Masters champ Spieth has 'no excuses' after 74 at RBC

By Associated PressApril 16, 2015, 11:26 pm

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. It's been quite some time since Jordan Spieth had to explain a performance this poor.

The Masters champion had a post-Masters letdown in the opening round Thursday, shooting 3-over 74 to end his run of 16 straight rounds under par. He blamed it all on himself - and not the two-day celebratory media tour in New York this week.

''I didn't drive the ball well, didn't particularly strike my irons well. My chipping and putting weren't there,'' he said. ''It was just an off day.''

And the sort of performance that stands in stark contrast with how Spieth played the past month. He won the Valspar Championship, finished second at the Texas Open and lost a playoff in the Houston Open before capturing the green jacket and his first major championship at Augusta National.

It was a lot to ask of anyone to come back just as strong, let alone a 21-year-old who hadn't gone through it before.

''No excuses, I just didn't have it today,'' he said.

He better have it on Friday if he hopes to hang around for the weekend. Spieth stands eight shots behind Graeme McDowell and Matt Every, tied for the top at 5-under 66.

''Got a good feeling about tomorrow,'' Spieth said. ''Feel like I got some swings in, got in somewhat of a rhythm and can at least go out and feel the shots.''

Don't bet against the young Texan.

He got into Sea Pines Resort late Tuesday night after some 25 appearances and interviews in New York, including an appearance with David Letterman and seeing the view atop the Empire State Building. He acknowledged his preparation this week had suffered.

Spieth was greeted by a large gallery on the first tee, crowds five and six deep stretching cellphones to snap pictures and get video footage. ''Way to go, Jordan,'' someone shouted after his tee shot.


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The applause continued throughout the round and, while Spieth appreciated the sentiment, had difficulty concentrating on his game.

''I was upset about missing the green and then there was a standing ovation walking up,'' he said. ''It's like, 'Thank you. I just hit a terrible shot. Thanks.' So it was kind of tough to find the balance there.''

It was clear, though, this would not be the Spieth who tied the Masters' scoring mark of 18-under 270 set by Tiger Woods in 1997.

He was in perfect position on the par-5 second, which played the easiest in round one, when he left his approach shot short and in the bunker. Spieth could not make an 8-footer to save birdie. He was short of the green again on the par-4 sixth hole, leading to the first of three bogeys - Spieth had just one bogey in his first 36 holes at Augusta National.

The wheels truly came off at the par-3 14th when Spieth hit into the water and watched his third shot spin back about 15 feet from the cup. He made a double-bogey 5.

He hasn't had many days like this in 2015 - and neither had McDowell, who hadn't shot lower than 71 in his previous 12 rounds, including all four at last week's Masters when he tied for 52nd.

McDowell, though, found his game on the layout's tight fairways and small greens. He had six birdies after an opening bogey to move in front.

''It was great to feel comfortable out there today, see my lines, hit my speeds and make a few putts,'' said McDowell, who has not won on tour since taking this title in 2013.

It's been a strange season for Every, who won the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month yet hadn't finished better than 27th in any of his 11 other events.

He had birdies on four of his final eight holes, including a 50-foot chip in on the sixth hole and a 20-foot chip in on the seventh, to tie McDowell. Every stayed in the lead when he chipped to a foot on the eighth hole to save par.

''I'll take it any way I can get it,'' he said.

After Bae, defending champion Matt Kuchar led a group of five another stroke back at 68. Ian Poulter and former British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen were in a group of 12 at 69.

DIVOTS: Luke Donald, who's had three seconds and two thirds in his past six trips to the RBC Heritage, opened with a 2-over 73. It was just his second round over par in his past 25 played here. ... U.S. Amateur champion Gunn Yang opened with a 3-over 74. The 21-year-old from South Korea has missed the cut in the three PGA Tour events he's played since winning his title, including the Masters where he shot 85-74 the first two rounds. ... Camilo Villegas withdrew after going 8-over par on his opening nine holes.

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McIlroy 'committed to everything ... ran out of holes'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 7:08 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy summed it up: “I don’t really feel like it’s a defeat. I feel like it’s a good week.”

McIlroy, in search of his fifth major, tied for the lead at The Open late on Sunday at Carnoustie when he made eagle on the par-5 14th hole. An hour later, he had made five consecutive pars to close out a 1-under 70 and tie for second place with Justin Rose, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele.

That group ended two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. McIlroy thought it was realistic to squeeze one more shot out of his round, but he never though it was possible to squeeze out two.

“I committed to everything,” he said. “I hit the shots when I needed to. I made good swings on 17 and on 18. I just ran out of holes.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


McIlroy hasn’t played poorly this year, but this hasn't been a year that would rank as a total success. He took the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and collected a second-place finish at the BMW PGA Championship. He had a legitimate chance to win the Masters before a terrible Sunday round, and then missed the cut at the U.S. Open last month at Shinnecock Hills.

Sunday at Carnoustie, McIlroy bogeyed two of his first five holes and quickly became an afterthought. When others faltered, McIlroy birdies Nos. 9 and 11, then eagled 14 to vault back into the picture.

“I’m happy with how I played,” he said. “I didn’t get off to a great start, but I hung in there, and I battled back.

“So I’ll look back at this week and be very encouraged about what I’ve done and the golf that I played. I feel like that will stand me in good stead for what’s coming up.”

McIlroy is scheduled to play the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks, followed by the PGA Championship and the FedExCup Playoffs.

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Edoardo, other pros congratulate Francesco on Twitter

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:54 pm

Francesco Molinari played a bogey-free weekend at Carnoustie to claim Italy's first claret jug.

His rock-solid performance in the final round earned him his share of social media plaudits.

Here's a collection of Twitter hat-tips, and we start off with Frankie's brother, Dodo.

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Woods: Fan who yelled had 'tipped back a few'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 6:37 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods stood on the 18th tee and thought he needed birdie to have a chance to win The Open. He pulled driver out of his bag, a sign he wanted to boot the ball as far down the fairway as possible.

Woods took a mighty swat and - right in the middle of his downswing - someone yelled. Woods flinched.

Luckily his ball still found a decent spot just off the right of the fairway.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I’ve had things like that happen a lot in my career with people who just tried to time it,” Woods said Sunday at Carnoustie after shooting 71 to tie for sixth place. “They tipped back a few, and it’s late in the day.

“Unfortunately, that’s part of what we have to deal with in today’s game. People are trying to yell out things to try to be on TV or be in social media or whatever it may be. That was too close to the game of play.”

Woods hit his approach to 6 feet and missed the birdie putt. He tapped in for par to shoot even par and finish 5 under for the week, in a tie for sixth.

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Pros melt down on Twitter as they watch Tiger

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:30 pm

Tiger Woods mounted a final-round charge and, for a little while, took the outright lead at Carnoustie on Sunday.

His fellow pros were watching and tweeting like your average fans.

We compiled some of their missives below:

Woods would go on to finish in a tie for sixth at 5 under par for the week.