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

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J.Y. Ko wins her first start as an official LPGA member

By Randall MellFebruary 18, 2018, 4:09 pm

Make way for Jin Young Ko.

The South Koreans keep delivering one new star after another to the LPGA ranks, and they aren’t going to disappoint this year.

Ko made some history Sunday winning the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, closing with a 3-under-par 69 to claim a wire-to-wire victory. She became the first player in 67 years to win her LPGA debut as a tour member. Beverly Hanson (1951) is the only other player to do so.

Hyejin Choi, an 18-year-old who just turned pro, is yet another emerging South Korean star looking to crack the LPGA ranks. She finished second Sunday, three shots back after closing with a 67. She played on a sponsor exemption. She is already No. 11 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings and likely to move up when the newest rankings are released. Had Choi won Sunday, she could have claimed LPGA membership for the rest of this season.


Full-field scores from the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open


Ko, 22, moved herself into early position to try to follow in Sung Hyun Park’s footsteps. Park won the Rolex Player of the Year and Rolex Rookie of the Year awards last year. She joined Nancy Lopez as the only players to do so. Lopez did it in 1978. Park shared the Player of the Year honor with So Yeon Ryu.

Ko said winning the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year Award is a goal, but she didn’t come into the year setting her sights on Player of the Year.

“I haven’t thought about that yet,” she said.

Ko finished at 14 under overall.

It was a good week for rookies. Australia’s Hannah Green (69) finished third.

Ko claimed LPGA membership this year based on her victory as a non-member at the KEB Hana Bank Championship in South Korea last fall. She’s already a star in South Korea, having won 10 times on the Korean LPGA Tour. She is No. 20 in the world and, like Choi, poised to move up when the newest world rankings are released.

Former world No. 1 Lydia Ko closed with an even par 72, finishing tied for 19th in her 2018 debut. She is in next week’s field at the Honda LPGA Thailand.

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Luiten takes title at inaugural Oman Open

By Associated PressFebruary 18, 2018, 3:25 pm

MUSCAT, Oman - Joost Luiten of the Netherlands won the inaugural Oman Open on Sunday to break a title drought of nearly 17 months.

The 32-year-old Dutchman shot a 4-under 68 to finish on 16-under 272, two shots ahead of his friend, England's Chris Wood (69).

It was Luiten's sixth European Tour title and the first since the 2016 KLM Open.

Frenchman Julien Guerrier (71) virtually assured that he would not have to go to qualifying school for the 12th time with a third-place finish after a 13-under 275.

Luiten started with three birdies in his first four holes, but bogeys on the seventh and eighth set him back. On the back nine, he made three birdies, including a key one on the 16th, where he made a 30-foot putt.

''It feels great. I didn't know what to expect when I came here but to play a course like this which is in great condition - it's a great technical golf course as well - it was beyond my expectation and to hold the trophy is even better,'' said Luiten, who is expected to rise to No. 65 in the new rankings on Monday.

''I had a great start, that's what I was hoping for. I hit some nice ones in close and rolled in a couple of nice putts and that gets you in the right position, where you want to be.


Full-field scores from the NBO Oman Golf Classic


''Unfortunately, I had a couple of bogeys as well on the front nine, but I recovered from that with a couple of nice birdies on the back nine and it was a good battle with Woody.''

Playing one group ahead, England's Wood was right in the mix and tied with Luiten at 15-under when their fortunes went in opposite directions almost at the same time. On the 17th hole, Wood drove his tee shot into the hazard left and could do no more than chip his ball out for a bogey. Luiten, meanwhile, drained his 30-footer birdie putt on the 16th for a two-shot swing.

Recovering his form after a series of disappointments, Wood was let down by the loss and said: ''It's golf isn't it? You are never happy.

''I played poorly for six or eight months. Would have never thought I would have put myself into contention. And when you do, you feel gutted when you don't win. I am pretty down really, but in the grand scheme of things, when I reflect after a couple of days, I will think it is a big step in the right direction.''

Luiten's win also got him into the top 10 in the Race to Dubai, securing him a start at the WGC-Mexico Championship in two weeks.

