The Unusual Suspect

By Rex HoggardJuly 18, 2010, 3:06 am

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – When Seve Ballesteros, the sentimental heart and soul of St. Andrews, was forced to withdraw from the Champion’s Challenge one could sense something was afoot; and when Mother Nature pulled the plug on the four-hole exhibition between heroes of Opens past it was clear the golf gods had something different planned for the 150th anniversary of the game’s oldest tilt.

If Louis Oosthuizen is to become the Tony Lema of our generation so be it, but we suspect the script is far from foregone at the Open Championship.

What Oosthuizen lacks in championship pedigree, he has more than made up for with an effortless one-piece action and some of the best lag putting this side of Augusta National.

Even playing alongside Mark Calcavecchia – who made a 9 at the par-5 fifth hole and looked like a man itching to get on the road to Carnoustie for next week’s Senior British Open – Oosthuizen made the game look easy.

But like an NBA game it’s the last quarter that counts and everyone makes a run.

The usual suspects have all come and gone. Tiger Woods said on Saturday following his second-consecutive 73 that he is hitting the ball better than he is scoring. Unfortunately for the world No.1 the claret jug is not doled out on an interpretative basis.

He will begin the final turn a dozen clear of the South African gate crasher, which is a better position than world No. 2 Phil Mickelson who bounced his tee shot off a corporate tent adjacent the 16th hole, insert your own joke here, and is another shot adrift at 2 under.

If there will be a challenge on Sunday it will likely come by way an often-injured Englishman who is fighting a cold and hasn’t been the same since a rib injury during his Open Championship warm-up last year sent him to the bench.

Louis Oosthuizen
Oosthuizen is 18 holes away from hoisting the coveted claret jug. (Getty Images)

Paul Casey moved to within one stroke of Oosthuizen with a birdie at the eighth hole and posted a bogey-free 67 to trim a stroke off the South African’s 36-hole advantage, and if anyone within a pitching wedge of the leader has the game to run down a claret jug it is Casey.

Or at least it was Casey. That was before he injured a rib muscle preparing for last year’s Open Championship at Turnberry. Before he struggled through yet another nagging injury with what at times felt like an endless self life.

“This is the way he was swinging before the Open last year when he got hurt,” said Casey’s swing coach Peter Kostis. “It’s poetic justice that he’s playing well here.”

Or maybe it’s the golf gods looking for an out.

Barring a Dustin Johnson-like start for Oosthuizen on Sunday at the Old Course, it will be Casey or it will be a walk-over by a little-known champion on a course that has a history of favoring the favorite. Woods, Nicklaus, Ballesteros, Faldo, Oosthuizen – with all due respect to the affable South African, you pick which player doesn’t belong.

But the issue is simple math. Oosthuizen’s third-round 69 has eliminated most other options. Among the group within nine strokes of Oosthuizen not a single one of them has a major on the mantle.

Lee Westwood, at 7 under par, has the most experience, but his putting has been as cold as a Scottish breeze this week and his track record at major championships is hardly a reason to visit the local betting house.

“Stranger things have been happening this week,” Westwood said. “It can be done, we know that.”

One needed to look no further than Jean van de Velde for validation of Westwood’s optimism. Van de Velde is an on-course radio reporter this week and golf’s ultimate proper verb, as in “he pulled a Van de Velde.” But Oosthuizen doesn’t exactly have the look of the forlorn Frenchman and the Old Course, for all its history and appeal, is not Carnoustie.

Just as Casey and Westwood were about to tee off on the snapshot 18th hole well past cocktail hour on the Firth of Forth, Oosthuizen’s approach shot into the 17th hole rolled just over the green and onto the tee box a few feet from the Englishmen.

Westwood mockingly made a move toward the golf ball with his driver. It wasn’t exactly a white-flag moment, but the field, and the golf gods, are running out of time and options.

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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

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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