Infotainment Factory: Defending US Open champ 'shocked' by bizarre snub

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Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Defending US Open champ 'shocked' by bizarre snub


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Brooks Koepka is the defending champion entering the 119th edition of the US Open championship, but he's coming in with a chip on his shoulder.

Before the first group tee off, here's everything you need to know about the tournament.

WHEN

The event takes place on June 13-16, 2019.

WHERE

The US Open will be held at Pebble Beach Golf Links, in California. The public golf course was founded in 1919 on the iconic Monterey Peninsula in northern California. Every February, it is one of the three courses which play host to the celebrity Pebble Beach Pro Am on the PGA Tour. It's panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean are matched with the smallest greens on the US PGA Tour and will favour those with prolific ball-striking, especially with US Open presenting lightening-fast greens and thick rough. Receiving the most notoriety is Pebble Beach's iconic, 109-yard par-3 seventh hole whose putting green backs on to the ocean.

PRIZEMONEY

The winner's prize is $2.25 million ($A3.2m) from a $12.5 million ($A18m) purse. The winner is also exempt from qualifying for the other three majors and the Players Championship for the next five years, and exempt from the US Open for the next 10 years. If the winner is a PGA Tour member, he also receives full status for five years.

Koepka speaks to media before the US Open

MAJOR STORYLINES

Koepka snubbed

Defending US Open champion Brooks Koepka joked "somebody should be fired" for an astonishing gaffe that saw him left out of the tournament's broadcast promotion. The four-time major winner who has been at the centre of several snubs during his already prolific career, became the first player to win back-to-back US Opens (2017-18) since Curtis Strange (1988-89). But in a television advertisement before this week's US Open, host broadcaster Fox released four promos - three of which did not feature the world No.1 Koepka at all.

"There's a commercial running now where I'm not even in it," an annoyed Koepka said on Tuesday.

"There's (always) a couple of (slights on me) where it's just mind boggling how - it's like, really? Like, how do you forget that?

"I actually didn't see it for a long time. A bunch of people on Twitter I think tagged me in the promo.

"I was kind of shocked. They've had over a year to kind of put it out. So I don't know. Somebody probably got fired over it - or should," Koepka added with a laugh.

Earlier this year Koepka was also dismissed by Golf Channel pundit Brandel Chamblee just days before winning the recent PGA Championship at Bethpage. Chamblee, a former US PGA Tour player, declared Koepka was "just not in the class" of Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy when asked who Masters champion Woods' greatest challengers were. He omitted Koepka and the Florida native responded by posting a photo to social media of Chamblee with a clown nose photoshopped on his face.

Their running battle began in March when Chamblee claimed Koepka, who intentionally lost 12 kilograms of bodyweight, was "the greatest self-sabotage of an athlete in his prime" he had seen. There was intense speculation the muscular Koepka had lost the weight to pose for ESPN's Body Issue magazine.

Koepka said this latest omission would fuel his fire.

"Yeah, I mean, why wouldn't you? You've always got to find something to give you a little bit of extra motivation. Sometimes it's blatantly obvious."

Brooks Koepka holds up the Golf Champion Trophy after winning the U.S. Open in 2018

The Woods Effect

All eyes will be on Tiger Woods again to see if he can edge one closer to Jack Nicklaus' record 18 major victories, having charged to an emotional come-from behind win at the Masters in April.

Woods' hopes of chasing down the record stalled when he missed the cut at last month's US PGA Championship at Bethpage - the New York course on which he won the 2002 US Open. He put that down to a cold he was suffering at the time.

"I just need to give myself chances," Woods said. "Hypothetically, let's say I give myself 10 years. That's 40 major championships. That's a lot of majors.

"The trick is if I can I keep myself healthy enough and strong enough and fast enough to endure all that, considering what my body has gone through."

https://twitter.com/usopengolf/status/1137388821341884416

Woods was also underprepared at the PGA, given he had not played competitively in the month between his Masters win and Bethpage. But he feels he has brought his form back to major-winning shape and only needs "one more day" of practice to feel sharp enough for a 16th major win.

He'll draw on the memories of his record-setting win at the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach as he attempts to restart his quest for a 16th major victory.

"It's crazy, it's been 19 years," he said. "I still remember most of the shots I hit. It was very special.

"I made every putt inside 10 feet on seaside, poa annua (greens); I don't know how I pulled that off."

https://twitter.com/usopengolf/status/1138643225948905472

Day's New Caddie

Only days before California's famed Pebble Beach hosts its sixth US Open, Jason Day drew a line in the sand and hired legendary New Zealand caddie Steve Williams.

