NBC and Golf Channel Embark on Two Big Weeks in Golf

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJuly 7, 2014, 2:50 pm

Golf Channel and NBC this week embark on two big weeks of competition and signature news coverage on both networks.  In what has become an important major championship primer for players around the globe, the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open kicks things off this week on both Golf Channel and NBC.  While back in the States, Jordan Spieth defends his first PGA TOUR win at the John Deere Classic on Golf Channel and Kenny Perry tries for a repeat win at the U.S. Senior Open on NBC.  Next week, Golf Channel heads across the pond to Hoylake, England, to report from the 143rd Open Championship with its signature major championship news coverage, Live from Royal Liverpool and Morning Drive, beginning Monday, July 14.  And the celebrities come out with the popular American Century Championship from Lake Tahoe, beginning Friday, July 18, on NBCSN and continuing on the weekend on NBC (with replays on Golf Channel).

European Tour:  Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open (all times Eastern)

Thursday-Friday, July 10-11   Rounds 1 & 2                      5:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.     Golf Channel

Saturday-Sunday, July 12-13 Round 3 & Final Round         9:30 a.m.-Noon           Golf Channel

                                                                                          Noon-2:30 p.m.           NBC

Defending Champion Phil Mickelson headlines a registered field that includes multiple major champions, including Darren Clarke, Ernie Els, Sir Nick Faldo, Padraig Harrington, Paul Lawrie, Rory McIlroy, Jose Maria Olazabal, Louis Oosthuizen and Justin Rose.  Many players use the Scottish Open as a primer for the Open Championship played the following week.  In 2013, Mickelson went on to capture major championship glory at the Open Championship after having won the Scottish Open the previous week.  Els also won his two Open Championship titles after having played the previous week.  This year’s tournament will be contested at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club in Aberdeen, Scotland.

PGA TOUR:  John Deere Classic

Thursday-Friday, July 10-11   Rounds 1 & 2                      3-6 p.m.                       Golf Channel

Saturday-Sunday, July 12-13 Round 3 & Final Round         1-2:30 p.m.                  Golf Channel

Since moving to TPC Deere Run 14 years ago, dramatic finishes have been a hallmark of the John Deere Classic, with the champion decided five times in sudden death playoffs and six times by one shot on the final hole.  Jordan Spieth, who last year took the PGA TOUR by storm during his rookie campaign, became the youngest winner on the PGA TOUR in 82 years when he holed out from a bunker on the 72nd hole to get into a playoff and, eventually, win.  The tournament provides even more drama as players battle for the final exemption into the Open Championship. Golf Channel’s weekend airtimes are lead-in to CBS’ coverage.

U.S. Senior Open

Saturday, July 12                    Round 3                                  2:30-6 p.m.                  NBC

Sunday, July 13                      Final Round                             2:30-6 p.m.                  NBC

Golf Channel on NBC heads to America’s heartland to continue its USGA championship season with live weekend coverage of the 2014 U.S. Senior Open from Pete Dye-designed Oak Tree National in Edmond, Okla.  Defending Champion Kenny Perry headlines a qualified field, which includes Fred Couples, Fred Funk, Jay Haas, Hale Irwin, Bernhard Langer, Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie.  Golf Channel on NBC’s Dan Hicks will host NBC’s weekend coverage and will be joined by Roger Maltbie, Mark Rolfing, Notah Begay and Steve Sands.  Golf Channel on NBC’s Gary Koch and Peter Jacobsen qualified to be in the field, though Koch may be part of the Golf Channel on NBC weekend broadcast depending on his performance.

Golf Central:  Live From Royal Liverpool

Monday, July 14                     Morning Drive                        7-9 a.m.                       Golf Channel

                                             Live From Royal Liverpool       7-8:30 p.m.                  Golf Channel

Tuesday, July 15                    Morning Drive                        7-11 a.m.                     Golf Channel

                                             Live From Royal Liverpool       11 a.m.-1 p.m.             Golf Channel

                                                                                            7-9 p.m.                       Golf Channel

Wednesday, July 16                Morning Drive                        7-11 a.m.                     Golf Channel

                                              Live From Royal Liverpool      11 a.m.-1 p.m.             Golf Channel

                                                                                            7-9 p.m.                      Golf Channel

Thursday-Friday, July 17-18   Live From Royal Liverpool      7-9 p.m.                       Golf Channel

Saturday, July 19                    Live From Royal Liverpool      2:30-3 p.m.                   Golf Channel

                                                                                            7-9 p.m.                       Golf Channel

Sunday, July 20                      Live From Royal Liverpool       1:30-3 p.m.                  Golf Channel

                                                                                            7-9 p.m.                       Golf Channel

Golf Channel will have the season’s third major championship covered from all angles with more than 28 hours of news and feature programming surrounding the 143rd Open Championship, beginning Monday, July 14, from Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England, and Golf Channel’s U.S.-based studios.

