Harrington Up Early at Wachovia

By Associated PressMay 3, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Wachovia ChampionshipCHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Padraig Harrington took three weeks off, the longest break from golf in his 10 years as a pro, and worried that he wouldn't be very sharp Thursday at the Wachovia Championship. He wasn't satisfied with hardly anything but his score.
 
Harrington made two tough par putts early, then a bunch more for birdies on his way to a 6-under 66, giving him a one-shot lead over Vijay Singh and Jason Bohn on a day of ever-changing wind that kept everyone on their toes.
 
'One mis-hit over here, it can cost you,' Singh said.
 
Tiger Woods found that out on the 18th hole as he tried to stay in range of the leaders. He changed clubs when he felt the wind shift and still flew the green to take bogey and an opening round of 70.
 
'It was an 8 (iron) when the wind was off the right, then it became a 7 when the wind was in, then the wind went in off the left, then went down off the left, and when I hit it was down off the right, when I thought it was in off the right,' he said. 'There you go.'
 
And there it went.
 
The scoring was decent and the leaderboard eclectic, about the only common thread was that it favored those with health issues.
 
During his three-week break after the Masters, Harrington had an early stage of skin cancer removed from his forehead and put his clubs down for a week, which is about as unusual as him taking a break.
 
Trevor Immelman lost 22 pounds from a parasite he picked up during the Masters and still isn't at full strength, although he managed a 68.
 
David Berganio Jr. went for a hike in the hills near his home in California and injured his back, but he shot 69.
 
About the only thing that mattered was trying to get through the fast, tree-lined course without getting into too much trouble.
 
'You just have to play smart,' said Singh, who won this tournament two years ago in a four-hole playoff.
 
Jeff Maggert was in the group at 68 after finishing with two straight birdies and one par that made him particularly proud, given how the wind began to blow hard in the afternoon. On the 491-yard ninth hole, he hammered a drive down the middle and still had a 2-iron to the green to 18 feet.
 
Stephen Ames, who will defend his title at The Players Championship next week, challenged for the lead until dropping shots on the 15th and 18th, both courtesy of the swirling wind, and was among those at 69.
 
Phil Mickelson got away with some shaky shots with his short game and shot 70, while defending champion Jim Furyk and Ernie Els were among those at 71.
 
'It wasn't just the driver, it was the irons, it was the 3-woods off the tee,' said Mickelson, who began working with Butch Harmon two weeks ago and said he would call him after his round. 'I didn't strike it as well as I wanted to. I didn't get in a rhythm.'
 
Harrington wasn't sure what to make of his round.
 
'I've been well in control, knowing what's happening,' he said. 'Today wouldn't have been one of those rounds, I've got to say. It would be nice getting everything going together, holing putts and playing well.'
 
The putting held him together in the first round at Quail Hollow.
 
Starting on the back nine, he missed the 11th green long and saved par with a 10-foot putt, then holed an 18-foot par putt after putting his approach into the bunker on No. 12. Facing one of the most dangerous shots on the course, however, he started making things easier.
 
From the right rough on the 351-yard 14th, with the green running away toward the lake, his sand wedge rolled to a foot for his first birdie. He went over the green on the par-5 15th and chipped to 3 feet, then made it three straight birdies with a 15-foot putt.
 
The Irishman picked up his next batch of birdies over a four-hole stretch on the front nine, hitting inside 4 feet on the second and third holes, and making a 25-footer for birdie on the fifth.
 
He had no bogeys on his card, and really no explanation for such a fine start.
 
'My focus wasn't as sharp as it could have been,' he said. 'You obviously need to take breaks, but definitely I was not as good mentally as I would have left off three weeks ago.'
 
Singh's only hiccup came on the 242-yard sixth hole when he missed the par 3 to the left and missed a 6-foot par putt. But he was solid the rest of the way, especially at the end. Quail Hollow has one of the most daunting finishes in golf, with a 217-yard par 3 to a peninsula green and a 478-yard 18th hole into the wind.
 
He missed the green well to the right on the 17th, but saved par with a 10-foot putt. And he hit his best tee shot on the closing hole, right down the middle, and gladly settled for par even though he gave himself a 10-foot look at birdie.
 
'Should have made it,' he said. 'But I'm happy with 5 under.'
 
Woods, playing on the one-year anniversary of his father's death, wasn't terribly disturbed with his 70. He took advantage of three par 5s and twice made good par saves to keep his round going until his shot over the green on the 18th.
 
'Nobody really went low,' Woods said. 'You just had to hang in there.'
 
DIVOTS
Brad Faxon played for the first time since he learned he had Lyme Disease. He wasn't sure when he was bitten by a tick, but said he would be on antibiotics for 21 days. 'I lost seven to eight pounds,' he said. 'For me, that's a ton.' ... Sean O'Hair withdrew after a 75 for personal reasons. ... Kenny Perry opened with a 77 and cleaned out his locker. 'You have to do what you have to do,' he said, without elaborating. By the end of the round, officials were not aware he had cleaned out his locker and left, and he was not listed as a WD. ... Frank Lickliter was disqualified after signing for an incorrect score. He had a 75.
 
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    Vegas helicopters in to Carnoustie, without clubs

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 9:33 am

    Jhonattan Vegas did some range work, putted a little and strolled to the first tee for his 5:31 a.m. ET start in the 147th Open Championship.

    Everything before that, however, was far from routine.



    Vegas' visa to travel to Scotland expired and the process to renew it got delayed - and it looked like his overseas' flight might suffer the same fate. Vegas, upon getting his visa updated, traveled from Houston, Texas to Toronto, Canada to Glasgow, Scotland, and then took a helicopter to Carnoustie.

    He arrived in time on Thursday morning, but his clubs did not. Mizuno put together some irons for him and TaylorMade got him his preferred metal woods. He hit the clubs for the first time on the range, less than 90 minutes before his start.

    "I'm going to go out there and play with freedom," Vegas told Golf Channel's Todd Lewis.

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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.