after he clinched the title.

The end of the ESI marked the end of two straight weeks in Illinois for the Korn Ferry Tour, two weeks that did not stand out for the native Illinois players on the tour. Brad Hopfinger finsihed T-4 three shots back, and Nick Hardy was T-13 and six shots back, both made late charges on Sunday for respectable finishes but it wasn’t enough.

IF THE Korn Ferry Tour gets back on it’s normal schedule in 2021, where does the ESI championship go, back to the Glen Club, or back to Chicago Highlands. Maybe a rotation of clubs is a possibility. A rotation of local clubs is the same plan that people here in the Windy City would like to see for the BMW Championship. In 2021 the BMW drive’s off to the burbs of Baltimore and Caves Valley Country Club. I was there for the inaugural LPGA International Crown in 2014 and Caves Valley is a great facility. It’s just that it’s not here in the Chicago area.

The 2022 BMW is up for grabs I hear. It could be back in Chicago or maybe again out of state, discussions are on-going with clubs in and out of town. Stay tuned.

ELGIN COUNTRY CLUB is the home for this weeks Illinois PGA Match Play. I’ve asked people in the past, what’s Elgin Country Club like. The answer was always, it’s very hilly. I played the course last week, and guess what. It’s very hilly. Some of the biggest elevation changes I’ve seen on a golf course in Illinois.

This type of golf course with a real risk-reward design in match play, can lead to some real upsets, so throw out the seeding and get ready for a few unexpected results. Two-time defending champion Garrett Chaussard of the Skokie Country Club will have his hands full going for three-in-a row.

IT FIGURES rain would have to pop-up last Tuesday as the Illinois PGA was playing the 10th edition of it’s Birdies for Charity (BFC) fundraiser at River Forest Country Club in Elmhurst. Kudo’s to the professionals about 35 of them, and former Chicago Bear Patrick Mannelly of Golf 360 who came out to raise money for four outstanding charities. Here is to dry-rounds in September of 2021. The 10 year total is now over $2 million dollars raised.

I’M PUZZLED that yet again when the coaches were announced for the Palmer Cup at Rich Harvest Farms in 2021, that none of our local coaches were selected. I don’t know if they turned down the chance, of just weren’t selected. No coaches from Illinois or Northwestern, or even the Big Ten coaching in this major event here in Illinois. Leaves you wondering what is going on with the selection process. No knock on the coaches selected, but a local coach or two from Illinois would be a great choice.

GOLFERS ON GOLF RADIO wraps it up for 2020, this Saturday morning from 10-11 Am on AM 820 WCPT, or WCPT820.com or watch us on Facebook Live the WCPT page. Len Ziehm joins us as guest host via the phone, as we putt out on 18 for the radio edition of our show. This website goes all year round-and the Ziehm and Spears Podcasts will run through early December. Make sure you catch the season finale, with a great round table of golf discussion for the last 30 minutes.

The GOG blog returns tomorrow. RS

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About Rory Spears

Rory spent over 8 years growing up working at Rob Roy Golf Club in Prospect Hts.IL, then two years at Chevy Chase in Wheeling. He has covered golf in Chicago since 1986. Rory was one of the initial members of WSCR all-sports radio Chicago and covered golf there for 5 seasons, before moving on to work for ESPN/Sportsticker and ESPN Radio. In addition to hosting Golfers on Golf Radio on WNDZ Am 750 Chicago, he writes for both the Chicago District (CDGA) Magazine, and formerly Chicagoland Golf. Rory has played over 525 courses in 39 states, and rates golf courses. He does golf course management and communications consulting, within the golf industry.