Worth watching at The Open

By Mercer BaggsJuly 15, 2008, 4:00 pm
Follow the 137th Open Championship all week on GOLF CHANNEL. Click for our TV schedule!
Open ChampionshipThe 137th Open Championship will begin Thursday at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England. Here are some groups worth keeping an eye on come Round 1.
*Starting on 10th tee
1:30 a.m. ET: Craig Parry, Lucas Glover, Simon Dyson
The first group out off the first tee. Sure its 1:30 in the morning East Coast time, but cmon ' its the Open Championship! Log on to GolfChannel.com and follow the scores online. OK, now that Ive met my professional obligation to pump our scoring, heres a better idea: Sleep in a little, wake up at 7 a.m. ET, log on to GC.com, and follow along with the Golf Guys running blog. Hes not in England. But he will be in an English pub in Orlando. Thats gotta count for something.
2:36 a.m. ET: Justin Rose, Tom Watson, Aaron Baddeley
Watson won at Royal Birkdale in 1983 for his fifth and final Open Championship title. At the time, Justin and Aaron were a combined 5 years old.
2:58 a.m. ET: Padraig Harrington, Retief Goosen, Justin Leonard
Bad news for Paddy: Players dont repeat at The Open unless their name is Woods or Watson. Those are the only two players to win back-to-back claret jugs over the last 35 years. On another note, its nice Goosen was released from Witness Protection for a week.
3:20 a.m. ET: Martin Kaymer, Scott Verplank, Ernie Els
Is Els happy Tiger isn't playing and confident he can win? Is he nervous because now people expect him to contend? One can only imagine Ernie's state of mind right now. Nobody in golf has ever needed a sports pyschologist more than has he.
4:20 a.m. ET: Phil Mickelson, Hideto Tanihara, Paul Casey
Mickelsons confidence cant be too high this week. Not after his tune-up in Scotland blew up in a cloud of smoke. But you never know, maybe hell be able to light it up, steer clear of Birkdales bad grass, and, if he gets in position to win, maybe he wont cough up another major.
4:31 a.m. ET: Colin Montgomerie, Boo Weekley, Mike Weir
In February, at the WGC-Match Play, Monty joked with the media, I can't call him Boo. What's his name? It can't be Boo, can it? What's his birth certificate say?' It says: Thomas Brent Weekley. They couldn't bring these two in the press center at the same time because it would be so good that the rest of the event would be a huge letdown.
4:53 a.m. ET: Simon Kahn, David Duval, David Frost
You have to give credit to Duval for just showing up. Even with a brief layover its still about a 15-hour trip from Denver to Manchester, which is where most players were flying into to reach Birkdale. Unfortunately, he has a late tee time on Friday, which means, if he misses the cut, hell have to wait until Saturday morning to catch a flight back.
5:48 a.m. ET: Jamie Elson, Rohan Blizard (A), John Bevan
There must be 20 threesomes like this one, where you couldnt pick out whos who if the players stood next to different caddies.
6:41 a.m. ET: Steve Webster, Jean Van de Velde, Andrew Tampion
Is there anyone in the field happier than Van de Velde that theyre not playing at Carnoustie this year? Maybe Sergio.
7:14 a.m. ET: Rocco Mediate, Paul Lawrie, Angel Cabrera
As one of the good guys in the game, heres to hoping Rocco gets another chance to win a major. But as Lawrie ' and maybe even Cabrera in the future ' can tell you, sometimes you dont get a second chance; you better take advantage of the first one.
7:25 a.m. ET: Niclas Fasth, Mark OMeara, Michael Campbell
OMeara won the last time The Open was contested at Royal Birkdale, in 1998. The thing is: I cant remember one thing he did. But I can remember the bunker shot Brian Watts hit on the 72nd hole in regulation which came 6 inches from being the greatest shot in major championship history. Small consolation for Watts, though, who is at home in Texas recovering from myriad injuries.
7:58 a.m. ET: Robert Karlsson, Greg Norman, Woody Austin
Normans competitive fire has been stoked recently as hes been seen quite a bit more on the golf course lately. Guess thats what happens when you marry someone who has 16 more individual major titles than you.
9:31 a.m. ET: Sergio Garcia, Ryuji Imada, Sean OHair
Sergio is the odd-on favorite to win this week, listed by one source at 8-to-5. Doesnt that seem strange? Like it might start raining frogs in Lancashire?
11:21 a.m. ET: Jonathan Lomas, Yoshinobu Tsukada, Peter Appleyard
Seriously, there must be 20 threesomes like this. Peter Appleyard? Cmon, the R&A just made that name up. I could just type a trio of aslkfjpaojdngldua, opuadjfalodpau and ywwoeundapulad and it would be just as recognizable.
Related Links:
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

    Masters victory

    Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

    Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

    Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

    Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

    Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

    Man of the people

    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

    Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

    Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

    Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

    Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

    Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

    Departure from TaylorMade

    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

    Squashed beef with Paddy

    Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

    Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

    Victory at Valderrama

    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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