Stories by Jeff
Top-10 machine Matt Kuchar ready to win first major at Pinehurst in U.S. Open
On U.S. Open eve, Matt Kuchar told his family that he loves Pinehurst No. 2. On Thursday, Kuchar shot 1-under 69 to put himself in a great position to win his first major championship.
Henrik Stenson talks 5th green after opening 69 at U.S. Open
If asked to identify the U.S. Open quote of the week so far, your correspondent would look no further than Henrik Stenson's quip about the fifth green at Pinehurst No. 2 after an opening 69.
VIDEO: Jeff Rude's early impressions of U.S. Open
Senior writer Jeff Rude spent the morning walking Pinehurst No. 2, following the likes of Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell. Listen to his impressions of the tournament at mid-day Thursday.
Rude: We've got your U.S. Open winner for Pinehurst. Here it is.
It’s clear who will win this week’s U.S. Open. Guaranteed. Write it down. Here it is . . . Plus, the club pro who bounds his drives past J.B. Holmes, Padraig Harrington's whereabouts and more.
Confident Rory McIlroy looks to shed 2nd-round troubles at U.S. Open
Rory McIlroy enters the U.S. Open at Pinehurst with 'a bit of confidence' as he searches for his third major title. He'll just have to get past the second-round troubles that have plagued him recently.
Bubba Watson comfortable on Pinehurst's tough, sandy layout
Bubba Watson called Pinehurst No. 2, this year's U.S. Open venue, the "toughest we'll play." Yet, the two-time Masters champ feels comfortable on the restored Donald Ross gem, likening it to a course he grew up on in the Florida Panhandle.
Impossible to keep Phil Mickelson at Pinehurst out of mind before U.S. Open
There aren’t many golf stories that, as they say, are too big to write. But we could have one if Phil Mickelson were to win the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, even as World No. 1 Adam Scott might be the favorite.
Leonard, Noh, Thomas co-medal as Lee slides in Columbus U.S. Open sectional qualifier
Sometimes in U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying a qualifier isn’t even the story. So it went with the sad tale of Danny Lee, who slid late as Justin Leonard, Seung-Yul Noh and Justin Thomas co-meadaled in Columbus.
Michael Putnam, Brett Stegmaier share U.S. Open sectional lead in Columbus
Michael Putnam, the 2013 Web.com player of the year, and Web.com player Brett Stegmaier each shot 5-under-par 67 at Brookside Golf and Country Club on Monday morning to share the midway lead at U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying in Columbus.
Leading Memorial, Bubba Watson looks to repeat round for PGA Tour win
And two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson shot an outgoing 32 en route to seizing a one-stroke advantage through 54 holes of the Memorial Tournament on PGA Tour.
Phil Mickelson: Feds' questions haven't affected season on PGA Tour
Phil Mickelson said Saturday that a federal investigation into potential insider trading hasn’t affected his golf performance before this week, even as a report said the FBI interviewed him last year at a New Jersey airport.
Rude: Driving machine? Rory McIlroy was a wreck off the tee Friday
A day after his play off the tee led to a 9-under 63, Rory McIlroy found the rough more often than not, leading to a dismal 78. The positive? He's still within striking distance.
Momma knows best: Keegan Bradley goes to short putter after talk with mom
Keegan Bradley was pretty bummed after tying for 29th at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. So whom does he lean on for help but his own mom, Kaye. Their conversation led to a big change for Bradley: a conventional-length putter.
And then Jack said about Tiger . . . Nicklaus addresses Woods and much more before Memorial Tournament
On the eve of the Memorial Tournament, Jack Nicklaus talked about the shape his game's in, his career majors record in Tiger Woods' sights and how far he might have driven the ball in his prime using today's equipment.
Matt Kuchar already pumped about the Ryder Cup
After being fitted for his potential Ryder Cup gear at the Memorial on Tuesday, Matt Kuchar already feels his juices flowing as the U.S. tries to regain the crown they saw slip through their fingers at Medinah.
Sorenstam's father-in-law frets about two minutes of terror
Jerry Magee has experienced nearly everything you can as a professional golfer, but his most nervous moments might be ahead of him as he prepares to introduce his daughter-in-law, Annika Sorenstam, at a Wednesday ceremony at the Memorial.
