Birdie's Eye View: How things have changed for Tiger

By Bailey MosierMarch 28, 2013, 11:00 am

Day in and day out, I listen to the men around the office debate, extrapolate and prognosticate over the most finite of details surrounding the game. It is the writers and on-air types’ job, after all, to dissect and deliver the meaning of every made cut, cut of the rough and rough patch that players face each week.

While it’s easy – and necessary – to get caught up in the here-and-now of stats, figures and trends, there’s something to be said for taking a more aerial view of golf’s landscape. That’s what this new weekly feature, Birdie’s Eye View, aims to accomplish – looking at golf through the lens of one year ago, to help shed a more peripheral perspective.

What better opportunity to examine just how much can change in a year than on the heels of Tiger Woods' victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and his return to the world's top? It seems all smiles and smelling of the roses now, but things looked very differently just one year ago.

1. Woods officially won for the first time, post-scandal

Tiger Woods

Then: One year ago, many believed Tiger would never win again. But he did. Woods ended his 30-month winless drought (not counting the unofficial World Challenge) when he captured the 2012 API by a five-shot margin over Graeme McDowell. It was Woods' 72nd all-time win and it moved him from 18th in the world to No. 6 – his highest world ranking since April 24, 2011.

Now: Woods has secured five additional wins (three this year) since then, for an overall Tour victory total of 77 – passing Jack Nicklaus on the all-time wins' list, along the way. We take it for granted now, but with all the nay-saying and nit-picking, it's pretty impressive that Woods went from zero to six in no time flat.


2. Els was battling to qualify for his 19th consecutive Masters

Ernie Els at the 2012 Arnold Palmer Invitational

Then: Ernie Els hadn't missed a trip down Magnolia Lane since 1993, but this time last year he was battling to break into the top 50 on the Official World Golf Ranking to ensure his spot in the 2012 edition. After missed opportunities earlier in the season at the European Tour's Volvo Golf Champions and the PGA Tour's Tampa Bay Championship, Els needed a solo third-place finish or a two-way tie for second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational to break into the top 50. Els began the final round of the API three shots back, but twice missed par putts inside 3 feet and shot a final-round 75 that put him in a seven-way tie for fourth place. His only hope was a win at the Shell Houston Open

Now: Els finished T-12 in Houston and missed out on his 19th consecutive Masters showing. Now, the reigning British Open champion – currently ranked 24th in the world – is fully exempt into all four majors for the next five years. Eventually it all worked itself out, but turns out not everything comes easy to the Big Easy.


3. 'The Big Miss' hit shelves

Tiger Woods

Then: Hank Haney, who worked with Woods from 2004-10, chronicled his six years coaching the 14-time major winner in 'The Big Miss.' Haney received plenty of backlash from the golfing community, insisting he violated the unspoken coach-player code of confidentiality, upon which Haney retorted that the time spent with Woods were his memories, too. The book told of Tiger's fear of hitting driver left; how Tiger injured his knee in 2008, because of the training he did with the Navy SEALs; and his subdued relationship with then-wife Elin, among other things.

Now: One year later, 'The Big' buzz has settled, but the tale remains a must-read in the world of golf. As for Haney, he's moved on to coaching another, shall we say, 'accomplished' athlete – Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time. Tiger's moved on, too, to Sean Foley and Lindsey Vonn. Not sure either one – Tiger or Hank – is really 'Miss'-ing the other right now.


4. Palmer returned home from hospital after health scare

Arnold Palmer

Then: Few may recall Arnie was absent from the API trophy ceremony last year because he had been taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure against high blood pressure. The King returned home the following day and everything appeared to have checked out alright.

Now: From check-ups to Kate Upton's cheek, it's a safe bet to say the King is doing just fine. He met, dined with and kissed Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Upton at Bay Hill this past week. No trips to the hospital this year. Does that mean Kate didn't get Arnie's blood boiling?

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”

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After 36, new Open favorite is ... Fleetwood

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 7:49 pm

With a handful of the pre-championship favorites exiting early, there is a new odds-on leader entering the third round of The Open at Carnoustie.

While Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner share the 36-hole lead, it's England's Tommy Fleetwood who leads the betting pack at 11/2. Fleetwood begins the third round one shot off the lead.

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

Tommy Fleetwood: 11/2

Zach Johnson: 13/2

Rory McIlroy: 7/1

Jordan Spieth: 8/1

Rickie Fowler: 9/1

Kevin Kisner: 12/1

Xander Schauffele: 16/1

Tony Finau: 16/1

Matt Kuchar: 18/1

Pat Perez: 25/1

Brooks Koepka: 25/1

Erik van Rooyen: 50/1

Alex Noren: 50/1

Tiger Woods: 50/1

Thorbjorn Olesen: 60/1

Danny Willett: 60/1

Francesco Molinari: 60/1