PLAYER NEWS CONFERENCES:  Morning Drive and Live From Royal Liverpool will feature scheduled player news conferences staged from Royal Liverpool on Tuesday, July 15, and Wednesday, July 16.

BROADCAST TEAM AND SPECIAL GUESTS:  Reporting from Royal Liverpool will be the tandem of Rich Lerner and Frank Nobilo, who will be joined by Todd Lewis, Tim Rosaforte and Ken Schofield.  Making special appearances Wednesday through Sunday will be Peter Alliss, considered one of golf’s all-time great commentators and nicknamed “The Voice of Golf,” and 2014 Senior PGA Championship winner Colin Montgomerie.  Ryan Burr, Brandel Chamblee, Tripp Isenhour and Kelly Tilghman will host coverage from Golf Channel Studios in Orlando.

EDITORIAL FEATURES:  Live From Royal Liverpool will showcase entertaining and informative features throughout the week, including:

Phil Redux – The Open Championship was the major that Phil Mickelson was never supposed to win.  His past struggles and a perception by many that his game didn’t fit links-style golf were tossed on their head with his shocking win for the ages in 2013.

Champagne Tony Lema – He played with a flair that matched his nickname and was, arguably, the second-most popular player of his era behind only Arnold Palmer.  His 12 wins on the PGA TOUR were complemented by the 1964 Open Championship.  Two years later, Lema was killed in plane crash at just 32 years old. Rich Lerner tells the story of one of the great characters the game has ever known.

Westy Close – Eight times since 2008, Lee Westwood has finished in the top-3 at major championships.  With a two-stroke lead heading into the final round, 2013 seemed to be his break-through year, but he faltered down the stretch.

Hoylake – Established in 1869, Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England, has hosted 12 Open Championships, with the likes of Roberto De Vicenzo, Walter Hagen, Bobby Jones and Tiger Woods hoisting the Claret Jug there.

American Century Championship

Friday, July 18                        Round 1                      4-7 p.m.                                   NBCSN

Saturday, July 19                    Round 1 Replay          11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.               Golf Channel

                                              Round 2                      3-6 p.m.                                   NBC

Sunday, July 20                      Round 2 Replay          10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.               Golf Channel

                                              Final Round                3-6 p.m.                                   NBC

Monday, July 21                     Final Round Replay    1-4 p.m.                                   Golf Channel

Legendary golf Hall-of-Fame superstar Annika Sorenstam will tee it up on equal terms with the accomplished pro-athlete golfers in the 54-hole, $600,000 competition at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course for the 25th anniversary of the American Century Championship.  Roger Maltbie and Bob Papa will anchor the coverage with Notah Begay, Gary Koch and Mark Rolfing contributing from the golf course.  Alex Flanagan will conduct player interviews.  Tournament scoring is based on a modified Stableford format with higher points awarded for better scores on each hole played.  Other celebrities scheduled to compete include John Elway, Ray Allen, Steph Curry, Aaron Rodgers, Jerry Rice, Jason Kidd, Steve Kerr and Ray Romano.  Annual contenders include Trent Dilfer, Jeremy Roenick, Mark Rypien and 2013 Champion Billy Joe Tolliver.

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Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders

By Randy SmithMarch 18, 2018, 2:45 am

PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.

She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.

Her confidence is high.

“Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”

Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.

Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.

“One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.

“I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”

Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.

“I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”

That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.

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Returning Park grabs 54-hole Founders lead

By Randall MellMarch 18, 2018, 2:09 am

PHOENIX – In the long shadows falling across Wildfire Golf Club late Saturday afternoon, Inbee Park conceded she was tempted to walk away from the game last year.

While healing a bad back, she was tempted to put her clubs away for good and look for a second chapter for her life.

But then . . .

“Looking at the girls playing on TV, you think you want to be out there” Park said. “Really, I couldn't make my mind up when I was taking that break, but as soon as I'm back here, I just feel like this is where I belong.”

In just her second start after seven months away from the LPGA, Park is playing like she never left.

She’s atop a leaderboard at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, looking like that’s exactly where she belongs.

With a 9-under-par 63 Saturday, Park seized the lead going into the final round.

At 14 under overall, she’s one shot ahead of Mariajo Uribe (67), two ahead of Ariya Jutanugarn (68) and three ahead of 54-year-old World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies (63) and Chella Choi (66).

Park’s back with a hot putter.

That’s not good news for the rest of the tour. Nobody can demoralize a field with a flat stick like Park. She’s one of the best putters the women’s game has ever seen, and on the front nine Saturday she looked as good as she ever has.

“The front nine was scary,” said her caddie, Brad Beecher, who was on Park’s bag for her long run at world No. 1, her run of three consecutive major championship victories in 2013 and her gold medal victory at the Olympics two years ago.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“The front nine was great . . . like 2013,” Park said.

