The Heart of the Season

By Brian HewittJune 29, 2005, 4:00 pm
It's that time of year in the golf season when the PGA Tour can have an exciting finish--Padraig Harrington makes two Sunday eagles to edge Jim Furyk at the Barclays Classic--and Harrington's win can, arguably, be the fifth most compelling story of the weekend.

In fact that's exactly what happened Sunday.

And its exactly why this is the most fun time of the year to follow golf. There is so much going on every week. With all due respect to Harrington's second Tour victory of the year, there were better stories last week.

Birdie Kim
Birdie Kim reacts after holing out on the 72nd hole to win the U.S. Women's Open.
Lead among them was the startling emergence of Korea's Birdie Kim, with her shocking bunker hole-out at Cherry Hills on the 72nd hole that won the U.S. Women's Open just when it looked like 17-year-old Morgan Perssel was about to steal 15-year-old Michelle's Wie's thunder after it became apparent that Wie wasn't going to steal 34-year-old Annika Sorenstam's Grand Slam thunder despite the fact that Wie was tied for the lead after 54 holes.

Kim now gets the last spot in the HSBC World Match Play this week. And Wie gets to ponder exactly what it was that caused her to shoot a closing 82. And, oh-by-the-way, she's got the John Deere Classic waiting for her next week after the men get finished with the Cialis Western Open Sunday.

Speaking of which, one of the players in the field at Cog Hill will be Illinois golf coach Mike Small. Small won the PGA Club Professional Championship in brutal conditions at the Ocean Course at Kiawah where designer Pete Dye says the course plays different every single day of the year. 'It's a moving golf course,' Dye says, referring to all the wind and sand that blows about at Kiawah.

Not bad for Small, a guy required to spend more time recruiting and coaching than working on his game. 'I was a little bit rusty starting out,' said Small, a two-time winner on the Nationwide Tour. But he worked out the kinks against some very good players.

Then there was more French farce from Jean Van de Velde, who led the field late in the Open de France Sunday near Paris before reminding us all over again what a tragicomic figure he is in golf. Van de Velde, you will remember, is the guy who made a triple bogey on the 72nd hole of The Open Championship at Carnoustie in 1999 before losing in a playoff to Paul Lawrie.

Van de Velde started dunking balls in the water again this time while handing the keys to victory over to Jean Paul Remesy.

Meanwhile, Mark McNulty, one of the best putters never to have gotten credit for it, captured a playoff on the Champions Tour by, guess what, making a crucial putt.

Morgan Pressel
Morgan Pressel wore her emotions on her sleeve Sunday at Cherry Hills.
And there you have it, a good case for ranking Harrington's victory No. 5 in golf's box office. Speaking of which, the TV ratings for Kim's victory were the highest on the LPGA Tour since 1997.

Wie, Pressel, Sorenstam, Paula Creamer (who triple bogeyed the 71st hole) and Lorena Ochoa (who quadruple-bogeyed the 72nd) will all be spending private moments wondering what went wrong at Cherry Hills. But they will all be back.

Until then there will be a major championship on one tour or another, almost non-stop, through the end of August.

This is the heart of the season in golf. A time during which you can work a full day, come home for dinner and go out for nine holes before darkness falls.

Its that time of the year in golf--the best time of the year.
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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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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.”