Changes by architects Tom Fazio and Tom Marzolf have stretched Merion’s famed East Course to almost 7,000 yards. Along with the numerous bunkers up both sides of this dogleg right, a new cross bunker roughly 295 yards off the tee will force many players to use less than driver. The traditional first cut of rough has been removed, replaced by the three-and-a-half to four-inch rough. Bunkers guard each side and the back of the green.
Did you know?
Lee Trevino threw a rubber snake at Jack Nicklaus in advance of their playoff at the 1971 U.S. Open at Merion, a prank that left the Golden Bear “snakebitten” when the Merry Mex beat him.
Hole No. 2
2 of 19
Par 5, 556 yards
The fairway has been shifted right, bringing out-of-bounds on the right more into play, and the landing area has been narrowed by thick rough along the left. Players must carry a new cross bunker 40 yards short of the green to reach the putting surface in two. Several bunkers flank each side of the green.
Hole No. 3
3 of 19
Par 3, 256 yards
Rick Ill, Merion's general chairman of the U.S. Open, said this monster uphill par-3 could play 256 yards from the new back tee for several rounds and 220 yards from a more forward tee the other days. Multiple bunkers will gobble up misses.
Hole No. 4
4 of 19
Par 5, 628 yards
A new tee on the second (and final) par-5 has lengthened the hole up to 30 yards and created a landing zone pinched by three fairway bunkers. The fairway around the green will be shaved tight to possibly send misses short careening back into the creek. Bunkers encase the green.
Hole No. 5
5 of 19
Par 4, 504 yards
A new tee has added up to 75 yards. A creek up the left side and a bunker and rough up the right side cause concern on the tee shot. A bunker-free green slopes dramatically right to left.
Hole No. 6
6 of 19
Par 4, 487 yards
A new tee adds nearly 70 yards to this long hole. Heavy rough and out-of-bounds on the right and two bunkers on the opposite side constrict the fairway. Misses right, left and long on the approach will find sand or deep grass.
Hole No. 7
7 of 19
Par 4, 360 yards
No. 7 introduces a series of short par-4s that offer chances at birdie, although the fairways have been narrowed to between 22 and 24 yards wide to deter a scoring binge. The fairway and tee were moved to bring O.B. and trees into play on the right. Misses left of the green will crash down a hill.
Did You Know?
Rickie Fowler won all four of his matches to help the Americans pound the Great Britain & Ireland team 16 ½ to 9 ½ at the 2009 Walker Cup at Merion.
Hole No. 8
8 of 19
Par 4, 359 yards
The smart, conservative play is an iron or hybrid off the tee to avoid the new foot-high tall grass on the right. A big front bunker will catch a fair number of approaches. Any flier that lands long will tumble down a hill, making for an interesting recovery shot.
Hole No. 9
9 of 19
Par 3, 236 yards
There have been a number of changes on this par-3, which is playing 43 yards longer than it did at the 2009 Walker Cup. Five bunkers and the creek in front completely surround the green. A back left pin will be the hardest to access with a long iron.
Hole No. 10
10 of 19
Par 4, 303 yards
Driver is an option for the biggest of hitters, creating risk-reward on a hole that curls left at the green. Two gigantic bunkers guard the green, while errant drives could go through the fairway into the trees and rough.
Did you know?
A plaque on a rock between the 10th green and the 11th tee celebrates Bobby Jones completing his famous Grand Slam by winning the 1930 U.S. Amateur at Merion. Jones won 8 and 7 on the 11th hole against an overmatched opponent named Eugene Homans.
Hole No. 11
11 of 19
Par 4, 367 yards
The slim fairway was moved left closer to the creek, which cuts across the fairway 290 yards from the tee. The creek remains a threat to approaches that miss right and long.
Hole No. 12
12 of 19
Par 4, 403 yards
The fairway swings right off of four bunkers on the left. Pushed drives will find the woods and rough. This small tricky green, bracketed by a large bunker on either side, has been redone.
