For Now its Phils and Tigers Show

By Brian HewittJune 12, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. OpenOAKMONT, Pa. -- There are, perhaps, eight or nine players in the field at this weeks U.S. Open who can actually win the championship at storied and feared Oakmont.
 
Jim Furyk is one of them. So is Zach Johnson. And Adam Scott. And Vijay. And defending champion Geoff Ogilvy. And three or four others.
 
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson shares a light moment Tuesday with his left wrist in a brace. (Getty Images)
They are all contenders.
 
But there are only two stars here.
 
Tiger and Phil.
 
Whether you like it or not, they are the stars. They are the first and second best players in the world right now, respectively. And whether youre sick of their media exposure or you cant get enough, they are the stars.
 
As such, they held center stage Tuesday at Oakmont. Tiger is the unquestioned favorite. He has won two U.S. Opens, and three PGA TOUR events already this year. His wife, Elin, is very pregnant with their first child. He is very excited about the impending birth.
 
Mickelson is the happy father of three. Right now he has an injured left wrist. Last year he made a mess of the 72nd hole at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot and gave the golf tournament away to Ogilvy who was more than happy and competent enough to seize the moment.
 
Mickelson is most definitely not the favorite to win the week. As one former TOUR pro said Tuesday, Dont bet on a fighter with a broken hand.
 
Mickelsons hand isnt broken. But a bad wrist on a golf course with thick, penal rough and anorexic fairways ... well ... he might as well have a broken hand.
 
Im trying not to go in with too many expectations, Mickelson said.
 
Mickelson and Woods as a concept work better as rivals than they do as friends. Which is why the defining moment at Oakmont came Tuesday when someone asked Mickelson if he had advice for Tiger when it comes to being a father.
 
Me giving Tiger advice doesnt really feel right about anything, Mickelson said with that sheepish Phil grin. After the laughter stopped Mickelson politely and sincerely added that he thought Tiger and Elin would be wonderful parents.
 
Mickelson hasnt been able to prepare with the normal volume of work he believes he needs to ready him for a major championship. He will wear a non-restrictive wrist brace all week.
 
But he simply hasnt played much golf since tweaking the wrist here a couple of weeks ago when the rough was much thicker. Driver, the longest and crookedest club in his arsenal, has stayed in the bag during most of his practice. If he hits too many drivers, the wrist flares up again.
 
Yet, he admitted, to win this tournament you have to hit driver and get it down the fairway.
 
Woods, when asked, pointed out that Mickelsons injured wrist is the left wrist. The left wrist, he added, is not the impact wrist for a left-handed golfer.
 
A lot of people have forgotten that Woods injured his impact (left) wrist, as an amateur at the 1995 U.S. Open. He had to withdraw. He knows wrists.
 
Woods is stronger and healthier now. His biggest concern at most majors these days is finding the fairway off the tee and zeroing in on the pace of the greens for 72 holes. The latter is especially crucial at Oakmont which, arguably, has the most complex set of green complexes in the world.
 
This is one of the most difficult tests well ever face, Woods said. You really have to play well from tee to green. Then the fun really begins.
 
Next thing we knew, Tiger was a comedian.
 
Asked if he had a favorite hole, Woods cracked, Yeah, the 19th hole is great.
 
Asked about the 288-yard, par-3 eighth, Tiger said, Pretty good. You can drive a par-4 every day.
 
He was a regular Rodney Dangerfield.
 
Anyway, if Phil is playing possum here this week, he has everybody fooled. If Tiger wins, no one will be surprised.
 
Jim Furyk is the last American to capture this championship. He did so in 2003 at Olympia Fields. He is my pick to win.
 
The best story this week, if he wins, will be Mickelson. Hands down. Putting to bed the ghosts of Winged Foot, and all that.
 
The best story for golf, if he wins, will be Woods. It always is. When he wins, everybody outside the world of golf pays attention.
 
Whatever happened to The Big Five?

Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
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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.