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  • A short return for Tiger Woods at Congressional Jun 27, 2014 5:55 PM
    Tiger Woods didn’t last more than 36 holes in his return to competition. Woods showed plenty of rust with his short game when he ran off four straight bogeys on the back nine Friday at Congressional to end any hopes of sticking around for the weekend at the Quicken Loans National.

     
  • Mike North video: Tiger Woods Returns Jun 25, 2014 9:59 AM
    Even though Mike North has been critical of Tiger Woods in the past, he knows golf needs Tiger for better ratings.

     
  • Rave reviews for Medinah’s renovated Course No. 1 Jun 25, 2014 11:43 AM
    Medinah Country Club now has another course to rival its famed No. 3 layout, says Len Ziehm, who talks with members about the $6.5 million renovation to Course No. 1, which had six new holes created by architect Tom Doak and improvements made to 12 other holes.

     
  • Woods says he’s ahead of schedule and without pain Jun 24, 2014 7:17 PM
    Tiger Woods returns at the Quicken Loans National with big hopes and realistic expectations — and with no pain. Asked for an opening comment on where he is with his recovery, Woods smiled and said, “I’m right here.” “It’s been an interesting road,” Woods said. “This has been quite a tedious little process, but been one where I got to a point where I can play competitive golf again. And it’s pretty exciting.”

     
  • Sluman returning to site of his lone major title Jun 22, 2014 10:45 PM
    The Champions Tour players didn’t all leave town after the Encompass Championship concluded. Many in Sunday’s field stayed around for Monday’s sectional qualifying round for the U.S. Senior Open at Village Links of Glen Ellyn.

     
  • Cochran rockets up leaderboard with final-round 64 Jun 22, 2014 10:44 PM
    It may have been too little too late, but Russ Cochran took more than a mediocre paycheck away from the Encompass Championship on Sunday. The left-handed golfer claimed the tournament 18-hole record with an 8-under-par 64.

     
  • Encompass win is on Lehman’s terms Jun 22, 2014 10:47 PM
    Ho hum, just another former major champion sinking just another 12-foot putt to avoid just another playoff to win the Encompass Championship. Last year it was Craig Stadler taking the title with a tricky bender from a dozen feet away, and Sunday it was Tom Lehman — who had putted himself into a 3-shot lead heading into the final round only to see it disappear late, courtesy of a balky flat stick — coming through with a clutch left-to-righter on the final hole to cap a wild finish at North Shore Country Club in Glenview.

     
  • Langer believes Kaymer could really go on a tear Jun 21, 2014 10:16 PM
    Bernhard Langer is still pretty good at this golf thing, but today he is considered the world’s foremost expert on Martin Kaymer, and there’s really nowhere he can go now without being asked about his fellow German.

     
  • Golf encompasses Triplett and his son Jun 21, 2014 10:54 PM
    Kirk Triplett wasn’t excited about his Saturday round in the Encompass Championship at North Shore Country Club in Glenview, even though it was a good one. Triplett, an early starter, posted his second straight 5-under-par 67 and his 10-under 134 is three strokes behind leader Tom Lehman entering Sunday’s final round.

     
  • Lehman rushes to top before storm at Encompass Jun 21, 2014 10:50 PM
    As tournament leader Tom Lehman walked to the 18th tee late Saturday afternoon with some darker than dark clouds closing in from the west, he couldn’t help but think back to a year ago at this very same Encompass Championship. “It was at the end of the first round and we had a big storm and they suspended play,” Lehman recalled. “Then we had to come out the next morning and finish up. I’m not sure what time it was ... but I know it was a bummer.

     
  • Spellman’s Scorecard: Never a shortage of Bears news Jun 19, 2014 10:52 PM
    If you want random, well, you’ve come to the right place - Spellman's Scorecard. Some musings on Bears OTA's, Cubs pitchers and why Mike is still mad at Steve Coburn.

     
  • Even at 69, Hale Irwin doesn't like to lose Jun 19, 2014 11:08 PM
    The big spontaneous moments are long behind Hale Irwin, who just days ago celebrated his 69th birthday and beginning Friday will be part of a stellar field competing for the top prize at the Encompass Championship at North Shore Country Club in Glenview. Nah, these days, things are a little different for the man who won 20 times on the PGA Tour, including three U.S. Open titles. Still the competitive spirit hasn't left him.

     
  • These guys can (still) play Jun 18, 2014 6:44 PM
    Starting Friday, 81 pros will fight for a share of the $1.8 million purse for the Encompass Championship starting at North Shore Country Club in Glenview. Len Ziehm offers a look at 5 players to watch as the Champions Tour's best contend for the $270,000 first-place check.

     
  • Montgomerie heads impressive Encompass field Jun 17, 2014 4:35 PM
    This week’s second Encompass Championship at North Shore Country Club has two major differences from the first staging as far as the 81-player field is concerned. Fred Couples, last year’s runner-up, won’t be here when play begins on Friday at the Glenview course, but Colin Montgomerie will. Though Couples is one of the most popular players on the Champions Tour, the tradeoff seems a fair one, as Len Ziehm explains in this week's golf column.

     
  • Tiger’s back? He says all is well Aug 6, 2014 6:25 PM
    The suspense is over. Tiger Woods showed up at Valhalla on Wednesday, just a few hours before Thursday’s start of the 96th PGA Championship. After a brief practice session promised he’d tee off in Thursday’s first round. Woods left the Bridgestone Invitational after nine holes Sunday after injuring his back. He returned to Florida while his caddie, Joe LaCava, came here to scout the course that will host the year’s final major championship for the third time.

