Notes Boo Does Britain Tiger and the Telly

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2007, 4:00 pm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland -- Boo Weekley brought his backwoods charm to Britain, and already committed a faux pas.
 
Only it had more to do with history than culture.
 
Weekley says he doesn't pay attention to golf when he's not playing, and he made that abundantly clear last week while playing with Paul Lawrie at the Scottish Open.
 
Weekley, who grew up in the Florida Panhandle, was delighted to have qualified for his first British Open through a money list for PGA TOUR players. So he was happy to hear that Lawrie would be going to Carnoustie, too.
 
'I asked him, 'How'd you get in? You qualify?'' Weekley said in his syrupy drawl.
 
Lawrie won the British Open in 1999 the last time it was held at Carnoustie, setting a major championship record with a 10-shot comeback on the final round, helped mightily by the famous collapse by Jean Van de Velde on the 72nd hole.
 
British Open champions are eligible through their 65th birthday.
 
Lawrie is often overlooked because of Van de Velde's follies, making triple bogey on the final hole to blow a three-shot lead. Then again, Weekley had a quizzical look when someone mentioned Van de Velde.
 
'Who?' he said.
 
He slowly shook his head, as if trying to recall the name of someone who went to kindergarten with him.
 
'What did he do?' Weekley said.
 
Reporters were halfway through the memorable shot sequence when they gave up.
 
The trip otherwise has been uneventful for Weekley, although no way is he getting behind the wheel of a car -- not on the wrong side of the road, and with cars coming mighty fast in the other direction.
 
'I ain't driving. Nooooo,' Weekley said. 'These people over here, they all drive like Mario Andretti. They drive way too fast.'
 
CHANNEL SURFING:
Tiger Woods often says the best part about being home is knowing all the channels on his remote control.
 
He didn't have to take much of a crash course when he arrived at the house he is renting in Carnoustie.
 
'No cable,' Woods said. 'We have five channels. They had one show about vegetables. They were giving out ribbons for brussel sprouts.'
 
WILL TRAVEL, NEED CLUBS:
Lucas Glover missed qualifying for the British Open, but headed over to Carnoustie as the first alternate, hopeful someone would drop out. He strolled casually onto the grounds Monday wearing blue jeans, apparently unaware that Shingo Katayama had withdrawn with back and knee injuries.
 
'I'm on the bubble,' Glover said.
 
Actually, you're in.
 
'Really?' Glover replied.
 
That was the good news. His more immediate concern was locating his clubs, which failed to make it on his flight from the United States.
 
He wasn't alone, either.
 
Masters champion Zach Johnson couldn't practice Monday for the same reason. Ditto for Pat Perez and Carl Pettersson, who were on the same flight with Glover. And then there was Justin Leonard, who arrived on Sunday after a week off. His clubs had still not arrived by Monday afternoon, and the airline wasn't sure where they were.
 
'We just made him a new set, too,' Nike manager Kel Devlin said.
 
OPEN PROMOTER:
Ben Curtis has a clothing endorsement with Reebok to wear NFL logos of the cities where he plays, which would seem to give him a choice at the British Open.
 
But the former champion had the New York Giants logo on Sunday, and the Miami Dolphins on Monday.
 
That's no accident.
 
The Giants and Dolphins will play the first regular season NFL game in Europe next month, and Curtis said Reebok asked him to wear those teams to help promote the game.
 
'I'm the promoter,' the unassuming Curtis said. 'I'm the Don King of the NFL in Europe.'
 
O'HAIR RAISING:
Sean O'Hair made his British Open debut in 2005 by winning the John Deere Classic on Sunday, scrambling to get a passport and arriving just in time to play at St. Andrews.
 
It's been a different kind of hectic this time.
 
O'Hair got a virus in the final round of the AT&T National at Congressional that caused him to lose seven pounds, although he still closed with a 68 and tied for 25th. He then had to skip the John Deere Classic because doctors found a cyst under the nose his 6-month-old son, Luke. The surgery to remove the cyst was last week, and O'Hair said the boy was doing fine.
 
The best news was to find Carnoustie wasn't nearly as bad as he expected, especially after watching in on TV in 1999.
 
