Major Bubble

By Brian HewittOctober 22, 2003, 4:00 pm
It wasnt supposed to be this way for Shaun Micheel. Micheel won the PGA Championship at Oak Hill in New York in August with the single most dramatic golf shot of the year, a 7-iron on the 72nd hole that stopped two inches from the cup.
Micheel wasnt supposed to arrive at the Funai Classic at the Walt Disney World Resort on the bubble. But thats where he finds himself upon his return from England, where played in the HSBC World Match Play Championship last week.
Micheel has dropped to No. 30 on the money list. He is THE current bubble boy for the Tour Championship which will be played in two weeks in Houston.
Obviously being in the top 30 on the money list gives you more of a standing in the golf community, he says. Of course we all want to be at the top of that list, but there is only room for one of us. As I hover on the bubble, the depth of the tour is apparent. It shows that even though you win a major, you arent guaranteed anything.
One of the little-known facts of Micheels victory at the PGA Championship was how close he and caddie Bob Szczesny came to parting ways before the tournament.
I have always been loyal and dont change caddies just because Im playing poorly, Micheel says. But there was a time this year when I had missed three cuts in a row when I thought that a change might be imminent. We righted the ship with a 10th place finish at Hartford and just like that we were a team again. I knew all along that it wasnt Bobs fault. Caddies do not hit the shots. Ultimately, Bob is my friend.
One of the people who helped talk Micheel into keeping Szczesny was his wife, Stephanie, who is pregnant with the couples first child. I am grateful that he (Szczesny) didnt fire me after missing those cuts, Micheel says.
And as for the importance of his wife: Stephanie is my life, he says. She has put up with my life since 1994 and if I didnt have her to push me along I dont think I would be in the position that I am in right now.
Stephanie Micheel is an attorney and played soccer at LSU. And, Shaun says, She knows the dedication that sports require from individuals and the amount of time that is required to be at the top level.
And she has understood the separations imposed by the incessant travel. There has never been one time when she has asked me to come home, he says. If that is not support, then I dont know what is. Since January of 1994 there have been maybe 20 days in which we have not spoken. And that includes my travel overseas. I am a long distance carriers dream.
I love her and I am going to do anything to make sure that I hear about her day and to let her know that she is in my thoughts.
Sometimes players change after winning a major championship. Sometimes that change is for the worse. Its nice to see that this is not the case with Shaun Micheel.
As for the bubble: If he makes it, great for him. If he doesnt, Micheel will survive. It isnt like he has played poorly since Oak Hill. Micheel has made the cut in all three PGA Tour events he has played in since then.
Its just that balancing golf with a new house and a baby due soon has been draining. But, he says, it is all good and I am enjoying it.
Editors Note: Shaun Micheel will be Vince Cellinis special guest on Golf Talk Monday, Oct. 27 at 8:00PM (ET).
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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.”