State of the game: Golf goes for the gold

By Arnold PalmerAugust 8, 2016, 4:30 pm

In September I will turn 87 years old. For most of that time — at least 84 years — sport has played an outsized role in my life.  Obviously, golf has provided the foundation for my career, but in addition to being an athlete I’m also a fan. Like many of you I have dogged affection for my favorite teams, whether it be the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. That said, there is no team I pull for more avidly than the Home Team: Team USA. So I’m doubly excited and interested as we approach the historic and long-awaited return of golf to the Olympics. I’ll be rooting for America, but pulling for the sport of golf.

As a kid growing up in Latrobe, Pa., I could dream about being an Olympian like Jesse Owens or Johnny Weissmuller. I could also dream about being a great golfer like Bobby Jones or Byron Nelson. But the idea of being an Olympic golfer never occurred to me. The notion of golf in the Olympics — something that last happened a quarter-century before I was born — was completely alien. But that all changed in 2009 when the International Olympic Committee voted to again include golf on the Olympics slate.

I know that a few of the game’s brightest young stars will not be participating in Rio, and that’s too bad. However, now that the Olympic flame is lit, the focus of a massive global audience will be on the players that have chosen our sport to pursue their Olympic dream.  Inevitably, there will be compelling performances from high-profile veterans as well as previously unheralded young players who have taken up the game in developing countries. 


Golf in the Rio Olympic Games: Articles, photos and videos

Photo gallery: Arnold Palmer through the years


Golf’s four major championships have long been viewed as our sport’s ultimate melting pots, championships of the golfing world. But Olympic golf will be even more international. This year the men’s four major championships hosted players from a total of 30 countries; the four women’s majors contested, so far, have included players from 34 countries. But this month, the fields in the men’s and women’s golf competitions at the Olympics will feature golfers from 41 different countries.

Will many of you be watching and rooting for the Americans during the Olympic competition? You bet, and so will I. So imagine the billions of people — particularly sports-crazed kids — in places like India, Bangladesh, Brazil, China and Malaysia watching their own countrymen and women competing and (I expect) contending on the greatest stage in sports. The global interest that spotlight will spur is incalculable.  I suspect that only months after Rio, soaring grassroots interest in golf will combine with better funding from medal-hungry governments to launch our sport into a truly global, truly gilded future. In fact, we’re already seeing increased support. Since 2009, when golf was voted onto the Olympic slate, the number of national organizations supporting golf in their home countries has grown from 116 to 145. Imagine where that number could go.

I am a sentimental guy and occasionally that lump in my throat when I speak has stopped my tongue from working. You know I have played golf many times in competition when I have stood to attention as “The Star Spangled Banner” was played – Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup – as part of the opening ceremonies. However, I don’t recall ever having the national anthem played because of my performance. The winners at the Olympics step up, bursting with pride, because everything that they have worked for and all their dedication is rewarded in a climax that I, and most golfers, will never experience. Representing their countries, they will listen to the music, stare at their flag, wear a medal with millions of people watching around the world, and know that this moment in time is all about them and what they have achieved.

This month, for the first time in 112 years, golf stands heroically alongside the marathon and the decathlon on a 21st-century digital stage that spans from a television in South Carolina to a hand-held phone in the South China Sea. This is the game in full bloom and living color with all the pomp and pageantry sport can muster. As of today a kid growing up in western Pennsylvania or eastern Portugal can dream of being an Olympic golfer. This is golf in the Olympics. And that, alone, is pure gold.


On GolfChannel.com, Arnold Palmer periodically shares his opinions about issues affecting the game of golf through his column, “Arnold Palmer’s State of the Game.”

Getty Images

Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

Getty Images

Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

Getty Images

Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

Getty Images

Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”