Notes St Andrews set up Calcavecchias caution

By Doug FergusonJuly 21, 2009, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship TURNBERRY, Scotland ' The tradition each year at the British Open is to congratulate the champion on the large scoreboard over the 18th green and look forward to the following year, in this case St. Andrews.
 
And what will everyone see? About the same Old Course from the last British Open there in 2005.
 
Length will be about the same, R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said following a wrap-up news conference at Turnberry.
 
The only significant change being planned is for No. 4, the 480-yard par 4 in which players try to carry a mound of thick stuff to reach the left side of the fairway.
 
What were planning to do is make the shot up the right more accessible, Dawson said. There is a plateau in the middle, and the proper way to play the hole is up the right. Many of the pros dont fancy that. They tend to shove up the left.
 
This should be good news for Tom Watson.
 
Watson has won on every Scottish course on the British Open rotation except St. Andrews. Asked if he liked his chances, especially after coming within an 8-foot par putt from winning at age 59, Watson said it would depend on the wind.
 
If the wind comes from the west there, I have a hard time with that golf course, he said. Hole No. 4 gets me. I cant hit it far enough to get it over the junk. You have the rough there, and it depends on how deep the rough is. Im driving into the rough all the time. Its like the 10th hole at Bethpage Black there at the first U.S. Open. When they moved the tee back, nobody could get to the fairway.
 
Sounds like next year, hell at least have a good option.
 

 
MICKELSON UPDATE: Phil Mickelson, who has not played since his runner-up finish at the U.S. Open, is still waiting on one more test before they decide how his wife, Amy, will battle breast cancer.
 
Even so, it is looking better.
 
The best news so far is that the cancer has not spread to lymph nodes, which improves our chances of beating this in the short and long term, Mickelson said on his Web site last week during the British Open. Were awaiting one test result that will influence Amys treatment plan. The waiting and wondering sometimes can be the most difficult part, but she has a very positive attitude and has handled all of this with her usual grace.
 
Mickelsons mother was diagnosed with breast cancer the week his wife had surgery.
 
He said Mary Mickelson had surgery last week and everything appeared to go well.
 
We are all optimistic, he said. It meant so much to me and Amy to be there with her.
 

 
SETTING HIM STRAIGHT: Mark Calcavecchia made it through all four rounds at the British Open, and so did his wife, Brenda. She caddied for him again, a tough chore considering the bag is loaded with rain gear.
 
I cant lie, it is physically tough, she told TNT Sports over the weekend. But even when Im not carrying the bag, we talk throughout the round and I give him encouragement. This is a way for me to be out with him full-time, and it works for us.
 
Calcavecchia, however, is notorious for throwing clubs, and his wife gave him an incentive not to do that.
 
He did throw one club one time at the Tour Championship, she said. It almost hit my ring. I said, If you break the diamond, you buy a bigger one. And that was the end of that.
 

 
TURNBERRY TEST: Turnberry is the only British Open course to yield a 63 in different years, and it was getting a reputation of being among the easiest links courses on the rotation.
 
But it was lengthened this year, with bunkers added to put a greater premium on accuracy.
 
The winning score was 278, 10 shots higher than when Nick Price won in 1994. There was only one round below 65, shot by Miguel Angel Jimenez in the opening round. Someone asked R&A chief executive Peter Dawson if he would be concerned if someone shot a 63 this year.
 
Id be surprised, he replied.
 
After the opening day, Dawson had no worries. Without a trace of wind, the best anyone could imagine was the 64 by Jimenez.
 
The proof of the pudding was not Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Dawson said, noting that no one did better than 67 those days. It was Thursday, when it was deathly calm, and the course did very well. I knew then, once the wind blew, it would be fine.
 

 
THOMSONS TIME: Everyone talks about the golf balls, metal clubs, big drivers, shafts, launch monitors and lawn equipment when the discussion shifts to technology. Five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson says not to forget grips.
 
The drivers really were made of wood, and Thomson said if a player found a good driver with a good head and the right loft, he would hang on to it for as long as he could until the wood began to wear out.
 
Also, they have wonderful, slide-on rubber grips now, he said. But in those times, in the 50s, we wrapped the leather grip around and had to do this every week to get a fresh tackiness. So we battled with equipment and right up to the last minute people were changing their clubs hoping for something better than last week.
 

 
DIVOTS: Butch Harmon was voted No. 1 in Golf Digest magazines annual survey of Americas 50 Greatest Teachers, which comes from a direct ballot survey of golf teachers across the country. It was the fifth straight year Harmon was voted No. 1. He beat out Hank Haney, the coach for Tiger Woods, by seven votes. David Leadbetter finished third, followed by Jim McLean and Chuck Cook. Ernie Els finished out of the top 10 in the British Open only two times this decade. With Tiger Woods missing the cut at the British Open, the longest active cut streak on the PGA Tour is 22 tournaments by Kenny Perry.
 

 
STAT OF THE WEEK: The British Open was decided by a playoff four times this decade, the most of any major.
 

 
FINAL WORD: This was absolutely Tom Watsons Open, win or lose. Tom long ago secured his legacy in the game. This would have been something to add to the top of the cake. ' Jack Nicklaus.
 
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    Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x