'I was expecting a lot more rough,' he said. 'I heard it was real nasty. But I think it's one of the greatest courses in the world.'
 
LEAVE THE LIGHT ON:
Peter Thomson has noticed several changes in the 50-plus years he has been at the British Open, from the course conditions to qualifying procedures to equipment -- even the accommodations.
 
'It was very difficult to get a room,' said Thomson, a five-time Open champion. 'We stayed in the Station Hotel up the road there somewhere, north of here. And of course, the London Express used to come through and the whole place would rattle.'
 
Thomson recalls in 1953 that a French player named Jean needed a place to stay. Roberto de Vicenzo offered the Frenchman to stay in his room, but none of the rooms had a bathroom. Guests had to go down a corridor to the public restroom.
 
'I had to get up at night and go down the corridor,' Thomson said. 'I stepped out of the room and here is a body with his back to the wall and his head down and his feet stretched out in the corridor, stark naked. I looked and it was Jean. He'd gone out of the room, and unfortunately, the latch must have locked the room because he couldn't get in without waking Roberto.'
 
Thomson suspects the lack of rooms is why Carnoustie went 24 years (1975 to 1999) without the British Open. And there's a message in there for the 156 players at Carnoustie this week.
 
'The players of today are really spoiled,' he said. 'And they've got to know that.'
 
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    Casey in line to make Ryder Cup after Travelers T-2

    By Will GrayJune 25, 2018, 10:30 am

    Despite coughing up a four-shot lead at the Travelers Championship, England's Paul Casey moved into a qualifying position to make his return to the Ryder Cup this fall in Paris.

    Casey struggled Sunday at TPC River Highlands, shooting a 72 as Bubba Watson raced to victory with a 63. But a four-way share of second place was still good enough to lift Casey into fourth place among those not already qualified on the World Points list, with the top four Europeans from that list in August punching their tickets to Le Golf National.

    Casey has played in three Ryder Cups before, but none since 2008. After renouncing his European Tour membership a few years ago, he reinstated it for the 2018 season in order to be eligible to return to the biennial matches.

    Here's a look at the updated standings for Europe, with the top four players from each points list ultimately joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn:

    European Points

    1. Tyrrell Hatton

    2. Justin Rose

    3. Tommy Fleetwood

    4. Francesco Molinari

    ---

    5. Thorbjorn Olesen

    6. Matthew Fitzpatrick

    World Points

    1. Jon Rahm

    2. Rory McIlroy

    3. Alex Noren

    4. Paul Casey

    ---

    5. Matthew Fitzpatrick

    6. Ian Poulter


    On the American side of the ledger, Watson jumped two spots to fifth with his third win of the year and seemingly locked up his spot on the squad, while Bryson DeChambeau moved inside the top eight with a top-10 finish in Connecticut.

    Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship earning automatic bids:

    1. Brooks Koepka

    2. Dustin Johnson

    3. Patrick Reed

    4. Justin Thomas

    5. Bubba Watson

    6. Jordan Spieth

    7. Rickie Fowler

    8. Bryson DeChambeau

    ---

    9. Webb Simpson

    10. Phil Mickelson

    11. Matt Kuchar

    12. Brian Harman

    Getty Images

    Watson cracks top 15 in world with Travelers win

    By Will GrayJune 25, 2018, 10:15 am

    After his third win in the last five months, Bubba Watson is back on the cusp of the upper echelon in the world rankings.

    Watson started the year ranked No. 89 in the world, but after a three-shot victory at the Travelers Championship the southpaw moved up seven spots to No. 13 in the latest rankings. It marks his best position since a missed cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February 2017.

    Watson stayed one spot behind Paul Casey, who was one of four runners-up in Connecticut and rose one position to 12th as a result. Beau Hossler's T-2 finish helped him jump 24 spots to No. 64, while J.B. Holmes went from 93rd to 75th with the same result. Stewart Cink, who grabbed a share of second with a final-round 62, went from No. 149 to No. 95 and is back inside the top 100 in the world rankings for the first time since September 2011.


    Updated Official World Golf Ranking


    Matt Wallace, who won the BMW International Open on the European Tour, went from 91st to 66th.

