Set It On Vibrate Please

By Brian HewittApril 11, 2008, 4:00 pm
The Comebacker is geeked for The Masters. And he is looking to make next weeks edition an all-Masters related Comebacker.
So save up your best stuff and let it fly starting Monday in the wake of the conclusion of Sundays toonamint.
Meanwhile, we clean up a few comebacking odds and ends here as we anxiously await the denouement of the years first major.
Earl writes:My Grandson slipped his cell phone into a practice round at the Masters and was caught using it and he was asked to leave plus they took his ticket and escorted him off the course. Why not do the same with people with cameras? I chose to go with him so I am well aware of the events.
The Comebacker I believe they do do the same for people with cameras. Let me check with Stevie on this and get back to you.

George writes:I think Jerry Seinfeld expressed displeasure on his hit show Seinfeld without using foul language..Whenever I hit a bad shot or feel the need to use profanity, I just say 'Newman' in a condescending and nasty tone.
The Comebacker Matt Kuchar, back when he was at Georgia Tech, would say, Cornbread when he hit a bad shot. Maybe Tiger could just say, Phil or Vijay or Rory to let off steam.

Steve writes: Just a mini rant here. When a player hits a spectator with his errant shot the player usually walks over and says sorry and tosses them his golf ball. That is totally lame. The classiest thing to do is to copy Greg Norman. I was watching a Canadian Skins game a few years ago when Greg sprayed his tee shot into the gallery. Not only did he go over to apologize, he instructed his caddie to get the guys address so he could send him a golf shirt, hat and a dozen balls. I know this because Greg was miked at the time. Not only was this a total class act it was the right thing to do.
The Comebacker For some reason, a lot of people have felt the need to dump on Norman over the years for slights, real or imagined. Its nice to hear a feel good story about The Shark.

Bob writes:Tiger Woods needs to rise to two levels. Who could question the reality he may very well be the best golfer who ever lived and that's made him an American icon? But with that comes a far greater responsibility, especially as a man of color who has successfully shattered so many race barriers. For Tiger, nothing could be more important than to seal his image as a great champion, and that requires the inclusion of demeanor and character. Golf, in itself, is the athletic definition of frustration and those past champions who have displayed grace, class and sportsmanship are the ones who are now most endeared. Tiger's role in American history has no room for character flaws. And, anything less than perfection, concerning manners and conduct, will be perceived in the harshest manner. It's time for Tiger to realize his quest to be technically perfect needs to be paired with near perfect personal characteristics in order to survive intense media scrutiny. Simply being the world's greatest golfer will not be enough.
The Comebacker We salute Bobs articulation and eloquence. We pick one nit, however: Saying, Tigers role in American history has no room for character flaws. First of all, Tiger hasnt announced his candidacy for President yet. Secondly, there have been plenty of American Presidents with plenty of character flaws.

Hiro writes:Is it just me, or is everyone ignoring the potential here with Lorena Ochoa? When Tiger wins two majors in a row there's the talk of another Tiger Slam and maybe even a sweep in same season. But Lorena Ochoa is silently showing dominance over everyone else (with no one really in contention, or closing the leadership gap). And there's hardly any talk of a 'Tiger' Slam? Is she just too nice and quiet a person for anyone to root her on? Is the LPGA just too boring for anyone to care (imagine if Tiger didn't have the Phils and the Vijays and the Geoffs)? I think if Annika or Paula Creamer were in this same position, things would be a little different. It's sad. Ochoa is about as dominant as anyone else in sports in their league right now and she's being ignored. The saddest thing is I'm personally not too excited by the prospect of a LPGA dominant player either. LPGA was interesting to me because at any time, anyone could win. It's not like watching the PGA (for unknown reason)... where it's the coolest thing to have a Tiger around. Your thoughts on why? Marketing problem with LPGA?
The Comebacker Lorena is not boring to me. If she wins the next womens major, you will see a marketing campaign by the LPGA and a media awareness the likes of which we havent witnessed in womens golf in a long time. Finally this: Dominant players never bother The Comebacker.
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    Punch shot: Predictions for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 4:00 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In advance of the 147th Open Championship, writers sound off on burning questions as players ready for a fast and firm test at Carnoustie. Here’s what our writers think about myriad topics:

    The Monday morning headline will be …

    REX HOGGARD: “Survival.” This one is easy. It always is at Carnoustie, which is widely considered The Open’s most demanding major championship test. Monday’s headline will be that the champion - pick a champion, any one will do - “survived” another dramatic Open. You don’t dominate Carnoustie; you endure.

    RYAN LAVNER: “DJ Bashes Way to Victory at Carnoustie.” If somehow a two-win season could be disappointing, it has been for DJ. He’s first in scoring average, birdie average, par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring, strokes gained: tee to green and proximity from the rough. Those last two stats are the most important, especially here at Carnoustie, with these dry conditions. The game’s preeminent long-and-straight driver, there’s a better-than-decent chance he rolls.

    MERCER BAGGS: “Rahm Tough: Spaniard charges to Open victory.” Jon Rahm will claim him maiden major title this week by powering his way through the winds and fescue at Carnoustie.

