Munoz, Miyazato share ANA Inspiration lead

By Associated PressApril 1, 2016, 2:08 am

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - Azahara Munoz was so concerned about the water fronting the par-5 18th green that she ended up in nearly as bad a place late Thursday afternoon in the ANA Inspiration.

It ended up costing her a bogey that dropped her into a tie for the first-round lead with Ai Miyazato at 5-under 67 in the first major championship of the year.

In breezy conditions, Munoz was well back off the tee on her final hole and hit her second shot into the right fairway bunker. Wary of hitting it into the water, the Spaniard hit her third through the green to the back fringe. That left a difficult downhill putt that she did well to hit to 7 feet.

''Obviously, I didn't want to hit it in the water,'' Munoz said. ''I know you're not supposed to think that, but the lie wasn't the best. It was a little down, and the wind was really into my face, so we tried to play past the pin, and I mean, the contact was really good, so it just came a little too long and it was quite an impossible putt from there. But to be honest, I'm glad it just flew the water.''

Miyazato played in the morning before the wind picked up at Mission Hills.

The 5-foot-2 Japanese player birdied four of the first six holes and closed with a 12-foot birdie putt on 18. She won the last of her nine LPGA Tour titles in 2012.


ANA Inspiration: Articles, photos and videos


''I'm definitely happy to see my name on the board, but it's just the first day and it's a long way to go,'' Miyazato said.

No. 1 in the world for 11 weeks in 2010, she is 90th now after climbing 67 spots Monday with a third-place finish last week in Carlsbad. It was her first top-10 finish since 2013.

''That was huge,'' Miyazato said. ''I definitely gained my confidence and I really felt good with my game again. I was kind of really happy to play golf again. ... I was kind of struggling the last couple years. It was really hard.''

She has no aspirations to return to No. 1.

''I know how hard it is to be No. 1 in the world because I've experienced it before,'' Miyazato said. ''That's actually not my goal anymore because I went there before. But still I want to win. That's my motivation, especially this week.''

Munoz won the 2012 Match Play Championship for lone LPGA Tour title. She had surgery a year ago to remove a benign tumor from the base of the thumb in the palm of her left hand.

''I've been really working on my attitude, but the results haven't really showed, even though I've been doing so much better,'' Munoz said. ''I know I need to keep believing in myself and eventually it's going to happen. It obviously hasn't been the easiest of years for me since the surgery and all of that, but I know I'm a good player.''

Scotland's Catriona Matthew, South Africa's Lee-Anne Pace and Japan's Shiho Oyama were a stroke back.

Long-hitting Lexi Thompson, the 2014 winner, was at 69 in a large group that included Gerina Piller and South Korean stars In Gee Chun and Ha Na Jang.

''It was a pretty good day,'' Thompson said. ''I putted really well. I didn't hit too many fairways, and was a little off, off the tee, but they were very solid tee shots.''

Chun is returning from a back injury that sidelined her for a month. The U.S. Women's Open champion was hurt when she was struck by a hard-case suitcase that Jang's father dropped down an escalator at the Singapore airport.

''I say hi today in the morning to In Gee, and yesterday, too,'' said Jang, a two-time winner this year. ''There's no problem right now.''

Top-ranked Lydia Ko opened with a 70. The 18-year-old New Zealander won Sunday at Carlsbad.

''I was striking my irons and everything fairly good, but I didn't hit my drive very well, especially on the back nine,'' Ko said. ''I gave myself quite a few looks up the hill for birdie, but I just wasn't able to commit to my speed.''

Second-ranked Inbee Park and Michelle Wie also shot 70.

Wie stood more upright and crouched on her short putts, trying to emulate Jack Nicklaus. On longer putts, she continued to lower her torso almost parallel to the ground.

''I kind of always saw how Jack putted and it kind of worked out OK for him,'' Wie said. ''I've always been kind of like Jack in putting and stuff, and I decided to go a little more narrow.''

Defending champion Brittany Lincicome and 2011 winner Stacy Lewis shot 72. Last year, Lincicome eagled the final hole of regulation and beat Lewis on the third hole of a playoff. Lewis is trying to snap a 45-event victory drought.

Getty Images

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)

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

Four players vying for DJ's No. 1 ranking at Open

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 8:41 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Four players have an opportunity to overtake Dustin Johnson for world No. 1 this week.

According to Golf Channel world-rankings guru Alan Robinson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm each can grab the top spot in the world ranking.

Thomas’ path is the easiest. He would return to No. 1 with either a win and Johnson finishing worse than solo third, or even a solo runner-up finish as long as Johnson finishes worse than 49th.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Twenty years after his auspicious performance in The Open, Rose can get to No. 1 for the first time with a victory and Johnson finishing worse than a two-way tie for third.

Kopeka can rise to No. 1 if he wins consecutive majors, assuming that his good friend posts worse than a three-way tie for third.

And Rahm can claim the top spot with a win this week, a Johnson missed cut and a Thomas finish of worse than solo second.   

Johnson’s 15-month reign as world No. 1 ended after The Players. He wasn’t behind Thomas for long, however: After a tie for eighth at the Memorial, Johnson blew away the field in Memphis and then finished third at the U.S. Open to solidify his position at the top.