FBR A Hole Lotta Fun
One week every year on the PGA Tour, fan behavior at this otherwise innocuous little par 3 jumps out of the frying pandemonium and into the fire.
And this is that week. Welcome to the 2009 edition of the antepenultimate hole at the FBR Open where the initials might as well stand for fractious, bumptious and raucous. All, mind you, in the name of a good time.
Not to overhype it or anything, but the 16th is a hot house, a fun house and a nut house. It is a dog house, a frat house and a brew haus all wrapped up into one big combo enchilada of alcohol-marinated ectoplasm, endoplasm and escalated effervescence. There is, after all, a tightrope between too much alliteration and complete obliteration. Its time to walk the walk.
And at the risk of reiteration: They do convene at this Shoutatorium every year. They arrive in full throat. And, OK, maybe it's impossible to overhype the mix of enthusiasm, insolence and wonderfully sophomoric shenanigans that ensues.
By the way, if you think this column is over the top so far, wait until you see the way grown humans act late in the afternoon when the leaders come through the 16th Saturday and Sunday at TPC Scottsdale.
As GolfChannel.com reported late last year, this year tournament officials have added 3,000 bleacher seats which means the 16th will now be completely enclosed.
You will be reading about all of this much of the week. And you will be seeing a metric ton of it on Golf Channel. The 16th is a coliseum. The players are the gladiators. Must see tee vee.
Tournament chairman John Felix ' whose nickname was The Cat when he roomed with Golf Channels own Jerry Foltz at the University of Arizona ' says they actually considered changing the name of the 16th to The Coliseum.
But, he added, Part of the hole and the popularity there were the personalities who made it famous. Were conscious that it remains about the golf.
It feels more like a stadium, Felix The Cat said although he admits it sounds more like Arena Golf.
When Oakley, the people who make those designer sunglasses, originally sponsored the 16th several years ago they hung a small sign that the players saw as they walked through the tunnel that connects the 15th green to the 16th tee.
It said: Every athlete wants to be a rock star and every rock star wants to be an athlete.
One of the most popular rock star/athletes at the 16th at TPC Scottsdale is Phil Mickelson. And its no coincidence that Philly Mick, who attended nearby Arizona State, will make his 2009 PGA Tour debut this week.
Geoff Ogilvy blew the field away at windy Kapalua in Week One. Zach Johnson performed surgery on Seth Raynors tricky track at the Sony Open one week later. And Pat Perez went postal on par early and hung on late to win the Bob Hope Classic.
Now is the time for all good men and women who know just a little about golf and a lot about partying to come to the aid of the PGA Tour. It promises to be noisier than the Obama Inauguration and a very different kind of celebration.
I mean how many holes on the PGA Tour actually have an emcee?
The 16th at TPC Scottsdale does. His name is Jock Holliman. He is a long-time member of the Thunderbirds, the local civic group that stages the FBR Open. And Felix gives Holliman, the guy with the microphone, much of the credit for keeping the 20,000 lions in the stands from devouring the gladiators inside the ropes when their 15 minutes of infamy arrives.
Felix also has a plan that will enable spectators to hang around the grounds and watch Super Bowl XLIII on a Jumbotron. Kick-off is expected approximately 30 minutes after the last putt drops Sunday.
Ever since the Tour moved to TPC Scottsdale in 1987 the tournament has rarely failed to coincide with Super Bowl Week. The big difference this year is that one of the teams'the Arizona Cardinals'is local.
Meanwhile, the over and under at No. 16 will have nothing to do with points and everything to do with birdies, bogeys, boos, booze, chants, rants, raves, waves, woofs, barbs, barks, bites and bragging rights.
Im not sure Id want a steady diet of this, Bart Bryant told GolfChannel.com late last month. But his instructor, top 100 teacher Brian Mogg, said No. 16 is a good thing for the Tour.
Kind of like taking your Maybach 62 out on the open road and winding it up once in a while. But always keeping a hand on the throttle.
We dont want things to boil over, Felix said. Were always watching.
In 1999 security guards had to remove a fan from Tiger Woods gallery near the sixth hole at TPC Scottsdale basically because he was drunk and didnt know when to shut up when Woods was trying to hit his shots. The man was later found to have a gun in his fanny pack.
All of which turned into a public relations black eye for the tournament. Only later was it discovered that the spectator was a huge Woods fan, meant no harm and that he owned a permit for the gun. Regardless, Woods has been back to this tournament just one time since.
There have been no reports of fans with guns at No. 16. Just lots of testosterone, collagen, leather, designer shades and margaritas.
