Notes Young Guns Firing OMeara Moving On
Ben Curtis is the only American in his 20s with a major. Curtis and Jonathan Byrd are the only U.S. players under 30 with multiple wins.
'I think it's ridiculous,' Howell said. 'I don't understand it to be honest with you. I think American golf under 30 is fine. If you look across the board, if you look at guys playing nowadays, I don't buy into that, no.'
Indeed, it has become a sensitive topic.
But the last few weeks on the PGA TOUR have offered some hope, starting with the 27-year-old Howell.
He had two chances to win in his first three tournaments, after an offseason in which he poured the majority of his time into putting. Three birdies in a four-hole stretch on the back nine put a brief scare into Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines. Howell needed eagle on the final hole to force a playoff and hit a 3-wood from a tough lie in the rough to the middle of the green.
Woods called it 'one of the best shots I've seen him hit.'
'The lie wasn't all that good, but he pulled it off,' Woods said. 'That shows you he's heading in the right direction.'
Howell had company at the Buick Invitational.
Brandt Snedeker, 26, opened with a 61 and remained atop the leaderboard going into the final round but finished third. Jeff Quinney, the former U.S. Amateur champion, tied for fourth at the Bob Hope Classic. He was tied for the lead at Torrey Pines, then stumbled over the final five holes and tied for seventh.
Meanwhile, Howell moved up to No. 43 in the world rankings after starting the year at No. 82. He must stay inside the top 50 in the world or the top 10 on the money list (No. 3) through March to get into the Masters.
Mark O'Meara finished his regular PGA TOUR career with a birdie, but not much fanfare.
O'Meara turned 50 two weeks ago and said he would devote his time exclusively to the Champions Tour, except for the Masters and British Open. As a former champion of both majors, he can play Augusta National as long as he wants and the British Open until he's 65.
'There comes a time when you have to move on,' O'Meara said. 'I feel like I can still get the ball around a little bit, but I'm kidding myself if I think I can compete against these kids.'
He picked Torrey Pines as his finale, because he grew up nearby in Mission Viejo and won the Buick Invitational in 1997. O'Meara easily made the cut but stalled on the weekend. In a quiet departure, he was first off the 10th tee Sunday in the final round, meaning he finished on the ninth hole, nearly a mile from the clubhouse.
But he had a few fans, playing with Phil Mickelson and being only two groups behind Tiger Woods.
O'Meara did not rule out an end to regular PGA TOUR events, although he is so serious about the Champions Tour that he will miss the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, which he won five times.
'I'm looking forward to playing with guys my own age,' O'Meara said.
It's not as though Tiger Woods doesn't already win enough on the PGA TOUR.
In an oversight published on the back of its media guide, the PGA TOUR lists Woods as the defending champion at the Honda Classic, a tournament he never has played as a professional.
The defending champion is Luke Donald.
TOUR officials said last year that Mission Hills Golf Club in China would get the World Cup in 2007 and 2008, then stage a World Golf Championship every year through 2018.
That plan hasn't changed, even with Monday's announcement that the World Cup is no longer part of the WGC series.
Ty Votaw, executive vice president of international affairs for the PGA TOUR, said Tuesday a WGC event could be played in China as early as next year, more likely in 2009.
'Whether it's in China every year or not, those are details that haven't been worked out,' he said. 'The plan would be to have a presence in China on a regular basis.'
The San Diego Union-Tribune ran a mock trivia question last week asking who would be the first defensive back taken in the NFL draft. The answer was Tiger Woods.
Someone must have seen Woods' latest Buick commercial.
In one take, a fan runs up to him on the range and takes his stack of golf balls, then quickly returns and grabs his bag. Woods throws a ball and hits the man in the back, knocking him to the ground. Woods liked the commercial but felt it wasn't a natural reaction.
'If someone took my bag, I would do something a little bit more than just throw a golf ball at him,' he said. 'So I told the director, 'I have an idea. What do you think if I went out there and tried to grab the bag away from him?''
Only he didn't exactly grab him.
Woods lunged at the man and tackled him hard to the ground. What the commercial doesn't show is a small cut on the actor's forehead.
'As I got closer to him, I got into it a little bit,' Woods said. 'I got a little excited, and yeah, he had a little scratch on his forehead. Just a little scratch. He toweled off, and he was fine.'
After going 112 years without a corporate partner, the USGA now has two. Lexus has signed a deal to become the official car of the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open, U.S. Senior Open and U.S. Amateur. The USGA announced late last year a corporate partnership with American Express. ... Ryan Palmer withdrew from the Buick Invitational because his wife in Dallas went into labor. He got there with four hours to spare to see the birth of his first child, a son they named Mason Cooper. ... In the PGA TOUR's attempt to validate the Nationwide Tour as something more than a minor league, consider the disbursement of world ranking points Sunday. Miguel Carballo won the Nationwide event in Panama and received more ranking points than Andrew Buckle received for his tie for fourth at the Buick Invitational.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Since missing the cut at the U.S. Open, Tiger Woods is 166 under in his last 10 tournaments around the world, with 32 out of 40 of his rounds in the 60s.
'If you stick Tiger in anybody else's era, everybody else's total would be dramatically different.' -- David Duval.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Vegas helicopters in to Carnoustie, without clubs
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.
That face when you realized you visa to the UK is expired the same day you were supposed to travel. La cara cuando te das cuenta que tu visa al Reino Unido está vencida el mismo días que viajas.pic.twitter.com/lztAcLUNN0— Jhonattan Vegas (@JhonattanVegas) July 12, 2018
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.
Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship
Tiger Woods is competing in his first Open Championship since 2015. We're tracking him this week at Carnoustie.
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How to watch The Open on TV and online
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 GolfChannel.com.
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; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)
Monday, July 16
GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)
GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
Tuesday, July 17
GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
Wednesday, July 18
GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
Thursday, July 19
GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)
GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)
GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)
GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)
GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)
GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
Friday, July 20
GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)
GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)
GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)
GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)
GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
Saturday, July 21
GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)
NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)
GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)
GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)
GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)
GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
Sunday, July 22
GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)
NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)
GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)
GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)
GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)
GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major
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.