Did you know?
Olin Dutra fought off a stomach ailment and overcame an eight-shot deficit on the weekend to win the 1934 U.S. Open at Merion by one shot over Gene Sarazen.
Hole No. 13
13 of 19
Par 3, 115 yards
Five bunkers will do their best to defend this short par-3. It takes a confident swing to find this small target.
Did you know?
The 1981 U.S. Open at Merion was historic for two reasons: 1) Jim Thorpe became the first African-American to lead the tournament after a first-round 66; and 2) David Graham became the first Australian to win it.
Hole No. 14
14 of 19
Par 4, 464 yards
A new tee adds 56 yards to this dogleg left. Four bunkers stack up the right side, prompting players to challenge the heavy rough and out-of-bounds stakes up the left. Traps short right and in back and a hump left of the green are to be avoided.
Hole No. 15
15 of 19
Par 4, 411 yards
Another new tee adds 55 yards to a hole that bends right. Pulled tee shots might end up out of bounds, while three fairway bunkers (one is new) stack up the right side. The approach must split three greenside bunkers. Putts above the pin on a newly contoured green sloping hard back to front will be treacherous.
Did you know?
Edoardo Molinari became the first Italian-born winner of the U.S. Amateur by winning 4&3 over Dillon Dougherty in the 2005 final at Merion. His 30-footer on the 15th green was his 10th one-putt over the last 15 holes of the match.
Hole No. 16
16 of 19
Par 4, 430 yards
A slithering fairway that has been moved right introduces this famous hole. The second shot will fly a quarry, which is littered with bunkers, to a two-tier green.
Hole No. 17
17 of 19
Par 3, 246 yards
It’s a daunting shot over the quarry to a difficult and undulating green that is one of the most demanding on the course. Five bunkers snare wayward attempts.
Hole No. 18
18 of 19
Par 4, 521 yards
The finishing hole is 56 yards longer thanks to a new tee cut from the side of a hill. It’s a long carry over the quarry just to reach the spot where Ben Hogan hit his famous 1-iron. Rick Ill, Merion's general chairman of the U.S. Open, said players would likely hit mid-irons into the green. It’s better to miss in the greenside bunkers than short, where the ball could run down a large swale.
Did you know?
A plaque sits in the 18th fairway in the exact spot where Ben Hogan, who was still recovering from his nearly fatal 1949 auto accident, hit a pure 1-iron to force a playoff that he eventually won over Lloyd Mangrum and George Fazio for the 1950 U.S. Open crown.
Struggling with what to buy Dad this Father's Day? If he's a golfer who loves new toys, gadgets and gizmos, you have plenty of options. Anything that promises to improve his game — or make his life simpler on the course — is worth exploring. Fashion — with the advent of fitness in the Tiger Woods era — has become an important aspect of golf as well. The bright colors worn by Ian Poulter, Rickie Fowler and John Daly pop on the TV screen and have inspired a legion of sartorial followers. If Dad can’t play like the pros, at least he can dress like them.
Tiger's Career-Worst 9-Hole Score Was a Lowlight from Muirfield
On Saturday at the Memorial, Tiger Woods got an unwelcome taste of what golf feels like out here in the real world. Woods limped to an outward 44, his highest 9-hole score as a professional, on his way to a shocking third-round 79. After failing to break 70 in any of the four rounds, the World's No. 1 player finished at 8-over, 20 strokes behind winner Matt Kuchar. World No. 2 Rory McIlroy wasn't much better, carding a first-round 78 on his way to a 6-over finish. While the world's top two players were hacking up Jack Nicklaus' gorgeous Muirfield Village layout like the Three Stooges, Kuchar was his usual steady, unflappable self, finishing at 12-under after a final-round 68 and holding off Kevin Chappell for a two-shot win that vaults him past Brandt Snedeker into second place on the FedExCup points list and puts him on the short list of U.S. Open favorites.