Park started her round on fire, going birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie. She was 6 under through five holes. She holed a wedge from 98 yards at the third hole, making the turn having taken just 10 putts. Yeah, she said, she was thinking about shooting 59.

“But I'm still really happy with my round today,” she said.

Park isn’t getting ahead of herself, even with this lead. She said her game isn’t quite where she wants it with the ANA Inspiration, the year’s first major championship, just two weeks away, but a victory Sunday should go a long way toward getting her there.

Park is only 29. LPGA pros haven’t forgotten what it was like when she was dominating, when she won 14 times between 2013 and ’15.

They haven’t forgotten how she can come back from long layoffs with an uncanny ability to pick up right where she left off.

Park won the gold medal in Rio de Janeiro in her first start back after missing two months because of a ligament injury in her left thumb. She took eight months off after Rio and came back to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year in just her second start. She left the tour again in the summer with an aching back.

“I feel like Inbee could take off a whole year or two years and come back and win every week,” said Brittany Lincicome, who is four shots behind Park. “Her game is just so consistent. She doesn't do anything flashy, but her putting is flashy.

“She literally walks them in. It's incredible, like you know it's going in when she hits it. It's not the most orthodox looking stroke, but she can repeat it.”

Park may not play as full a schedule as she has in the past, Beecher said, but he believes she can thrive with limited starts.

“I think it helps her get that fight back, to get that hunger back,” Beecher said. “She knows she can play 15 events a year and still compete. There aren’t a lot of players who can do that.”

Park enjoyed her time away last year, and how it re-energized her.

“When I was taking the long break, I was just thinking, `I can do this life as well,’” Park said. “But I'm glad I came back out here. Obviously, days like today, that's the reason I'm playing golf.”

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Joh on St. Patrick's ace: Go broke buying green beers

By Randall MellMarch 18, 2018, 12:57 am

PHOENIX – Tiffany Joh was thrilled making a run into contention to win her first LPGA title Saturday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she comically cracked that her hole-in-one might have been ill-timed.

It came on St. Patrick’s Day.

“This is like the worst holiday to be making a hole-in-one on,” Joh said. “You'll go broke buying everyone green beers.”

Joh aced the fifth hole with a 5-iron from 166 yards on her way to an 8-under-par 64. It left her four shots behind the leader, Inbee Park (63).

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

One of the more colorful players on tour, Joh said she made the most of her hole-in-one celebration with playing partner Jane Park.

“First I ran and tackled Jane, then I high-fived like every single person walking to the green,” Joh said.

Joh may be the LPGA’s resident comedian, but she faced a serious challenge on tour last year.  Fourteen months ago, she had surgery to remove a malignant melanoma. She won the LPGA’s Heather Farr Perseverance Award for the way she handled her comeback.

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Davies, 54, still thinks she can win, dreams of HOF

By Randall MellMarch 18, 2018, 12:22 am

PHOENIX – Laura Davies limped around Wildfire Golf Club Saturday with an ache radiating from her left Achilles up into her calf muscle at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

“Every step is just misery,” Davies said after. “It’s just getting older. Don’t get old.”

She’s 54, but she played the third round as if she were 32 again.

That’s how old she was when she was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year and won two major championships.

With every sweet swing Saturday, Davies peeled back the years, turning back the clock.

Rolling in a 6-foot birdie at the 17th, Davies moved into a tie for the lead with Inbee Park, a lead that wouldn’t last long with so many players still on the course when she finished. Still, with a 9-under-par 63, Davies moved into contention to try to become the oldest winner in LPGA history.

Davies has won 20 LPGA titles, 45 Ladies European Tour titles, but she hasn’t won an LPGA event in 17 years, since taking the Wegmans Rochester International.

Can she can surpass the mark Beth Daniel set winning at 46?

“I still think I can win,” Davies said. “This just backs that up for me. Other people, I don’t know, they’re always asking me now when I’m going to retire. I always say I’m still playing good golf, and now here’s the proof of it.”

Davies knows it will take a special day with the kind of final-round pressure building that she hasn’t experienced in awhile.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“The pressure will be a lot more tomorrow,” she said. “We'll see, won’t sleep that well tonight. The good news is that I’ll probably be four or five behind by the end of the day, so the pressure won’t be there as much.”

Davies acknowledged confidence is harder to garner, as disappointments and missed cuts pile up, but she’s holding on to her belief she can still win.

“I said to my caddie, `Jeez, I haven't been on top of the leaderboard for a long time,’” Davies said. “That's nice, obviously, but you’ve got to stay there. That's the biggest challenge.”

About that aching left leg, Davies was asked if it could prevent her from challenging on Sunday.

“I’ll crawl around if I have to,” she said.

Saturday’s 63 was Davies’ lowest round in an LPGA event since she shot 63 at the Wendy’s Championship a dozen years ago.

While Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in ’01. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.

Davies said she still dreams about qualifying.

“You never know,” she said.