Second Place Not So Bad for Tiger

By Associated PressJune 18, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. OpenOAKMONT, Pa. -- Jack Nicklaus figures at least one of his major championship records is safe.
 
Tiger Woods left Oakmont having squandered another chance to win a major while playing in the last group, unable to make but one birdie in the final round of the U.S. Open despite having a short iron for his approach to the green on a half-dozen occasions.
 
The next opportunity -- maybe -- will be at Carnoustie for the British Open, where he is the two-time defending champion. And if he does show up, it will be his first major as a father. His wife is due sometime between now and then.
 
Nicklaus had his first child when he was an amateur, so he won all 18 majors with children.
 
'I think that (record) is probably in pretty good shape,' Nicklaus said earlier this year.
 
The magic number has always been 18 for Woods, who effectively launched his assault on the Nicklaus benchmark when he won four straight majors ending with the 2001 Masters, giving him six at age 25, and he hasn't hit too many dry spells since then.
 
This is not one of them.
 
Sunday at Oakmont was his fourth straight major in the final group, an incredible statistic that gets forgotten because the U.S. Open was his second straight major as a runner-up.
 
Almost as impressive as the 18 majors for Nicklaus are the 19 times he finished second.
 
Is it possible Woods can reach that record before the other?
 
It seems preposterous now, because Woods has 12 trophies and only four consolation prizes. What the last year has shown, however, is that winning starts with putting yourself in position, and no one has done that better, not even close.
 
'My last four majors,' Woods said, ticking off his record, '1, 1, 2, 2. Not terrible, but it could have been a little better.'
 
In an age of instant gratification, it can be difficult to see the big picture.
 
What made Nicklaus such a dominant force in the majors was that he was usually around the top of the leaderboard on the final round, finishing second by making a mistake ('63 British Open), getting outplayed (Lee Trevino, Tom Watson), or simply having too much ground to make up in the final round ('64 Masters).
 
During a quarter-century of contending in majors, he has experienced just about everything.
 
And maybe that's what awaits Woods.
 
The shocker was not that he missed the cut at Winged Foot last year for the first time in a major, but that it took 10 years for it to happen. Woods is 12-0 in the majors with at least a share of the 54-hole lead; one of these times, he won't win. It happened to Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, even Ben Hogan.
 
There have been 29 majors when Woods trailed going into the final round, and he still hasn't won from behind.
 
'I haven't gotten it done,' he said. 'Put myself there, and haven't gotten it done.'
 
That will change, too.
 
What separates Woods from everyone else in the game is the number of times he gives himself a chance, and those are starting to pile up in alarming fashion. In the last 10 majors, Woods has been atop the leaderboard or within two shots seven times.
 
He has lost the last two majors to guys who hardly fit the profile of Tiger slayers. One was Zach Johnson at the Masters, who made all the birdie putts that Woods didn't. The other was Angel Cabrera at Oakmont, who hit all the iron shots that turned out badly for Woods.
 
Cabrera, playing four groups ahead of Woods, was in the fairway on the par-4 11th and stuffed his shot into 2 feet for birdie. Woods was in the bunker and fanned a shot that found the bunker, leading to his only bogey on the back nine.
 
From the first cut of rough on the 15th, Cabrera cut a shot toward the flag that stopped 3 feet behind the flag for a birdie that ultimately was the difference. Woods had a similar lie and put it over the flag, into a shaggy collar around the green, and he had to make an 8-foot par putt just to stay in the game.
 
Even without trophies, Woods hasn't lost his mystique.
 
He had to hole a shot from the 18th fairway at Augusta National to force a playoff with Johnson, and the normal guy from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, started having abnormal thoughts watching from the locker room.
 
'Before he hit it, I'm like, 'He's done stranger things,' Johnson said. 'The guy is a phenom.'
 
Woods only needed a single birdie over his final three holes at Oakmont to force a playoff, and as Cabrera watched from the clubhouse, he was making plans for one more round of Oakmont in a playoff.
 
But it didn't happen.
 
Woods did well to two-putt for par on the 244-yard 16th hole. His best chance came at the 17th, a par 4 where the tee box was moved to the front and hole played 306 yards. Woods chose 3-wood and found the right bunker, where it looked as though he would at least give himself a decent look at birdie. He said the ball caught a tiny rock in the bunker, taking off just enough spin that it rolled past the flag, down the bank and off the green.
 
Even as Woods faced a tricky lie between the first cut of rough and the deeper stuff along the 18th fairway, he had only a wedge in his hand. Cabrera was asked if he thought Woods would make birdie, and his answer needed no interpretation.'
 
'Si,' the 37-year-old Argentine said.
 
'Tiger can birdie any hole. He's the No. 1,' Cabrera later said through a translator.
 
But not at this major. And not at the last major.
 
'Finishing second is never fun,' Woods said.
 
But it's not all bad, either. And over the course of his career, it's bound to happen more often.
 
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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 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)

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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.

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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.