Fakers Need Not Apply

By Brian HewittMay 8, 2007, 4:00 pm
There is, Adam Scott was saying Tuesday afternoon in the pressroom, going to be no faking your way up to the top of this leaderboard.
 
Hmmmm.
 
Never heard it quite put like that.
 
I mean this is THE PLAYERS Championship which The TOUR would prefer that we call just THE PLAYERS. It starts Thursday. And it is traditionally the deepest and strongest field in golf. It is played on a Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass that has been renovated and re-engineered with a new, sophisticated drainage system that makes it virtually waterproof.
 
But no faking your way to the top sounded more like a line that might have been edited out of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.
 
So, one writer asked Scott, What tournaments CAN you fake your way to the top?
 
Anytime its soft you can play bad and score pretty good, said Scott, who won here in 2004 at the delicate age of 23. The ball wont run out of the fairway. If its screaming down the right side or something it just plugs in the fairway and then you can plug it on the green. The ball never runs into trouble.
 
Like last Saturday at Quail Hollow, one of the toughest golf courses on TOUR. Rain softened conditions there for the third round of the Wachovia Championship and the players ripped it to shreds. Three contenders holed out for eagle on par 4s. One of them was Rory Sabbatini, the 54-hole leader. He also tied the competitive course record of 64.
 
Just look at what happened there, said Colin Byrne, Retief Goosens caddie, speaking of Saturday at Wachovia.
 
Byrne was standing on the putting green at PLAYERS Tuesday talking about firmness of greens. It (firmness) is really the only way they can combat the players from going low.
 
How firm, he was asked, are the greens right now at THE PLAYERS? Try and stick a tee in them, he said, and it might break off.
 
Earlier in the day course superintendent Fred Klauk had gone on PGA TOUR radio and reported the greens were already running 11.5 on the Stimpmeter. And, he said, thats where he intends to keep them.
 
Byrne said it isnt so much the speed of the putts that makes scoring difficult. Its the firmness of the surfaces that gives the players fits trying to stop their golf balls on those greens.
 
Throw into the equation the new Bermudagrass rough that has replaced rye. The former is only two and a half inches compared to rye that used to be four inches for this event. But theres really no comparison at all.
 
Bermudagrass just needs about two inches and you lose all control, said Tiger Woods.
 
It produces flyer lies which are hard to judge and difficult for players to control the distance of their approaches. You just lose all control of the golf ball out of Bermuda rough, Scott said, echoing Woods.
 
So, the theory goes, the more demanding the test, the more unlikely a lesser player can fake his way to the title after 72 holes.
 
Phil Mickelson played a practice round Tuesday and hit six 8-irons on the infamous 137-yard island green at No. 17. Only one of those six stopped on the putting surface.
 
The same club was coming up short and going long, Mickelson said. When it comes to golf Mickelson is no fake. He is a future Hall of Famer and has finished third in each of his last two starts.
 
Woods said it wasnt so much the 17th hole that he didnt like as much as it was its position on the course. Maybe the eighth hole would be a better place for an island green, he opined.
 
Right now the eighth hole is listed at 237 yards. It plays longer from the back tees. Scott, one of the longest hitters in golf, needed a 3-iron to get to the front edge, into the wind, Monday. If the pin is back, he said, were reaching for lumber.
 
Finally, the wind was blowing a gale at Sawgrass Monday and Tuesday. If that keeps up, the fakers (and most of them know who they are) might as well pack up right now and go home. The genuine contenders, meanwhile, will be holding on for dear life.
 

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    'Hungover' Pepperell improbably in mix after 67

    By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 4:20 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eddie Pepperell’s 11:40 a.m. tee time on Sunday at The Open was a tad early, and not just because the Englishman was heading out more than three hours before the leaders.

    Following a third-round 71 that dropped him eight strokes off the lead, Pepperell did what many golfers do after a less-than-stellar round – he drank.

    “Honestly, I was a little hungover. I won't lie. I had too much to drink last night,” said Pepperell, who said he went to bed on Friday at around 11:30 p.m. “I was so frustrated yesterday, that today was really, I wouldn't say a write-off, but I didn't feel I was in the golf tournament. Whether I shot 69 or 73 today, it wouldn't have been heartbreaking.”

    Pepperell was much closer to the former on Sunday, posting a round-of-the-day 67 to move to within one stroke of the lead held by multiple players as the leaders made the turn.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Pepperell had just a single bogey on a blustery day at Carnoustie and closed his round with birdies at Nos. 14 and 17. It was one of just four rounds in the 60s on a course that had become increasingly difficult with each gust.

    With six players tied for the lead at 6 under par, including defending champion Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, Pepperell planned to wait and see how the afternoon progressed.

    “The only hope I have is that it's Carnoustie, and the last three, four holes, even though they're downwind, still anything can happen with obviously pressure and all that sort of stuff out here,” he said. “So I'll have to hang around.”

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    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 22, 2018, 4:00 pm

    Tiger Woods is stalking his 15th career major championship trophy. Follow the action with our tracker to see if he can get it done at Carnoustie.


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    Pros melting down on Twitter as they watch Tiger

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 3:42 pm

    Tiger Woods mounted a final-round charge and took the outright lead at Carnoustie on Sunday.

    His fellow pros have been watching and tweeting like your average fans.

    We're compiling their missives below:

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    Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 22, 2018, 11:00 am

    NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

    Saturday, Day 3 (Times ET)

    7AM-3PM (Watch): Jordan Spieth fired 65 to move into a three-way share of the 54-hole lead, while Tiger Woods (66) played his way into contention. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler and Thorbjorn Olesen.

    4:30-7AM (Watch): Sunny skies and birdies were on the menu early in Round 3, as Justin Rose made his way around Carnoustie in 64 strokes. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Henrik Stenson and Bryson DeChambeau.


    Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

    8:20AM-3PM (Watch): As the skies cleared on Friday afternoon, defending champion Jordan Spieth made a run to try and regain the claret jug. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

    1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith.


    Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

    Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

    1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.