The United States Open Golf Championship, first played in 1895, begins this Thursday. For those who hate math, that makes this the 119th time the event has been played; this is the sixth time it has been played at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Many non-golfers will recognize the course because it is near Carmel-by-the-Sea, where in 1986 actor Clint Eastwood was elected mayor. Sometimes referred to as our National Championship, the U.S. Open is one of golf’s four majors, a must-win for any professional to achieve golf’s grand slam.

Phil Mickelson has finished second in the event six times, and in his three Opens at Pebble, he has finished better each time. He has won five other titles on the course, including the AT&T Pro-Am earlier this year. He will be 49 years old by the end of the final round on Sunday. Mickelson needs to win a U.S. Open to complete the grand slam.

To hope that Mickelson wins this week, completing the grand slam on the course where his grandfather caddied is understandable. However, my niece, Dr. Cydne Holt is quick to remind me that hope is not a strategy. So, count me among the throngs who wish!

TEXAS CITY

The public is invited and registration is required for the city of Texas City’s annual Juneteenth Golf Tournament on June 19. Tee time is 1 p.m. at Bayou Golf Course, 2800 Ted Dudley Drive, Texas City.

For team, sponsor and prize information, contact Debra Taylor at 409-949-3002 or dtaylor@texas-city-tx.org.

WEDGE WEDGIES

For more than 25 years, Terry Koehler has specialized in short game tools and techniques. See how many of his “not-so-magnificent” seven most common mistakes by recreational golfers are keeping you from scoring your best. They are: lack of body/core rotation, club selection (example: using sand wedge for any and all chips and pitches), and clubhead/grip relationship.

To learn more about how you can improve, contact your local golf professional.

A MEMORY

One golfer was with me the day I played my first round of golf at the long, since-gone GALCO Country Club in La Marque. He was there to laugh when I hit my worst shots; there to celebrate when I hit a worm-burner on a par-4 hole there that rolled just over 100 yards and into the cup for my first ever birdie.

We putted under the parking lot lights and swatted mosquitos, the winner getting a new Max-fli, which at the time went for about 75 cents. His grip on the club absolutely dictated a hook only Bubba Watson could appreciate; he cursed that hook but refused to ever correct his grip. He traveled for work to many corners of the world, and when he played a course he knew I likely would never see, he brought me back a bag tag.

Our experiences and exploits on the golf course were sincere but not always entirely serious. We played the game to avoid running high school track workouts. We played in the heat of summer and in the dead of winter we dressed in blue jeans (Levi’s), layers of shirts and our letter jackets.

This column is dedicated to my buddy Noel Fredericksen, who now plays on a course where nobody three-putts and that confounded grip is finally corrected.

Be safe, on and off the course.

(1) comment

Gary Miller

Millions of golfers would hate Phil if he defeated Woods. I would be thrilled if Phil won.

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