Golf Balls in the Danger Zone

By Adam BarrSeptember 16, 2006, 4:00 pm
Im all about helping you. Im a Solution Guy.
So heres the solution next time you get perturbed at a perfectly struck 9-iron shot that still fails to clear that satanic pit of bunker in front of the green, the next time you pull a four-footer and have to chew on bogey, the next time you find your ball two inches to the bad side of those crucial white stakes.
Imagine someone with real problems. Such as being 7,000 miles from home and family ' and no miles from possible harm.
David and Todd in Fallujah
Capt. David Sifferd, an Army chaplain (left), and one of his soldiers in Iraq, where used golf balls could help ease combat stress.
And as if that werent enough, there arent enough golf balls.
I just asked [my wife] Paula to send me more white socks, so I should be good there, said Capt. David W. Sifferd, Chaplain, U.S. Army, in response to my recent query as to whether he needs anything at his posting in Iraq. I can really get most everything I need here, David said, except for golf balls. If you run across any groups that might want to donate old used golf balls, could you send me the address. I have a few clubs in my office that I let soldiers use to hit balls into the field behind our headquarters. Problem is that they are usually irretrievable. Great stress relief, though!
From the time nearly 30 years ago when I used to pick him up at 7:30 a.m. to walk to school, David Sifferd has been all about stress relief ' or whatever else his fellow man needed. The oldest of four children, Dave got a lot of responsibility in the Sifferd family, as close and faithful a group as youre ever likely to find. Dave and I were of different faiths, but he and his family always made me feel welcome. And on those cold mornings, when I walked down from 661 Ridgefield to 624 Ridgefield, there David would be, obviously having just finished helping to get the younger kids ready for school, with a bacon-and-egg sandwich on white toast wrapped in a paper towel, ready to head off with me to Mt. Lebanon High.
We sang together in choir and small ensembles. We hung out together. Circumstances and preference kept Dave from seeking coolness in the conventional high school way. Some who didnt know him sized up his quiet manner, his last-years coat, his decidedly not-up-to-clique-standard dress and decided he wasnt worth their notice. Dave knew it, too. But if he had a complaint, none of us ever heard it. I never saw him pass a petulant remark or succumb to gossip. I never saw a moment when he lost his sense of humor. Most important, I never saw a second when he was self-centered.
It surprised none of Daves friends when he attended Eastern Nazarene College and pursued the ministry. We were even less surprised when he married a wonderful girl and built a loving family with her. And it was right in character when Dave, an Army reservist, answered his countrys call without a cry. He shipped out to Iraq earlier this year.
So do I know any groups who have golf balls? You bet I do. Its you. You have them, in the garage, in onion bags, in shag bags, golf bags and garbage bags. Want to help a guy whos always helping others? Put those balls in a box and send them to this address:
CH (CPT) David Sifferd
APO AE 09342

And for those of you looking to make a bigger splash in the sand, consider another item on Capt. Sifferds wish list for his troops.
I'm trying to set up a putting green and a couple of tee boxes to drive from at our headquarters, Dave e-mailed me. We'll probably pour a cement slab and then put some artificial surface over it. Have you run across any golf products like portable putting greens that I should look into? Because of the climate here I'll probably need to buy something that is easy to install.
Its true, there are a number of companies that have been sending golf equipment to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. And thats great. But this is a chance for individual golfers to kick in, and perhaps to get rid of those practice balls you never seem to have time for anyway. Believe me, theyll be put to good use.
This isnt about your position pro or con on the war in Iraq. Its about helping out fellow golfers who understand probably better than they ever did before, that banging a few balls can take the edge off a tough day. And these guys and girls are out on a sharp edge, where every day can be tough.
So now you can be Solution Guy or Girl. Thanks very much.
Email your thoughts to Adam Barr
Getty Images

More sun, dry conditions expected early at Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 9:14 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – An atypically dry Scottish summer is expected to continue this week at The Open.

There’s a possibility of a few showers Thursday and Friday, but otherwise conditions are expected to remain dry with temperatures around 70 degrees and winds in the 15-20 mph range.

The forecast for the opening round at Carnoustie is sunshine with clouds developing later in the day. The high is expected to be around 70 degrees, with winds increasing throughout the day, maxing out at 18 mph.

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

There’s a chance of rain overnight Thursday and into Friday morning, but it’s not expected to slow down the fiery conditions.

It’s been one of the driest summers in recent memory, leading to fairways that are baked out and fescue rough that is lighter and thinner than in previous years.

Getty Images

How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 8:40 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (

Getty Images

The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 8:30 am

Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

How old is it?

It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

Where is it played?

There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

Where will it be played this year?

At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

Who has won The Open on that course?

Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

Who has won this event the most?

Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

What about the Morrises?

Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

Have players from any particular country dominated?

In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

Who is this year's defending champion?

That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

What is the trophy called?

The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

Which Opens have been the most memorable?

Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.