Williams, 55, was on the bag for 13 of Tiger Woods' 15 major wins, as well as Scott when he won the Masters.

"(Steve also) thinks I'm an underachiever and wants me to win a lot more tournaments," Day said. "He came back on the bag to win majors, so hopefully I can fulfil that dream for both of us.

"I need to start working harder. I'm trying to chase greatness."

https://twitter.com/EvinPriest/status/1137898397954822144

US OPEN HISTORY AT PEBBLE BEACH

This week will be the sixth time Pebble Beach has hosted the US Open (1972, 1982, 1992, 2000 and 2010). Golf greats Jack Nicklaus (1972), Tom Watson (1982) and Tiger Woods (2000) are among the US Open winners at Pebble Beach. In 2000, Woods won by 15 shots to record the largest margin of victory in major championship history.

THE FAVOURITES

Tiger Woods is among the favourites for the fact he won his 15th major at the Masters in April, as well as his 15-shot US Open victory at Pebble Beach in 2000. Given Pebble Beach has the smallest greens of any US PGA Tour courses, supreme ball-strikers are rewarded.

World No.1 and two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka won the most recent major, the US PGA Championship last month, to become the first golfer to successfully defend two different majors. 2011 US Open winner Rory McIlroy, fresh off his seven-shot victory at last week's Canadian Open, and 2016 winner Dustin Johnson are also among the top picks.

https://twitter.com/usopengolf/status/1138163341824733184

AUSTRALIA'S BEST CHANCE

It is a tie between major winners and former world No.1 golfers Jason Day and Adam Scott, who are both in form.

Day labelled himself a "severe underachiever" as he and countryman Scott attempt to live up to their potential and win a second major this weekend.

Considered Australia's golfing successors to Greg Norman, Scott and Day have each admitted their lone major win does not reflect their performances on the biggest stage - or their prodigious talent. Both Queenslanders have already gathered stellar careers.

Scott became the first Australian to win the Masters - his 2013 triumph at Augusta among 13 US PGA Tour wins - while Day's 2015 US PGA Championship highlights his dozen titles.

Day and Scott are among an eight-player Australian contingent which includes Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith, Marcus Fraser, Aaron Baddeley, Matt Jones and Brett Drewitt.

https://twitter.com/usopengolf/status/1138257085165187072

FIRST ROUND TEE TIMES (IN AEST)

Australians

11:45pm - MARCUS FRASER; Sam Saunders; Carlos Ortiz

12:51am (Friday AEST) - MARC LEISHMAN; Jon Rahm; Rory McIlroy

1:02am - JASON DAY; Si Woo Kim; Rickie Fowler

1:24am - CAMERON SMITH; Matthew Wallace; Xander Schauffele

6:47am - ADAM SCOTT; Webb Simpson; Matt Kuchar

7:09am - AARON BADDELEY; Justin Harding; Andrew Putnam

7:20am - MATT JONES; Daniel Berger; Kodai Ichihara

7:42am - BRETT DREWITT; Eric Dietrich; Guillermo Pereira

Big Names

1.13am (Friday AEST) - Dustin Johnson; Phil Mickelson; Graeme McDowell

6.47am - Francesco Molinari; Viktor Hovland (amateur); Brooks Koepka (defending champion)

7.09am - Jordan Spieth; Justin Rose; Tiger Woods

https://twitter.com/usopengolf/status/1138211740502634498

WHAT THEY SAID

"I think I've got a game that when it's on, I can win most tournaments." - Jason Day.

"I truly believe my time is coming to add to my major list. Some players win them all in a bunch and others are spaced out. But I think getting the second major could be the defining moment of my career." - Adam Scott.

"The golf course really doesn't play that differently for me; it's just a matter of putting the ball in the right spots. This week I feel like I'm trending in the right direction." - Tiger Woods.

"We have four Super Bowls a year; this is one of them."- Jordan Spieth.

"I don't have the highest expectations for US Opens because I haven't done so well in the past. But it may be a good thing because you play more relaxed golf." - Marc Leishman.

"I'd make Pebble Beach firm and fast. There are such big slopes on the greens at Pebble, if they don't tread carefully there could be six-hour rounds." - Cameron Smith.

"When the conditions get tough, Pebble Beach can be a monster." - Jack Nicklaus.

https://twitter.com/PGATOUR/status/1138211740045520897

ODDS

$9 - Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson

$10 - Brooks Koepka

$13 - Tiger Woods

$19 - Patrick Cantlay

$21 - Jordan Spieth

Australians

$34 - Jason Day, Adam Scott

$67 - Marc Leishman

$161 - Cameron Smith

$301 - Aaron Baddeley, Matt Jones

$1001 - Marcus Fraser

$1251 - Brett Drewitt

Brooks Koepka is the defending champion entering the 119th edition of the US Open championship, but he's coming in with a chip on his shoulder.

