Notes Bubba Needs Focus Hole-In-Three

By Associated PressMay 31, 2007, 4:00 pm
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Bubba Watson has every shot in the bag. He just may not have the required patience and self-restraint to hit them all the time.
'My goal every week is just to stay focused,' he said Thursday after shooting a 6-under 66 to finish a shot behind leaders Sean O'Hair, Rod Pampling and Nick O'Hern in the opening round of the Memorial. 'I'm not worried about hitting shots.'
Watson hates to wait or kill time -- two things professional golfers have to do 18 holes at a time. He'd prefer to do something, anything, other than just standing around.
For Watson, patience is certainly not a virtue.
'Going out there for five hours, I can't sit still,' Watson said. 'When I'm at home, on my week off I play golf with everybody back home. I might go out there for 36 holes. I've got to do something. I'll go play basketball, play tennis. I just get bored, so going out there in the heat and waiting on the group in front of us -- I've got a weak mind, I guess. I've got other thoughts going through my head, like what movie I'm going to watch tonight. Just random stuff.'
One of the longest hitters on tour, Watson is off to a strong start this season. He has four top-10 finishes this year and ranks 29th on the money list. He's already made more money than he did all of last season, when he finished 90th on the list as a rookie.
When his mind wanders, Watson takes chances.
For instance, a year ago in his first trip to the Memorial, he was 5 over for the tournament when he came to the 14th hole on Saturday. Now the 14th is a simple hole, a long iron off the tee and a wedge to the narrow green which is surrounded by bunkers and water.
Yet Watson pulled out driver on the 363-yard hole. And he drove the green.
'That was just immature stuff compared to now,' he said. 'I'd already made the cut, so I figured why not get somebody to remember who I am?'
Mission accomplished. The gallery went wild when it realized that someone had driven the green. After accepting applause at the green, he two-putted for the birdie.
Even moments that like have taught him that he needs to rein in his racing thoughts.
'I've just got to keep grinding away and keep trying to stay focused -- somehow something has got to click when I stay focused,' he said. 'That's what I have to learn. The physical part of the game, I have all the shots. I'm not saying I'm going to be No. 1 in the world, but that's my goal. If I can stay focused, I have a better shot at it.'
The cheer behind the 12th green was loud enough to signal a hole-in-one. Jose Coceres had to settle for par.
Coceres hit a 6 iron into the water right of the 184-yard, par-3 hole off the tee, so he had to go to the drop area. His 99-yard third shot with a sand wedge took a hop and disappeared into the cup for a par, although the Argentine celebrated as if it were an ace. He raised both arms in the air, removed his cap and took a bow.
'Very nice. A very good par -- with no putter,' he said with a smile.
The first round of the Memorial tournament started with word that Phil Mickelson was withdrawing because of a wrist injury. It ended with another top player leaving the course.
Masters champion Zach Johnson withdrew due to strep throat after hitting his drive on the 16th hole.
Johnson got a ride to the clubhouse, where he consulted with a doctor. Then he slowly walked to his waiting car.
'I can hardly talk,' he said before departing, pointing to his throat.
Last year's Memorial winner, Carl Pettersson, actually improved on his first-round score from 2006. He shot a 68, a stroke better than a year ago, when he finished 67-69-71 to get to 12-under 276 and win by two shots over Brett Wetterich and Johnson.
Unlike a year ago, he was recognized as he moved around the course.
'Yeah, it was nice,' he said. 'A few guys shouting 'Go champ!' and stuff like that. It was nice to play well and get off to a good start.'
Phil Mickelson, after withdrawing because of an injury to his left wrist: 'I'm not really worried yet, no. It's never happened before, so I'm not really sure what to think of it.'
The Memorial hadn't had three or more players tied for the first-round lead since 1998. ... Wetterich, tied for second a year ago, shot a 77, tied for worst on the day. ... Mickelson's withdrawal was only the second of his career. He bowed out of the 2004 Las Vegas Invitational because of food poisoning. ... Lucas Glover also withdrew, because of back spasms.
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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  

    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; or check the GLE app)

    Monday, July 16

    GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

    GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

    GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

    Tuesday, July 17

    GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

    Wednesday, July 18

    GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

    Thursday, July 19

    GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

    GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

    Friday, July 20

    GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

    Saturday, July 21

    GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

    NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

    Sunday, July 22

    GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

    NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (

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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.