Notes A great moment that hardly anyone saw

By Doug FergusonJuly 17, 2009, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship TURNBERRY, Scotland ' The attendance for the second round of the British Open was estimated at 28,000 on Friday. Apparently, most of them got lost on their way to the grandstands lining the 18th green.
 
There was about an hour of rain in the middle of the afternoon, yet the wind pushed away the clouds when Tom Watson and Tiger Woods finished up their rounds about an hour apart.
 
Watson, 59, made history when he holed a 45-foot birdie putt to become the oldest player atop a major championship leaderboard. Woods failed to chip in for birdie and missed the cut in a major for only the second time in his career.
 
The most stunning scene of all was the sight of grandstands that were about half-full on both sides.
 
The Royal & Ancient said ticket sales were slightly up ' there were 25,000 people at Turnberry in the second round in 1994 ' but cautioned that this links course simply doesnt hold as many spectators as St. Andrews or Royal Birkdale.
 
The economy played a role, too, not to mention that Turnberry is one of the few links where a train doesnt run through town.
 
Even longtime coaches and agents have commented on thin galleries.
 
The galleries were massive inside the ropes with our group, said Lee Westwood, joking about the photographers covering the threesome of Westwood, Woods and Ryo Ishikawa of Japan.
 
Still, the Englishman said it was worth coming to Turnberry every so often even if that meant a smaller crowd.
 
I think the current economic climate does Turnberry no favors, Westwood said. I think its a fantastic links golf course, and it would be a shame if it wasnt on the Open rota. Its great to see it back.
 

 
MY WIFE, MY CADDIE: Mark Calcavecchias wife, Brenda, is his caddie for the week. Thats nothing new. She has carried his bag occasionally since they first started dating in 2001, and she was his caddie the weekend before they got married in Italy.
 
Calcavecchia counts two victories with Brenda on the bag ' the Maekyung Open and the Shark Shootout.
 
She golfs, he said. She knows what shes doing out there. When it started raining on 16, she said, Dont worry about me, I dont care if I get soaked. So she knows that I dont worry about her. She knows shes got to keep the clubs dry. The bag weighed a ton today, and shes got to be exhausted. But shes doing great. Shes having fun.
 
It isnt always that way. Asked if he liked having her on the bag, Calcavecchia said, Almost every time.
 
He quickly clarified.
 
Its my fault. It has nothing to do with her, he said. When I get all (ticked) off, like at Hoylake, I ruin the whole week. When I went berserk on the back nine, I just ruined the whole week. I still feel bad about it. Its always my fault when something doesnt work out between us when shes caddying. Shes nothing but positive for me out there.
 

 
THE GAUNTLET: Daniel Gaunt made his British Open debut a memorable one.
 
The 30-year-old Australian, who has been chasing around the mini-tours in Europe, made it to Turnberry through local qualifying last week. He played a practice round with Tom Watson on Monday, then joined up with John Daly on Tuesday.
 
The best stuff came Friday, when Gaunt went through the toughest stretch at Turnberry in 2 under and wound up with a 67. It was the lowest score of the second round, and allowed him to make the cut at 3-over 143.
 
Gaunt hit 5-iron to the back of the eighth green and rolled in a 40-foot birdie putt, then chipped in for birdie from 30 yards short of the ninth green.
 
The highlight of the week might have been playing Turnberry with Watson, the 77 champion.
 
He gave me some great advice, told me to keep it low, Gaunt said. The way Tom played on Monday, I came home and said, Hes definitely got a chance of winning.
 
He just didnt realize hed still be in the game on the weekend, too.
 

 
FIT FOR LAUGHTER: Anthony Kim was studying his 35-foot birdie putt on the eighth hole when he had a brief exchange with caddie Eric Larson that caused him to laugh. Then, the 24-year-old American couldnt stop laughing.
 
He backed off the birdie putt, bowed his head and tried to stop. Once he finally settled down, Kim ran his putt up the slope to about 4 feet and the giggles continued. Kim again had to back away from his 4-footer for par as he nearly reached hysterics.
 
Rory McIlroy couldnt keep from smiling himself as he watched from the back of the green.
 
That was funny, McIlroy said. Im not sure what it was about. Anthony asked him what time it was. Maybe Eric was supposed to say it was birdie time. I dont know. But it was funny.
 
Kim never recovered from a quintuple-bogey 9 on his second hold. He shot 73 and missed the cut.
 
And then it was time to leave.
 

 
HEADED HOME: Ian Poulter brought the clothes, just not the game.
 
One day, the Union Jack was part of his vest and he shot 75. He went with a fuschia pants and shot 79. So its not the clothes. And it wasnt the course, either. Nor was it the clubs.
 
