Mickelson hopeful of Woods return

By Associated PressJanuary 28, 2010, 9:03 am

SAN DIEGO (AP)—Phil Mickelson is the No. 1 player in golf, at least amongactive players.

The way he played at the end of last year, and as excited as he is about hisgame going into a new season, he has reason to believe he can be No. 1 whenTiger Woods returns.

His putting feels better ever, courtesy of hooking up with former PGAchampion Dave Stockton toward the end of the FedEx Cup and getting immediateresults with a victory at the Tour Championship. Mickelson says his driving hasgone from a weakness to a weapon. He has gone to a driver with about 6-degreeloft, and his misses are not what they used to be.

Phil Mickelson, left, hits fro…
AP - Jan 27, 4:33 pm EST

And the last two tournaments he played last year, the final day turned intoa duel with Woods. Mickelson won them both.

“At the end of last year, I felt like things were starting to really cometogether,” Mickelson said Wednesday. “Taking some weaknesses and turning theminto strengths give me the confidence or the belief that this could be anexceptional year.”

It starts for Mickelson when the Farmers Insurance Open gets under way atTorrey Pines. And his season starts without Woods, who is on indefinite leavefrom his spectacular and sordid downfall.

That’s about the only thing that tempered Mickelson’s enthusiasm.

He doesn’t look at Woods’ absence as any greater opportunity than when Woodswas playing, for Mickelson is among the few that relish such competition. Nordoes Mickelson look at himself as the one player capable of bringing star powerto golf.

“Nobody will be able to … fill the shoes,” Mickelson said.

Speaking for the first time in public since Woods’ confessed to infidelity,Mickelson didn’t bother waiting for the first question at his press conferenceWednesday. He offered a pre-emptive strike filled with compassion andperspective, even if it was short on detail.

“The game of golf needs him to come back,” Mickelson said. “It’simportant for him to come back and be a part of the sport. But right now, he’sgot a lot more important things going on in his life. Amy and I are good friendswith both Tiger and Elin, and we care deeply about how this turns out.

“But I’m going to choose not to talk about it publicly anymore, and Iappreciate your understanding on that.”

More questions followed, although Mickelson refused to be drawn into adiscussion on whether he can fill the void left by Woods or whether he wassurprised by the amount of media coverage, from gossip magazines to standuproutines on late shows.

He did confirm that he has tried to reach out to his longtime rival and had“limited communication.”

“With the family—not necessarily saying with who in the family,”Mickelson said.

No one has more to gain than Mickelson while Woods is away.

He is the No. 2 player—in the world ranking, PGA Tour victories,television appeal—and even before details emerged of Woods’ infidelity,Mickelson was poised to challenge him like never before.

“My whole career, I’ve been trying to get to No. 1,” he said. “I justhaven’t had much success. But this year, whether or not Tiger is in the field, Istill believe that this is an opportunity for me to compete in majors, tochallenge him. I’ve had some great head-to-head success in the last year or two,and I expect this year—with or without him—to be one of the best years of mycareer.”

Mickelson is a three-time winner at Torrey Pines, although he hasn’tseriously contended since 2001. The South Course later was revamped and thegreens were rebuilt to get ready for the 2008 U.S. Open. Now, however, Mickelsonhopes he has figured it out.

The timing couldn’t be better.

While the Farmers Insurance Open has the prime spot on the West Coastschedule—played during the one-week break before the Super Bowl—the field atTorrey Pines never had been particularly strong. It only looked that way becauseit featured Woods and Mickelson, the top two draws in golf.

Mickelson is among three players from the top 20—the others are RobertAllenby and Ernie Els .

Storms swamped the courses last week, and while they arein good shape heading into the opening round, officials could only get lawnmowers in the rough on Tuesday. It was still thick, prompting Allenby to say ashe studied his ball in the left rough Wednesday, “We played a U.S. Open herealready. Are we playing another one?”

Els played his pro-am late Wednesday, and after missing the fairway on No.7, he grabbed a 7-iron and began a 280-yard walk. He knew that was all the clubhe could play from that rough.

The U.S. Open is the biggest trophy missing from Mickelson’s collection, andhe’s hopeful this is the year he wins that and so many other prizes that haveeluded him—a money title, PGA Tour player of the year, even No. 1 in theworld.

Still, he made no secret of his hopes for Woods. Mickelson wants him back,for himself and the sport.

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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.