Rd 1 of BMW Championship washed out

By Associated PressSeptember 4, 2008, 4:00 pm
BMW ChampionshipST. LOUIS ' When the fans came out to watch Tiger Woods, there was no tournament. Arnold Palmer once played in a tournament, but fans couldnt get to the golf course.
 
St. Louis added yet another chapter to its dreary decade of golf history when the first round of the BMW Championship was washed out by storms that dumped 3 inches of rain on Bellerive Country Club.
 
We do know how to deal with adversity, said Jerry Ritter, the general chairman of the BMW Championship and a Bellerive member who has seen his share of it.
 
Dozens of players were at Bellerive getting ready for the American Express Championship the morning of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It was the first big event in St. Louis since the 1992 PGA Championship. Woods was playing in St. Louis for the first time in his career, but he only got in a practice round before the event was canceled.
 
Three years later, the U.S. Senior Open came to town, and rain washed out the second round Friday. At least they got in the tournament, with Peter Jacobsen going 36 holes on a creaky hip Sunday to win.
 
Palmer made his only appearance in the Boone Valley Classic on the Senior PGA Tour in 2000, and the King can draw a big gallery anywhere. But storms that week caused such a problem with traffic that fans couldnt get to Boone Valley.
 
The silver lining? Palmer returned four years later for the Senior Open, and with the cut pushed back to Saturday because of the rain, they at least saw him on the weekend.
 
And its not like the BMW Championship, the third stop in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, is a complete wash. The first round was postponed until Friday, with 36 holes on Saturday to get back on schedule.
 
The rain relented Thursday afternoon, giving tournament crews about 18 hours to get the course ready. It helps that Bellerive recently installed a new drainage system, which couldnt stop the downpour.
 
Its under water, said Slugger White, vice president of rules and competition for the PGA TOUR. Its as bad as Ive seen in a long time.
 
Creeks winding through the golf course transformed into lakes. Players would have needed boats to get across some of the bridges. Some landing areas in the fairways were water hazards.
 
It was so bad the ducks took the day off, White said.
 
The first round originally was delayed for two hours with hopes the storms would pass quickly. Hunter Mahan arrived a few hours before his scheduled tee time, but he knew what to expect when he awoke and called caddie John Wood.
 
I said, Is it raining? And he said, No, its pouring, Mahan said. I saw on television that creeks were flooded over and you needed a cart to get to some of the holes. Theres just too much water. To hold an event like this, it should be in the best shape possible.
 
Still to be determined is how White and his staff will set up the golf course.
 
Already a long course, the soggy fairways will make it play to its full length. White said some tees might need to be moved forward if previous landing areas are too much like a swamp.
 
He did not want to play 36 holes on Friday to keep traffic ' and subsequent damage ' limited while the golf course was trying to dry out. Plus, the fans in St. Louis now get a full day of golf on Saturday.
 
The third round was to end at 2:30 p.m. Saturday because of NBC Sports contract with Notre Dame football.
 
Now, we can give the fans and the community an extra five hours to watch golf, White said.
 
The BMW Championship is the third event in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, with Vijay Singh holding such a large lead that he could wrap up the title before the season-ending TOUR Championship.
 
Singh won the first two events at The Barclays and Deutsche Bank Championship.
 
Ritter said the tournament would honor Thursday tickets on the weekend, where the gallery was expected to top 35,000 people. He said ticket sales had been slightly short of a sellout, but that was due to another dose of bad news that St. Louis cant seem to escape.
 
Just as excitement was starting to build this summer, Woods announced he was having season-ending knee surgery.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - BMW Championship
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    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 all can grab the top spot in the world ranking.

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

    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 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.

    Getty Images

    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, GolfChannel.com 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.

    @kharms27 on Instagram

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.”


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    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.