Smith Lefty Adjustment Needed

By Brian HewittFebruary 1, 2007, 5:00 pm
Rick Smith loved what he saw in student Phil Mickelsons driver swing last week at the Buick Invitational.
Mickelson's arms, Smith said, are noticeably bigger due to an off-season workout regimen. His upper arms are huge, Smith told me. I mean huge.
Which has resulted in a good kind of tightness. Anything that can make his swing more compact, Im all for it, Smith said. If it tightens up his golf swing from a tension standpoint, thats wonderful.
And the driving numbers, in two events, bear Smith out. Mickelson is 16th in total driving in 2007. Last year, he finished tied for 66th in that category.
The big problem Smith sees right now is distance control. And, he says, the reason for the problem may be that same tightness that has helped Mickelson off the tee.
I wonder, Smith said, if Phil is still adjusting his feel.
Mickelson struggled to a T45 at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and skied to a 78 in fierce Sunday winds. At the Buick Invitational last week he posted 73-74 on the weekend and wound up T51. His scoring average this year is 71.52. Thats more than two shots worse than his 69.50 for all of 2006.
Obviously his arms are a different size, Smith said. He just has to get acclimated to that. Maybe hes not quite there yet. ... Jack Nicklaus once told me he could win when he was a little left or a little right but not when he was long or short.
Distance control was not a problem for Mickelson with the scoring clubs last year. He ranked 15th in approaches between 125 and 150 yards. So far this year he ranks T160 in that same category.
Im sure well start dialing it in, Smith said. I just dont want him to lose patience.
Trevor Immelman is in fast company. Hes the last man to beat Tiger Woods in a PGA TOUR event. And that counts for something seeing that Woods has won seven straight official tournaments since Immelman birdied three of the last four holes at the Cialis Western Open last July to edge Woods by two strokes.
Woods is attempting to break the PGA TOUR record of 11 consecutive wins set by Byron Nelson in 1945. The last player to beat Nelson before he began his historic run that year was Sam Snead at the now defunct Jacksonville Open.
What does Immelman think of Woods streak?
Its a little bit concerning, Immelman told me over the phone from Arizona, where he will play in this weeks FBR Open. Its good for the game but it would be nice if someone else could win for a change.
Immelman, the 2006 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year and the 12th-tanked player in the world, watched Woods out-duel several relative unknowns'Brandt Snedeker, Jeff Quinney and Andrew Buckle'down the stretch before finally holding off Charles Howell III by two to win the Buick Invitational Sunday.
But he does not despair. All the top golfers think, when theyre playing their best, they like their chances, Immelman said. But I dont put winning 11 straight out of his (Woods) reach.
What does Immelman like best about Woods? He does a great job controlling the things around him. They run very smoothly. There havent been too many great sportsmen in the history of golf that have really understood how to do that. Tiger gets it.
Actually, the last two players not to lose to Tiger Woods (in an event Woods played in) are Immelman and Australian Matthew Goggin. Most people have forgotten that Goggin shot four rounds in the 60s at Cog Hill to tie Woods for second place behind Immelman. The last American to win a PGA TOUR event in which Woods participated was Phil Mickelson at last years Masters.
In case you were wondering, those were members of Tigers extended family standing behind the 18th green Sunday at Torrey Pines. Along with Tigers mother, Kultida, and his wife, Elin, were Elins father, Thomas Nordegren, and Elins young siblings, Samuel and Isadora.
My favorite statistic on Woods current dominance is this one: Jim Furyk, ranked No. 2 in the world, is closer in world ranking points average to No. 1300 John Elliott than he is to No. 1 Woods.
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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.