Club pros competing against world's best at PGA

By Associated PressAugust 7, 2013, 10:37 pm

PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Last time Rob Labritz checked, the YouTube video of the shot of his golfing life had more than 7,000 views.

He isn't sure that quite counts as viral, but the way he qualified for his fourth PGA Championship has Labritz seeing good omens everywhere.

Labritz is one of the PGA professionals who earned a spot this week at Oak Hill by finishing in the top 20 at their national championship in Oregon in late June. He and three others were competing in a playoff for the last spot when he holed a wedge shot from 95 yards.

His wife is eight months' pregnant, his mother was declared cancer-free just last week, so why shouldn't he set a goal for a top-15 finish?

''I just want to keep riding the wave,'' Labritz said Wednesday, a day before teeing off in the first group of the PGA Championship.

For these 20 pros, golf is their job, but they often work on everything but their game. Rod Perry, who won this year's PGA Professional National Championship, estimates he maybe plays once a week.

''I might play on a Friday afternoon with one of the member's groups, or I might play in a section event maybe on a Monday or something like that,'' said the 39-year-old Perry, the head pro at Crane Lakes in Port Orange, Fla. ''But I know there was a couple stints over the winter where two or three weeks would go by and I wouldn't play at all.''

Mike Small's job carries different demands but the same conundrum - a lot of time around the course but not much playing. He's the men's golf coach at Illinois, the runner-up at this year's NCAA Championships.

Small played a practice round Wednesday with former Illini teammate Steve Stricker and one of his former players, Luke Guthrie.


PGA Championship: Articles, videos and photos


Small has a much longer playing resume than many of his competitors in Oregon - he was on the PGA Tour in the 1990s and is in his ninth PGA Championship and 12th major. He was the lowPGA pro in 2007 and '11.

Still, this is just Small's third tournament of the year as a player. He'd like to practice more with his Illini, but it often just doesn't work out.

Since qualifying in late June, he's held two camps and hit the road for three recruiting trips.

However rare, entering tournaments is worth it. The competition. The break from the routine of the job. The chance to learn from the best players and toughest courses.

''It's part of who I am,'' Small said.

Oh, and it doesn't hurt in recruiting.

''It differentiates us from other teams. Each program has its own niche, and this is ours,'' he said, an orange ''I'' plastered on his cap, shirt and bag.

Labritz generally plays in 10-15 events a year. The owners and members at GlenArbor in Bedford Hills, N.Y., about 45 miles north of New York City, enjoy seeing him representing the club well.

''I've got probably one of the best jobs on the planet,'' he said. ''They allow me to play and practice as much as I feel I need to keep my game at the highest level.''

But a berth in the PGA Championship looked unlikely on the second playoff hole June 26. Six players had started the playoff for three spots, and two qualified with birdies on the first hole.

Labritz then found himself with a bad lie when his tee shot landed in a fairway bunker. He had to punch out while the other three played onto the green on the par-4 11th at Sunriver.

He wound up being the only player to birdie the hole. Labritz celebrated with a swinging fist pump and leaping high-five, a clip that made its way onto ESPN.

Labritz received thousands of emails of congratulations and admiration through his website, many from people he'd never met.

The only club pro to make the cut at the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, this acknowledged late bloomer is confident he can compete this week at age 42. He played a practice round Tuesday with Dustin Johnson, Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner.

''You know what?'' Labritz said. ''There wasn't any difference.''

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 22, 2018, 8:30 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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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 22, 2018, 8:30 am

Tiger Woods begins the final round of the 147th Open Championship four shots off the lead. He's out at 9:25 a.m. ET on Sunday and we're tracking him.


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Schauffele just fine being the underdog

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1