Interesting Times for Players

By Brian HewittApril 28, 2008, 4:00 pm
These were interesting times over the weekend for Adam Scott. And Sergio Garcia. And Darren Clarke. And Annika Sorenstam.
Lets start with Scott, Garcia and Clarke.
Scott hustled back from Australia, a week earlier than planned, to play in, and win, the EDS Byron Nelson Championship, on the third playoff hole over Ryan Moore.
Garcia shot the low round of the week Saturday in Dallas, making all the kinds of putts that have kept him out of the top-5 in the world rankings because they havent been going in for several years now. Clarke jarred a 30-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole in China to win the Asian Open. It was his first victory since the passing of his wife, Heather, two years ago.
Heres the one-word common denominator for all three of these resurgences: Immelman.
Anybody who doesnt think Trevor Immelmans victory at the Masters earlier this month didnt light a fire under Scott, Garcia and Clarke hasnt been paying attention.
The scriptwriters never told us Immelman would get a major before Scott; and certainly not before Garcia, who lost so heartbreakingly in that playoff to Padraig Harrington at the Open Championship last year.
Scott is reminded on a regular basis by the media that he hasnt won a major championship yet. He is also reminded on a regular basis by his instructor, Butch Harmon, that he has underachieved in the majors.
Remember: Harmon continues to reserve the top spot on the totem pole of his students for Scott. And that totem pole now includes the faces of Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els, the Nos. 2 and 3 ranked players in the world respectively.
And for some reason there is a horde of critics who think Scott is soft in the clinches. Those critics will be quieter, at least for a while, now that Scott holed a cross-country putt to beat Moore.
Scott is 28 years old. Garcia, also 28, and exactly 24 days younger than Immelman, is also majorless and now lodged behind him the world rankings. Scott was ranked 10th at the beginning of the week; Immelman 15th; Garcia 17th. Immelman and Garcia and still in the same spot this Monday, while Scott is up to No. 5.
Clarke has had significant endorsement ties to South Africa, Immelmans home country. He has played a lot of golf in South Africa. And, oh-by-the-way, he hasnt won a major yet either.
I have been working harder than I have ever worked on all aspects of my game, putting in nine, 10, 11 hours a day, Clarke said. It was nice to see it pay off.
Northern Irelands Clarke has been a stalwart in the last four Ryder Cups for Europe. He is especially close to Englands Lee Westwood, who has also enjoyed a recent return to form. If Clarke keeps his momentum, it will be difficult for European captain Nick Faldo to leave him off the team in September.
That, Clarke said of gaining a Ryder berth, is back within realistic goals now. His world ranking, prior to Shangai last week, had plummeted to No. 236. Hes now 112th.
Scott took a three-shot lead into the gusty final round at the Nelson and promptly played his first three holes Sunday in 3 over par. Garcia was four back through 54 holes but lurking after his Saturday 65. But, like his close friend Scott, he lurched to a horrid Sunday start, playing his first five holes in a gruesome 6 over par.
Garcia had made a statement on Saturday. And then, like Scott, appeared to feel the pressure, part of which had to have its roots in Immelmans procurement of a green jacket two weeks ago.
Sorenstam found herself in a battle Sunday in South Florida with Paula Creamer and a late-charging Karrie Webb. All three of these players are increasingly anxious and just short of desperate to challenge the ascendant Lorena Ochoa who has distanced herself from them as the No. 1 female player in the world.
Both Creamer and Sorenstam had already one once prior to Sunday. But on both occasions Ochoa was absent from the field. She also took a break this past week.
What we have now that Sorenstam took Creamer down on the first playoff hole is even more to look forward to when Ochoa returns. Sorenstam has two wins and five top-5s in seven starts. Ochoa has five wins, including her last four starts. Lets not give that Grand Slam to Ochoa quite just yet.
Meanwhile, different players in the limelight this week on the top two tours in mens and womens golf. Different responses to different kinds of pressures.
Interesting times for interesting players.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:40 am

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  

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; or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (

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The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:30 am

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.

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Four players vying for DJ's No. 1 ranking at Open

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 8:41 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Four players have an opportunity to overtake Dustin Johnson for world No. 1 this week.

According to Golf Channel world-rankings guru Alan Robinson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm each can grab the top spot in the world ranking.

Thomas’ path is the easiest. He would return to No. 1 with either a win and Johnson finishing worse than solo third, or even a solo runner-up finish as long as Johnson finishes worse than 49th.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Twenty years after his auspicious performance in The Open, Rose can get to No. 1 for the first time with a victory and Johnson finishing worse than a two-way tie for third.

Kopeka can rise to No. 1 if he wins consecutive majors, assuming that his good friend posts worse than a three-way tie for third.

And Rahm can claim the top spot with a win this week, a Johnson missed cut and a Thomas finish of worse than solo second.   

Johnson’s 15-month reign as world No. 1 ended after The Players. He wasn’t behind Thomas for long, however: After a tie for eighth at the Memorial, Johnson blew away the field in Memphis and then finished third at the U.S. Open to solidify his position at the top.