Tight Lies Tour Going High-Tech

By Associated PressNovember 30, 2004, 5:00 pm
The Tight Lies Tour is one of several regional circuits for players with aspirations of making the big leagues. One of its alumni is Ryan Palmer, who held off Vijay Singh last month at Disney for his first PGA Tour victory.
Now, the Texas-based tour believes it has the future of golf.
Only it's not a player.
Starting next year, the Tight Lies Tour will become what is believed to be the first professional golf tour to allow players to use an electronic device to get yardages during competition.
The tour has become partners with SkyGolf GPS and its SG2 rangefinder, which uses satellite-based technologies to measure the distance to the green, to carry a bunker or to lay up short of a water hazard.
Tight Lies Tour president Gary DeSerrano said the primary reason is to help the pace of play.
'We started analyzing some of the slow play that goes along with the professional golf ranks,' DeSerrano said. 'The majority was finding yardages and going through the routine. This new technology is the future of golf, and we have no doubt that SkyGolf will be an asset for our tour and our professionals.'
There's just one problem - it's against the Rules of Golf.
According to the Rule 14-3, a player cannot use an artificial device 'to gauge or measure distance or conditions that might affect his play.'
The solution?
'We've made a local rule that allows our players to use the device in competition,' DeSerrano said. 'We'll monitor the pace and see how this affects it.'
That means the Tight Lies Tour can no longer rely on the U.S. Golf Association - which governs golf in the United States and Mexico - for any other decision related to the rules.
But the USGA is hardly frowning on the use of rangefinders.
'I don't think it's any secret that the USGA favors allowing them to be used under the rules,' USGA executive director David Fay said. 'My personal view is that it enables guys like me to get the type of yardage assistance that (caddie) Steve Williams is providing Tiger Woods.'
The USGA allows players to use rangefinders when posting a score for handicap purposes, although they are illegal in competition.
What keeps the USGA from pushing harder for rangefinders is its harmonious relationship with the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, which sets the rules everywhere else in the world. The next time the rules can be changed is 2008, but the R&A is in no hurry to adopt an electronic yardage book.
'I think many people in the UK are opposed to these devices,' R&A secretary Peter Dawson said. 'These items are much more prevalent in the U.S., despite the fact they are against the Rules of Golf. It's remarkable they are allowed for handicapping purposes.'
Told that the Tight Lies Tour was going to use the SkyGolf GPS rangefinder next year, Dawson replied, 'That staggers me. I suppose they're not going to have stroke-and-distance for going out of bounds?'
Rangefinders have been around for years in various shapes and sizes.
Some of them are hand-held lasers, which shoot a beam at the flagstick. PGA Tour caddies use this type during practice rounds to double-check yardages. One company, Laser Link Golf, earlier this year got the endorsement of Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer for use at their home courses, The Bear's Club and Bay Hill.
The newest models use GPS, in which the device instantly flashes the yardage to the center of the green and other points on the golf course. Some of the high-end golf courses have installed the GPS version on golf carts.
The SkyGolf GPS model is about the size of a cell phone that players can attach to their belt or their bag. Players don't have to point them, only read the yardage and go about selecting a club. It claims to save an average of five shots per round and up to 25 minutes every nine holes.
Richard Edmonson, chief executive of SkyGolf GPS, believes it will level the playing field on the Tight Lies Tour.
'The PGA Tour has caddies and extensive yardage books. They never hit a shot without knowing the exact distance,' Edmonson said. 'On the Tight Lies Tour, all of them don't have caddies. They don't have all the detailed information that enables a player to play the way the course was designed to be played.'
The Tight Lies Tour will not supply its players with the SkyGolf GPS rangefinder; players can buy them for $350. DeSerrano said the cost is about the same as a player would pay for detailed yardage books at the 21 tournaments on his circuit.
And therein lies the heart of the debate.
DeSerrano and Edmonson - and even Fay - have a hard time justifying why rangefinders are illegal when similar technology is used to measure yardages found on sprinkler heads, and to create yardage books used in competition.
'It's a natural extension of getting a yardage on the sprinkler head,' Fay said. 'I don't think it affects the skill required to play the shot.'
They believe it does affect pace of play, which is why DeSerrano kept thinking about SkyGolf when he first saw its product three years ago at the PGA Merchandise Show.
DeSerrano noticed rounds on the Tight Lies Tour were getting longer, especially on the weekend when players - who pay $1,000 to join the tour and $1,000 for every event - were in contention. He believes the alliance with SkyGolf GPS will reduce rounds to four hours.
'Everything else, we abide by USGA rules,' DeSerrano said. 'We're not trying to buck the system. We just think it will better our product.'
It might look a little different, although Edmonson says it's all a matter of perception. Any player (or caddie) at a PGA Tour event will get to his ball, pull the yardage book from his back pocket and figure out the distance to the front of the green, plus however many paces to the flag.
He believes golf and its 500 years of tradition can be slow to embrace technology.
'I suppose the R&A could perceive someone walking down the fairway with some projector screen,' Edmonson said. 'But the way we designed our product, it's palm-sized. I can carry it in my back pocket. I can pull it out and look at the palm of my hand like I was looking at a yardage book.'
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Getty Images

How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 22, 2018, 8:30 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)

Getty Images

Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 22, 2018, 8:30 am

Tiger Woods begins the final round of the 147th Open Championship four shots off the lead. He's out at 9:25 a.m. ET on Sunday and we're tracking him.

Getty Images

Schauffele just fine being the underdog

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

Getty Images

Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1