THE FUTURE IS NOW
Youth and experience combine for title-winning efforts
BY EVAN ROTHMAN
, • 4 HE 2011 USGA championship season was the first round) to end (a concluding 69)
that made him only the fifth player in the
memorable in many ways. Highlighted by
championship's lll-year history to shocjt
Rory Mcilroy's record-breaking U.S. Open four consecutive sub-par rounds. !
"I played great for four straight dayjs,
win at Congressional Country Club in suburban
and I couldn't be happier," said Mcllr9Y,
Washington, D.C., the season produced who followed fellow countryman Grae~
McDowell, who won in 2010, as a U.S.
storylines and performances that transcended the
recurring weather challenges. Day's runner-up finish was his second
straight at a major championship, adding
At Congressional, record heat followed ing final-round swoon at the Masters, support to the notion that his first such tri-
by pre-championship rain produced the 22-year-old Northern Irishman set umph is imminent. Another young player
unusually favorable scoring conditions. 11U.S. Open records en route to his first to announce his arrival was 19-year-old
Mindful of the extreme weather and the major title, including the lowest 72-hole Patrick Cantlay, who finished tied for 21st
effect it could have on the course, the score (268) and the lowest score relative and earned the distinction of low amateur.
USGA was cautious with its setup. Mcilroy to par (-16). His eight-stroke victory over (Two other amateurs made the cut: 2009
proceeded to put on an electric display in Australia's Jason Day was a combination of U.S. Amateur Public Links champion Brad
front of vast, enthralled crowds all four brilliant ball-striking and rock-solid put- Benjamin and Russell Henley, who had
days. Recovering from his disappoint- ting from beginning (a bogey-free 65 in already won a Nationwide Tour title and
would go on to represent the USA on the
Walker Cup Team with Cantlay.) The week
after the U.S. Open, Cantlay built upon
his stellar performance with a record-set-
ting opening round of 60 at the Travelers
Championship, en route to the second of
four straight top-25 finishes on the PGA
Tour. Later in the summer, Cantlay, the
world's top-ranked amateur, fell in the fi-
nal of the lllth U.S. Amateur to Kelly Kraft
of Denton, Texas, 2 up, at Erin Hills in Erin,
While the U.S. Open was a good week
for amateurs, the championship belonged
to the young man from Holywood, North-
ern Ireland, who was already looking ahead
LEFT: So Yeon Ryu en route to winning the
2011 U.S. Women's Open.
OPPOSITE: Rory Mcilroy during the final
round of the 2011 US Open.
to the next chalienge."You can always call Seo by hitting a 6-iron from 170 yards to U.S. Women's Open [in1998], so this tour-
yourself a major champion," Mcilroy said of 6 feet, setting up a clutch birdie on The nament is really special for me," Ryu said.
his title, "and hopefully after this, I can call Broadmoor's brutish 433-yard, uphill fin- Great Britain and Ireland, bolstered
myself a multiple major champion." ishing hole. by the undefeated records of Paul Cut-
The 66th U.S. Women's Open, played Ryu's rousing finish set up a three-hole ler and Rhys Pugh, won the Walker Cup
on the famed East Course at The Broad- aggregate playoff, the first in the cham- Match for the first time since 2003 at
moor in Colorado Springs, Colo., had pionship's history (the format changed Royal Aberdeen Golf Club in Scotland
plenty of weather disruptions, with some from an 18-hole playoff in 2007). Buoyed with a 14-12 victory over the USA.
thrilling golf mixed in. Daily delays meant by her birdie, Ryu played nearly flawless Cutler, 22, of Northern Ireland, com-
that every round spanned two days and golf in the playoff to capture her first ma- piled a 3-0-1 mark, and Pugh, of Wales,
the championship concluded on Mon- jor and first LPGA title. After a par on the the youngest competitor on either side
day. The championship proved a taut affair first playoff hole, the 16th, she birdied the at 17, was a perfect 3-0. GB&I has now
from start to finish. Korea's So Yeon Ryu, par-5 17th and the 18th hole again for a claimed four of the last five Walker Cups
21, played the 72nd hole brilliantly, forc- three-stroke margin. played on home soil, dating to 1995 at
ing a playoff with compatriot Hee Kyung "When I started golf, Se RiPak won the Royal Porthcawl in Wales, although the
fashion, defeating Moriya Jutanugarn, straight Women's Amateurs; still, her place
17,of Thailand, 6 and 5 in the final. Kang in championship lore issecure.