I think theres a pretty damn good party going on here, Hal Sutton once said. And theres a golf tournament lost somewhere in the middle of it.
Witnesses say the roar that accompanied Woods hole-in-one in 1997 at the 16th was the loudest ever heard on a golf course. Ask someone who was there and if their answer is, What? you will know why.
But the players, for the most part, have learned to go with the lava flow of heat they receive if they hit a poor shot on 16. If you dont like it, Rocco Mediate advised his fellow lodge brothers, dont come.
Theres always a line, Felix says. And when it gets crossed, officials (and security) come down on the side of the game and the players.
The fun part is watching how close to that line the throbbing, heaving, belching, jeering mass of humanity can get.
This year players not only emerge from the tunnel connecting 15 and 16, but they disappear into another tunnel that leads to the 17th tee.
Finally, former Masters chairman Hord Hardin famously remarked years ago that there would never be a Pizza Hut Masters. No, he said, The Masters would never be for sale to the highest corporate bidder.
Similarly, and maybe best of all, is the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale appears safe from the suggestions that it could fetch a high price for sponsorship.
Its not got a for sale sign on it, by any means, Felix told GolfChannel.com.
Which means, for all its impurities, No. 16 will remain pure.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major
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.
John Deere purse payout: Kim wins a million
Michael Kim won his first PGA Tour event, and with it, over $1 million. Here's how the purse was paid out at the John Deere Classic.
|6||Harold Varner, III||-18||$208,800|
|MDF||Brendon de Jonge||3||$10,208|
How to watch The Open on TV and online
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 GolfChannel.com.
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; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)
Monday, July 16
GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)
GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
Tuesday, July 17
GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
Wednesday, July 18
GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
Thursday, July 19
GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)
GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)
GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)
GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)
GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)
GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
Friday, July 20
GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)
GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)
GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)
GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)
GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
Saturday, July 21
GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)
NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)
GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)
GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)
GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)
GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
Sunday, July 22
GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)
NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)
GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)
GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)
GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)
GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)
Davies wins by 10 on 'best ball-striking round'
WHEATON, Ill. - Laura Davies immediately recognized the significance of having her name inscribed on the first U.S. Senior Women's Open trophy.
It might be a long time before anyone secures the title as emphatically as Davies did.
Davies went virtually unchallenged in Sunday's final round of the inaugural USGA championship for women 50 and older, claiming the title by 10 strokes over Juli Inkster.
''It's great seeing this (trophy) paraded down for the very first time and I get my name on it first, you know?'' Davies said. ''This championship will be played for many years and there will only be one first winner - obviously a proud moment for me to win that.''
The 54-year-old Davies shot a 5-under 68 to finish at 16-under 276 at Chicago Golf Club.
It was the English player's 85th career win, and she felt the pressure even though her lead was rarely in danger.
''I haven't won for eight years - my last win was India, 2010,'' Davies said. ''So that's the pressure you're playing under, when you're trying to do something for yourself, prove to yourself you can still win.
''So this ranks highly up there. And obviously it's a USGA event. It's hard comparing tournaments, but this is very high on my list of achievements.''
A 7-under 66 Saturday provided Davies with a five-shot lead over Inkster and what she said would be a sleepless night worrying about the pressure.
The World Golf Hall of Famer widened her advantage early Sunday when she birdied the par-5 second hole and Inkster made bogey. Davies said a par she salvaged at the 10th was another turning point.
''It wasn't the greatest hole I ever played, but I think that, to me, was when I really started to think I might have one hand on the trophy and just had to get the other one in there.''
Inkster shot an even-par 73. England's Trish Johnson also shot 73 to finish third, 12 shots back.
''I mean, she was absolutely spectacular this week,'' Johnson said about Davies. ''I've played against her for 35 years. Yesterday was the best I have ever seen her play in her entire career.
''She just said walking down 18 it was best ball-striking round she ever had. Considering she's won 85 tournaments, that's quite some feat.''
Danielle Ammaccapane was fourth and Yuko Saito finished fifth. Martha Leach was the top amateur, tying for 10th at 6-over 298.
Davies plans to play in the Women's British Open next month, and called this win a confidence-booster as she continues to compete against the younger generation. She finished tied for second at the LPGA's Bank of Hope Founders Cup earlier this year.
''You build up a little bit of momentum, and a golf course is a golf course,'' Davies said. ''Sometimes the field strength is a little bit different, but in your own mind if you've done something like this, 16 under for four rounds around a proper championship course, it can't do anything but fill you full of confidence.''