Players brace for blustery weather at Senior PGA

By Associated PressMay 27, 2010, 4:45 am

PARKER, Colo. – Not only can Tom Watson play well in the wind, he can imitate the sound, too.

When asked about the course conditions following his practice round on a blustery Wednesday afternoon, Watson grabbed the microphone and began blowing into it.

As if there wasn’t enough wind already.

The gales again gusted through the course at Colorado Golf Club, site of this year’s Senior PGA Championship. At one point in the afternoon, the winds reached nearly 40 mph, making the day quite difficult for those on the course.

And this was a light day compared to Monday, when the winds reached the vicinity of 60 mph, forcing some of the golfers to pass on playing.

“It’s howling out there,” Watson said Wednesday. “It was really pretty calm in the morning for the first six holes. And then somebody turned the fans on.”

The winds are expected to gust again Thursday when play begins.

Not exactly a recipe for low scores.

“It was blowing so hard out there (Wednesday), I wouldn’t say it was much fun,” said Fred Couples, who admitted his balky back is giving him trouble. “It’s a hard course anyway, but when it’s like this it’s hard to hit a good shot.”

Watson is hoping the officials consider that when determining the course. Keeping it at 7,490 yards would be almost cruel in this breezy climate.

“They’re going to have to use some good judgment setting up the golf course, if they know the winds are going to be coming and blowing this way,” Watson said. “It’s a wonderful golf course. … I would like to see it just not blow this hard.”

That’s surprising since Watson typically thrives in windier weather, winning five British Open titles on courses usually known for blustery breezes.

So, what’s the secret?

“You throw the yardage somewhat out the window and you play by feel,” Watson said.

About then, a burst of wind banged against the side of the interview area.

“I hope this tent survives,” Watson said, smiling.

KITCHENAID DEAL: The Senior PGA Championship announced Wednesday that KitchenAid will be a presenting sponsor beginning next year at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.

The four-year agreement also includes bringing the 2012 and 2014 championships to The Golf Club at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich., the home of KitchenAid.

The Michigan course is designed by Jack Nicklaus and will officially open Aug. 10 with a charity event that features Nicklaus, Watson, Arnold Palmer and Johnny Miller.

ON THE MARK: The last time Mark O’Meara’s swing felt this crisp, this solid, he won two major championships, capturing the Masters and British Open in 1998.

That’s how locked in he is right now, how comfortable he feels over the ball.

He’s hoping it translates on the course this week.

“Do I think I’m there yet? I don’t think in golf you ever arrive,” O’Meara said. “But I think at times I’m a much better player now than I was, ball-striking wise, in 1998. That doesn’t give you the right (to think) that you’re going to all of a sudden play well. I’d like to play well here.”

FAST LANE: Fuzzy Zoeller will stick to driving a golf ball and leave driving a race car to the pros.

Although Zoeller is sponsoring a car in this weekend’s Indianapolis 500, he has absolutely no desire to test one out – ever.

“I’m a speed-limit man – right lane all the time,” Zoeller said. “I’m a 45-to-50 (mph) man, not 245, not 250.”

Zoeller leaves the driving on the track to Ed Carpenter, who will be behind the wheel of Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka car on Sunday. Carpenter will start in the third row, sandwiched between Graham Rahal and Hideki Mutoh.

“That’s amazing to see those kids drive those cars and the skill they have to drive them,” said Zoeller, who won the Senior PGA Championship title in 2002. “Speed just doesn’t do nothing for me.”

But promoting his product at a venue like Indy certainly appeals to him.

“Where else do you have 350,000 screaming idiots? It works,” chuckled Zoeller, who launched his burgeoning spirits business around a year ago. “This is an outstanding car, too. It’s got a lot of speed.”

BIG FAN: With his steady nerves and poise, 16-year-old Jordan Spieth of Dallas caught the nation’s attention as he finished tied for 16th place at the Byron Nelson Championship last weekend.

He also impressed fellow Texan Ben Crenshaw, who happened to catch glimpses of Spieth’s play on television.

“Great performance,” Crenshaw said. “Reminds you of a 16-year-old Jack Nicklaus.”

Lofty praise, indeed.

“He’s good,” Crenshaw said.

Not only that, but Crenshaw appreciated his choice in schools. Spieth is planning to attend the University of Texas, the same school where Crenshaw once was a star. Crenshaw won three straight NCAA championships at Texas, sharing the title with teammate Tom Kite in 1972.

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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.