Notes The Saga of Daly No Thrill Phil

By Associated PressJuly 19, 2007, 4:00 pm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland -- John Daly holed out from the fairway for eagle. Three holes later, he was botching chips on his way to a triple bogey. His opening round of the British Open was loaded with ups and downs, just like his career.
The Scottish gallery who remember him winning at St. Andrews in 1995 was buzzing when they saw his name atop the leaderboard Thursday, especially when his sand wedge from 60 yards rolled into the cup at No. 11 and put him in the lead at 5 under.
Alas, it was temporary.
'He couldn't decide which club to hit,' caddie Michael Owen said of the tee shot at No. 12.
It turned out to be a 3-wood, and it went to the right into a miserable lie in the rough. Daly got it out to the fairway, hit 6-iron some 50 feet away and three-putted for double bogey, missing from 2 feet.
He recovered with a par on the next hole, and Daly was in good shape off the tee on the 14th. But he pulled his approach into a bunker, then caught his third shot so thin that it sailed over the green into another terrible lie.
'His chip didn't reach the green,' Owen said. 'His next chip didn't reach the green.'
Daly rammed the third chip 25 feet past the hole, took two putts and rang up an 8. He followed that with back-to-back bogeys, then dropped one more shot on the 18th when he missed the green to the right.
The linescore: Three birdies and an eagle through the first 11 holes, three bogeys, a double bogey and a triple bogey on the last seven.
He went from in the lead to a tie for 74th.
He finished with a 74 and walked away from reporters without speaking.
Mark Calcavecchia has been on the PGA Tour for 25 years and has gone through just about everything. A trip to the British Open brought a new experience that he could do without.
Calcavecchia played Carnoustie with his own set of golf clubs for the first time Thursday.
The former British Open champion was among several players who had luggage problems on the trip to Scotland, but Calcavecchia had a double-whammy. Not only did he not get his golf clubs, he didn't get his clothes.
'I left on Sunday,' he said. 'I didn't get anything until 5 o'clock yesterday.'
Ping made him a replacement set for a practice round, but he struggled with the driver and 3-wood and was thrilled to be using his regular set when he teed off Thursday. He shot a 74, but blamed that on his putter.
The clothes? Now that's another story.
Calcavecchia got so desperate he asked to borrow pants from Carl Pettersson, and was shocked to hear the Swede's waist size was 36.
'He must be wearing those way below the belly line,' Calcavecchia said.
He finally broke down and went shopping, picking up a sweater and a shirt in the Carnoustie clubhouse for a cool $250.
'I don't even like the sweater or the shirt,' he said. 'They'll be a Christmas present for someone.'
Maybe it's an omen. The last time he bought something he ordinarily gets for free was a putter in March that he paid $256.18 in a pro shop. He went on to win the PODS Championship at Innisbrook.
Rod Pampling opened with a 70, one shot better than 1999 in Carnoustie when he led the British Open after one round. He was the only player to match par.
Of course, Pampling made history that year by becoming the first player in a major to go from first-to-worst. He shot 86 in the second round and missed the cut.
He wasn't thinking about that Thursday.
'I guess it should cross my mind tomorrow,' Pampling said. 'But I'm not worried about that just yet.'
This was a pretty tame round by Phil Mickelson's standards in the British Open -- two birdies, two bogeys, 14 pars, nothing particularly memorable in an even-par 71.
Although he didn't shoot himself out of the Open, he knew it could have been better.
'We could really have gone low,' Mickelson said. 'The greens were receptive. We could have got the ball close to a number of pins. A lot of guys did. I didn't capitalize on the green.'
Mickelson at least learned that his left wrist his stronger. He found thick rough off the tee on the final hole and had to gouge out a wedge that barely got back to the first cut. He wound up with a bogey.
'Fortunately, there are three rounds left, and I didn't shoot myself in the foot and let the round slide.'
Markus Brier, the only player from Austria at Carnoustie, is starting to find his way on the European Tour, winning the CA Open in Austria last year and the China Open this season.
Austria is not exactly a hotbed for golf, with most of its sporting heroes found on the slopes. Brier was a big fan of Franz Klammer, an 1976 Olympic gold medalist in the downhill.
Just not a big enough fan to follow in his skis.
'I grew up in Vienna, which isn't the skiing part of Austria,' Brier said. 'We don't have any big mountains or anything. I know him quite well. He plays golf quite well. He's one of the most well-known sportsmen in Austria. But skiing was never really my talent.'
Winning the U.S. Open over Tiger Woods at Pinehurst No. 2 two years ago didn't exactly motivate Michael Campbell. If anything, he lost his desire.
He found inspiration from a DVD he watched two months ago of former winners at the British Open. It showed Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, who have 11 claret jugs among them.
'It got the juices going,' Campbell said after a 68 that left him in a tie for third. 'I watched videos and DVDs at the golf course and tried to learn from it, and that really inspired me.'
The Kiwi learned it can work the other way. He was deeply touched last year when U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy said he was inspired by seeing Campbell win the year before.
'Winning a major is breaking down all the barriers for these guys,' he said. 'I'm pretty excited about the next three rounds.'
Paul Lawrie can play in the British Open through his 65th birthday as a past champion. Where he really wanted to be Thursday was the Masters, the only major that doesn't let anyone inside the ropes except for players, caddies and television cameras and rules officials.
He was playing with Tiger Woods on Thursday, and they weren't alone.
Lawrie spent much of the time barking instructions to photographers who he felt were camped too close to his line of sight while hitting shots from the rough. Lawrie opened with a 73.
'It is surprising how many people are allowed inside the ropes at a tournament like this,' he said. 'I don't personally agree with it. You've got people behind you who are paying a lot of money, and half the time they are asking you guys to sit down and get out of the way. It's not great, but it's not up to me who gets in and who doesn't. It doesn't happen at the Masters, does it?'
Lawrie's exemption to the Masters ran out three years ago.
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    Four players vying for DJ's No. 1 ranking at Open

