Colorful and Confident Villegas Ready to Win

By Alison PierceSeptember 10, 2005, 4:00 pm
You might recognize him. Youll definitely recognize his pants. His favorite pair, a subtle shade of traffic cone orange.
 
Camilo Villegas, born and raised in Medellin, Columbia, is one of the more colorful characters on the Nationwide Tour. Hes not afraid to get noticed. Hes not afraid to be himself. And hes not afraid to win.
 
Camilo Villegas
Camilo Villegas has six top-10 finishes thus far this season.
I grew up winning, says Villegas. Then I went to University [of Florida] and won eight tournaments. That tells me Im doing something right. Now as a pro, I won two Hooters events. I just havent had a chance yet on this tour.
 
Just one year out of college, Villegas swooped down on the Nationwide Tour as a Monday qualifier and since has lingered solidly in the center of the money list.
Hot out of the gates, he tied for second in his first Nationwide event at the BellSouth Panama Championship, but since has had his share of disappointments.
 
He held a share of the 54-hole lead at the Henrico County Open in Virginia but ultimately fell four shots short to Chad Collins. He bounced back to co-lead at the Rheem Classic in Arkansas, but again lost by 6 strokes to Chris Couchs final-round 60.
 
Thats tough to beat, shrugs Villegas.
 
But ever positive, he fiercely dedicates hours each day after his round to practice shots: We believe in ourselves, just be patient, keep trying, and keep working.
 
Camilo grew up playing golf with his dad in Columbia, where there are only 50 courses in the whole country. But thats more than Paraguay; it only has three courses, he says.
 
Golf is so small in Columbia, we dont have hardly any Columbian golfers, says Villegas. I feel so fortunate. It is such an amazing feeling to represent my country.
 
Medellin, for many people, is the capital of cocaine trafficking, Pablo Escobar and kidnappings.
 
There are social problems but nothing like people hear about on the news, says Villegas. People think that once I get off the plane, there is going to be a kidnapper waiting for me. People say, 'do you guys have cars there?' Its kind of funny what you hear.
 
Villegas just wishes he could get his fellow players down for a visit; they would fall in love with it, he insists.
 
At the root of Camilos strategy, and perhaps because of his cultural background, is an immovable belief that he will succeed. Its simply a matter of time and patience for this young hot-pants-wearing hot shot, who considers himself on the fast track to the PGA Tour.
 
Golf Channel analyst and PGA Tour winner Curt Byrum has kept an eye on Villegas all year. Byrum sees a self-taught feel player with amazing ball-striking ability, unique from the cookie-cutter players in the rest of the field.
 
I think he looks at himself, and believes deep down that hes good enough to play on the PGA Tour,' Byrum says.
 
Villegas got a taste of the big tour when he played in the U.S. Open last year, and he whole-heartedly agrees with Byrum. It may sound cocky but if youre not out here to win, why are you playing? says Villegas.
 
For University of Florida head coach Buddy Alexander, Villegas wasnt immediately a stand out. When he started the Florida golf program he was small, short off the tee and nothing special.
 
What I learned about Camilo was that he was the most dedicated, the most disciplined player that I have had in 25 years of coaching, says Alexander. He identified his weaknesses, he made himself stronger and bigger. He is one of the most competitive people Ive met in my life, whether it be in the class room or on the golf course or on a motor scooter.
 
According to Alexander, Camilos success will depend on how well he putts and above all, how he controls his emotions. Many see Villegas as a strong mental player who doesnt seem to be bothered by the little things, like the oft-missed 4-foot putts.
 
I think there are definitely things that get to him. His failures, or what he perceives as his failures, bother the hell out of him, says Alexander. That ultimately will be the factor in his success. Hes a perfectionist, make no mistake about it. That could be the one thing that drives him crazy.
 
Byrum noticed it as well: The thing thats holding him back is his poor putting when it really matters. He could have won twice this year if he had putted on Sunday.
 
Villegas retorts that he has worked hard on his putting and is not missing those short putts anymore.
 
And the media just needs to get over it. I look at my stats and I do need to improve my putting but the number of putts doesnt concern me. I just want to keep rolling putts and keep being patient,' he says.
 
Regardless of his battle with the game, Villegas is incredibly entertaining to watch. Whether its the Columbian crouch, where he practically lays on the ground to line up a putt, or his animated reactions to shots, good or bad.
 
Everybody loves Camilo, says Alexander. Theres a lot of little boy in Camilo. Hes mischievous, enjoys himself at appropriate times, he has a terrific sense of humor, likes to laugh and laughs all the time.
 
And what about the pants?
 
It makes packing fun! claims Villegas.
 
I dont think I ever show up to the golf course without a comment. If I wear black and black then Im too conservative; if I wear bright orange and yellow Im too loud, he laughs. Today I was wearing white and khaki, my caddie says I dont know how to find you with white and khaki. It makes things fun.
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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:40 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 GolfChannel.com.  

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; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

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

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:30 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.

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Four players vying for DJ's No. 1 ranking at Open

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 8:41 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Four players have an opportunity to overtake Dustin Johnson for world No. 1 this week.

According to Golf Channel world-rankings guru Alan Robinson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm each can grab the top spot in the world ranking.

Thomas’ path is the easiest. He would return to No. 1 with either a win and Johnson finishing worse than solo third, or even a solo runner-up finish as long as Johnson finishes worse than 49th.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Twenty years after his auspicious performance in The Open, Rose can get to No. 1 for the first time with a victory and Johnson finishing worse than a two-way tie for third.

Kopeka can rise to No. 1 if he wins consecutive majors, assuming that his good friend posts worse than a three-way tie for third.

And Rahm can claim the top spot with a win this week, a Johnson missed cut and a Thomas finish of worse than solo second.   

Johnson’s 15-month reign as world No. 1 ended after The Players. He wasn’t behind Thomas for long, however: After a tie for eighth at the Memorial, Johnson blew away the field in Memphis and then finished third at the U.S. Open to solidify his position at the top.