     
  • The Germanator: Kaymer was the star of this US Open Jun 16, 2014 5:59 PM
    Two days into the U.S. Open, it didn’t look like one. No one ever began the toughest test in golf with consecutive rounds of 65. Martin Kaymer set the 36-hole scoring record at 130 amid complaints that a restored, rustic Pinehurst No. 2 without traditional rough was making it too easy. Or maybe Kaymer was simply that good. One question that came up Saturday morning is worth asking again after the “Germanator” produced the second-lowest score in U.S. Open history (271) with an eight-shot victory in which he led by at least four shots over the last 48 holes. If this had been Tiger Woods, would anyone be talking so much about the golf course? “I can remember we got some criticism in 2000 because Tiger shot 12 under at Pebble Beach,” USGA executive director Mike Davis said Sunday evening, referring to what still stands as the greatest performance in the majors. “And I kind of scratched my head thinking, ‘OK, the best score for the other 155 players was 3 over.”’ This is the other side of a double standard that applies to Woods, through no fault of his own. When he wins big — and he has done that a lot in his career — it’s all about the player. Anyone else and something was wrong with the golf course. Pinehurst No. 2 was a worthy test. Take the 29-year-old German out of the equation and there would have been a playoff Monday between Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton, who won the B Flight at this U.S. Open. They were the only other players to finish under par. Isn’t that typical of a U.S. Open? The USGA keeps data known as “cost of rough,” a peculiar term after touting Pinehurst No. 2 as having no rough. The cost of missing the fairway this week was .286 shots, compared with .303 when the U.S. Open first came to Pinehurst in 1999 (Payne Stewart won at 1-under 279), and .368 in 2005 when Michael Campbell won at even par. Pay attention to the game, not the name. “I think we all were playing for second,” Compton said. “Martin was playing his own tournament,” Fowler said. These are similar to the sentiments shared after Woods destroyed the field at Pebble Beach, and Rory McIlroy did the same at Congressional in 2011. McIlroy set the U.S. Open scoring record on a rain-softened course at 16-under 268 to win by eight shots. Twenty players finished under par that week. Perhaps that’s why McIlroy said he considered Kaymer’s performance at Pinehurst No. 2 to be more impressive. Kaymer had been a forgotten star the last two years as he worked to build a complete game. McIlroy helped made golf fans forget about Kaymer, too. He is younger than Kaymer (by just over four years), and rose to stardom by winning two majors by eight shots in consecutive years. Kaymer won his first major at Whistling Straits in 2010 at a PGA Championship remembered for Dustin Johnson’s blunder in the bunker. Overlooked in the final hour of chaos was the clutch tee shot by Kaymer on the 223-yard 17th hole along Lake Michigan, and a 15-foot birdie putt that tied Bubba Watson going into the last hole of the playoff. He won a World Golf Championship in Shanghai at the end of 2011 with nine birdies over the last 12 holes to close with 63. During his U.S. Open romp on Sunday, NBC showed a highlight of one moment that shows how strong Kaymer is between the ears. It was from the Ryder Cup last year at Medinah. He was playing so badly that no one in Europe — Kaymer included — wanted him to make the team. Kaymer played only one match going into Sunday. And just his luck, he stood over a 6-foot putt on the 18th hole that effectively would decide the Ryder Cup. He poured it into the heart of the cup, a show of will and incredible mental strength. Davis walked the last two rounds with Kaymer this weekend, and as much as he was paying attention to how the course played, even more impressive was watching Kaymer. “We should celebrate what Martin Kaymer did this week,” Davis said. “He executed beautifully. He thought beautifully. ... To watch his course management and his execution was just brilliant. To me, I like a course setup where if you do all the right things you get rewarded.” That’s how it was for Woods, whose win at Pebble Beach was historic. That’s how it was for McIlroy, whose victory at Congressional was hailed as the arrival of golf’s next star. Kaymer’s win shouldn’t be viewed much differently.

     
  • Kaymer holds 5-shot lead at U.S. Open Jun 14, 2014 8:58 PM
    Martin Kaymer finally made some bogeys. He had plenty of company. After two days of lower-than-expected scores, Pinehurst No. 2 showed its bite at the U.S. Open on Saturday. Kaymer, who made only one bogey the first two days, bogeyed three of the first six holes in the third round. But a brilliant save at the fourth, after he took an unplayable lie, and an eagle at the par-5 fifth kept the 29-year-old Germany comfortably ahead at 9 under as he made the turn.

     
  • Martin Kaymer sets U.S. Open record at Pinehurst Jun 13, 2014 6:29 PM
    Martin Kaymer set the 36-hole scoring record at the U.S. Open on Friday with another 5-under 65 — this one without a single bogey — to build an early eight-shot lead and leave the rest of the field wondering if the 29-year-old German was playing a different course, or even a different tournament.

     
  • Golfer DQs himself from U.S. Open to clear conscience Jun 11, 2014 5:40 PM
    Jason Millard packed his bags, tossed his clubs in the car, and headed off to Pinehurst No. 2 to play in his first major championship. It should’ve been the thrill of a lifetime. Instead, he turned the car around.

     
  • Family-man Streelman looks to get his game on track Jun 10, 2014 4:25 PM
    Winfield’s Kevin Streelman remains one of golf’s most promising up-and-coming players, but he’s not going into this week’s U.S. Open with any momentum. Chicago’s only homegrown PGA Tour player missed the cut in his last three tournaments. “It’s been a strange year golf-wise,” Streelman told golf columnist Len Ziehm, “but it’s been a wonderful year off the course thanks to Sophia (his daughter). The former Duke golfer talks with Ziehm about his family and the U.S. Open, which begins Thursday on the famed No. 2 course at Pinehurst, N.C.

     
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