Praise Padraig Break Bones

By Brian HewittAugust 15, 2008, 4:00 pm
The Comebacker is all over the map this week, but most roads lead back to Padraig Harrington. I loved the suggestion that if Padraig wins the next two majors we shouldnt call it the Paddy Slam; we should call it The Four Leaf Clover.
Without further ado:
Tony writes: After reading your article about Padraig, I cannot tell you how happy I am for him and the game of golf. What an outstanding individual. I have been impressed with his game for some time; now to find out what outstanding character he has is impressive. Passing up the book payday to help cancer research is heart warming. Could there be something to this 'karma' thing after all? Proud to have a little Irish blood in me.
The Comebacker Harrington has continued to mature on and off the golf course every year since turning professional. There are a few players who would do well to pay attention to this process.

Don writes: Nick (Faldo) is making a huge mistake if he doesn't take Monty. He, along with Seve and Faldo, have been the heart and soul of Euro golf for twenty years.
The Comebacker Couldnt agree more. Interesting isnt it how Monty never won a major or in the States yet managed to be such a stalwart in Ryder Cup play.

Brandt writes: I really think the pair of 66s (by Harrington) on the weekend are the unbelievable story for this PGA. Only (Andres)Romero beat him on Saturday (third round Sunday) and Boo (Weekley) tied him on Sunday. Even with that his was really 132 (strokes) in one day on what many players said was the toughest course of the majors this year. It maybe some time before we see that again. The Americans are going to have their hands full again for the Ryder Cup when they get here in Louisville next month. We can only hope that the four players Azinger picks are playing red hot these next four to six weeks.'
The Comebacker A lot of people have conveniently forgotten that Steve Flesch, who had a top-10 at Oakland Hills, has a lot of Kentucky in him. Dont be surprised if he gets a call as a captains pick. Flesch finished two ahead of the other lefty (Mickelson) at the PGA.

Steve writes: I understand you accumulate points in order to qualify for the Ryder Cup. Having said that, however, having Kenny Perry on the U.S. Ryder Cup team is dead wrong. (He) refused to go compete at the Open Championship (and) did not want to compete at the U.S. Open in order to build his U.S. Ryder Cup points. This guy does not deserve to be on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. We can debate this for months but the facts speak for themselves. Paul Azinger's hands are tied. Too bad!'
The Comebacker You, sir, are dead wrong. There has been no indication that Azinger has a problem with Perrys No. 1 priority in 2008 being making Azingers team.

Andre writes: I find it interesting that in Tiger's absence golf writers and anti-Tiger fans are constantly proclaiming that golf is fine without him. It might be fine, but for me, it just isn't as much fun to watch. Although I will admit if it were Tiger and not Harrington that had pulled off the quad 6s in the final two rounds to win the tournament I probably would be saying how great it was myself. Unfortunately I've decided that Sundays are now a golfing day and not a golf watching day. Kudos to Harrington. Although it is very interesting that in both tournaments the leaders went backwards except Harrington. This is really where Tiger separates himself from the rest of the golfers on Tour. He rarely goes backwards on Sunday. Maybe it's not just the Tiger Pressure that gets to guys like Sergio and Phil. Maybe they're just not clutch players.
The Comebacker Tiger aint coming back any time soon. Time to move on, big fella.

KC writes: I just had a comment on you not being sure if Tiger will play in the Olympics. You should know better than that! Tiger will not allow someone else to win the first golf gold medal. Once that's done youre right, he may never play again. Tiger is all about goals and records. Just like I knew he would win the U.S. Open. I knew he would have to win the first Open on Fathers Day as a father. There is no way Tiger will not grab that first gold. We just have to hope he doesn't play for the Taiwanese team out of respect for his mom.
The Comebacker For starters, I believe Tigers mother, Kultida, is Thai. Second, I still think it will be a cold day in Windermere before winning a gold medal shows up on Tigers radar screen.

Martin writes: Let me get this right, Nancy Lopez has to stop taking a physician-prescribed blood pressure medication to avoid being in violation of the LPGAs drug policy? How stupid is that! I suppose if you are on a drug that keeps you alive when you would otherwise be dead, that constitutes a performance-enhancing effect? It is absurd than any player would have to put their health at risk to play in a tournament.
The Comebacker The people who dont want golf in the Olympics are cheering at Martins e-mail.

Sam writes: It is hard for me to believe that no writer is directing scrutiny towards Phil's caddie, Bones. He was the only person on Earth that could (and should) have slapped Phil silly over club selection at Winged Foot. And we just witnessed nearly the same thing again. It should never have happened. In New York, Bones should have made the highlight films instead of Phil by refusing to hand over the driver.
The Comebacker Bones isnt hitting the shots. Its that simple.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 9:20 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.

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McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

Said Harmon:

“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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How The Open cut line is determined

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

• After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

• There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

• There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.

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

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 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.