Here are 10 amazing stats from a tough weekend in Ohio.
44 Woods opening-9 44 on Saturday included a bogey, two doubles and a triple.
35 Kuchar leads the PGA Tour with 35 top-10 finishes since the start of the 2012 season.
10-1 On Sunday, the toughest hole was the par-3 12th, as it yielded only three birdies but forced 30 bogeys or higher, a ratio of 10-1.
20 Woods' final deficit of 20 strokes was his largest in a full-field event as a professional. He was 30 shots in arrears at the WGC Bridgestone (a limited field, no-cut event) in 2010.
71 Woods, who entered the Memorial ranked first in Strokes Gained, Putting, ranked 71st of 73 players in the category for the tournament.
2 Shockingly, Woods had two three-putts from inside five feet.
5th Woods finished fifth in driving accuracy for the weekend but still finished 20 strokes behind Kuchar, an indication of a rough week of ballstriking (he missed at least five greens each day) and putting (he needed 119 putts for the week).
+1.256 The average round this weekend was 73.256, or 1.256 over par, making Muirfield the third-toughest course on Tour so far this year, behind Augusta National and PGA National (Honda Classic).
2 Kuchar becomes only the second multiple winner on Tour this year, joining Woods, who has four wins. Seventeen players have a single win in what has been a true spread-the-wealth kind of year so far.
96.43 Ryan Moore hit a stunning 96.43 percent of his fairways off the tee for the tournament on his way to a T13 finish.
These moms and dads crossed the line at some point during their kid’s sports career.
The craziest parents in sports have all had strange twists and turns along the way to fame or infamy. Many plotted every step of their child’s life. Others got in the way. Some were successful. Some failed. Every one of them made their kid’s journey a wild ride — for better or worse.
Who are the best young professional athletes in all of sports?
To suggest that any player in any sport after just a few seasons is a lock to make the Hall of Fame is ridiculous. But it is always fun to look at athletes who have had instant success and try to extrapolate long-term potential.
Woods Has Work to Do in Majors, but He's Far Ahead in Wins
Through last month's Masters, the 37-year-old Tiger Woods has 14 wins in 63 major championship starts as a professional; through the 1977 Masters, the 37-year-old Nicklaus had 14 wins in 61 major championship starts as a professional.
That's some amazing career symmetry right there, but it seems appropriate, given that Tiger came out of the gate with Nicklaus' major championship record as his ultimate target.
For a long time, Woods was well ahead of Nicklaus' career pace, but a drought that is nearing five years in duration has put a serious dent in Tiger's major aspirations. Of course, Nicklaus won his last major at age 46, giving Woods nine more years of viability on the major championship scene, a reasonable assumption considering the similarity of their career trajectories.
Here are the final four majors of Nicklaus' career, all of which came at age 38 and beyond:
1978 British Open (age 38)
1980 U.S. Open (age 40)
1980 PGA Championship (age 40)
1986 Masters (age 46)
Woods turns 46 in December 2021. Between now and then, there will be 36 major championships contested; Woods needs to win five of them to reach his career Holy Grail of 19 major championships.
Of course, Tiger has already moved well past Nicklaus into second on the Tour's all-time wins ledger. Tiger trails only Sam Snead, who won 82 times over a 30-year span; Woods has crammed his 78 wins into 17-plus stellar, occasionally storm-tossed seasons on Tour.
Jack thinks he'll do it. "I still think he'll break my record," Nicklaus said during the Honda Classic. "Tiger's talent, at 37 ... it's not that old. I won four after that. They were spread out. It wasn't that difficult. I don't think for Tiger to get four or five more — or six or seven — is that big a stretch.
"But that said, he has still got to do it. He hasn't won one in five years. He had better get with it if he's going to."
So let's look at the two legends — Tiger today, and Nicklaus at a similar point in his career.
Bottom line from the data presented here: Tiger's building the better overall career, but Jack remains the greatest performer in major championship history. That's the carrot that Tiger is still chasing, and he has time to get there.
