A British to remember

By Brian HewittJuly 16, 2008, 4:00 pm
The elephant in the room is the absence of Tiger Woods, the best player in the world, and, to a lesser extent, the absence of Kenny Perry, the hottest player in the world.
However, the shrills are wondering, will the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale survive?
The answer is simple: What has to happen to get the entire sporting worlds eyeballs on this event is something compelling.
Like weather gone crazy.
Or an eight-way playoff.
Or a good, old head-scratching contentious rules controversy.
Or a player throwing up on his shoes ' thats figurative golfspeak ' at the worst possible moment.
Or a player shooting a Sunday 59 to win by a shot.
One way or another, the 137th British Open needs something compelling to save itself from being remembered as the 'Asterisk Open Championship, i.e. the one that Tiger missed because he was recovering from knee surgery.
On the other hand, if, say, Oliver Wilson wins by three on a drama-less final day, this one will indeed be remembered as the Tigerless Open. Asterisks will appear out of nowhere.
Not to pick on Wilson. Hes an up and coming 20-something Englishman who has finished second four times on the European Tour this year. But very few people outside of the U.K. can tell you very much about him.

MORE ABSENCES AND ASTERISKS: Woods wasnt around for the weekend two years ago at U.S. Open at Winged Foot. He was still grieving over the passing of his father and he missed the cut.
That was also the U.S. Open at which Phil Mickelson made a hash of the 72nd hole and immediately labeled himself an idiot.
Geoff Ogilvy, meanwhile, made a difficult and pressure-filled par putt on the final hole to win the championship.
I havent heard anybody lately use the word asterisk whenever Ogilvys victory at Winged Foot comes up in conversation. To paraphrase author Gertrude Stein, a major is a major is a major.

LOCAL FAVORITE: A lot of the smart money is on Englands Lee Westwood, who has worked his way up to No. 19 in the world rankings and was one makeable putt shy of getting into the playoff at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in June.
Birkdale, Westwood said, is a good drivers golf course, and I consider myself a very good driver of the golf ball.
Westwoods answers at press conferences usually arent long. But if you pay attention, you will usually learn something from him.
He was quite outspoken about the 17th green which controversially has been redone since the Open Championship last visited Birkdale in 1998.
Westwood said he first saw the new green a few weeks ago.
Im assuming its not changed since then, he added. Nobody has dug it upI think eventually they will. I think everybody has accepted that something has gone wrong with it. Its just out of character with the rest of the golf course.Its not to the standard of the rest of the greens. The rest of them are brilliant.

GRAEMES EDGE: Many Irishman like to celebrate and they are proud if you know it. But Northern Irelands Graeme McDowell, who won at Loch Lomond Sunday, has held the full party mode in abeyance.
He said there were a few glasses of champagne Sunday night but he has a birthday coming up and he wants to wait until after this weeks British Open to pop more corks.
Hopefully punch in a good week this week and really have something to celebrate next week, he said.
McDowell was brought up in Portrush, Northern Ireland, which boasts Royal Portrush, one of the best links golf courses in the world. Links golf, he said, has always been a little bit in my blood.

MILWAUKEE TALK: Perry is now the oldest player in PGA TOUR history to win three times in the same season. In 1967, Julius Boros was 47 years, three months and eight days old when he won his third event that year. Perry was 47 years, 11 months and three days old when he captured the John Deere Classic for his third 2008 victory.
Meanwhile the last 10 winners of the U.S. Bank Championship, at which Perry is the pre-tournament favorite, have all shot four rounds in the 60s.
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    Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

    By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

    Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

    The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

    Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

    The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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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.