Notes Norman Down But Not Out

By Associated PressJuly 30, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 U.S. Senior OpenKETTERING, Ohio -- Greg Norman may be down the leaderboard at the U.S. Senior Open, but he's not counting himself out.
Norman shot an up-and-down 2-under 69 on Saturday and stands at 6-under 207, five shots behind co-leaders Loren Roberts and Craig Stadler heading into the final round of the U.S. Senior Open.
Not surprisingly, Norman still thinks he can win.
``I got off to a pretty good start today,'' Norman said after going 5 under in a five-hole span on the front nine. ``I haven't played the back nine well all week. Hopefully there's one in there for me.''
Norman had back surgery earlier this year and is just coming back. He played well last week at the Senior British Open in his first over-50 event, and has shown signs of being his old dominating self this week at NCR Country Club.
A five-shot deficit isn't insurmountable in the pressure cooker of any major championship. Norman finished while the final groups were still on the course, but he was already thinking about what he needed to do on Sunday.
``You know the leader is going to shoot 1- or 2-under, so that means I've got to shoot around 64 to really have a shot at it,'' he said. ``You never know.''
As he stood over a 12-foot birdie putt at the sixth hole, Tom Watson appeared poised to add to his lead at the U.S. Senior Open. Instead, it was the beginning of a debacle.
``I had about 12 feet and I rolled it by about 2 feet, and I shoved it and lipped it out and rolled it back about 6 feet, then missed it coming back,'' Watson said.
The double-bogey dropped him two shots behind leader Loren Roberts. The shock didn't wear off right away, either. Watson played the final 12 holes in even-par, unable to make a charge.
He now has little margin for error.
``I'm still in the golf tournament,'' he said. ``I can't make the mistakes I did today, that's for sure. I can only afford maybe one mistake tomorrow. So that's my game plan: one mistake is all I can afford.''
Here are a few more facts and figures about the incredible record of Arnold Palmer, who said on Friday that he was through playing in major championships.
He appeared in 32 U.S. Opens, including 31 in a row from 1953-83, and had 10 top-5 finishes and 13 top-10s. He won the Open in 1960 and was second in 1962, '63 and '66. Palmer and Jack Nicklaus are the only players to have won U.S. Open, Senior Open and U.S. Amateur championships.
Palmer appeared in 25 consecutive U.S. Senior Opens from 1981 through this year at NCR Country Club, winning in 1981 and finishing second in 1984.
He played in five U.S. Amateurs, winning in 1954.
Palmer participated in 62 USGA championships, winning three times.
Dana Quigley started the third round of the U.S. Senior Open tied for 45th place, 11 shots back of co-leaders Tom Watson, Loren Roberts and Craig Stadler.
By the time he finished, he'd cut that gap to eight shots behind co-leaders Stadler and Roberts.
``I don't think you're going to see a lot of guys at my score today,'' he said after shooting a 5-under 66 that left him at 3-under 210 through 54 holes. ``First of all, it's getting deeper in the week and the pressure increases a bit. People are thinking that every shot hurts a lot more. And I think it's set up harder. The greens got a little bit quicker today.''
Quigley's streak of 278 consecutive starts on the Champions Tour ended last week when he did not make the trip to the Senior British Open.
For Saturday's round, Quigley sported a pink hat and a Hawaiian shirt.
``I'm going to come right back with it tomorrow, too,'' he said with a laugh. ``Flowered pink tomorrow. If I shoot 66 again, I'll put on pink underwear, believe me.''
Asked if he could catch the leaders, whom he trailed by six strokes at the end of his round, Quigley said, ``Stranger things have happened. I could come out and shoot one of Tiger's rounds. As a matter of fact, I'd like to have him come in and shoot for me.''
The tie between Craig Stadler and Loren Roberts marked the first time there had been co-leaders after three rounds of a Senior Open since 1989. ... News that bodes well for Roberts, a seniors ``rookie'': two of the last three winners were playing in their first Senior Open. ... Should Roberts win, he would be the youngest Senior Open winner ever at 50 years, 1 month and 7 days. ... Tom Watson, who won the Senior British Open last week, is seeking his first back-to-back wins since 1980 on the PGA Tour.
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - U.S. Senior Open
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Senior Open
  • Getty Images

    Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

    Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

    Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

    Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

    Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

    12/1: Dustin Johnson

    16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

    20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

    25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

    40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

    50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

    60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

    80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

    100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

    Getty Images

    Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

    If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

    Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

    Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

    Updated Official World Golf Ranking

    There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

    There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

    Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

    John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

    Getty Images

    Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

    By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

    Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

    Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

    Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

    “I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

    But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

    “I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”

    Getty Images

    Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

    Hoylake in 2006.

    That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

    So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

    With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

    “The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”