    There was only one change among the top 10 in the rankings, as an idle Jon Rahm moved past Jordan Spieth at No. 5 despite Spieth's T-42 finish at TPC River Highlands. At No. 6, Spieth is at his lowest point in the rankings since before last summer's victories at Travelers and The Open.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Rahm. Spieth slid to No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

    Poised to return to competition this week at the Quicken Loans National, Tiger Woods fell three spots to No. 82 in the latest rankings.

    Getty Images

    After Further Review: Spieth needs a break

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2018, 1:11 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On Jordan Spieth's much-needed break ...

    Jordan Spieth is heading for a break, and that’s probably a good thing.

    Spieth just wrapped a run of six events in seven weeks that featured largely underwhelming results. A third-place finish at the Masters that stemmed from a nearly-historic final round deflects attention away from the fact that Spieth has yet to enter a final round this year less than six shots off the lead.

    A return to his home state didn’t work, nor did a fight against par at Shinnecock or a title defense outside Hartford where everything went so well a year ago. His putting woes appear to have bottomed out, as Spieth finished 21st in putting at Travelers, but now the alignment issue that plagued his putting appears to have bled into other parts of his game.

    So heading into another title defense next month at Carnoustie, Spieth plans to take some time off and re-evaluate. Given how fast things turned around last summer, that might prove to be just what he needs. - Will Gray


    On the difference between this week and last week ...

    There wasn’t a single outraged tweet, not a lone voice of descent on social media following Bubba Watson’s victory at the Travelers Championship, a 17-under par masterpiece that included a closing loop of 30.

    Nobody declared that golf was broken, no one proclaimed the royal and ancient game a victim of technology and the age of uber athletes. The only response was appreciation for what Watson, a bomber in the truest form, was able to accomplish.

    At 6,840 yards, TPC River Highlands was built for fun, not speed. Without wild weather or ill-advised hole locations and greens baked to extinction, this is what the best players in the game do, and yet no one seemed outraged. Weird. - Rex Hoggard


    On the emergence of another LPGA phenom ...

    Add another young star to the favorites list heading to the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes outside Chicago next week.

    Nasa Hataoka, the 19-year-old Japanese standout who needed her rookie season last year to acclimate to the LPGA, broke through for her first LPGA title Sunday at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.

    This wasn’t a surprise to LPGA followers. Hataoka won the Japan Women’s Open when she was 17, the first amateur to win a major on the Japan LPGA Tour, and she has been trending up this year.

    Her tie for 10th at the U.S. Women’s Open three weeks ago was her fourth consecutive top-10 finish. She won going away in Arkansas, beating a deep field that included the top nine in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings. She outplayed world No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 3 Lexi Thompson on Sunday. - Randall Mell

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    Bubba waiting for Furyk's text about Ryder Cup

    By Will GrayJune 25, 2018, 12:39 am

    CROMWELL, Conn. – After winning his third PGA Tour title in the span of five months, Bubba Watson is now waiting by his phone.

    Watson’s victory at the Travelers Championship, his third at TPC River Highlands since 2010, accompanies recent victories at both the Genesis Open and WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play from earlier this year. It also moved the southpaw from No. 7 to No. 5 in the latest U.S. Ryder Cup standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically.

    After serving as an assistant captain at Hazeltine despite ranking No. 7 in the world at the time, Watson made it clear that he hopes to have removed any doubt about returning to the role of player when the biennial matches head to Paris this fall.


    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    “It still says in my phone that (U.S. captain) Jim (Furyk) hasn’t texted me yet. So I’d really like for him to say I’m going to pick you no matter what,” Watson said. “The motivation is I’ve never won a Ryder Cup, so making the Ryder Cup team and trying to win a Ryder Cup as a player would be another tournament victory to me. It would be a major championship to me just because I’ve never done it, been a part of it.”

    Watson turns 40 in November, and while he reiterated that his playing career might not extend too far into the future as he looks to spend more time at home with son Caleb and daughter Dakota, he’s also hoping to make an Olympic return in Tokyo in 2020 after representing the U.S. in Rio two years ago.

    “Talking about the Olympics coming up, that’s motivating me,” he said. “It was the best experience of my life to watch all the other events, and then the golf tournament got in the way. I’d love to do it again. I’d love to watch all the events and then have to play golf as well.”