Winner David Byrne Says Thanks!

By July 20, 2011, 7:18 pm

It is 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, and things are settling down.  Ha, ha, NO they aren’t! Last night, there was a party in Essex, Ontario for the finale – the whole town might have shown up - - seriously!

I held my emotions together very, very well, until I got the chills when everyone began to scream and shout when I made the last putt. It is something I will never forget. I tried to get it on camera, but I got mobbed like a guy who got the game-winner in OT to win the Stanley Cup. The support I had from back home was incredible – there were also viewing parties being held all over Canada and the U.S. It is so remarkable that this guy from Essex, Ontario (population: SMALL!)  had people rooting for him to win.  I did keep up with blogs and Big Break on facebook and loved reading the comments about how I would be gone the next show…for about six weeks straight - ha!  Also, how people hoped I would hang in there.  Later, we had people back to my house and the party began all over again: all the jokes about playing in my first Tour event, who could we get a practice round with….(G Mac, Poults, Donald.. you available?) The party went late into the night.  I finally got to bed at about 5:30 a.m. and woke up around 6 a.m.  

I must say that I cannot thank Golf Channel enough for selecting me.  I can’t believe I was on the Big Break.  Pretty cool for a fan of the show!  Now that I won, I really don’t believe it. I am anxiously awaiting next season, and see whose dreams come true, all because of the amazing, incredible people at Golf Channel.  

People ask why I liked the show so much – this show gives people hope.  As Andy Dufrane once said ‘Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things and no good thing ever dies.’ I have been called a role model by many and signed autographs – of course, I am laughing during this! I actually asked someone last night if they were sure they wanted my signature.  I mean, really, come on.

It has been well-documented the journey both my mom and I have been on and I can’t thank her enough for what she has done.  I truly feel the reason why I won the show, however, was because of 11 people. First, being my coach Luke LaFave – my game has improved because of him and this has been the reason for my success in golf the past few years.  Also, the ten guys on the show - I never met so many amazing friends. I truly think of these guys as my best friends. Shank, Carl, Will, John, Russell, Oren, Piri, Justin, Robert and especially Kent!! I know people didn’t know how to read him. I lived with him and there really aren’t too many stand up guys like him; (I hope he feels the same way about me!)

I can’t wait to meet Gary, Erik and Holly soon and embark upon this amazing journey I have been so lucky to have. Thanks to all for the support. It means the most winning and being respected by all the guys on the show with me (or at least I think so) and people saying you are a role model.  I was told this was the biggest thing Essex has had in 20 years or longer.  What a humbling, remarkable experience. See you all at The Zurich!

PS – Jody (mom) is watching the final show again…fourth time…so far…

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.

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Rose: T-2 finish renewed my love of The Open

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 9:00 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose made the cut on the number at The Open and was out for an early Saturday morning stroll at Carnoustie when, all of a sudden, he started putting together one great shot after another.

There was no pressure. No one had expected anything from someone so far off the lead. Yet Rose shot 30 on the final nine holes to turn in 7-under 64, the lowest round of the championship. By day’s end he was five shots behind a trio of leaders that included Jordan Spieth.

Rose followed the 64 with a Sunday 69 to tie for second place, two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. His 133 total over the weekend was the lowest by a shot, and for a moment he thought he had a chance to hoist the claret jug, until Molinari put on a ball-striking clinic down the stretch with birdies on 14 and 18.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I just think having made the cut number, it’s a great effort to be relevant on the leaderboard on Sunday,” said Rose, who collected his third-career runner-up in a major. He’s also finished 12th or better in all three majors this year.

In the final round, Rose was well off the pace until his second shot on the par-5 14th hole hit the pin. He had a tap-in eagle to move to 5 under. Birdie at the last moved him to 6 under and made him the clubhouse leader for a few moments.

“It just proves to me that I can play well in this tournament, that I can win The Open,” Rose said. “When I’m in the hunt, I enjoy it. I play my best golf. I don’t back away.

“That was a real positive for me, and it renewed the love of The Open for me.”