Before Birkdale, Harrington leads Scottish Open

By Associated PressJuly 14, 2017, 8:09 pm

IRVINE, Scotland - For Padraig Harrington, there's a downside to playing stress-free golf and leading one of the best fields of the year on the European Tour.

He might just be peaking a touch too early.

Six days before the British Open starts at Royal Birkdale, where he lifted the claret jug for a second time in 2008, Harrington was in a three-way share of first place at the Scottish Open after a bogey-free 4-under 68 in the second round on Friday.

''Maybe I'll have blown it all before next week,'' the easy-going Irishman said.

A three-time major champion, the 45-year-old Harrington is playing with a new-found freedom after concluding that he has already created a golfing ''legacy.'' He is also fit to play - amazingly, in his opinion - despite being struck in the left elbow by the club of an amateur he was teaching at a clinic last month. He initially feared the freak incident would end his career.

After a chaotic end to his first round when he chipped in from the back of the 17th green after saving par with a 25-yard putt on No. 16, Harrington kept it simple at Dundonald Links by making birdies on two of the par fives and birdieing two other holes from 7-iron approaches.

AAM Scottish Open: Articles, photos and videos

''Today was just boring,'' he said. ''No stress.''

It sums up his current approach to golf.

''When I came on tour, I played with some of the elder statesmen and I used to watch them fighting it, and at times I asked them, 'Why are you fighting it?''' Harrington said.

''And they say, 'Well, if I can win one more tournament...' And I was thinking, you've already done everything you're going to do, one more tournament is not going to change it. I'd hate to be that guy ... I've kind of come to the conclusion that I've pretty much done what I've done in the game of golf.''

It may just be a defense mechanism to relieve pressure, especially leading into a British Open where he'll be under more scrutiny than usual after what he did the last time golf's oldest major was held at Birkdale. He won by four shots on the back of a brilliant back nine in his final-round 69, and retained his title.

And he sees no reason why he can't win at the northwest England venue again.

''I can't tell you it's going to happen next week,'' Harrington said about winning again. ''But it will happen, just like winning in Portugal there six months ago; winning at Honda (Classic) the year before. I will throw these in, sometimes maybe out of the blue.''

Harrington said he has stopped beating himself up about his putting, which was the worst part of his game.

Also key to his recent revival has been a change to his swing. To protect his back, Harrington takes his left foot off the ground and steps forward after hitting the ball, in a kind of walk-on follow routine.

It looks funny but is getting results at the Scottish Open.

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who was the low amateur at the 2014 Aussie Open, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.