|2017 U.S. Open Preview|
Like Chambers Bay in 2015, Erin Hills is a first-time U.S. Open venue and a relative unknown to the pros as it has little tournament history. It hosted a U.S. Amateur in 2011 as a preparation for the Open.
The heavily bunkered, tree-less course, which opened in 2006, by description sounds comparable to Oakmont, last year’s U.S. Open venue, where Dustin Johnson’s length and short-game prowess powered him to a break through major championship.
That win catapulted Johnson to the most dominant stretch of his career and the world No. 1 ranking. That momentum was stalled at the Masters after a freak fall caused him to withdraw with a back injury. Can he return to form on a course that will play to his strengths – namely length? Or will another big bomber raise the trophy?
On Thurs., we start to find out. Here’s a look at the leading storylines heading into the first U.S. Open ever in the state of Wisconsin.
The knowns are these: the rough is thick and the course is long, because that’s what a traditional U.S. Open setup is. But practically everything else about the longest course in U.S. Open history (7,741 yards) remains a mystery.
The pros will be using their practice rounds to get used to the new layout and particularly its treacherous bunkers, of which there are three types, the nuances of its rolling terrain and the sight lines for a number of blind semi-blind approaches.
The course is such an unknown that ESPN golf analyst Andy North, a Wisconsin native, gave a 30-shot range for predicting the winning score.
“We really don’t know if it’s going to be closer to 15-over or 15-under,” he said.
Of note: the last major played in Wisconsin, the 2015 PGA at Whistling Straits, saw Jason Day post a major championship scoring record of 20-under.
Will someone solve Erin Hills and go on a similar birdie binge or will it be a week that sees a barrage of bogeys? We seem to have a true wildcard course on our hands, but there’s no such mystery about the favorite: It’s Dustin Johnson.
A Double For D.J.?
There hasn’t been repeat champion at the U.S Open since Curtis Strange defended in 1989. Will the 117th Open see Johnson snap that streak?
The fairways are reportedly twice as wide as the ones Johnson dominated at Oakmont a year ago, so the set-up is friendly to his prodigious length, but it’s his improved wedge and short game that has really been the game changer for his 2017 dominance.
Johnson, however, hasn’t seemed to have quite the same sharpness since returning to competition after the Masters. He missed the cut at his last event (the Memorial), but some analysts viewed that as a blessing in disguise because it allowed him to get a head start on his Open preparation.
We’ll soon see if that extra preparation pays off and Johnson can reclaim the dominating form he had going into the Masters, before which he had reeled off three straight victories.
If D.J. is right, are you betting against him? His putting has improved as well this year and he’s part of a Tour trend.
How They Roll
Rory McIlroy is the latest to add a mallet putter to his bag in a last-minute equipment change this week. The mallet is becoming the preferred style on Tour. Putting is always key, but a hot putter could really get on a roll this week due to the impeccable course conditions.
Erin Hills has been closed since October to ensure premium conditions for the Open, especially on the greens, which, unlike Chambers Bay, are yielding compliments from the pros. The pros who figure out the greens the fastest could gain an early edge. Martin Kaymer solved Pinehurst once by putting from off the greens. That option isn’t available this week, but steady putting will still be crucial.
Who will wield the magic wand that will lead to victory this week? Will it be a past major winner or a championship newcomer like it has been in the previous six majors?
Break On Through, Part 7?
Sergio Garcia’s win at the Masters pushed the streak of first-time major winners to six. Can another first-timer get hot and continue the streak? Rickie Fowler? John Rahm? Justin Thomas?
Understandably, the Tour’s top bombers dominate the list of favorites. Will one of them prevail if D.J. can’t recapture his A game? If bogeys abound, it could turn into a real scramble (think British Open) and the bounces could favor another first-timer.
But if U.S. Open experience prevails …
Can recent history repeat?
Before D.J., the previous three U.S. Open winners were Jordan Spieth, Martin Kaymer, Justin Rose. Rory McIlroy is also a past champion and the holder of the Open scoring record, 16-under in 2011.
Rose is on something akin to a major hot streak of his own. He finished runner-up to Garcia at Augusta and previously won the gold medal in the Rio Olympics playing under course conditions that sound a bit similar to what he’ll be facing this week at Erin Hills. GolfWeek actually has Rose listed as its No. 2 pick behind D.J. and ahead of Jason Day to raise the trophy this week (that’s a TaylorMade trio, by the way) and then rounds out its top five with Spieth and McIlroy.
Will one of the favorites prevail or will major-victory rookies resume their rise at the majors? We’ll start to get some clues when the major fun begins on Thurs.
Watch the tournament unfold in the Clubhouse. And, since you're coming to Riverwalk anyways, might as well play a round of golf...
|Great Golf Course Bracket Challenge: No. 3 is No. 1!|
Thanks to everyone who voted in our Great Golf Course Bracket Challenge. After a month of social media voting to determine the favorite hole at Riverwalk, No. 3 on Mission scored a nearly unanimous victory over Presidio No. 2 to emerge as the champion!
The par 4 3rd on Mission is our signature hole for reason. It’s a strategic hole with a double carry over water. Simply avoiding the pond on the right off the tee is the first challenge. A drive of between 220-240 yards positions you perfectly for a wedge into a quasi-island green with a stream in front and gorgeous waterfall with brilliant landscaping on the left.
The green is a smaller target that slopes back to front. You really don’t want a putt back toward the water here. A solid wedge shot left below the hole will usually give you an outstanding look at birdie.
In 2016, No. 3 was included in Southland Golf’s ranking of the best holes in San Diego. It now has another accolade thanks to our golfers and their voting in the Great Golf Course Bracket Challenge!
