U.S. Open notes: Poulter critical of USGA
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — Ian Poulter has been Twittering all week at the U.S. Open, but Sunday might have been the most unusual tweet of them all. He posted a picture of his golf ball on the 10th fairway, speckled with mud.
Poulter has been critical of the USGA this week for not allowing preferred lies (lift, clean and place) in wet conditions.
“Perfect drive on 10th 235 yards to go into the wind. And that’s what you get...Perfect 3 wood straight into a bunker,” he tweeted.
That means he had to take a picture of his golf ball with his cell phone during the round.
But the USGA said it was not a violation.
“As long as it’s not being used to gather information that would help him,” USGA rules official Wendy Uzelac said.
She referred to Rule 14-3, which covers artificial devices, unusual equipment and unusual use of equipment that cannot help a player “in making a stroke or in his play” and “for the purpose of gauging or measuring distance or conditions that might affect his play.”
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STAND STILL DAY: The third round of a major championship has traditionally been known as “Moving Day.”
The third round of this year’s U.S. Open didn’t earn that title for a couple of reasons: It took two days to complete, and nobody did much moving.
With Ricky Barnes and Lucas Glover holding on to the top two spots among the 60 golfers who made the cut by shooting even-par rounds of 70, the stage was set for a possible big move, but there were only eight rounds below par, the best of them a 67 by Bubba Watson that got him to 1 under for the tournament, seven strokes behind Barnes.
“He’s playing great. It’s obvious he’s having a great week. He’s hanging on there,” Watson said of Barnes. “You never know. It’s out there. You could shoot under par. It’s just you’ve got to putt good and hopefully you don’t get any mud balls.”
The other players to break par in the third round were Hunter Mahan, Retief Goosen, Johan Edfors and Tiger Woods, who had 68s, and Ross Fisher, Phil Mickelson and Graeme McDowell, who had 69s.
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BIG DIFFERENCE: The Sunday of last year’s U.S. Open ended with Rocco Mediate thrust into a warm national spotlight as he finished 72 holes tied with Tiger Woods. Even though Woods prevailed in a 19-hole playoff the next day, Mediate became a favorite of those rooting for golf’s everyman.
This year’s Open was quite different for Mediate, who will again be playing on Monday, but this time simply to conclude the rain-delayed tournament.
After opening with a 2-under 68, Mediate made the 60-man cut by three strokes with a 141 total. But he shot a 79 in the third round and his 220 total left him tied for 58th with one round to play.
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TEN-STROKE SWING: Nick Taylor went from tying an Open record for an amateur in the second round to having the worst score of the three nonprofessionals who made the cut in the third.
Taylor, a native of Canada who was first-team All-America at the University of Washington last season, shot a 5-under 65 in the second round, matching the lowest round ever by an amateur in the U.S. Open.
On Sunday, he finished a 5-over 75 that was one stroke behind Drew Weaver and Kyle Stanley, the only other amateurs to make the cut. Taylor entered the final round with a 213 total, two strokes better than Weaver and five ahead of Stanley.
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DEUCES WILD: Look out for Phil Mickelson on the par 3s in the final round.
In the first round, Mickelson had one 2 on his card, at No. 17. In the second round he upped up that to two birdies, on Nos. 8 and 17. In the third round he went one better, making birdies on Nos. 3, 8 and 14. He had a run of four straight birdies on the par 3s starting with No. 17 in the second round and he just missed adding to that, leaving a 15-foot attempt on the edge on the 17th.
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CROWD FAN: The galleries on hand for the two times the U.S. Open has been played at Bethpage Black have taken their share of criticism for treading on the line between funny and foul.
“The crowds are definitely different in New York, but I think it’s good and gets you going as a player,” Northern Ireland native Graeme McDowell said Sunday. “I certainly enjoy a wee bit of energy and shouting, and the players like to get involved in that. I don’t like it if it gets abusive, obviously, and I know certain players in the past have had a hard time from the New York crowds. But sometimes it has to get close to the line to make it fun. I’m lucky to have been on the right side of that so far.”
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OPEN FALLOUT: The rain delays have had quite a ripple effect.
Brad Faxon and Billy Andrade were to host the CVS Charity Classic, which has raised more than $12 million for New England charities, but found themselves searching for replacements.
The two-day event starts Monday, with Camilo Villegas and Bubba Watson as the defending champions. Both made the cut at the Open and will be at Bethpage Black until they finish.
Others who signed up for the charity event and made the Open cut were Todd Hamilton, Retief Goosen and Anthony Kim.
The five players will be replaced by PGA Tour professionals Brad Adamonis, Matt Kuchar and David Toms and LPGA tour professionals Laura Diaz and Brittany Lincicome.
“Unfortunately, the rain delays at the U.S. Open have forced us to make a difficult decision,” Andrade and Faxon said in a statement. “We wish these five players the best of luck at the U.S. Open and hope that their schedules permit them to play in a future CVS Caremark Charity Classic.”
The Telus World Skins in Quebec City scrambled to put together a five-man exhibition match Monday, adding Padraig Harrington, Michael Campbell and Chris DiMarco after they missed the cut at Bethpage. Fred Couples and Quebec-based pro Remi Bouchard also will play.
The skins competition, originally set for nine holes both Monday and Tuesday, is now scheduled for 18 holes on Tuesday, with Mike Weir, Sergio Garcia, Geoff Ogilvy and Ian Poulter joining Couples.
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STOCK TIP: Stewart Cink had a Twitter message for fathers and stock players on Sunday morning once play was delayed long enough to require a Monday finish.
“Dads’ Day gift to all: I was supposed to ring opening bell on Wall St in the morn but now I’ll be finishing up USOpen. Black Monday Averted!”