I hit my last good shot on the third (hole) ' yesterday, Poulter said Friday. Seriously, there were no decent golf shots out there. If youre going to play as bad as I played for two days, it doesnt matter what golf course youre playing. It could have been the easiest municipal down the road, and I would have missed the cut. It was horrible.
 
That it?
 
I could have had a set of spades in my bag this week and I still wouldnt have found the middle of the greens, he said.
 

 
LOCATION IS EVERYTHING: One clothing company has found a unique way to advertise at the British Open. Its logo is plastered on the sail of a large boat that has been cruising along the Firth of Clyde behind the ninth tee down to the 11th tee.
 
Its hard to miss it.
 
Thats a problem for photographers, however, because that stretch is among the most popular for pictures. Along with the cliffside beauty, they often capture the image of players with the Ailsa Craig and Turnberry Lighthouse ' sometimes both ' in the background.
 
Why would I want a photo of that? one photographer said, packing up his gear and looking for a better spot.
 

 
DIVOTS: John Daly had a 72 and was at even-par 140, making the cut in a major for the first time since Southern Hills two years at the PGA Championship. The last time Tom Watson had a share of the 36-hole lead was the 1998 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He slept on that lead for seven months, for rain forced it to be finished in August. Watson wound up in a tie for ninth.
 
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    Rahm focusing on play, not shot at No. 1

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 9:06 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Jon Rahm’s meteoric rise in the world rankings could end with him reaching No. 1 with a win this week at Torrey Pines.

    After winning last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his fourth title in 51 weeks, Rahm has closed the gap on Dustin Johnson – less than 1.5 average points separates them.

    With Johnson not playing this week, the 23-year-old Spaniard has a chance to reach the top spot for the first time, but only if he defends his title at the Farmers Insurance Open.


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    “Beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task. It’s no easy task,” he said Tuesday. “We still have four days of golf ahead and we’ll see what happens. But I’ll try to focus more on what’s going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win.

    “I’ll try my best, that’s for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

    Rahm has already become the fourth-youngest player to reach No. 2 in the world, behind Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. 

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    Rahm: Playoff wasn't friendly, just 'nervous'

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:53 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Too chummy? Jon Rahm says he and Andrew Landry were just expending some nervous energy on the walk up to the fairway during the first playoff hole of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    “I wouldn’t have been that nervous if it was friendly,” Rahm said with a smile Tuesday. “I think it was something he said because we were talking going out of the first tee.

    “I didn’t know Andrew – I think it was a pretty good time to get to know him. We had at least 10 minutes to ourselves. It’s not like we were supporting each other, right? We were both in it together, we were both nervous together, and I felt like talking about it might have eased the tension out of both of us.”


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    On Sunday, two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange saw the exchange on TV and tweeted: “Walking off the tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me? Talking at all?”

    Strange followed up by saying that, in a head-to-head situation, the last thing he’d want to do was make his opponent comfortable. When his comments went viral, Strange tweeted at Rahm, who won after four holes: “Hopefully no offense taken on my comment yesterday. You guys are terrific. I’m a huge fan of all players today. Made an adverse comment on U guys talking during playoff. Not for me. A fan.”

    Not surprisingly, the gregarious Rahm saw things differently.

    “We only talked going out of the first tee up until the fairway,” he said. “Besides that, all we said was, ‘Good shot, good putt, see you on the next tee.’ That’s what it was reduced to. We didn’t say much.” 

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    Tiger grouped with Reed, Hoffman at Torrey Pines

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:35 pm

    SAN DIEGO – Tiger Woods will make his 2018 debut alongside Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman.

    The threesome will go off Torrey Pines’ South Course at 1:40 p.m. ET Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open. They begin at 12:30 p.m. Friday on the North Course.

    Woods is an eight-time winner at Torrey Pines, including the 2008 U.S. Open, but he hasn’t broken 70 in his last seven rounds on either course. Last year, he shot rounds of 76-72 to miss the cut.


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    Reed, who has grown close to Woods after being in his pod during the past two international team competitions, is coming off a missed cut last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Hoffman, a San Diego native, has only two top-10s in 20 career starts at Torrey.

    Other featured groups for the first two rounds include:

    • Jon Rahm, Jason Day and Brandt Snedeker: 1:30 p.m. Thursday off South 1, 12:20 p.m. Friday off North 10

    • Rickie Fowler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele: 12:30 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:30 p.m. Friday off South 1

    • Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama: 12:40 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:40 p.m. Friday off South 1

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    Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

    Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

    “While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

    It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

    “What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

    The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

    “I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”