Frenchman Alexander Levy (70), who was hoping to finish in the top five to push into the top 10 in the Race to Dubai and grab the WGC-Mexico spot himself, did manage a joint fourth place at 11 under, but Luiten's victory kept him 11th.

The European Tour next moves to Doha for the Qatar Masters starting on Thursday.

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J.Y. Ko wins Women's Australian Open by three

By Associated PressFebruary 18, 2018, 3:10 pm

ADELAIDE, Australia - South Korea's Jin Young Ko shot a 3-under par 69 Sunday to clinch a 3-shot, start-to-finish win the Women's Australian Open.

Playing in her first tournament as a full LPGA member, Ko shot 65, 69, 71, 69 to lead after all four rounds and to finish with a total of 274, 14-under par at the Kooyonga Golf Club. She is the first player to win her first tournament as an LPGA member in the tour's 67-year history.

Ko started the day four shots clear of 21-year-old Hannah Green, who was bidding to become the first Australian to win her national crown since Karrie Webb won the last of her five titles in 2014.

Green played solidly in the final group with Ko, shooting 69 and missing a birdie on the 18th which cost her a share of second place.

The stiffest challenge Sunday came from Ko's compatriot Hyejin Choi who closed within a shot at the turn, carding four birdies on her first nine holes. Ko began with birdies at the first and second holes, then stumbled with bogeys on the par-3 third and seventh holes.

But just as her lead came under threat, she found another gear, birdying the ninth hole to regain a two-shot lead. She then pulled away with birdies at the 13th and 17th in what seemed a nerveless finish, showing the experience gained as a 10-time winner on the Korean LPGA Tour.


Full-field scores from the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open


She ended with a regulation par on the 18th to claim her second LPGA title after previously winning the co-sanctioned KEB-Hana Bank Championship.

Ko said she felt ''lots'' of nerves over the final round. Asked her reaction when she holed out on 18, she said ''relief.''

''I thought I could do it but I felt I had to play my game and enjoy the game,'' Ko said. ''My goal this week was firstly to make the cut and second to enjoy the game.

''But I won this week so I don't know what that might mean. My goal is Rookie of the Year.'' Asked by a reporter whether Player of the Year was a realistic option, Ko replied: ''No, not yet.''

Ko started the tournament ranked 20 but could be close to the top-10 by the start of the next LPGA tour stop in Thailand next weekend.

Choi was relentless in pursuit, the only player other than Ko to beat par in all four rounds. She shot 69, 71, 70, 67 on the par-72 layout, finishing at 277, 11 under par.

Green, in her rookie season, had rounds of 69, 74, 66, 69 to finish third at 10-under, one shot ahead of compatriot Katherine Kirk, who finished with a 7-under 65, the day's best round.

''I started off really well,'' Green said. ''My goal was to get into every major and I know that's quite hard being a rookie this year. So hopefully I've made enough money and keep making money to ensure I'm definitely in.''

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G-Mac has Ryder Cup on mind with Genesis in grasp

By Rex HoggardFebruary 18, 2018, 2:12 am

LOS ANGELES – Graeme McDowell is four years removed from his last start in a Ryder Cup and golf is more than seven months away from this year’s matches, but then it’s never too early to start daydreaming.

Following a third-round 70 that left him tied for third place and just two strokes off the lead at the Genesis Open, McDowell was asked if the matches are on his mind.

“I feel like I've got a lot of things to do between now and getting on that team,” he said. “Standing here right now it's probably not a realistic goal, but if I continue to play the way I'm playing for the next few months, it may start to become a realistic goal.”


Full-field scores from the Genesis Open

Genesis Open: Articles, photos and videos


McDowell began his week at Riviera Country Club fresh off four consecutive missed cuts and has drifted to 219th in the Official World Golf Ranking. But his play this week has been encouraging and the Northern Irishman has always relished the opportunity to play for Europe.

“Deep down I know I'm good enough, but I've got to show, I've got to put some results on the board, I've got to take care of my business,” he said. “The greatest experience of my career bar none, and I would love to play another couple Ryder Cup matches before it's all said and done.”

McDowell does have a potential advantage this year having won the French Open twice at Le Golf National, site of this year’s matches.