Tiger Woods Jack Nicklaus Tournaments won(through 300 starts) 77 54 Tournament winning % (300 starts) 26.0 18.0 Majors won(first 63 starts) 14 14 Major winning % 22.2 22.2 Major top 5s 31 41 Major top 10s 37 48 Longest streak of top-5 in majors 6 7 Longest streak of top-10 in majors 8 13 Lowest scoring avg. 8 times 8 times Money leader 9 times 8 times
Some Twitter comedian observed that Tiger Woods apparently retained ownership of Sergio Garcia in his pre-nup with Elin. That's harsh, but this much remains clear: Even after his perceived struggles of the last few major-less seasons, Tiger is far more prepared for the big moment than Garcia.
Fourteen years after their memorable duel at the 1999 PGA Championship, their respective careers have taken wildly divergent paths. After yesterday's win at The Players Championship, Woods now has 78 career PGA Tour wins. Sergio has had his moments — eight Tour wins, 10 Euro wins, various Ryder Cup heroics — but did anyone really think that Sergio would survive the 17-18 gauntlet yesterday? The golf gods simple weren't going to allow it, especially after Garcia's Saturday whining about Tiger distracting him.
The amazing numbers from the weekend's festivities:
4 With the win, Tiger Woods is only four wins behind all-time PGA Tour wins leader Sam Snead, who won his final Tour event at age 52. Tiger is 37. I think he has time to get there.
13Garcia required 13 shots to navigate the final two holes at TPC Sawgrass, following up his quad at 17 with a double-bogey 6 at 18, where he rinsed another ball.
12 The win was Woods' fourth of the 2013 season, marking the 12th season of his career with four wins or more. Think about that: For most players, four wins denotes a career-making year. Tiger's had 12 of them.
53-4 Woods ran his career record to 53-4 when holding at least a share of the 54-hole lead. He's the Mariano Rivera of golfers; give him the lead, and it's Enter Sandman.
300Woods won the 300th start of his career. He also won the 100th and 200th starts of his career. Tiger apparently likes round numbers.
26Tiger has now won 26 percent of his career PGA Tour starts. More than a quarter of the time he's teed it up, he's won. For reference, after his 300th start, Jack Nicklaus had 54 wins, a winning percentage of .180.
+13 The day was not without drama, thanks largely to Woods' double bogey at 14. For his career, Woods is 13-over par on that hole.
10 TPC Sawgrass has historically not been terribly friendly to Tiger. This year marked the first time in 10 years that Woods completed four par-or-better rounds in one Players.
4Woods has his fourth victory, and it's only May 13. It's the earliest in a season that Woods has ever earned his fourth win.
3.25 Yesterday, the infamous par-3 17th claimed its share of victims. Players navigated the 137-yard hole in an average of 3.25 strokes on Sunday, the highest of the week. On Thursday, the average was 3.08; on Friday, 2.97; and on Saturday, 3.03. Of course, Sergio's 7 at the hole skews the Sunday average slightly.
Tiger Woods shot a 2-under-70 in the final round on Sunday to win The Players Championship for his 78th career victory, leaving him just four shy of tying Sam Snead for the all-time PGA Tour record. Woods overcame a hooked tee shot on the 14th hole that found water, resulting in a double-bogey and four-way tie for first, to shoot one-under over the final four holes for what ended up being a two-shot victory. It was the second Players title in his career and also his second win on Mother's Day (1998 Bell South Classic).
What are the best jobs in sports broadcasting today?
If you could have any national sports broadcasting job in sports, what would it be? Do you want to be at the games and travel all over the country? Do you want to be a studio host with a more stable work schedule? Do you want to become extremely popular in one niche field or cover a wide range of all sports? Are ratings more important than content?
There are many different ways to value sports broadcasting jobs, but Athlon Sports has tried to rank the best national sports broadcasting jobs in the industry today.