Before the first group tee off, here's everything you need to know about the tournament.

WHEN

The event takes place on June 13-16, 2019.

WHERE

The US Open will be held at Pebble Beach Golf Links, in California. The public golf course was founded in 1919 on the iconic Monterey Peninsula in northern California. Every February, it is one of the three courses which play host to the celebrity Pebble Beach Pro Am on the PGA Tour. It's panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean are matched with the smallest greens on the US PGA Tour and will favour those with prolific ball-striking, especially with US Open presenting lightening-fast greens and thick rough. Receiving the most notoriety is Pebble Beach's iconic, 109-yard par-3 seventh hole whose putting green backs on to the ocean.

PRIZEMONEY

The winner's prize is $2.25 million ($A3.2m) from a $12.5 million ($A18m) purse. The winner is also exempt from qualifying for the other three majors and the Players Championship for the next five years, and exempt from the US Open for the next 10 years. If the winner is a PGA Tour member, he also receives full status for five years.

Koepka speaks to media before the US Open

MAJOR STORYLINES

Koepka snubbed

Defending US Open champion Brooks Koepka joked "somebody should be fired" for an astonishing gaffe that saw him left out of the tournament's broadcast promotion. The four-time major winner who has been at the centre of several snubs during his already prolific career, became the first player to win back-to-back US Opens (2017-18) since Curtis Strange (1988-89). But in a television advertisement before this week's US Open, host broadcaster Fox released four promos - three of which did not feature the world No.1 Koepka at all.

"There's a commercial running now where I'm not even in it," an annoyed Koepka said on Tuesday.

"There's (always) a couple of (slights on me) where it's just mind boggling how - it's like, really? Like, how do you forget that?

"I actually didn't see it for a long time. A bunch of people on Twitter I think tagged me in the promo.

"I was kind of shocked. They've had over a year to kind of put it out. So I don't know. Somebody probably got fired over it - or should," Koepka added with a laugh.

Earlier this year Koepka was also dismissed by Golf Channel pundit Brandel Chamblee just days before winning the recent PGA Championship at Bethpage. Chamblee, a former US PGA Tour player, declared Koepka was "just not in the class" of Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy when asked who Masters champion Woods' greatest challengers were. He omitted Koepka and the Florida native responded by posting a photo to social media of Chamblee with a clown nose photoshopped on his face.

Their running battle began in March when Chamblee claimed Koepka, who intentionally lost 12 kilograms of bodyweight, was "the greatest self-sabotage of an athlete in his prime" he had seen. There was intense speculation the muscular Koepka had lost the weight to pose for ESPN's Body Issue magazine.

Koepka said this latest omission would fuel his fire.

"Yeah, I mean, why wouldn't you? You've always got to find something to give you a little bit of extra motivation. Sometimes it's blatantly obvious."

Brooks Koepka holds up the Golf Champion Trophy after winning the U.S. Open in 2018

The Woods Effect

All eyes will be on Tiger Woods again to see if he can edge one closer to Jack Nicklaus' record 18 major victories, having charged to an emotional come-from behind win at the Masters in April.

Woods' hopes of chasing down the record stalled when he missed the cut at last month's US PGA Championship at Bethpage - the New York course on which he won the 2002 US Open. He put that down to a cold he was suffering at the time.

"I just need to give myself chances," Woods said. "Hypothetically, let's say I give myself 10 years. That's 40 major championships. That's a lot of majors.

"The trick is if I can I keep myself healthy enough and strong enough and fast enough to endure all that, considering what my body has gone through."

https://twitter.com/usopengolf/status/1137388821341884416

Woods was also underprepared at the PGA, given he had not played competitively in the month between his Masters win and Bethpage. But he feels he has brought his form back to major-winning shape and only needs "one more day" of practice to feel sharp enough for a 16th major win.

He'll draw on the memories of his record-setting win at the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach as he attempts to restart his quest for a 16th major victory.

"It's crazy, it's been 19 years," he said. "I still remember most of the shots I hit. It was very special.

"I made every putt inside 10 feet on seaside, poa annua (greens); I don't know how I pulled that off."

https://twitter.com/usopengolf/status/1138643225948905472

Day's New Caddie

Only days before California's famed Pebble Beach hosts its sixth US Open, Jason Day drew a line in the sand and hired legendary New Zealand caddie Steve Williams.

Williams, 55, was on the bag for 13 of Tiger Woods' 15 major wins, as well as Scott when he won the Masters.