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 8:41 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Four players have an opportunity to overtake Dustin Johnson for world No. 1 this week.

    According to Golf Channel world-rankings guru Alan Robinson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm each can grab the top spot in the world ranking.

    Thomas’ path is the easiest. He would return to No. 1 with either a win and Johnson finishing worse than solo third, or even a solo runner-up finish as long as Johnson finishes worse than 49th.

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Twenty years after his auspicious performance in The Open, Rose can get to No. 1 for the first time with a victory and Johnson finishing worse than a two-way tie for third.

    Kopeka can rise to No. 1 if he wins consecutive majors, assuming that his good friend posts worse than a three-way tie for third.

    And Rahm can claim the top spot with a win this week, a Johnson missed cut and a Thomas finish of worse than solo second.   

    Johnson’s 15-month reign as world No. 1 ended after The Players. He wasn’t behind Thomas for long, however: After a tie for eighth at the Memorial, Johnson blew away the field in Memphis and then finished third at the U.S. Open to solidify his position at the top.

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    Punch shot: Predictions for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 4:00 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In advance of the 147th Open Championship, writers sound off on burning questions as players ready for a fast and firm test at Carnoustie. Here’s what our writers think about myriad topics:

    The Monday morning headline will be …

    REX HOGGARD: “Survival.” This one is easy. It always is at Carnoustie, which is widely considered The Open’s most demanding major championship test. Monday’s headline will be that the champion - pick a champion, any one will do - “survived” another dramatic Open. You don’t dominate Carnoustie; you endure.

    RYAN LAVNER: “DJ Bashes Way to Victory at Carnoustie.” If somehow a two-win season could be disappointing, it has been for DJ. He’s first in scoring average, birdie average, par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring, strokes gained: tee to green and proximity from the rough. Those last two stats are the most important, especially here at Carnoustie, with these dry conditions. The game’s preeminent long-and-straight driver, there’s a better-than-decent chance he rolls.

    MERCER BAGGS: “Rahm Tough: Spaniard charges to Open victory.” Jon Rahm will claim him maiden major title this week by powering his way through the winds and fescue at Carnoustie.

    JAY COFFIN: “Thomas wins second major, ascends to world No. 1 again.” Shortly after The Open last year, Thomas rolled through the end of the PGA Tour season. This is the time of year he likes best. Despite a poor Open record the last two years, he’s not remotely concerned. He’s a tad miffed he didn’t win in France two weeks ago and comes to Carnoustie refreshed, with a gameplan, and ready to pounce.