But don’t just take our golfers’ word for it. Come see for yourself! Come play No. 3 and please share your experience with us! We look forward to seeing you soon!
|Yogis & Bogeys: A Q &A About Yoga At Riverwalk On April 12th|
Riverwalk will be hosting its first-ever yoga class on April 12th when we hold Yogis & Bogeys at 5:30 p.m. Erin Hanson of Live + Breathe will conduct the class, which will introduce golfers to the benefits of yoga. In this Q & A, Erin talks about the benefits of yoga to golfers and how it can improve your health and game.
Q&A With Erin Hanson of Live + Breathe
Q: For those who do not currently do yoga, which is widely practiced in San Diego and SoCal, how do you explain it?
A: Yoga is a multi-faceted practice that works to integrate both the mind and body. The form of yoga that is most familiar is the physical version with poses that are put together in a special “sequence” designed for a particular style. Each style is developed to emphasize what the participant wants to gain from class (i.e., restorative yoga, hot power yoga). Yoga is a skill set that can translate to many activities and can simultaneously provide energizing and calming effects.
Q: What are the primary benefits of yoga and how does it enhance personal health?
A: Yoga has several benefits that promote health and wellbeing. In the physical practice, it works to strengthen the body, align posture, improve circulation and increase flexibility. Along with the positive outcomes for the body, the mind also benefits with techniques aimed at reducing stress through moving from our “fight or flight” response to a “rest and digest” or relaxation response.
Q: Increased flexibility is a major benefit and something that’s critical for golf to not only play well but to avoid injury. How does yoga improve flexibility?
A: Yoga improves flexibility through lengthening muscles within poses. In addition, yoga addresses the outer tissue of the muscle known as fascia as well as joint health. Together, this approach increases the body’s overall capacity and works to resolve any imbalances.
Q: What other attributes of yoga are beneficial to golfers?
A: Golfers repeatedly engage their torso and spine in the rotation of their swing. Yoga works to increase core strength and decrease back pain through poses that work on the alignment and stability of the core and spine.
Q: How did the idea for this class at Riverwalk come about?
A: The team at Live + Breathe loves to be active, and one of the many ways is through their enjoyment of golf. The team as a whole is made up of individuals who are looking to improve health and wellness in all aspects of life. To work together with the golfing community, pairs an interest for betterment that can be shared and seen on the course.
This is a class that is also going to assist in the efforts that the non-profit, Live + Breathe, works to achieve with providing free yoga to special populations throughout San Diego. A ticket to attend the class is a tax-deductible donation that is used to cover program costs and offer free classes, many of which serve at-risk youth, homeless teens, children with mental health challenges and individuals with special needs.
Q: Besides bringing a yoga mat, what else do attendees need? We understand the class is being conducted in a golf attire, yes?
A: A yoga mat if available, or a beach towel can also be used in replacement of a mat. The class will be low-intensity with both standing and seated poses. Wearing comfortable attire will aid in the ability to fully stretch and participate in the poses. Whether it’s golf, athletic or yoga-like attire. The class will be useful for all levels of experience from beginner to advanced and easy to follow along with. Refreshments will be provided afterwards at the Grille to enjoy time socializing and free prizes.
Q: The class is one hour long. What can golfers expect to gain and learn from the experience?
A: Golfers who attend will use the tools that yoga provides to strengthen and lengthen the body as well as to focus the mind which can directly impact abilities on the course. The practice of yoga can be incorporated into pre-game, post-game or time spent off the course.
Q: Tell us a little about Live + Breathe. What’s its mission? How did it get started?
A: Live + Breathe is a San Diego non-profit that offers free yoga classes to advance the health and wellness of special and deserving populations.
Live + Breathe.
|Contest Alert: Enter The Center Of San Diego Sweepstakes|
Riverwalk Golf Club is pleased to be part of a promotion in conjunction with the San Diego Tourism Authority that will allow a lucky winner to experience Mission Valley – the center of San Diego – for free for three fabulous days.
The prize package includes a free golf round for two at Riverwalk as well as a three-night stay at the Handlery Hotel and domestic round- trip airfare for two to experience shopping, dining and a trolley tour of Old Towne.
The complete prize package is as follows:
● Domestic round-trip airfare for two to San Diego
The contests runs from Nov. 2 - Nov. 16. Follow the link to enter - Center of San Diego Contest – and hopefully you’ll be joining us to experience Mission Valley! Good luck!
|8th Annual Pink Tournament|
Riverwalk Golf Club To Host 8th Annual Pink Tournament On Oct. 16
We’re all aware that October is Breast Cancer Awareness. Riverwalk Golf Club is showing supporting by hosting its 8th Annual Pink Tournament on Oct. 16th. Please consider joining us for the 11:30 a.m shotgun to support a great cause. Besides the tournament, there’s a buffet dinner and awards ceremony to follow. See more details below.
What: Riverwalk Golf Club’s 8th Annual Pink Tournament on Oct. 16th.
Who: The tournament is $79 per play for the general public, $65 for cardholders and $59 for Riverwalk 200 members. Cost includes green fee, a shared cart, range balls, a buffet dinner and on-course food and beverage activities.
When: The shotgun start is at 11:30 a.m. and followed by the buffet dinner and awards ceremony. The awards ceremony includes honoring the best-dressed team and the most pink team as well as awarding raffle prizes and auction items.
Why: All proceeds will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and its efforts to combat breast cancer and support cancer patients.
How: Contact Ashley Brandstater at firstname.lastname@example.org or (619) 296-9408 to register.