After more than a century the highly anticipated, long overdue return of golf in the 2016 summer Olympics is finally here. 112 long years later, it is officially an Olympic sport again. Before today golf was last played in the Olympics in St. Louis in the year 1904.
The games will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, over the course of the next couple of weeks at the newly built, 7,132 yard Olympic Golf Course (Portuguese: Campo Olimpico de Golfe). This entirely new links style venue was constructed solely to host the 2016 golf games and was built within the Marapendi Natural Reserve in the Barra da Tijuca zone of Rio.
The format for the event will be 120 competitors (60 men and women from 41 nations) that play two separate 72-hole individual stroke play events under the official rules of golf. In the event of a tie for any of the first three positions, a three-hole playoff will determine the medal winners.
The men’s competition will be played August 11-14 and the women’s event will follow on August 17-20. All of the coverage will be live on the Golf Channel beginning at 6:00 a.m. each day.
According to Teddy Greenstein, author of a Los Angeles Times featured article on the 2016 Summer Olympics, the top U.S. prospects could be any of the four Americans – Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed or Matt Kuchar. However, that the absence of top players such as Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy may make people question golf’s Olympic return and could possibly hurt ratings.
Regardless of the player field it will surely be a fascinating and historic event to witness. If watching Olympic Golf this week inspires you at all to get out there and play check out some of the deals and discounts on our site! Go Team USA!
The 145th Open Championship will be held this week from July 14-17, 2016 at Royal Troon Golf Club in Ayrshire, Scotland.
Golf Club Facts:
TV Coverage (EST):
Thursday & Friday, July 14-15: 1:30 AM -- 4 PM (Golf Channel)
Saturday, July 16: 4 AM -- 7 AM (Golf Channel) / 7 AM -- 2:30 PM (NBC)
Sunday, July 17: 4 AM -- 7 AM (Golf Channel) / 7 AM -- 2 PM (NBC)
Fans Top Picks!
Coming off of his first major U.S. Open win and seven top-5 finishes in his past nine starts, DJ is definitely a force to be reckoned with. DJ's ball-striking at Oakmont was breathtaking as he finally claimed his first major. Johnson’s length off the tee will serve him well on the downwind front nine this week, which has a number of driveable par-4s, and be a huge plus coming in against the wind. He’s also had a total of four top 15s in his British Open career, including a T-2 in 2011.
Sergio may still be searching for his first major championship but his game is in undeniably great shape, his last two starts being a recent victory at the AT&T Byron Nelson and a tie for fifth at the U.S. Open. He also has a veteran-like record at the Open Championship with nine career top-10s and two runner-up finishes.
Scott has a total of five (four of which happen to be in a row) top-10s at the Open Championship, including his runner-up finish in 2012. Scott is also playing well this season, gaining back-to-back early season wins in Florida and making 14-of-14 cuts thus far, not to mention he typically plays well on links golf courses.
Since falling one shot short of a playoff last year and ultimately finishing T-4 at St. Andrews, Day had been dominating on the Tour. The Aussie has since managed seven wins worldwide and has placed in the top-10 in his last five major starts. Clearly with three wins already this year alone the PGA Tour’s World No. 1 is coming this week to play.
Although Oosthuizen hasn’t been at the top of his game in some time now, the South African won the British Open in 2010 and was runner-up last year. His picture-perfect swing holds up in windy conditions, which definitely should not go unnoticed. Oosthuizen is also one of just a handful of players in the field who has ever finished in the top two twice in this event.
Best of luck to all the players in the field this week!
The 116th United States Open Championship will be held this week from June 16–19 at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pennsylvania.
Television coverage: (All times Eastern)
June 16: First round, FS1, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fox, 5-8 p.m.
June 17: Second round, FS1, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.
June 18: Third round, Fox, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
June 19: Final round, Fox, 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
June 20: Playoff (if necessary), Fox, noon to conclusion (18 holes)
As one of the world’s most anticipated tournaments many are placing their bets for this year’s winner, and at such an unforgiving course such as Oakmont there is a lot to consider when making your prediction for Sunday’s champion.
Here is some key insight into a few of the top players in this week’s field you may not want to overlook:
World No. 1 Jason Day has had seven tournament wins this past year. However, you may not want to forget that it was at last year’s U.S. Open where he suffered spells of vertigo after leading the field 54 holes in. After an unfortunate collapse on the 9th hole during round 2 at Chambers Bay, and the condition again impacting him during round 3 on Saturday, Day ultimately fell out of the lead but still managed a top 10 finish with a final place of T9.
We already know many will be pulling for Jordan Spieth, after all he has finished in the top 5 in his last five major starts. He is also the Open’s defending champion with his win last year marking him the youngest man to win both the Masters and the U.S. Open in the same year. Additionally, I think we all would be happy to see him rebound from his Masters collapse last April.
