Notes Cheeseheads Choose Scotland Over Home

By Associated PressJuly 17, 2007, 4:00 pm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland -- Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly were among the first to arrive at the British Open, playing a practice round at Carnoustie over the weekend that included a spirited bet and took them back to their junior days in Wisconsin.
 
This is the place to be this week, even if a part of them would rather be somewhere else.
 
Under the reconfigured PGA TOUR schedule, the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee is now held the same week as the British Open. That's not a big deal for most players, except those who grew up and still live in the state.
 
'It's Jerry's major,' Stricker said with a laugh, noting that Kelly has twice been runner-up at Milwaukee.
 
Some thought Milwaukee would be relegated to the fall when the PGA TOUR shortened its regular season under the new FedExCup competition, so it could have been worse. Although the U.S. Bank Championship rarely attracted the biggest names, it stings to lose two of the state's most popular players.
 
'It's a tough deal,' said Stricker, noting he also skipped the John Deere Classic last week, another longtime favorite. 'I've got to be here, because it's a major. It's a little more important than U.S. Bank, but it hurts us both not to be there.'
 
Stricker knew in May he would be at Carnoustie, qualifying through the top 50 in the world ranking. Kelly chose to go through the U.S. qualifier at Oakland Hills, and he never gave it another thought.
 
'I could not take a chance at missing a major,' Kelly said. 'The U.S. Bank, if we won that, would be the closest tournament to our hearts. The emotion we get from all the people is incredible. Everybody from Wisconsin is so behind is. But winning a major would change our lives. Winning the U.S. Bank would feel great, but it wouldn't change our lives.'
 
THE FULL MONTY:
Colin Montgomerie has only seriously challenged to win the claret jug once, but the combination of his victory two weeks ago in Ireland and the British Open being played in his native Scotland has bookmakers nervous.
 
William Hill has lowered his odds to 25-to-1, but the number of bets placed on Montgomerie to win has been so large that bookmakers say the betting turnover would be more than $50 million.
 
'Despite his failure to make the cut in the Scottish Open last week, Monty is the man the punters want to back for the Open,' Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe said. 'Every other bet seems to have his name on at the moment, and we will certainly be handing over a hefty, seven-figure sum to punters should Monty manage to win.'
 
The second worst-case-scenario for the bookmakers would be Luke Donald winning.
 
The bookmakers say Phil Mickelson, who lost the Scottish Open in a playoff, was not getting much action at 14-to-1.
 
Woods remained the favorite at 3-to-1, followed by Ernie Els at 12-to-1.
 
BEST COACHES:
Butch Harmon has what some of his clients want -- a No. 1 ranking.
 
Harmon was voted the top teacher in golf for the fourth straight year in Golf Digest magazine's biennial ranking of America's 50 greatest teachers. More than 1,000 teachers from the 50 states were asked to rate instructors in their region and nominate the best teachers in the nation. Golf Digest combined the results from the local and national survey.
 
Harmon is the swing coach for Adam Scott (No. 4 in the world ranking) and recently was hired by Phil Mickelson, who slipped one spot to No. 3 in the ranking this week. Harmon previously worked with Greg Norman and Tiger Woods when they rose to No. 1.
 
Harmon narrowly beat out David Leadbetter. Hank Haney, who coaches Woods, checked in at No. 3, followed by Jim McLean and Jim Flick. The highest-rated female coach was Pia Nilsson, who works with Annika Sorenstam, at No. 21.
 
LOVE OF CLUBS:
Golfers can get downright emotional about their clubs. Just listen to Zach Johnson, who was clearly rattled when his bag didn't accompany him on the flight to Scotland.
 
The Masters champ was practicing Tuesday with a backup set when he got a call from his trainer on the fourth hole.
 
'He goes, 'Where are you?'' Johnson recounted. 'I'm like, 'Are my clubs here?' He said, 'Where are you?' And I said, 'Are my clubs here?' And he said, 'Yes.''
 
And what was Johnson's reaction?
 
'I nearly cried, put it that way,' he said. 'Not that the clubs I was using were bad, they just weren't mine. I don't like to mess around. I'm very particular about my grips. They don't have my grips here.'
 
Of course, it's easy to understand why Johnson is so attached to these clubs. He used them to pull off his upset win at Augusta National in April.
 
'I was very concerned,' he said. 'And now I'm very, very, very, very happy that my clubs are here.'
 
DIVOTS:
Annika Sorenstam has launched her own Web site (www.annikasorenstam.com). She tried to get 'Annika' as her site, but it already was taken by an unknown Swedish outfit. Along with offering details of her career, academy, golf course design and fitness advice, Sorenstam also shares some of her favorite recipes. ... Former U.S. Open and British Open champion Tony Jacklin has been named the 2007 Ambassador of Golf, an award presented each year at Firestone to the person who has fostered ideals of the game on an international level.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Europe has had 18 players finish in the top five at a major since Paul Lawrie became the last European to win a major championship at Carnoustie in 1999.
 
FINAL WORD:
'You enjoy a major afterward. From Thursday to Sunday, it's hard work.' -- Ernie Els.
 
Related Links:
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    Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

    By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

    Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

    The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

    Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

    Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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    Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

    He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

    “There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

    Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

    Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

    “It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

    More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

    “I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”