became the 11thplayer to win consecutive Kang wasn't the only player to add to a
Women's Amateurs and the first since Kelli prior USGA win in 2011.Jordan Spieth of
Kuehne in 1995and 1996. Dallas, Texas, won his second U.S. Junior
It was truly a performance for the ages Amateur Championship in three years at
by Kang, who made 11 birdies - only the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain
three conceded - and just one bogey Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash., with a
in the 31 holes played in the final. Juta- 6-and-5 victory over Chelso Barrett of
nugarn, the low amateur at the 2011 U.S. Keene, N. H., joining Tiger Woods as the
Women's Open, made five birdies, in- only players with multiple Junior Amateur
cluding one on the first hole; in fact, five titles in the championship's 64-year his-
of the first six holes were wori with bird- tory. "Any time you can be compared to
ies despite showers and wind gusting to any of Tiger's golf accomplishments, it's
15 mph. (Jutanugarn's caddie was her special," said Spieth.
younger sister, Ariya, who three weeks Meanwhile, Ellen PortofSt. Louis, Mo.,
earlier had triumphed at the U.S. Girls' a 50-year-old mother of two, won her
Junior; they were seeking to become the record fourth Women's Mid-Amateur
first family members to win USGA titles with a 2-and-1 victory over fellow past
TOP: Wisconsin'sErin Hills hosted
in the same year.) champion Martha Leach at Bayville Golf
BOTTOM: Danielle Kang captured In a final of supreme quality, played Club in Virginia Beach, Va. - 11years after
the 2011U.S.Women's Amateur. without a three-putt from either player on Port's previous Women's Mid-Am title.
the vexing Donald Ross-designed greens, Historic Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio,
USA Team still leads the series, 34-8-1. Kang was simply unstoppable. Birdiesfrom hosted the 32nd U.S. Senior Open, where
Danielle Kang cemented her con- 18 inches, 4 feet and 5 feet on holes three Olin Browne outdueled two-time major
nection to the U.S. Women's Amateur through five - the first of two birdie tri- champion Mark O'Meara by three shots.
Championship with an exceptional display os - gave her a 2-up lead that she would Browne holed a 28-foot birdie putt on
at storied Rhode Island Country Club, never relinquish. Kang turned professional the last hole for a closing even-par 71 and
which was celebrating its centennial. The shortly after her victory, meaning shewon't a 15-under-par total of 269, becoming the
18-year-old from Westlake Village, Ca- have a chance to join Juli Inkster and the championship's first wire-to-wire winner
lif., defended her 2010 title in dominant four other players who have won three in a quarter-century. On a rain-softened
course, Browne broke the Senior Open 54- In what is believed to be the first match
hole scoring record at 15-under 198; with between amateur brothers in USGA his-
tougher conditions on Sunday, Browne tory, younger sibling and eventual cham-
fell into a tie with O'Meara three times but pion Louis Lee defeated Stanford, the
ground out eight pars and a birdie on the chambionship's 2007 winner, in 19 holes.
final nine to capture hisfirst major title. The elder sibling then took over cad-
The U.S. Amateur Public Links, the dieing duties for his brother for the final
USGA's fourth-oldest championship, and two rounds. Terri Frohnmayer, 55, of Sa-
the Women's Amateur Public Links were lem, Ore., who is all of 5-foot-l and 105
played concurrently at the same site for pounds, was a giant-killer in defeating
the first time, with Bandon Dunes Golf defending champion Mina Hardin, 51, of
Resort in Oregon hosting the champi- Fort Worth, Texas, to win the USGA Se-
onships. Corbin Mills of Easley, S.c., and nior Women's Amateur on The Honors
WALKER CUP Thevictorious
Brianna Do of Vietnam won the titles. Course in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Great Britainand Ireland squad
On the same day as Port's Women's at RoyalAberdeen Golf Club. Along with the brotherly spirit shown
Mid-Am victory, 54-year-old Randal in Virginia, wonderful golf and exemplary
Lewis of Alma, Mich., became the oldest Said Lewis, "To be a USGA champion, sportsmanship were on display through-
champion in the U.S. Mid-Amateur's 31- especially the U.S. Mid-Amateur cham- out the year at USGA championships. All
year history, capturing his first USGA title pion, is just unbelievable." No less un- one can hope for is a similar seasonin 2012
with a 3-and-2 victory over Kenny Cook believable, or at least unprecedented, - with perhaps a little better weather .•
of Noblesville, Ind. To put it in context, the was the meeting of the Lee brothers of
average age of the previous winners was Heber Springs, Ark., in the quarterfinals
34.8. Lewis' title also came 15years after he of the USGA Senior Amateur at Kinloch • Evan Rothman is a freelance
lost in the final of the same event. Golf Club in Manakin-Sabot, Va. writer based in New York.
