Notes Boos back in Britain Furyk on Perry

By Associated PressJuly 14, 2008, 4:00 pm
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Open ChampionshipSOUTHPORT, England -- Look out, Britain.
 
Boos back.
 
One year after charming the country with his folksy ways, Weekley returned for his second British Open and should have quite a following at Royal Birkdale this week.
 
Just be sure to keep an eye on his ball.
 
During a practice round Monday, Weekley yanked his tee shot at No. 8 onto a mound where several fans were standing left of the fairway. The ball whizzed over one mans head'luckily, he ducked'and hit another guy in the back of the left leg on one bounce.
 
The man was OK, but Weekley looked very concerned when he walked up.
 
Whod I hit? he asked.
 
This guy, everyone motioned. Assured no one was seriously hurt, Weekley whipped out his pen and signed the offending ball.
 
Sorry bout that, he said. I apologize.
 
No worries, Boo. The Brits are totally behind you.
 
Thats Boo Weekley, one of them said after he stopped to sign autographs behind the third green. Hes the best. I really hope he does well this week.
 
Weekley shrugged off his cult following on this side of the Atlantic.
 
I dont know about that, he said, pulling a dip of tobacco from his bottom lip after finishing up in the early evening. I just try to have fun and let the rest take care of itself.
 
Weekley was playing alone until Mark OMeara and Anthony Kim caught up with the Floridian on the third hole.
 
Is that Anthony Kim? Weekley joked when he saw the 23-year-old phenom. Is that Boo Weekley? Kim replied before they exchanged high-fives.
 
As always, Weekley was much more reverent with his elders.
 
Hello, Mr. OMeara, he said to the 51-year-old, shaking hands the traditional way.
 
Later, they were signing autographs together when OMeara asked, So, hows life treating you, Boo?
 
Lifes good, the 34-year-old Weekley replied. I just had me another child. A little boy.
 
Well, congratulations, OMeara said. It doesnt get much better than that, does it?
 
No, sir, it sure doesnt, Weekley said.
 
In an interesting twist, Weekley and his caddie, Joe Pyland, both had children a day apart last month. Weekley had a son named Aiden, Pyland a son named Jeffrey.
 
He beat me by a day, Pyland said during the flight to England.
 
The two already had a lot in common; both grew up in tiny Milton, Fla., love to hunt and sound an awful lot alike.
 
Now their bond is even closer.
 
TO PLAY OR NOT TO PLAY
Kenny Perry is getting plenty of attention this week for deciding ahead of time to skip the British Open and stick to his original plan of competing this week on the PGA Tour in Milwaukee.
 
Perry has said his only goal was to make the Ryder Cup team, but Jim Furyk made it clear he would never miss a major.
 
To the best of my knowledge, you cant win if you never play, Furyk said.
 
But he said Perry should be able to decide for himself where he plays. And he noted that he probably will play in 25 tournaments this year, and he already has won twice.
 
Oops. Make that three times.
 
Did he win yesterday? Furyk said.
 
Yes, he was told, in a playoff at the John Deere Classic after Brad Adamonis and Jay Williamson hit into the water.
 
Furyk shook his head, only it had nothing to do with Perrys decision.
 
Thats the kind of playoff I need to get into right there, Furyk said. In my playoffs, the other guy always hits it stiff.
 
Furyk is 2-7 in playoffs, including a seven-hole playoff loss to Tiger Woods.
 
FATHER-SON TRIP
Scott Verplank already has had a memorable trip to Britain. It began last week with a trip to Scotland to play Royal Dornoch, Cruden Bay and the Old Course at St. Andrews, where on the famous Road Hole, he hit a driver and a 4-iron to 3 feet for birdie.
 
And on Monday, he celebrated his 16th birthday.
 
The more famous Scott Verplank, a five-time PGA Tour winner and his father, was along for the ride.
 
Verplanks wife and his three younger daughters stayed in Oklahoma for this trip, leaving father and son quite the vacation. After a week of golf in Scotland, Scottie spent Monday walking alongside his father during his first full practice round at Royal Birkdale.
 
Playing was more fun.
 
They had matches on all three courses against Verplanks caddie, Scott Tway, and Oklahoma City businessman Everett Dobson.
 
He bailed me out a few times, Verplank said of his son. I think they were getting a little hot when he kept making putts.
 
The only downside to the trip was having to pay full fare at St. Andrews' $1,040 for a foursome.
 
KAYMERS HEART
Martin Kaymer is playing for the first time since becoming the first German in 20 years to win the BMW International Open in Munich, a playoff victory that he dedicated to his mother.
 
She died last week after a brief illness.
 
Its been a sad time for our family, but everyone has been wonderful, the 23-year-old Kaymer said. I definitely know there will be someone special looking down on me this week. And this is such a great tournament, I didnt want to miss it. And I know my mother would not want me to miss it, either.
 
Kaymer has two victories on the European tour this year and is No. 32 in the world ranking. He also had a close call in Dubai, where his birdie-birdie-eagle finish left him one shot short of catching Tiger Woods.
 
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    McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.

    Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.

    “It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.

    “Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”

    He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.  

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    Height of irony: Phil putts in front of 'rules' sign

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 1:36 pm

    A picture is worth 1,000 words and potentially two strokes for playing a moving ball under Rule 14-5 but not Rule 1-2.

    Phil Mickelson has been having some fun during his Open prep at Carnoustie hitting flop shots over human beings, but the irony of this photo below is too obvious to go over anyone's head.

    Mickelson also tried tapping down fescue two weeks ago at The Greenbrier, incurring another two-shot penalty.

