NBC Sports Group Tournament Airtimes & Notes (Aug. 3-6): RICOH Women's British Open, WGC-Bridgestone Inv., Barracuda Championship, 3M Championship

By Golf Channel Public RelationsAugust 2, 2017, 6:00 pm

NBC Sports Group to Air 28 Live Hours of the RICOH Women’s British Open, Most in Women’s Major Championship History 

World’s Best Headline WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, 55 of Top-56 in the Official World Golf Ranking in Field 

PGA TOUR Returns to Reno for Barracuda Championship 

PGA TOUR Champions in Minnesota for 3M Championship, Featuring “Greats of Golf Challenge” on Saturday Headlined by Nicklaus, Lopez

ORLANDO, Fla. (August 2, 2017) – The best in the women’s game will tee it up at Kingsbarns Golf Links in Scotland for the RICOH Women’s British Open, where NBC Sports Group will air 28 live hours of coverage, the most in women’s major championship history. World No. 3 Ariya Jutanugarn looks to defend her maiden major title, just down the road from the Home of Golf. The PGA TOUR is a week away from their fourth and final major of the season, but first, 55 of the top 56 golfers in the Official World Golf Rankings are heading to Akron, Ohio for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. World No. 1 Dustin Johnson captured the first two WGC events this season and looks to become the first player in history to nab three in a single season. There’s more PGA TOUR action in Reno as the TOUR will play their only stableford scoring championship on the calendar, with Smylie Kaufman and Padraig Harrington headlining the field. Jack is back, but only for Saturday – the Golden Bear will tee it up for the “Greats of Golf Challenge” on the PGA TOUR Champions at the 3M Championship. Nicklaus, along with other golf greats, will get the chance to show off their skills. Fresh off his 10th major victory at the Senior Open, Bernhard Langer headlines the field in Minnesota.

R&A

RICOH Women’s British Open

Dates: Aug. 3-6

Venue: Kingsbarns Golf Links, St. Andrews, Scotland

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):

Thursday         6 a.m.-1 p.m. (Live)

Friday              6 a.m.-1 p.m. (Live)

Saturday          7-11 a.m. (Live) / 2-4 p.m. (Replay)

Sunday            7:30-11:30 a.m. (Live) / 2:30-4 p.m. (Replay)

Tournament Airtimes on NBC (Eastern):

Saturday:         11 a.m.-2 p.m. (Live)

Sunday:           11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. (Live)

Broadcast Notes:

28 live hours of coverage: Golf Channel and NBC will air 28 live hours of tournament coverage throughout the week, the most ever in women’s major championship history.

Comprehensive wraparound coverage: Golf Central and Morning Drive – Golf Channel’s signature news programs—will provide wraparound coverage from Golf Channel studios in Orlando and from on-site at Kingsbarns.

Jutanugarn defends: World no. 3 Ariya Jutanugarn looks to defend her first major victory.

Finalizing Solheim Cup: This will be the final event in determining the U.S. and European Solheim Cup Teams. On Sunday, Aug. 6, approximately one-hour following play, U.S. Team Captain Juli Inkster and Europe Team Captain Annika Sorenstam will announce their full roster of players, including captains’ picks. Golf Channel will air highlights of the press conference within Golf Central Sunday night, and GolfChannel.com will provide coverage of the press conference and the picks. The 2017 Solheim Cup will take place Friday-Sunday, Aug. 18-20 in Des Moines, Iowa, with complete coverage on Golf Channel and NBC.

Headlining the field: So Yeon Ryu, Lexi Thompson, Ariya Jutanugarn, Stacy Lewis, Brooke Henderson, Michelle Wie and Inbee Park.

NBC Sports Broadcast Team:

Studio Host: Scott Walker

Play by Play: Tom Abbott / Rich Lerner

Analyst: Karen Stupples / Judy Rankin

On-Course: Jerry Foltz / Karen Stupples

Interviews: Cara Robinson

PGA TOUR

WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

Dates: Aug. 3-6

Venue: Firestone Country Club, Akron, Ohio

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):

Thursday         1:30-6:30 p.m. (Live) / 9:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Replay)

Friday              1:30-6:30 p.m. (Live) / 11:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Replay)

Saturday          Noon-1:30 p.m. (Live) / 11 p.m.-2 a.m. (Replay)

Sunday            Noon-1:30 p.m. (Live) / 11 p.m.-2 a.m. (Replay)

Broadcast Notes:

Johnson defends: World No. 1 Dustin Johnson looks to defend his title. Johnson won the WGC-Mexico and WGC-Dell Match Play earlier in the season, and if he can defend at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational he would be the first player to ever capture three WGC events in a single season.

