Coming Back For More

By Brian HewittJune 13, 2008, 4:00 pm
San Diego--The Comebacker comes to you live this week from Torrey Pines South looking down from the seaside cliffs to the Pacific Ocean. By Sunday we should have a new national champion'Im not counting on Angel Cabrera to repeat. The E-mailers are also still focused on Lorena and Annika and clichs.
Lets start with a missive from a U.S. Open reader. Without further ado:
Terence writes: Entertaining insight into the USGA pairings .....however, looking a little deeper there may more messages in the pairings than the cute and obvious you John Feinstein has noted in his writings, personality and temperament types have also been paired in addition to inside knowledge issues known only those who are now chuckling to's an interesting topic of conversation and thanks for participating....
The Comebacker
Glad to further the dialogue. My favorite Thursday-Friday grouping here remains: Katayama-Weekley-Jimenez. The rules official might have been advised to take Berlitz tune-ups in Japanese, Spanish and Country.
Don writes: I just read your Inside the Ropes comments from last week. It struck me because I actually know two of the four subjects you wrote of personally. So I felt compelled to drop you a personal observation on the two people. Kenny Perry was a friend of mine from college days. His (future) wife was actually was of my close friends at Lipscomb, even though Kenny was in school at Western Kentucky. Since I was a golfer also ' and dating her roommate ' we shared common interests. What I really wanted to tell you, however, is that Kenny is truly the good person the media talks about. I am quite confident that besides playing in the Ryder Cup, the one great career goal he still has is to win a major. So for him to skip the Open qualifying means that in his heart of hearts he knows he realistically did not have a chance to win the Open...Ollie Schniederjans (the 14 year old from Powder Springs, GA) I know even better. Thank you for writing about Ollie. He and my son played baseball together for four years..Ollie is a tenacious competitor so I expect you will hear of him in the future. Some players at this age never get better and some just burn themselves out ' so you never know. My guess is Ollie is steady enough to keep rising through the ranks. Hes a good kid ' it would be impossible not to pull for him.
The Comebacker
Somebody, some day will unseat Tiger Woods as the No. 1 ranked player in the world. We might have to wait 10 years. And it could be Ollie Schniederjans or somebody his age right now. Schniederjans advanced to U.S. Open Sectional qualifying earlier this year.
Lauri writes:: I've been really good about not asking bothering questions but since this came up in passing and my husband asked me: How do they choose who plays at what time for the starting tee times? I keep reading and the only thing I saw was a article about some person talking about how they should put Mickelson & Woods in the same group.....but I think this was about Medinah not Torrey Pines.
The Comebacker
The PGA TOUR uses a computer to determine its pairings. The USGA does whatever it pleases. Phil and Tiger were grouped the first two rounds along with Geoff Ogilvy at the 2006 PGA Championship at Medinah. Ogilvy had the low score those first two days. Woods won the tournament.
Art writes: Annika put on a ball striking clinic (at LPGA McDonalds), but her putting is simply not up to par. She is a good medium length and lag putter, but from the throw up zone she is below average. She did not even hit the hole on a couple of 5-footers. I have often wondered why the top PGA players have a far better short game than the LPGA players since strength is not a factor. If Annika was not retiring, I think she should consult Stan Utley, Dave Pelz or Dave Stockton on her putting. In spite of my criticism, I am a HUGE Annika fan. She should have won the tournament easily.
The Comebacker
Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda. Lorena Ochoa is probably feeling the same way right now.
William writes: We were asked to email our thoughts about tough conditions on tour. Well, I like it TOUGH. The players whine that the fans want to see a lot of birdies, when it is really the players that want it. I like it when even par has a chance.
The Comebacker
Then youve come to the right place at the right time. This is U.S. Open week, boys and girls. Strap on your helmets.
David writes: In my opinion, far and away, my favorite announcer comment was (many different times) from Bob Rosburg when he would describe an upcoming shot and say that the player had no way he could execute the shot from this situation and then the player would hit a tremendous shot and make birdie or save par.
The Comebacker
Rossie was the exception that proved the rule. Dave: Rossie, whats he got? Rossie: Dave, he has no shot. Bob Rosburg is the patron saint of on course golf reporters. And he never sugar-coated.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
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    Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

    Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

    Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

    Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

    Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

    12/1: Dustin Johnson

    16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

    20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

    25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

    40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

    50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

    60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

    80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

    100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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    Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

    If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

    Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

    Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

    Updated Official World Golf Ranking

    There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

    There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

    Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

    John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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    Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

    By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

    Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

    Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

    Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

    “I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

    But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

    “I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”

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    Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

    Hoylake in 2006.

    That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

    So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

    With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

    “The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”