Fan-favorite Phil Mickelson has had six runner-up finishes at this tournament but has never won. Mickelson even acknowledged this after finishing second at the FedEx St. Jude Classic on Sunday stating, "It almost feels like U.S. Open came a week early to finish another second place". He turns 46 today during round one. The last tournament win he needs to complete a Grand Slam would sure be an awesome birthday gift.
There is definitely no shortage of talent in this week’s field and it will certainly be an exciting week to watch the players compete for the win. The champion though will receive much more than just another U.S. Open Trophy, but with this tournament’s countless unforgettable moments it will also be a chance for a new story to be written in golf history.
Some of my favorites include:
2008 at Torrey Pines when my (and the rest of the world’s) then idol Tiger Woods holed an amazing birdie putt on the 72nd hole to tie veteran Rocco Mediate and force an additional 18-hole playoff was definitely a memorable moment. Viewers watched anxiously as the pair played until the 90th hole as admirable Woods limped through the tournament with an injured knee yet still was able to pull off a miraculous win.
And who could forget arguably the most remarkable U.S. Open moment in 1999 at Pinehurst? One of the most heartwarming tales in the history of the sport was when underdog Payne Stewart held a one-shot lead over Phil Mickelson into the final hole of the tournament. Phil, whose phenomenal career was just on the brink of taking off, wore a beeper the entire round in case his wife Amy went into labor with their first child (Amanda was born the next day). On number 18 Stewart hit a poor tee shot and layed his second shot up leaving him a 15-footer to avoid a playoff and more importantly gain the win. He stroked it perfectly and the ball disappeared into the bottom of the cup. Payne’s second U.S. Open title however preceded tragedy as he died in a plane crash just a few months later. A bronze statue of Stewart celebrating his winning putt at Pinehurst No.2 Course overlooks its 18th green still today.
The 2016 LPGA LOTTE Championship presented by Hershey begins this week as it returns to beautiful Ko Olina Golf Club for the fifth consecutive year. The event will be held from April 13th – 16th, with coverage beginning on the Golf Channel on Wednesday from 7:00 – 11:00 p.m. Admission tickets will be sold at the Main Gate during Tournament Week with a $10 daily admission or a week-long “Season Ticket” for $25.00. Admission will be free for spectators attending Sunday- Tuesday, April 10-12, for the Qualifying Tournament, Practice Round and Pro-Am. Children 16 and under will also be admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult and active duty and retired military service members will be admitted free with an official military ID.
Who could forget last year’s remarkably phenomenal finish as Sei Young Kim and at the time world number one Inbee Park battled out for the win? To recap, on Ko Olina’s signature and very challenging 18th hole rookie S.Y. Kim drove her tee shot into the water and followed it up by hitting her approach to the left fringe, which put her in a position where she had to hole out her chip for par to have any chance at the title. She made her greenside shot look effortless as it trickled into the hole resulting in an overall tie with Inbee Park which forced the two to a playoff as they headed back to #18 tee. Both ladies hit great drives down the middle of the fairway, and, S.Y. Kim being away managed to hit a flawless approach from 154 yards and hole out for eagle to win the 2015 LOTTE.
The Prominent 18th Hole
Hawaii’s very own Michelle Wie will also be returning after somewhat of a rough start to her 2016 season with her best finish thus far being a T25 at the Coates Golf Championship back in February. The crowd will no doubt be cheering her on this week though in hopes that she’s able to replicate her play as she did in 2014 when she bested the field with 14-under-par to win at her home course.
Sunday, April 10th (Free Admission)
8:00 a.m. Qualifying Tournament
1:00 p.m. Sunday Pro-Am
Monday, April 11th (Free Admission)
All Day: Professional Practice Round
4:30 p.m. HTA Ladies First Golf Clinic (Practice Range)
Tuesday, April 12th (Free Admission)
All Day: Official Pro-Am
Wednesday, April 13th
7:00 a.m. First Round
Thursday, April 14th
7:00 a.m. Second Round
Friday, April 15th
8:00 a.m. Third Round
Saturday, April 16th
8:00 a.m. Final Round
So be sure to come out and watch your favorite LPGA Player next week and while you're there don't forget to stop by Ko Olina's newly renovated clubhouse and check out all the incredible LOTTE merchandise they have to offer!
The Kauai Golf Challenge Special is comprised of not only three of my personal favorite courses but which also happen to be three of the most beautiful courses in all of Hawaii. If you are a visitor to the island of Kauai for the first time then the Kauai Golf Challenge is a must.
Starting at the North Shore of the island, Princeville Makai is ranked in the top 50 Resort Courses by Golfweek. This magnificent course has beautiful vistas of Bali Hai and the famous crescent shaped Hanalei Bay. It was also rated in the Top 5 for public golf courses in Hawaii by Golf Magazine in 2014. You don’t want to miss playing at this fabulous golf course!