Elite field: 55 of the top 56 golfers in the world are in the field.

Headlining the field: Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama and Brooks Koepka

Golf Channel Broadcast Team:

Play by Play: Terry Gannon

Analyst: Nick Faldo

Tower: Matt Gogel, Gary McCord

On-course: Arron Oberholser

Interviews: Steve Burkowski

Morning Drive Broadcast Team:

Co-host: Damon Hack / Robert Damron

PGA TOUR

Barracuda Championship

Dates: Aug. 3-6

Venue: Montreux Golf Club, Reno, Nevada

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):

Thursday         6:30-9 p.m. (Live) / 2:30-5 a.m. (Replay)

Friday              6:30-9 p.m. (Live) / 4-6 a.m. (Replay)

Saturday          7-10 p.m. (Live) / 4-6 a.m. (Replay)

Sunday            7-10 p.m. (Live) / 4-6 a.m. (Replay)

Broadcast Notes:

Stableford format: The Barracuda Championship is the only tournament on the PGA TOUR schedule to utilize a stableford scoring format.

Headlining the field: Smylie Kaufman, Padraig Harrington, Davis Love III, KJ Choi, Wyndham Clark, Curtis Luck and Sam Horsfield.

Golf Channel Broadcast Team:

Play by Play: Whit Watson

Analyst: Justin Leonard

Tower: Curt Byrum / Jim Gallagher

On-course: Kay Cockerill, John Cook

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

3M Championship

Dates: Aug. 4-6

Venue: TPC Twin Cities, Blaine, Minn.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):

Friday              9-11 p.m. (Tape Delay)

Saturday          4-7 p.m. (Live) / 2-4 a.m. (Sunday, Replay)

Sunday            4-7 p.m. (Live) / 2-4 a.m. (Sunday, Replay)

Broadcast Notes:

Greats of Golf Challenge: On Saturday, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Nancy Lopez and other greats of the game will tee it up for an exhibition.

Headlining the field: Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Tom Lehman, Corey Pavin, Steve Stricker and Rocco Mediate.

Golf Channel Broadcast Team:

Play by Play: Bob Papa

Analyst: Lanny Wadkins

Tower: John Mahaffey

On-course: David Marr

Interviews: Billy Ray Brown

Vegas lists Woods at 20-1 to win a major in 2018

By Will GrayNovember 22, 2017, 12:53 pm

He hasn't hit a competitive shot in nearly a year, but that hasn't stopped one Las Vegas outlet from listing Tiger Woods among the favorites to win a major in 2018.

The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook published betting odds this week on dozens of players to win any of the four majors next year. Leading the pack were Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth at 3/2, with Rory McIlroy next. But not far behind was Woods, who has been sidelined since February because of a back injury but was listed at 20/1.

Woods will make his much-anticipated return next week at the Hero World Challenge, and next month he will turn 42. Next summer will mark the 10-year anniversary of his last major championship victory, a sudden-death playoff win over Rocco Mediate at the 2008 U.S. Open.

Here's a look at the odds for several marquee players on winning any of the four biggest events in golf next year:

3/2: Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth

5/2: Rory McIlroy

7/2: Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day

9/2: Justin Rose

5/1: Brooks Koepka

15/2: Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey

10/1: Adam Scott

12/1: Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Marc Leishman, Thomas Pieters, Patrick Reed

15/1: Daniel Berger, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Patrick Cantlay, Branden Grace, Kevin Kisner, Alex Noren, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson

20/1: Tiger Woods, Francesco Molinari, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Tony Finau, Martin Kaymer

25/1: Ryan Moore, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Lee Westwood, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Chappell, Bryson DeChambeau, Bill Haas, Jason Dufner, Charley Hoffman

30/1: Pat Perez, Gary Woodland, Bernd Wiesberger, Brian Harman, Padraig Harrington, Emiliano Grillo, Ross Fisher, Si Woo Kim, J.B. Holmes

Open Qualifying Series kicks off with Aussie Open

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 4:24 pm

The 147th Open is nearly eight months away, but there are still major championship berths on the line this week in Australia.

