Where Are British at the British Open

By George WhiteJuly 9, 2004, 4:00 pm
The Open Championship, referred to as the British Open in this part of the world to distinguish it from the U.S. Open, has been decidedly non-British since 1992.
 
Since 92 ' the year of Englishman Nick Faldos last victory - the British has been won eight times by Americans. The others were won by Greg Norman and Nick Price, two internationals who live about a mile from each other in Florida. South African Ernie Els won one, who has homes in his native country, London and also Florida.
 
Oh yes' the British was won in 1999 by a true Briton, Paul Lawrie of Scotland. He is the only Brit to triumph in the last 11 years.
 
Its one of the great mysteries of golf, the British Open. It is played every year on a links course, said to be a British staple. Yet, a foreigner comes in and repeatedly wins it. Darren Clarke hasnt won one. Neither has Irishman Padraig Harrington. Colin Montgomerie? Nope. How about Lee Westwood or Ian Woosnam? Nope, again.
 
What is so baffling about this statistic is that Europe has made a habit of beating America in the Ryder Cup of late. The U.S. has only captured three wins in the last nine matches. Those matches, incidentally, arent played on links courses, even when Europe hosts. Even when played in Britain, theyve been contested at The Belfry, decidedly non-links, almost American in playability. The Cup was played in 97 at Valderrama in Spain ' also non-links. You have to go all the way back to 1977, to Royal Lytham, to find a real links course hosting the Cup.
 
But, Europe does quite well in those matches. On courses which play as links layouts, though, the Europeans ' and the British ' cant seem to buy a win.
 
Why? Why do Americans, who just might as well be playing on the moon, traditionally succeed on the links layouts? John Daly has won only four times in America, but he won at St. Andrews. Ben Curtis has never won on this side of the pond, but he won last year at Royal St. Georges. Tom Lehman? Four wins in America, and one at Lytham. Justin Leonard, Mark OMeara, Tiger Woods, David Duval and Curtis have been among the last six American winners in the British.
 
Only Lawrie at Carnoustie in 99 snipped the American streak, and in that win, he had to beat Leonard ' and Frances Jean Van de Velde ' in a playoff only after the Frenchman's infamous final hole meltdown.
 
Youve got to wonder why the Europeans do so well on American-style courses, and the Yanks do so well on links layouts. Silly, isnt it?
 
The Americans, incidentally, dominated the Open during the 70s and early 80s. But that was when the U.S. had a corner on world golf. Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Lee Trevino were clearly the best players in the world during that time frame and would have been the champions even if the Open were held in a childrens sandbox. The latter half of the 80s and early 90s, the British dominated with Faldo and Sandy Lyle - augmented by a substantial dose of Spains Seve Ballesteros ' owning Her Majestys tournament.
 
But the past 13 years? It is a conundrum, a mystery, an impossibility. They win the Ryder Cup repeatedly when they shouldnt, plundering us on our favorite layouts. And we return the favor when it comes time for the British, time after time winning when it comes time to playing the links.
 
Thats golf, I guess the pundits would say. Thats the British Open.
 
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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry