Bradley vs. Jimenez recalls other course encounters

By Brandel ChambleeMay 2, 2015, 12:43 am

Watching Keegan Bradley and Miguel Angel Jimenez nearly come to blows in their WGC-Cadillac Match Play match on Friday stirred some memories in me.

I once saw two of the most otherwise well-behaved touring professionals stand toe to toe in the middle of what was then the Quad Cities Classic’s 18th fairway and have a staredown, fists at the ready, each waiting for the other man to blink or throw a punch.

In question was a ball plugged in the fairway (a blind fairway from the tee) and whether the ball flew there, which would have entitled the player to a free drop, or rolled there, entitling him to no such thing. I can’t remember the resolution, but if I hadn’t seen two of the nicest guys on Tour almost tussle, I wouldn’t have believed it.

Golf has a short list of pugilistic moments but a few more come to mind, and in full disclosure I have to admit I very nearly was involved in one of them. 

Bradley, Jimenez in heated confrontation

I once played with a pro who had a bit of a reputation as a brawler, was rumored to be a black belt in karate and to have killed a man in a bar fight. Word was, he was as crazy as a peach-orchard boar. He and I were in a twosome, and he was on his way to an 80-plus performance. Our sole gallery member was his girlfriend, who seemed sympathetic to his bad golf, at least until his wife showed up and then her disposition seemed, well … less sympathetic.

On hole after hole I had to wait for him to walk and search for a safe spot to stand, presumably out of range of hurled objects (the girlfriend did indeed look athletic). He was doing his best to make himself a moving target, and I was doing my best to play undisturbed, or at least to give that appearance, figuring a protest by me would act like a blowtorch to kindling. I was right. 

As I was preparing to chip on one hole he walked right up to the flagstick and stood. I backed away and looking at him I said, “Just let me play.” OK, I may have added an expletive … anyway no sooner had the words left my mouth than rage filled his eyes. He said, “What did you say? I’ll tear your head off!” He definitely added an expletive between the words “your” and “head” and he started walking toward me.

I had about a second to sum up his intentions and to consider my options while hoping the rage in his eyes would be replaced by the rationalization that neither of the witnesses to my murder was likely to be malleable to his reconstruction of the crime scene. But he kept coming. I was going to run, but then I remembered I was armed, albeit with a sand wedge, and the next thing you know I raised the wedge and looked at him a few feet away and dared him to take another step. I said, “Go on, take one more step. Take one more and you will lose your kneecaps.” He stopped and after a second or so, he smiled like he just discovered the wheel, and said, “Little man with fire - I like that” and he turned around and gave me room to chip.

From then on every time I saw him, he addressed me as “little man with fire” and smiled.

Another little man with fire, so to speak, was Dave Hill, who in spite of winning 13 times on Tour was better known for his irascible nature. During a Champions Tour event in the early ’90s J.C. Snead, nephew of Sam Snead, was hitting range balls that were coming to rest far too close to Dave. Dave let loose with a few verbal volleys, ordering J.C. to stop. When he didn’t, Dave took off for the much larger J.C. and the two came to blows, wrestling each other to the ground before other players were able to separate them. The disparity in size between the two men and the tougher era from which they both came has given this confrontation a comical charm in the retelling.

Years ago back in the late ’60s there was a Tour player with questionable connections who was said to be, when he wasn't playing golf, a strong-arm who collected on unpaid debts. Tall and menacing, he looked exactly how you would expect someone to look whose main vocation involved conflict. He had a reputation for playing by any rules he saw fit, and for two very good reasons, he was rarely challenged. First, he wasn't good enough to contend or even be relevant. Second, there was one incident that scared the hell out of everyone.

It is said that up in Boston one year a rules official got wind of a violation he committed and met him in the locker room and took him to task, whereupon the rules official was stuffed in locker and told not to come out until he had permission.

Closest thing we get to a good ol’ fashioned fight these days is when grievances are meted out in the media, social or otherwise, like Phil Mickelson’s passive-aggressive takedown of Tom Watson that led to the Ryder Cup task force, only needs a “d” at the end of “force” to be accurately named, if you ask me, but otherwise it is indeed a gentlemen’s game we all play.

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Vegas helicopters in to Carnoustie, without clubs

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 9:33 am

Jhonattan Vegas did some range work, putted a little and strolled to the first tee for his 5:31 a.m. ET start in the 147th Open Championship.

Everything before that, however, was far from routine.

Vegas' visa to travel to Scotland expired and the process to renew it got delayed - and it looked like his overseas' flight might suffer the same fate. Vegas, upon getting his visa updated, traveled from Houston, Texas to Toronto, Canada to Glasgow, Scotland, and then took a helicopter to Carnoustie.

He arrived in time on Thursday morning, but his clubs did not. Mizuno put together some irons for him and TaylorMade got him his preferred metal woods. He hit the clubs for the first time on the range, less than 90 minutes before his start.

"I'm going to go out there and play with freedom," Vegas told Golf Channel's Todd Lewis.

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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  

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; or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (

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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.