Tiger Woods: Back pain no longer 'debilitating' after surgery, still no timetable for return to PGA Tour
Tiger Woods says his back pain is no longer "debilitating" -- but as he posted on his blog two weeks ago, the 14-time major champion says he has no date for his return from back surgery.
Jordan Spieth on next-big-thing talk on PGA Tour: 'I don't even hear it'
Consider it a good way for Jordan Spieth to block one out: Asked Wednesday if he considered talk of being the PGA Tour’s “next big thing” as a burden or compliment, Spieth simply said he tees it up and tries to win.
Short game keeps Jordan Spieth bogey-free at Players Championship
Through 54 holes of the Players Championship, Jordan Spieth is bogey-free and tied for the lead as he searches for his second career PGA Tour victory.
Geoff Ogilvy heads into weekend in top 10 at Players Championship on PGA Tour
For Geoff Ogilvy's game, there’s light again. You can see it in his play and hear it in his words as he's in the top 10 midway through the Players Championship.
Sources: Open Championship likely to return to Royal Portrush
Sources have told Golfweek that there is a strong possibility that the Open Championship will return to Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951.
Lee Westwood's game at Players Championship surpassed only by his standup routine
Lee Westwood's 67 in the Players Championship first round kept him from taking the dew-sweeping tee time as a PGA Tour insult: 'This is like having a handicap again, getting a shot.'
After flood of '14 woes, John Peterson keeps head above water
John Peterson's professional life was at an all-time high after success at the 2012 U.S. Open and Web.com Finals victory. But then a busted copper pipe at his home put things in perspective, and the outspoken former LSU star has been scrambling to recover ever since.
Looking for a hot Players Championship pick? Bubba Watson might not be your man
“Me and the golf course don’t see eye to eye,” Bubba Watson said Tuesday of TPC Sawgrass as he returns from three weeks away from the PGA Tour at the Players Championship.
5 Things: Angel Cabrera, Phil Mickelson rally at Quail Hollow in Wells Fargo Championship first round
Five-time major champion Phil Mickelson came to the Wells Fargo Championship looking to find some form -- and he did, quickly, thanks largely to exceptional putting. Here are 5 Things to know from Quail Hollow.
Phil Mickelson applauds Quail Hollow changes on eve of Wells Fargo Championship on PGA Tour
Count Phil Mickelson among the many players who have applauded the significant course changes at Quail Hollow Club, site of this week’s Wells Fargo Championship.
Since Wells Fargo win on PGA Tour, Derek Ernst has changed it all
What did Derek Ernst do after winning last year's Wells Fargo Championship? For better or worse with exemption in hand, the young PGA Tour player changed everything: swing coach, swing, trainer, caddie, etc.
Rude: Webb Simpson builds on year with plenty of positives
Mind games are in play every week on the PGA Tour, probably every minute. So it goes for Webb Simpson these days.
Rude: Joe Buck says golf fans will be 'blown away' by Fox's coverage
Joe Buck says people will “totally be blown away” by Fox Sports' golf coverage as Greg Norman, Buck’s sidekick in the tower, gives the impression he will be provocative and a coordinating producer touts the network's tech thinking.
Rude: Augusta National should Bubba-proof golf course
Senior writer Jeff Rude believes Augusta National should Bubba-proof the golf course, just as it did for Tiger Woods.
Rude: Bubba falters and opens the gates to wild Masters Sunday
Bubba Watson failed to put his foot on the collective throats of his Masters competition, letting back in the likes of Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar. We're in for a wild ride on Sunday at Augusta National.
Rude: Bubba Watson mixes, matches birdies on way to Masters lead at Augusta
Four of Masters leader Bubba Watson’s six birdies Friday at Augusta National came from 4 feet and in, a testament to his length and short-iron accuracy -- as well as a willingness to mix up his approach.
Wobbly wedge play leads Phil Mickelson to 4-over 76
Phil Mickelson shot 76, one off his high in 21 previous Masters. He made a short-game triple bogey on a hole (No. 7) where he had never made worse than bogey. He made a double bogey at 15, where his third shot spun back into the pond.