"(Steve also) thinks I'm an underachiever and wants me to win a lot more tournaments," Day said. "He came back on the bag to win majors, so hopefully I can fulfil that dream for both of us.

"I need to start working harder. I'm trying to chase greatness."

https://twitter.com/EvinPriest/status/1137898397954822144

US OPEN HISTORY AT PEBBLE BEACH

This week will be the sixth time Pebble Beach has hosted the US Open (1972, 1982, 1992, 2000 and 2010). Golf greats Jack Nicklaus (1972), Tom Watson (1982) and Tiger Woods (2000) are among the US Open winners at Pebble Beach. In 2000, Woods won by 15 shots to record the largest margin of victory in major championship history.

THE FAVOURITES

Tiger Woods is among the favourites for the fact he won his 15th major at the Masters in April, as well as his 15-shot US Open victory at Pebble Beach in 2000. Given Pebble Beach has the smallest greens of any US PGA Tour courses, supreme ball-strikers are rewarded.

World No.1 and two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka won the most recent major, the US PGA Championship last month, to become the first golfer to successfully defend two different majors. 2011 US Open winner Rory McIlroy, fresh off his seven-shot victory at last week's Canadian Open, and 2016 winner Dustin Johnson are also among the top picks.

https://twitter.com/usopengolf/status/1138163341824733184

AUSTRALIA'S BEST CHANCE

It is a tie between major winners and former world No.1 golfers Jason Day and Adam Scott, who are both in form.

Day labelled himself a "severe underachiever" as he and countryman Scott attempt to live up to their potential and win a second major this weekend.

Considered Australia's golfing successors to Greg Norman, Scott and Day have each admitted their lone major win does not reflect their performances on the biggest stage - or their prodigious talent. Both Queenslanders have already gathered stellar careers.

Scott became the first Australian to win the Masters - his 2013 triumph at Augusta among 13 US PGA Tour wins - while Day's 2015 US PGA Championship highlights his dozen titles.

Day and Scott are among an eight-player Australian contingent which includes Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith, Marcus Fraser, Aaron Baddeley, Matt Jones and Brett Drewitt.

https://twitter.com/usopengolf/status/1138257085165187072

FIRST ROUND TEE TIMES (IN AEST)

Australians

11:45pm - MARCUS FRASER; Sam Saunders; Carlos Ortiz

12:51am (Friday AEST) - MARC LEISHMAN; Jon Rahm; Rory McIlroy

1:02am - JASON DAY; Si Woo Kim; Rickie Fowler

1:24am - CAMERON SMITH; Matthew Wallace; Xander Schauffele

6:47am - ADAM SCOTT; Webb Simpson; Matt Kuchar

7:09am - AARON BADDELEY; Justin Harding; Andrew Putnam

7:20am - MATT JONES; Daniel Berger; Kodai Ichihara

7:42am - BRETT DREWITT; Eric Dietrich; Guillermo Pereira

Big Names

1.13am (Friday AEST) - Dustin Johnson; Phil Mickelson; Graeme McDowell

6.47am - Francesco Molinari; Viktor Hovland (amateur); Brooks Koepka (defending champion)

7.09am - Jordan Spieth; Justin Rose; Tiger Woods

https://twitter.com/usopengolf/status/1138211740502634498

WHAT THEY SAID

"I think I've got a game that when it's on, I can win most tournaments." - Jason Day.

"I truly believe my time is coming to add to my major list. Some players win them all in a bunch and others are spaced out. But I think getting the second major could be the defining moment of my career." - Adam Scott.

"The golf course really doesn't play that differently for me; it's just a matter of putting the ball in the right spots. This week I feel like I'm trending in the right direction." - Tiger Woods.

"We have four Super Bowls a year; this is one of them."- Jordan Spieth.

"I don't have the highest expectations for US Opens because I haven't done so well in the past. But it may be a good thing because you play more relaxed golf." - Marc Leishman.

"I'd make Pebble Beach firm and fast. There are such big slopes on the greens at Pebble, if they don't tread carefully there could be six-hour rounds." - Cameron Smith.

"When the conditions get tough, Pebble Beach can be a monster." - Jack Nicklaus.

https://twitter.com/PGATOUR/status/1138211740045520897

ODDS

$9 - Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson

$10 - Brooks Koepka

$13 - Tiger Woods

$19 - Patrick Cantlay

$21 - Jordan Spieth

Australians

$34 - Jason Day, Adam Scott

$67 - Marc Leishman

$161 - Cameron Smith

$301 - Aaron Baddeley, Matt Jones

$1001 - Marcus Fraser

$1251 - Brett Drewitt

http://bit.ly/2XCJZm5
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