    JAY COFFIN: “Thomas wins second major, ascends to world No. 1 again.” Shortly after The Open last year, Thomas rolled through the end of the PGA Tour season. This is the time of year he likes best. Despite a poor Open record the last two years, he’s not remotely concerned. He’s a tad miffed he didn’t win in France two weeks ago and comes to Carnoustie refreshed, with a gameplan, and ready to pounce.

    Who or what will be the biggest surprise?

    HOGGARD: Style of play. Given Carnoustie’s reputation as a brute, the surprise will be how the champion arrives at his lofty perch. Unlike previous editions at Carnoustie, this week’s dry conditions will promote more aggressive play off the tee and the winner will defy the norm and power his way to victory.

    LAVNER: Tiger Woods. This is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year, and here’s believing he contends. His greatest strengths are his iron game and scrambling, and both aspects will be tested to the extreme at Carnoustie, helping separate him from some of the pretenders. With even a little cooperation from his putter, he should be in the mix.

    BAGGS: Padraig Harrington. He had a good opening round last week at the Scottish Open and has some good vibes being the 2007 Open champion at Carnoustie. He won’t contend for four rounds, but a few days in the mix would be a nice surprise.

    COFFIN: Alex Noren. Perhaps someone ranked 11th in the world shouldn’t be a surprise, but with so much focus on some of the bigger, household names, don’t be surprised when Noren is in contention on Sunday. He hasn’t finished worse than 25th since early May and won two weeks ago in France. He also tied for sixth place last year at Royal Birkdale.

    Who or what will be the biggest disappointment?

    HOGGARD: Jordan Spieth. Although he was brilliant on his way to victory last year at Royal Birkdale, Spieth is not the same player for this week’s championship, the byproduct of a balky putter that has eroded his confidence. Spieth said giving back the claret jug this week was hard, but his finish will be even tougher.

    LAVNER: Weather. This might sound a little sadistic, but one of the unique joys of covering this tournament is to watch the best in the world battle conditions they face only once a year – the bone-chilling cold, the sideways rain, the howling wind. It doesn’t appear as though that’ll happen this year. With only a few hours of light rain expected, and no crazy winds in the forecast, the biggest challenge for these stars will be judging the bounces on the hard, baked-out turf.

    BAGGS: Jordan Spieth. The defending champion is still trying to find his winning form and Carnoustie doesn’t seem the place to do that. As much as he says he loves playing in strong winds, there should be enough danger around here to frustrate Spieth into a missed cut.

    COFFIN: Rory McIlroy. I hope I’m wrong on this, because the game is better when Rory is in contention at majors. Putting always has been his issue and seemingly always will be. While there isn’t as much of a premium placed on putting this week because of slower greens, he may still have to hit it close. Super close.

    What will be the winning score?

    HOGGARD: 10 under. The last two Opens played at Carnoustie were won with 7-under and 6-over totals, but this week’s conditions will favor more aggressive play and lower scores. Expect to see plenty of birdies, but the great equalizer will come on Sunday when wind gusts are forecast to reach 25 mph.

    LAVNER: 15 under. An Open at Carnoustie has never produced a winner lower than 9 under (Tom Watson in 1975), but never have the conditions been this susceptible to low scores. Sure, the fairway bunkers are still a one-shot penalty, but today’s big hitters can fly them. The thin, wispy rough isn’t much of a deterrent. And the wind isn’t expected to really whip until the final day.

    BAGGS: 12 under. We aren’t going to see the same kind of weather we have previously witnessed at Carnoustie, and that’s a shame. Any players who catch relatively benign conditions should be able to go low, as long as they can properly navigate the fairway rollout.

    COFFIN: 14 under. Walked into a local golf shop in the town of Carnoustie wearing a Golf Channel logo and the man behind the counter said, “It’ll take 14 under to win this week.” Well, he’s been here for years and seen Carnoustie host The Open twice before. He knows more about it than I do, so I’ll stick with his number.

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    Watch: Na plays backwards flop and practices lefty

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 3:16 pm

    Fresh off his victory at The Greenbrier, Kevin Na is taking a quite-literally-backwards approach to his Open prep.

    Caddie Kenny Harms has been sharing videos of Na's early work at Carnoustie.

    This one shows Na standing in a bunker and playing a flop shot over his own head (as opposed to someone else's):

    While it's unlikely he'll have a need for that exact shot this week, it's far more likely a player may have to think about turning his club over and playing from the wrong side of the ball, like so:

    Na has made 4 of 6 cuts at The Open and will look to improve on his best career finish, currently a T-22 in 2016 at Royal Troon.

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    McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.

    Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.

    “It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”

    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.

    “Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”

    He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.  

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    Height of irony: Phil putts in front of 'rules' sign

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 1:36 pm

    A picture is worth 1,000 words and potentially two strokes for playing a moving ball under Rule 14-5 but not Rule 1-2.

    Phil Mickelson has been having some fun during his Open prep at Carnoustie hitting flop shots over human beings, but the irony of this photo below is too obvious to go over anyone's head.

    Mickelson also tried tapping down fescue two weeks ago at The Greenbrier, incurring another two-shot penalty.

    And so we're left to wonder about what Phil asked himself back at Shinnecock Hills: "The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’”