Next is gorgeous Hokuala, or formerly known as Kauai Lagoons, one of the World’s Most Beautiful Golf Courses according to MSN Travel and ranked #8 in “Best-Of-State” rankings by Golf Magazine in 2014. The Ocean Course at Hokuala is known for having the longest continuous stretch of ocean holes in all of Hawaii, so be sure and come prepared with enough battery life and storage in your phone as you’ll want to take plenty of pictures while on this enchanting landscape.
Possibly the most well-known of the three and home to the PGA Grand Slam of Golf from 1994-2006, Poipu Bay Golf Club is always in immaculate shape. With its links style traditional set up, spectacular vistas and varying trade winds Poipu was recognized as top 15 Resort Golf Courses in Hawaii, according to Golf Magazine in 2014. You may remember watching Phil Mickelson play here as he breezed through the final stretch of holes which parallel the Pacific Ocean atop 150-foot cliffs and set the course record 59 to win the 2004 PGA Grand Slam which still holds true to this day.
Hawaii has been experiencing a warm weathered and big waved winter season. With there really only being two seasons in Hawaii (summer and winter) many people decide it’s best to travel here during the months of November to April when the average daytime temperature is 78º (25.6º C).
Who wouldn’t want to spend their holiday vacation somewhere where the weather is this warm and the waves are as big as ever. With the ability to golf all day on lush ocean courses while witnessing Hawaii’s popular big waves, it’s a no brainer.
This year we have definitely not seen any shortage of big waves. Last week the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational was held at Waimea Bay on the North Shore of Oahu for the first time since 2009. Waves were reaching 60 feet last Thursday afternoon, the biggest of the event's 31-year history. John John Florence came out the victor by besting a field full of some of the sport’s biggest names including Greg Long, Kelly Slater and Shane Dorian, all the while over 25,000 fans lined up along the shore to cheer them on.
John John had this to say about the final day of the contest, "I was riding my bike down here this morning in the dark, and just the energy of how many people were parked all the way down the street blew me away. I've lived here my whole life, and I've never seen it like that. Walking down the beach with people screaming, the energy was so crazy. I've never been a part of an event like this. It's definitely the highlight of my life." Thursday afternoon John John became the youngest ever to win the “Eddie” which isn’t that surprising considering he’s been attending the contest since he was 12 years old.
The North Shore of Oahu wasn’t the only place where the waves were firing. The same day of the Big Wave Invitational the newly reopened Kona Country Club Ocean Course on the Big Island of Hawaii saw its share of enormous waves.
It was a great day for golf and a spectacular site as the waves crashed up against the rocks, spilling over and onto some tee boxes and fairways. Walkers and joggers alike had to take extra precaution along the coast as they snapped pictures to avoid being splashed by the colossal ocean mist. My personal favorite and most eye-catching vista came on one of the courses signature holes, the par 4 13th, by the well-known blowhole which that day was spouting water over 20 feet high.
Last year, the National Golf Foundation reported that the number of golfers in America was near 25 million. Yet, it had also been reported that an astonishing 70% have never been fitted for clubs. To me, those numbers don’t add up. Having clubs that suit your needs can help in numerous ways. Clubs that cater to you not only make a huge difference towards improving your golf game but can also aid with ability issues as well.
At first, most people can be a little intimidated by club fitting. After all, how many people can understand what this chart means?
To do a custom fitting you don’t really have to. You can simply leave that to the professionals. They will help explain where you are at and set you up with clubs that will help you get to where you want to be. In this day and age personal fitting is almost necessary in becoming a high caliber player. Club fitting technology is golf’s great new way for improvement.
One of America’s 100 Best Club fitting organizations, “Cool Clubs” founder Mark Timms has this to say about clubfitting, “The thought among average golfers is, ‘I really don't need to do that,’ But the reality is, the benefit for high-handicappers is more than for scratch players. I can probably drop a 20-handicapper five shots through a proper fitting."
In addition to golf club fitting being a critical step towards improvement, it can also help preventing pain. In an interview with one of the nation’s top 100 Best Clubfitters, Dana Upshaw, says one fitting took a client from playing nine holes a week in pain to 18 holes a day pain-free. His client had been using outdated clubs that were hurting his wrists. All it took was a simple switch to more forgiving irons with graphite shafts and better grips and it transformed his entire attitude about the game. "Fitting isn't always about hitting the ball longer, higher or with more spin, " Upshaw reveals, "sometimes you make someone's life more enjoyable by doing little things that make a big difference."
Still don’t think you’re due for a club fitting? Consider that there are 498 adjustable settings on the 12 drivers named to this year's Golf Digest Hot List. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a general understanding of what that means and to know how to adjust your clubs if needed? Every golfer’s body and swing are unique. Players’ height, arm length, hand size and swing speed all determine how golf clubs should be designed and fitted. With demo days now being held all over the country where you can try out the latest clubs and get your set custom built on the spot, it’s time to stop with the excuses.
What are you waiting for?