Lewiswon the U.S.
THE HONOR ROLL
Shadow Hawk Golf
Club inTexas. CHAMPIONSHIP CHAMPION
championLouisLee U.S.Open: RoryMcilroy
1atedby hisbrother, U.S.Women's Open: SoYeon Ryu
historicmatchin the U.S.Senior Open: Olin Browne
quarterfinals Walker Cup: Great Britain& Ireland
of the USGA
SeniorAmateur. U.S.Amateur: KellyKraft
U.S.Women's Amateur: DanielleKang
USGA SeniorWomen'sAmateur: Terri Frohnmayer
U.S.Women's Mid-Amateur: EllenPort
U.S.Junior Amateur: Jordan Spieth
U.S.Girls' Junior: Ariya Jutanugarn
U.S.Amateur PublicLinks: Corbin Mills
U.S.Women'sAmateur PublicLinks: BriannaDo
A CENTURY OF
The USGA Handicap System turns 100 years old
BY EVAN ROTHMAN
EAUTIFUL, RUGGED Scotland, Country Club in Edison, N.J., and with th~
everyone knows, gave the world the Metropolitan Golf Association and the New
testing game of golf. It is only fitting Jersey State Golf Association. On October
that America, a nation that prides 11, 1911, at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield,
itself on fierce competitiveness, democratic N.J., the USGA adopted his system. "\
ideals and equal opportunity, would give "The Calkins System," as it was known at
golf the USGA the time, had several tenets that remain in
Handicap System™, place today. The first: Handicaps should be
which turned 100 a measure of potential rather than current
this year. ability. (This notion, fundamentally optimis-
In 1911, the USGA tic, seems American to the core.) Calkins also
became the first resolutely held that every club should have
central authority to an active and involved handicap committee
administer handi- that would provide peer review to prevent
caps, preceding by abuses. Calkins also argued against the pre-
almost a decade vailing custom of courses rating themselves,
and a half the vari- and as a result state and regional golf asso-
ous golf associa- ciations began their crucial role in measuring
tions in Great Brit- the difficulty of courses as well as in adminis-
ain and Ireland. If tering handicaps.
there is a George While Calkins' creation has held up
Washington of golf admirably, the Handicap System has evolved.
NUMBERS GAME Various handicapping, it is Leighton Calkins. In 1905, In 1911, the three lowest scores of the season
tools have been used over
the past century to calculate Calkins wrote a book, A System for Club were used to compute a player's handicap.
scores and handicaps. Handicapping, which included the follow- That calculation has evolved over the years
ing passage: to include the 10 best of the last 20 scores.
"The principal feature of this system is that Another major change was the introduction
not only is the good player handicapped in 1987 of the Slope Rating® system, which
because he is a good player, but the bad allowed for the portability of a Handicap
player is also handicapped because he is Index® for the first time.
a bad player. The reason is this: The object Recent changes to the Handicap System
of handicapping is to put all players on the brought about a modified definition of peer
same level, and if an allowance of a certain review, an expansion of the definition of a
number of strokes is to be made to the less golf club and a switch to the same four-year
skillful player because he cannot playas well, cycle as The Rules of Golf, which allowed the
some allowance ought to be made to the system to be current with the Rules. The next
more skillful player because he cannot im- century will no doubt bring more tweaks -
prove as much." as surely as the Handicap System has brought
Calkins tested his methods at Plainfield so much to golf itself. •
STORM SURGE Many Northeast courses, such as Rumson Country Club in New Jersey, experienced heavy flooding this year.
Extreme weather has meant challenging times for golf courses, especially
in Texas and the Northeast. The USGA does its best to ease the burden.
ffWE JUST got an inch
of rain last night, and
everyone here is
BY EVAN ROTHMAN
Service, Texas experienced the hottest
summer of any state since recordkeeping
began in 1895; parts of west Texas went
says. "You don't want to whine about
your fairways dying."
