Real Open Just Beginning

By John HawkinsJuly 17, 2010, 3:07 pm

There was a lot of foaming at the mouth after Rory McIlroy’s opening-round 63 at St. Andrews, which not only gave him a share of the 18-hole, major-championship scoring record, but tricked some people into thinking the 21-year-old Irishman was well on his way to claiming one of golf’s most coveted titles. I consider myself one of the biggest McIlroy admirers on Earth, but a superb start in utterly docile conditions is not how British Opens are won.

Friday’s follow-up of 80 was more of a reminder than a surprise. Having carded no worse than a 69 on 11 previous trips around the Old Course, McIlroy might find a bit of dark humor in the fact that he still hasn’t played a round in the 70s to this point in his career. At 1 under par through 36 holes, he can still win the tournament, but what McIlroy does Saturday will determine how seriously he will contend Sunday. That he went from three ahead to 11 behind means nothing now.

One could easily project a score of 6 or 8 under as being good enough to hoist the claret jug, so if McIlroy has some work to do, he obviously is capable of getting it done. Nobody ever won a British Open on a Thursday, and in recent years, not many guys have won it on a Saturday afternoon, either. Nine of the last 17 champions trailed going into the final round, several of them by formidable margins. The Masters is the major with the reputation for the final-nine fireworks, but the British has become the home of the fourth-quarter comeback:

*Tom Watson’s heartbreaking loss last summer was Stewart Cink’s gain – he wiped out a three-stroke deficit and seemingly came out of nowhere to nab his first major title.

*Both of Padraig Harrington’s victories (2007, 2008) were led by late rallies. Paddy came from six behind in ’07 and two back the following year, although it’s fair to say the ’08 triumph over Greg Norman featured a much stronger homestretch.

  • *Ben Curtis was easy to miss among a pack of big names in ’03, but he got into the clubhouse at 1 under, then watched Tiger Woods miss a series of make-able putts and Thomas Bjorn double bogey the 16th from a greenside bunker. A strange British Open, a stunning winner.
  • *The comebacks don’t get any bigger than in 1999, when Paul Lawrie roared back from a 10-stroke deficit to beat the one-and-only Jean Van de Velde (and Justin Leonard) in a playoff. Van de Velde’s 72nd-hole calamity made history. Eleven years later, Lawrie remains a mystery.

John Hawkins appears on Golf Central every Tuesday at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and on the Grey Goose 19th Hole every Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.

*Leonard would whiff another chance two years later, but in 1997, he came from four behind to defeat Jesper Parnevik, catching the leader with a pair of lengthy putts down the stretch.

*Let’s not forget John Daly, who rallied from four strokes off the pace in 1995 on a Sunday when the winds howled through St. Andrews with only slightly less ferocity than on Friday.

Few halftime leads have seemed more precarious than the one currently held by Louis Oosthuizen, although a man can do worse than to head into the third round leading by five. Woods, meanwhile, comes off one of his grittiest performance of the year: a 73 in the brunt of the breeze, leaving him within striking distance (eight back) heading into the weekend. Lee Westwood, Paul Casey, Retief Goosen, Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer – there’s no such thing as too far back on a Saturday morning.

So hold the foam, please. The longer you look at this leaderboard, the more you realize this tournament hasn’t even started.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm