Wadkins Olazabal inducted into Hall of Fame
Joining them posthumously was President Dwight Eisenhower, whose love of golf has been credited for a surge in interest in the game while he was in office from 1952-1960. The number of people who took up golf in those years more than doubled, and golf historians credit a good portion of that surge to Eisenhower’s visibility in playing the sport.
Eisenhower was said to have played golf more than 800 times during his eight years as president, and was a member of the Augusta National Golf Club. He became the first U.S. President to be a member of the Hall of Fame.
“We’d talk a lot when we played, but he always wanted to go back to talking about golf and how much he wanted to play golf,” said Hall-of-Famer Arnold Palmer, a lifelong friend of Eisenhower’s who made the presentation speech on behalf of the family. “He knew how important it was to take away the stress and strain of his life.”
Wadkins, the son of a Richmond, Va., truck driver, won the U.S. Amateur title while at Wake Forest, then joined the PGA Tour and won 21 times, including the 1977 PGA Championship and the 1979 Players Championship. He was 20-11-3 in the Ryder Cup and is tied with Palmer for the most doubles victories.
“To join this (Hall) and be a part of something with my heroes … I am honored beyond belief,” Wadkins said.
Olazabal first played golf at the age of 2, encouraged by his father, a greenskeeper at a public course in the Basque region of Spain. Olazabal was 18-8-2 in the Ryder Cup, and won the Masters in 1994 and 1999.
The most emotional point of the night came when Olazabal’s mentor and Ryder Cup teammate, Seve Ballesteros, made the presentation speech for Olazabal on a video. Ballesteros has been battling brain cancer since December 2008 and was unable to travel.
“Enjoy this special night, and from me, receive a big hug,” Ballesteros said on the video, in halting English.
Olazabal came to the podium in tears, and thanked Ballesteros for not only helping him with his career, but for partnering with him in the Ryder Cup to compile an 11-2-2 record in doubles.
“I was never a genius like you,” Olazabal said. “All I could hope for is for you to be proud of me.”
O’Connor, 84, could not travel from Ireland for the ceremony because of his health. At one time, he held the record for the most appearances in the Ryder Cup, and he won 24 times on the European Tour.
Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage
NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:
Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)
Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)
Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.
1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.
Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.
Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.
“We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”
It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.
Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.
“It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”
It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.
Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship
Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.
Tweets by GCTigerTracker
McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.
McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.
But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.
“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.
“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.
“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”
McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.
“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”
McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.