    Who or what will be the biggest surprise?

    HOGGARD: Style of play. Given Carnoustie’s reputation as a brute, the surprise will be how the champion arrives at his lofty perch. Unlike previous editions at Carnoustie, this week’s dry conditions will promote more aggressive play off the tee and the winner will defy the norm and power his way to victory.

    LAVNER: Tiger Woods. This is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year, and here’s believing he contends. His greatest strengths are his iron game and scrambling, and both aspects will be tested to the extreme at Carnoustie, helping separate him from some of the pretenders. With even a little cooperation from his putter, he should be in the mix.

    BAGGS: Padraig Harrington. He had a good opening round last week at the Scottish Open and has some good vibes being the 2007 Open champion at Carnoustie. He won’t contend for four rounds, but a few days in the mix would be a nice surprise.

    COFFIN: Alex Noren. Perhaps someone ranked 11th in the world shouldn’t be a surprise, but with so much focus on some of the bigger, household names, don’t be surprised when Noren is in contention on Sunday. He hasn’t finished worse than 25th since early May and won two weeks ago in France. He also tied for sixth place last year at Royal Birkdale.

    Who or what will be the biggest disappointment?

    HOGGARD: Jordan Spieth. Although he was brilliant on his way to victory last year at Royal Birkdale, Spieth is not the same player for this week’s championship, the byproduct of a balky putter that has eroded his confidence. Spieth said giving back the claret jug this week was hard, but his finish will be even tougher.

    LAVNER: Weather. This might sound a little sadistic, but one of the unique joys of covering this tournament is to watch the best in the world battle conditions they face only once a year – the bone-chilling cold, the sideways rain, the howling wind. It doesn’t appear as though that’ll happen this year. With only a few hours of light rain expected, and no crazy winds in the forecast, the biggest challenge for these stars will be judging the bounces on the hard, baked-out turf.

    BAGGS: Jordan Spieth. The defending champion is still trying to find his winning form and Carnoustie doesn’t seem the place to do that. As much as he says he loves playing in strong winds, there should be enough danger around here to frustrate Spieth into a missed cut.

    COFFIN: Rory McIlroy. I hope I’m wrong on this, because the game is better when Rory is in contention at majors. Putting always has been his issue and seemingly always will be. While there isn’t as much of a premium placed on putting this week because of slower greens, he may still have to hit it close. Super close.

    What will be the winning score?

    HOGGARD: 10 under. The last two Opens played at Carnoustie were won with 7-under and 6-over totals, but this week’s conditions will favor more aggressive play and lower scores. Expect to see plenty of birdies, but the great equalizer will come on Sunday when wind gusts are forecast to reach 25 mph.

    LAVNER: 15 under. An Open at Carnoustie has never produced a winner lower than 9 under (Tom Watson in 1975), but never have the conditions been this susceptible to low scores. Sure, the fairway bunkers are still a one-shot penalty, but today’s big hitters can fly them. The thin, wispy rough isn’t much of a deterrent. And the wind isn’t expected to really whip until the final day.

    BAGGS: 12 under. We aren’t going to see the same kind of weather we have previously witnessed at Carnoustie, and that’s a shame. Any players who catch relatively benign conditions should be able to go low, as long as they can properly navigate the fairway rollout.

    COFFIN: 14 under. Walked into a local golf shop in the town of Carnoustie wearing a Golf Channel logo and the man behind the counter said, “It’ll take 14 under to win this week.” Well, he’s been here for years and seen Carnoustie host The Open twice before. He knows more about it than I do, so I’ll stick with his number.

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    Watch: Na plays backwards flop and practices lefty

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 3:16 pm

    Fresh off his victory at The Greenbrier, Kevin Na is taking a quite-literally-backwards approach to his Open prep.

    Caddie Kenny Harms has been sharing videos of Na's early work at Carnoustie.

    This one shows Na standing in a bunker and playing a flop shot over his own head (as opposed to someone else's):

    While it's unlikely he'll have a need for that exact shot this week, it's far more likely a player may have to think about turning his club over and playing from the wrong side of the ball, like so:

    Na has made 4 of 6 cuts at The Open and will look to improve on his best career finish, currently a T-22 in 2016 at Royal Troon.

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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.”

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    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.