    And so we're left to wonder about what Phil asked himself back at Shinnecock Hills: "The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’”

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    Rory looking for that carefree inner-child

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:28 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eleven years later, Rory McIlroy cringes at the photo: the yellow sweater with the deep V-neck, the chubby cheeks and the messy mop that curled under his cap.

    “You live and you learn,” he said Wednesday, offering a wry smile.

    The last time McIlroy played at a Carnoustie Open, in 2007, he earned the Silver Medal as the low amateur. He tied for 42nd, but the final result had mattered little. Grateful just to have a spot in the field, courtesy of his European Amateur title, he bounced along the fairways, soaking up every moment, and lingered behind the 18th green as one of his local heroes, Padraig Harrington, battled one of his favorite players, Sergio Garcia. Waiting for the trophy presentation, he passed the time playing with Padraig’s young son, Paddy. On Wednesday, McIlroy spotted Paddy, now 15, walking around Carnoustie with his three-time-major-winning father.

    “He’s massive now – he towers over me,” he said. “It’s so funny thinking back on that day.”

    But it’s also instructive. If there’s a lesson to be learned from ’07, it’s how carefree McIlroy approached and played that week. He was reminded again of that untroubled attitude while playing a practice round here with 23-year-old Jon Rahm, who stepped onto each tee, unsheathed his driver and bombed away with little regard for the wind or the bounce or the fescue. McIlroy smiled, because he remembers a time, not too long ago, that he’d attack a course with similar reckless abandon.


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I just think, as you get older, you get a little more cautious in life,” said McIlroy, 29. “I think it’s only natural. There’s something nice about being young and being oblivious to some stuff. The more I can get into that mindset, the better I’ll play golf.”

    And so on the eve of this Open, as he approaches the four-year anniversary of his last major title, McIlroy finds himself searching for a way to channel that happy-go-lucky 18-year-old who was about to take the world by storm, to tap into the easygoing excellence that once defined his dominance.

    It’s been a year since he first hinted at what he’s been missing. Last year’s Open at Royal Birkdale was the final event of his long run with caddie J.P. Fitzgerald. The chief reason for the split, he said, had nothing to do with some of the questionable on-course decisions, but rather a desire to take ownership of him game, to be freed up alongside one of his best friends, Harry Diamond.

    That partnership has produced only one victory so far, and over the past few months, McIlroy has at times looked unsettled between the ropes. It’s difficult to compute, how someone with seemingly so much – a résumé with four majors, a robust bank account, a beautiful wife – can also appear disinterested and unmotivated.

    “I think sometimes I need to get back to that attitude where I play carefree and just happy to be here,” he said. “A golf tournament is where I feel the most comfortable. It’s where I feel like I can 100 percent be myself and express myself. Sometimes the pressure that’s put on the top guys to perform at such a level every week, it starts to weigh on you a little bit. The more I can be like that kid, the better.”

    It’s a decidedly different landscape from when the erstwhile Boy Wonder last won a major, in summer 2014. Jordan Spieth had won just a single Tour event, not three majors. Dustin Johnson wasn’t world No. 1 but merely a tantalizing tease, a long-hitting, fast-living physical freak who was just beginning a six-month break to address "personal challenges." Two-time U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka hadn’t even started playing in the States.  

    McIlroy’s greatest asset, both then and now, was his driving – he put on clinics at Congressional and Kiawah, Hoylake and Valhalla. He was a mainstay at or near the top of the strokes gained: tee to green rankings, but over the past few years, because of better technology, fitness and coaching, the gap between him and the rest of the field has shrunk.

    “I think at this stage players have caught up,” Harrington said. “There’s many players who drive the ball comparable and have certainly eaten into that advantage. Rory is well on pace to get into double digits with majors, but it has got harder. There’s no doubt there’s more players out there who are capable of having a big week and a big game for a major. It makes it tough.”

    It’s not as though McIlroy hasn’t had opportunities to add to his major haul; they’ve just been less frequent and against stronger competition. In the 13 majors since he last won, he’s either finished in the top 10 or missed the cut in 11 of them. This year, he played in the final group at the Masters, and was on the verge of completing the career Grand Slam, before a soul-crushing 74 on the last day. His U.S. Open bid was over after nine holes, after an opening 80 and a missed cut during which he declined to speak to reporters after both frustrating rounds.

    “I’m trying,” he said Wednesday. “I’m trying my best every time I tee it up, and it just hasn’t happened.”

    A year after saying that majors are the only events that will define the rest of his career, he recently shrugged off the doom and gloom surrounding his Grand Slam drought: “It doesn’t keep me up at night, thinking, If I never won another major, I can’t live with myself.”

    Eleven years ago, McIlroy never would have troubled himself with such trivial questions about his legacy. But perhaps a return to Carnoustie, to where his major career started, is just what he needs to unlock his greatness once again.

     

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    Own history, grow the game with Open memorabilia auction

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 1:00 pm

    Get a piece of history and help grow the game, that's what The Open is offering with its memorabilia auction.

    The official Open Memorabilia site features unique Open assets from famous venues and Champion Golfers of the Year. All net proceeds received by The R&A from this project will be invested to support the game for future generations, including encouraging women’s, junior and family golf, on the promotion and progression of the sport in emerging golf nations and on coaching and development.

    Items for auction include limited edition prints of Champion Golfers of the Year, signed championship pin flags and limited edition historical program covers. Memorable scorecard reproductions and caddie bibs are also available to bid for on the website, with all items featuring branded, serialized holograms for authenticity.

    Click here to own your piece of history and to get more information on the auction.