He's back? Injury-prone Oosthuizen fires 69 at Augusta National
Only hours after tweaking his bad back, Louis Oosthuizen feared that he wouldn't be able to tee it up Thursday. But the South African woke up feeling fine and managed to post a 3-under 69 and sit one shot off the lead.
What's weirder: No Tiger Woods, or would-be Masters mystery?
Phil Mickelson said it was “weird” without Tiger Woods on the Augusta National premises this week. One can only imagine what a long, strange trip it could have been if Woods had postponed back surgery and tried to play the Masters.
Rickie Fowler opens Phil Mickelson's eyes in Masters practice
Rickie Fowler has shined during practice at Augusta National for the 2014 Masters -- but he insists his T-6 in Houston is more telling.
Phil Mickelson says Augusta National "frees" him up
Phil Mickelson is scuffling a bit coming into the Masters, but there is something about the landscape here at Augusta National that makes him feel that he can accomplish anything.
Masters defense, and bugs, on Adam Scott's plate at Augusta National
Yes, Adam Scott is serving up bugs -- fancy that -- at the Champions' Dinner at Augusta National. But his important jobs this week are to chase the World No. 1 ranking and the title of back-to-back Masters winner.
Rory McIlroy finds a spark, fires 65 in Houston
Rory McIlroy said he needed a spark prior to the Masters and he found it on Sunday, firing a 7-under 65 to vault into the top 10 at the Shell Houston Open.
5 Things: Matt Kuchar smiles; Shawn Stefani stays course; plus more from the Shell Houston Open on PGA Tour
Matt Kuchar was all smiles Saturday while opening a four-shot lead; Shawn Stefani stuck to his guns while seeking Tour status; plus more in 5 Things to know from Saturday's third round of the Shell Houston Open.
Notes: Padraig Harrington's grip; Phil Mickelson's feel; more
Padraig Harrington lets a group play through as he copes with an injured finger while Phil Mickelson finds his feel and Steve Stricker talks about his new equipment halfway through the Shell Houston Open.
Rude: Experts like Tiger Woods' chances after back surgery
The fact that Tiger Woods didn’t defer surgery until after the Masters probably means a couple of things: He’s more interested in long-term health than next week and he wasn’t ready for Augusta National.
Rude: Like Arnie, Ron Balicki always made time for people
You couldn’t find a college hotshot or coach over the past three decades who didn’t enjoy, trust and respect the understated Ron Balicki, who died Tuesday at age 65 -- and belonged in the Nice Person Hall of Fame.
Now playing: Welcome to Jeff Rude's Hall Of Very Good
Our Jeff Rude recognizes that some of the World Golf HOF inductees of recent years have been criticized, most worthy of the "Hall of Very Good." Here's his initial class in his new HOF, complete with major winners and some of the best amateur players.
Rude: Adam Scott will try to 'put foot down early' Sunday at Bay Hill
Optimists would view Adam Scott's three-shot advantage at Bay Hill as half full, not half empty, and so does Scott. “It’s a really good spot to be in,” the affable Australian said after three rounds of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Fighting flu, Adam Scott ties record with 62 at Arnold Palmer Invitational
Suffering from mild flu symptoms, Adam Scott tied the tournament record with a 10-under 62 Thursday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Tiger Woods diagnosed with bulging disk in back, source says
Tiger Woods has been diagnosed with a bulging back disk and won’t need surgery, someone with knowledge of his condition said Thursday.
Back doctor: Masters not out of question if Tiger treated properly
Tiger Woods can be ready for the Masters (April 10-13) with the proper treatment on his spasming back, Dr. Alfred O. Bonati, founder of the Bonati Spine Institute in Hudson, Fla., said Wednesday.
Fatigued, Henrik Stenson maintains exotic sense of humor at Bay Hill
Even when explaining how fatigue has contributed to his slow start this year, Henrik Stenson maintains a sense of humor from homebuilding delays to pesky critters to peskier cellphone ringtones.
Going backward: Tiger showing weakness with health, Sunday setbacks
Another Sunday setback for Tiger Woods at Doral, whose health – and road to Augusta – is in disarray.