Norman turns back the clock in Rd 1

By Associated PressJuly 17, 2008, 4:00 pm
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Open ChampionshipSOUTHPORT, England -- A blissful newlywed, Greg Norman believes hes finally got the proper perspective on life.
 
His golf game looks pretty good, too.
 
Cheered on by his wife of a month, former tennis star Chris Evert, the 53-year-old Norman plugged away for an even-par 70 in the opening round of the British Open, leaving him just one stroke off the lead Thursday.
 
Greg Norman
Greg Norman hits a shot on the 2nd hole at Royal Birkdale. (Getty Images)
Go ahead. Pinch yourself.
 
The Shark is again contending at a major championship, even though most other weeks hes likely to spend more time on the tennis court than he does on the golf course.
 
Ive got to keep my expectations realistically low, to be honest with you. I havent played a lot of golf, said Norman, who had the good fortune of teeing off in the afternoon, after the rain had stopped and the wind tapered off a bit. Its just like riding a bike. But even riding a bike sometimes after a long time, youre a little wobbly.
 
Norman sure looked steady in the opening round, walking off the course with one of just six rounds at par or better. Of course, hes not about to start clearing out space in the suitcase for the claret jug, knowing that while plenty of tournaments are lost on Thursday, none has ever been won the first day.
 
Five years ago at Royal St. Georges, Norman opened with a 2-under 69 but soared to a 79 the following day, ruining any hopes of winning a third Open title.
 
If I give myself a chance at the end of the tournament, either nine holes or six holes or the last 18 holes, Ill feel pretty good about my chances, Norman said. But you dont sit here on Thursday at 6:30 or 7 at night and think, OK, Sunday is around the corner and Im there. Its not the case.
 
With his bride watching from the back of the room, Norman talked about getting his priorities in order, which means golf comes second, even if hes still trying to finish first those rare times he swings a club.
 
The other side of my life is absolutely fantastic, Norman said. I enjoy playing golf and I enjoy spending time at home with Chrissy and with my kids. I enjoy my business and what Im doing. Ive probably got the most beautiful balance Ive ever had.
 
Before, he added, all it was was golf, golf, golf. Everything else took second stage. Now, really, golf is second and everything else is first as far as Im concerned. Its a great feeling.
 
Norman has largely given up competitive golf, and he has no intention of adding to his schedule no matter how well he plays at Royal Birkdale.
 
My mind still wants to play, but my body doesnt want to practice, said Norman, whos endured numerous surgeries on his hips, knees and shoulders. Believe me, I still enjoy playing. But I dont enjoy standing out there on the driving range for four, five, six hours a day.
 
Norman has fond memories of the British Open, the only major he won despite numerous close calls in each of the others. While U.S. fans may remember him throwing away a commanding lead in the final round of the 1996 Masters, his boosters on this side of the Atlantic can point to the title he won at Turnberry in 1986, or his follow-up win at Royal St. Georges in 93.
 
The dashing Aussie certainly should have more major titles on his resume, but no one can ever take away those two.
 
The atmosphere here, the excitement, it changes you, Norman said. Like coming down 18 after 5 1/2 hours of golf, the way people receive you, you dont get that anywhere else in the world. Its a phenomenal experience. It gives you a little more juice.
 
Hes also gotten his private life sorted out, including a $103 million divorce settlement with his ex-wife. Now, hes ready to start building a future with Evert.
 
It just revitalized my life, Norman said. When youre more relaxed and youre happier, then everything else kind of comes a little bit easier, too. Even when I go out there and practice, I practice with a little bit more intensity over a short period of time because, OK, Im looking forward to going home. I would say its a rub-off effect on the golf, no question, but my life in general is much more in balance than it has ever been.
 
Evert is a late-blooming golf fan, but she had a couple of good tips for her husband before he headed to the course. The weather was awful in the morning, with soaking rain and howling winds, but Norman didnt tee off until the afternoon.
 
Chrissy said, It looks like its going to be a day of a lot of patience, and thats what it was, Norman said. She also said the weather was going to get better, so she really caught the ball on that one, too. We did get the better side of the draw, no doubt about it.
 
Not that Norman was apologizing for his good fortune.
 
When you watch it in the morning, you feel sorry for the guys, he said. But theres times when you say, Well, Ive been there before. Ive been on that side of the draw, too. Youve got to take it. It all balances out, and you have to take advantage of it.
 
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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.

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    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.


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    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.