Nonetheless, Moore and the 21 other
celebrating," says Jim 14 months without measurable rain. USGA Green Section agronomists around
Moore, the USGA Green Section's director Central Texas is worse than the 1930s the country have helped courses keep
of construction education and technology. Dust Bowl in terms of the lack of pre- their facilities as healthy as possible given
Moore lives in McGregor, Texas, and as cipitation. If you are in the golf industry, such tremendous weather-related stresses.
anyone who follows the news knows, his it helps to keep perspective. They have also worked to educate the golf-
state and its surrounds have been suffer- "You see how bad farmers and ranchers ing public on the issues arising from those
ing through a historic drought and heat have it, and how whole communities are stresses and how best to deal with them.
wave. According to the National Weather running out of drinking water," Moore This work takes many forms. The Green
Section's Turf Advisory Service (TAS), for
example, offers reasonably priced half-
HTHE ATTITUDE IS SORT OF, "'WHAT NEXT?'
day and full-day consultations by a USGA AND "'THIS COULD HAPPEN AGAIN.'
agronomist, plus a follow-up report and
assistance, to participating courses. Less
BUT YOU HAVE TO MOVE FORWARD."
formally, many courses simply call with
questions about, for example, how to
manage highly elevated salt levels, how for starters. (Water quality drops during what they see in normal maintenance.
to allocate what little water they have, or droughts, another hurdle for superinten- That's encouraging."
how far to keep carts from the greens. dents.) Still, he believes that educating Courses in the Northeast have faced
The Green Section also produces a golfers is perhaps the industry's biggest different but similarly extreme weather
weekly e-publication, the Green Sec- current issue. This year, White has created a in 2011. A colder-than-normal winter
hion Record. Not surprisingly, much of its series of webcasts that seeks to explain, for followed by record rainfall in April and
l;ontent this year has focused on heat and example, why an irrigation system is a May brought early-season flooding to
drought-related maintenance issues. This supplement to, not a replacement for, rain. much of the region. An unusually hot and
information targets not only superinten- Understanding this process can alleviate dry July created a mini-drought. Then
dents, but perhaps just as importantly, complaints about why a low area around a came the devastation of Hurricane Irene,
ev1ryday golfers, who are encouraged sprinkler head might be wet while a nearby which brought destructive flooding to the
t6 subscribe. mound is brown. Catskills region of New York and much of
"Since many golfers are in leadership "It's frustrating to hear complaints Vermont, Connecticut and western Mas-
roles within their courses, we want them when you couldn't manage water any sachusetts. Estimates placed the damage
to know what practices make the most better," White says. "We've had a tre- in the United States at $7 billion.
sense to put into place," says Moore. mendous amount of people view. the Jim Skorulski, a USGA senior agrono-
"How do you survive something like this webcasts and learn what's· happening mist in the Northeast Region, has also
with the least amount of damage, and now, what are the long-term plans, and been working overtime to help and en-
how do you prepare to recover from that what we'll have to do that's different from courage beleaguered superintendents
damage next year?" via phone consultations, infor-
Given the duration and intensity of the mal drop-bys and TAS visits.
drought, another role for Moore and his "People are nervous," says
colleagues isto motivate courses to continue Skorulski. "The attitude is sort
to do all they can to prepare for next season. of, 'What next?' and 'This could
"A lot of people are saying, 'It is what happen again.' But you have to
it is - we'll take our lumps and move move forward. If things aren't
on,' " Moore says. "Right now is the most smoothed out, there could be
critical time in the drought for Texas cours- more trouble ahead."
es, because you have to identify which ar- One of the clubs Skorulski has
eas are the most important for you to save." assisted is Stockbridge (Mass.)
Dallas, Texas-based Bud White, di- Golf Club, which has a history
rector of the Mid-Continent Region for of flooding, albeit not nearly as
the USGA Green Section, was pleased severe as what Hurricane Irene
to be able to convince a club to agree wrought. He helped the super-
to more aeration and soil amendments intendent determine whether to
to deal with the soil's higher salt content. replace turf through seeding or
(Normal salt levels for the region are sodding, offered technical sup-
400 to 500 parts per million; this season, port about water issues and silt
White has measured some courses at removal, and laid the ground-
6,000 parts per million.) work to help the club figure out
White has received a "crazy" amount the best strategy for the future.
of calls from clubs this Sl:Jmmer seek- Says Skorulski: "The attitude
ing advice on how to deal with the ex- around here is, 'We'll just do
treme heat and drought. Like his col- DROUGHT EFFECT Wildfires near Lost Pines Golf Club it. We'll clean it up. We'll move
leagues, he has helped prioritize water use, in Bastrop, Texas. forward.'" •
CHAMPIONSHIP TEE Rory Mcilroy birdied the 10th hole (above) during the final round of his record-setting 2011 U.S. Open
victory at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland.