Day 3 US Open Roundup; Birdies and Bogeys

By Joe Hines, Always playing downwind

The 2017 US Open at Wisconsin’s Erin Hills Golf Club (A public course, by the way, if you want to pony up the 295 bucks)will be remembered for the plethora of low scores recorded here. The stroke average is only a stroke or two below the norm at a US Open, but the players going low are noteworthy. Just Saturday, in the third round, Justin Thomas equaled the low score recorded in Open history with a 63, while shattering the record in relation to par at -9. Johnny Miller’s previous record that Thomas matched was at the Open at the par 70 Oakmont, with 72 the score to aspire to this year at Erin Hills. Patrick Reed fired a 65 which would have been good enough to match the under par record if it hadn’t already been set in the first round by Rickie Fowler. Of the sixty or so players who made the weekend cut, there were 12 rounds of 68 or better in the third round Saturday. But Sunday is another day, and there is a factor we haven’t had the first three days.

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Birdies and Bogeys from Day 2 of the US Open

By Joe Hines Always making the cut

We’ve made it through round 2 of the US Open, and if you aren’t doing anything, pre-tournament picks Jason Day(picked by yours truly) and Rory McIlroy could use a ride home since they won’t be playing this weekend. The experts proclaimed this long, open track as advantageous to those two, among the game’s longest drivers, with ball flight approaching the heavens. As luck would have it, golf is still golf, and as such tends to bite you in the butt, just when you think you have it figured out. Whether watching or playing.

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First round recap, Birdies and Bogeys from the 2017 US Open

By Joe Hines
Noted Duffer

While a winning score for the US Open is often around even par, even over par some years, 2015 Champion Jordan Spieth was asked in a pre-tournament press conference what his opinion of the what the winning total might be. “I could see it going to -5 or -10” offered young Jordan. While we are not quite through day 1, the last groups are just on the final nine as I write, it appears that Spieth will not be one of those approaching such a lofty total. He fired a 1 over par 73 at this year’s test, Erin Hills Golf Club, northwest of Milwaukee in the land of cheese and Major Championship golf courses. In fact, I’m feeling pretty good about putting together my story now, since my prediction of Jason Day as a winner seems to already have derailed. Day is +6 after his first 10 holes. As the saying goes, you can’t win the US Open on Thursday, but you sure as hell can lose it.

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Beer, Brats and Golf. The US Open invades Wisconsin

By Joe Hines, Noted Duffer

This is US Open week in the golf world, and what is widely considered golf’s sternest test, the tourney set up to test the will of young millionaires, will be contested at what is, by all accounts, the largest golf course in the history of golf, Erin Hills Golf Club, very far from anywhere in Wisconsin.

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You Are Sick of the Cubs? TOUGH!

By Joe Hines

I’m sure Cub fatigue has set in for much of the baseball-loving world. As I’ve continued forth for the last 109 years, watching team after team, even the MARLINS, win world championships, the Cubs have lovably lost year after year. And when I say that I’ve proceeded for 109 years, it’s only partially absurd if you consider that each year counts as two for most of Cubs history. I’m only slightly older than halfway, so I can safely say that I have come along for each and every year. So when the Cubs won last season, I say I get to celebrate as long as I damn well want to.

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It Is Still Baseball Season

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Hi everyone, my name is Joe and I’m a Cub fan. (everyone) Hi Joe.

Photo Credit: USA Today

Photo Credit: USA Today

By now you are all familiar with the history. 107 years without a World Series championship. The black cat. The billy goat. (Which is an awesome Chicago tavern if you are ever in town)

Bartman. Poor kid. It wasn’t his fault. Get over it Cubs fans. The error on the double play ball by Alex Gonzalez opened the floodgates on that chilly October night. And Mark Prior’s weak mental makeup. [Read more…]

Baseball Thoughts Entering the 2015 Playoffs (or how the Cubs can win the World Series)

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

I’m sitting in the ProjectShanks.com home office in Longview, Texas, six feet to the left of my slave-driving boss, Chris Stuckey. Talk about pressure.

But I surge ahead, determined to transfer these thoughts I have from my brain to keyboard, whether a thousand miles away at home, or at headquarters.

Photo Credit: USA Today

Photo Credit: USA Today

In case you haven’t noticed, the Cubs have the third best record in baseball. It is typical, that in such a case, the two better records belong to teams in their own NL Central Division; the Cardinals and Pirates. With only a couple of games this weekend to settle the dust and seal the postseason awards, the National League playoffs are set. The Cubs and Pirates will play the one game wild card game in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, TBS the dutiful portrayer of the game. And don’t the playoffs just scream TBS? They broadcast an excuse me game every now and again, I was surprised to find late in the season that Ted Turner’s network even continued to broadcast baseball, with the superstations TBS and WGN dumping the local team coverage in the last few years, they being the Braves and Cubs. But that’s a conversation for a different column. [Read more…]

Birdies & Bogeys: 2015 PGA Championship Final Round Recap

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Welcome to my final round coverage of the 2015 PGA Championship, otherwise known as the coronation of Jason Day.

The young Australian began the Day with a two-shot lead, which he never relinquished. He fended off challenges from South African Branden Grace, Englishman Justin Rose and his Sunday playing partner, Jordan Spieth. [Read more…]

Birdies & Bogeys: 2015 PGA Championship Third Round Recap

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

You know how pressure usually grips leaders of a golf tournament, leading to off-line shots and missed short putts? And you know how afternoons in golf tournaments lead to worse scores because of the early players leaving spike marks, along with the natural growth of grass over the course of a day? Well, at Whistling Straits, site of the 2015 PGA Championship, not so much.

At a venue that is so eye catching that you would think it would distract players as the wind their way around the course, they seem impervious to the gorgeous views as they throw darts at the welcoming greens.

South African Brenden Grace fired an 8 under par 64, setting the pace for the leaders, Aussies Matt Jones and Jason Day. [Read more…]

Birdies & Bogeys: 2015 PGA Championship Second Round Recap

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

The second round of the 2015 PGA Championship was suspended by rain and lightning late Friday afternoon, with several group left to complete play when the horn sounded.

That’s okay, most of the good stuff happened earlier.

Photo Credit: AP

Photo Credit: AP

Ten golfers lurk within three shots of the lead near the halfway point of the tournament. Australian and noted vertigo sufferer Jason Day shares the lead at -9 with countryman Matt Jones, with both still on the course. Second round play will resume Saturday morning prior to the beginning of Saturday’s moving day. [Read more…]

2015 PGA Championship First Round Coverage

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

Photo Credit: USA Today

Photo Credit: USA Today

A new perspective is always a good way to refresh the body and soul. So in lieu of the usual style that I use when describing one of the four major golf tournaments each year, birdies and bogeys, my take on this year’s first round of the PGA Championship will be from a decidedly more personal point of view. Because for the first time in the years I have been following golf, numerous indeed, I had the opportunity yesterday to attend the festivities at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin. Occasionally there is a payoff for suffering interminable winters here in the Midwest.

One of the first discoveries on makes upon arrival to Whistling Straits, is it isn’t so much a day in the sun, as it  is an endurance test. For players AND spectators. Very hilly with rough terrain along the shores of Lake Michigan in the East Central part of Wisconsin, the plat of land architect Pete Dye transformed into one of golfs sternest tests, is stunningly beautiful. Ribbons of fairways lined by hazards and with the lake offering vistas only available in these parts greet players and patrons.

I imagine that the views are similar at Chambers Bay in Washington, site of the just past US Open. But you know what? When you are standing on the shore of either Lake Michigan or the Pacific Ocean, you cannot tell the difference. But you know that, so I will just leave it there. Both large bodies of water where the opposite shore can’t be seen. Believe me, the view is spectacular. Television coverage does not do it justice. You cannot see the contours of the land or the breathtaking nature of the views along the lake.

One other thing apparent right away, is the parking lots are a LONG WAY from the main golf course entrances. This isn’t like pulling up to the lot at Texas Stadium, or whatever your ballpark of choice is. Be prepared for at least a mile long hike once the car is parked.

OK, back to golf.

The early wave of players beat the worst of the gusty winds, with the morning stroke average much below the afternoon wave, to combine for a field-wide average of 74 on the par 72 track. Perennial fast starter Dustin Johnson, at the site of his famous grounded club in 2010, led the field after the first round with a 66. Notables such as Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy who each played in the afternoon gale, and yes, Tiger Woods, wallowed around even par. Spieth and McIlroy finished at 1-under 71, while Woods stumbled to a 75.

Physical limitations didn’t allow for the freedom around the course that I would have liked. For that reason, for much of the day, we were parked around the 18th green and first tee. It didn’t allow for easy following of the field, other than the real-time updates to the large scoreboards that dot the course.

Hopefully, my firsthand experience at the golf course will enhance the coverage I can offer you the rest of the tournament. The majors are exciting, different than other tournaments that I’ve attended.

I will have the usual allotments of birdies and bogeys for the last few rounds of this years championship. I hope you take time to follow it.

Enjoy the golf, and I’ll be back later today for a second round recap.

Peace.

NFL Training Camp Brouhahas

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff, Chicago Guru & NFL Writer Extraordinaire

New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith had his jaw broken in two spots today in a locker room fight, in which he was “sucker punched.” Besides being a very Jets occurrence, it continues a proliferation of training camp altercations around the league. Smith is out 6-10 weeks and the player that whacked him, IK Enemkpali, is out of work, waived by the Jets about 30 seconds after the punch.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

And if this is the reaction to Geno Smith who will never be thought of as the second coming of Troy Aikman, imagine the blow-back if it was an actual GOOD quarterback. [Read more…]