The Open Qualifying Series kicks off this week, a global stretch of 15 event across 10 different countries that will be responsible for filling 46 spots in next year's field at Carnoustie. The Emirates Australian Open is the first event in the series, and the top three players among the top 10 who are not otherwise exempt will punch their tickets to Scotland.

In addition to tournament qualifying opportunities, the R&A will also conduct four final qualifying events across Great Britain and Ireland on July 3, where three spots will be available at each site.

Here's a look at the full roster of tournaments where Open berths will be awarded:

Emirates Australian Open (Nov. 23-26): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

Joburg Open (Dec. 7-10): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

SMBC Singapore Open (Jan. 18-21): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

Mizuno Open (May 24-27): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

The National (June 28-July 1): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (July 5-8): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

The Greenbrier Classic (July 5-8): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

John Deere Classic (July 12-15): Top player (not otherwise exempt) among top five and ties

Stock Watch: Lexi, Justin rose or fall this week?

By Ryan LavnerNovember 21, 2017, 2:36 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Jon Rahm (+9%): Just imagine how good he’ll be in the next few years, when he isn’t playing all of these courses for the first time. With no weaknesses in his game, he’s poised for an even bigger 2018.

Austin Cook (+7%): From Monday qualifiers to Q-School to close calls on the Web.com, it hasn’t been an easy road to the big leagues. Well, he would have fooled us, because it looked awfully easy as the rookie cruised to a win in just his 14th Tour start.

Ariya (+6%): Her physical tools are as impressive as any on the LPGA, and if she can shore up her mental game – she crumbled upon reaching world No. 1 – then she’ll become the world-beater we always believed she could be.  

Tommy Fleetwood (+4%): He ran out of gas in Dubai, but no one played better on the European Tour this year than Fleetwood, Europe’s new No. 1, who has risen from 99th to 18th in the world.   

Lexi (+1%): She has one million reasons to be pleased with her performance this year … but golf fans are more likely to remember the six runners-up and two careless mistakes (sloppy marking at the ANA and then a yippy 2-footer in the season finale) that cost her a truly spectacular season.


FALLING

J-Rose (-1%): Another high finish in Dubai, but his back-nine 38, after surging into the lead, was shocking. It cost him not just the tournament title, but also the season-long race.  

Hideki (-2%): After getting blown out at the Dunlop Phoenix, he made headlines by saying there’s a “huge gap” between he and winner Brooks Koepka. Maybe something was lost in translation, but Matsuyama being too hard on himself has been a familiar storyline the second half of the year. For his sake, here’s hoping he loosens up.

Golf-ball showdown (-3%): Recent comments by big-name stars and Mike Davis’ latest salvo about the need for a reduced-flight ball could set up a nasty battle between golf’s governing bodies and manufacturers.

DL3 (-4%): Boy, the 53-year-old is getting a little too good at rehab – in recent years, he has overcome a neck fusion, foot injury, broken collarbone and displaced thumb. Up next is hip-replacement surgery.

LPGA Player of the Year (-5%): Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu tied for the LPGA’s biggest prize, with 162 points. How is there not a tiebreaker in place, whether it’s scoring average or best major performance? Talk about a buzzkill.

Titleist's Uihlein fires back at Davis over distance

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 12:59 am

Consider Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein unmoved by Mike Davis' comments about the evolution of the golf ball – and unhappy.

In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, the outlet which first published Davis' comments on Sunday, Uihlein took aim at the idea that golf ball distance gains are hurting the sport by providing an additional financial burden to courses.

"Is there any evidence to support this canard … the trickle-down cost argument?” he wrote (via Golf.com). “Where is the evidence to support the argument that golf course operating costs nationwide are being escalated due to advances in equipment technology?"

Pointing the blame elsewhere, Uihlein criticized the choices and motivations of modern architects.

"The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate," he wrote.

The Titleist CEO even went as far as to suggest that Tiger Woods' recent comments that "we need to do something about the golf ball" were motivated by the business interersts of Woods' ball sponsor, Bridgestone.

"Given Bridgestone’s very small worldwide market share and paltry presence in professional golf, it would seem logical they would have a commercial motive making the case for a reduced distance golf ball," he added.

Acushnet Holdings, Titleist's parent company, announced in September that Uihlein would be stepping down as the company's CEO at the end of this year but that he will remain on the company's board of directors.