Tiger vs Phil in Olympics

By Brian HewittApril 30, 2008, 4:00 pm
If David Fay has anything to say about it, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will never be teammates if and when golf gets to the Olympic Games.
This has nothing to do with any sort of antipathy that many people believe exists between the worlds top two players. It has to do with the fact that Fay, the USGAs executive director, believes golf should be an individual sport at the Olympic level.
For the sake of discussion, lets assume for a moment that golf were on the 2008 Olympic program in Beijing, Fay wrote in an e-mail to GOLF CHANNEL. If it were a team competition, consider the possibilities for some countries where there are outstanding individual players but not necessarily outstanding teams (Mexico, Colombia, Paraguay, Korea (men), Japan, Fiji).
Sure, one could have both, but weve been sensitive in the past to the IOCs desire to limit the total number of athletes.
The earliest golf could debut in the Olympics would be 2016. Currently there are seven cities'Chicago, Prague, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Baku (Azerbaijan), Doha (Qatar) and Madrid'vying to be the host city.
If golf gets in; if Fays model is adopted; and if Woods and Mickelson both throw their hats in the Olympics five-ring circus; they will be teammates only in the sense that they will both represent the United States. If Woods is the low medalist, he will receive the gold medal. If Mickelson finishes second, he will get a silver.
Woods and Mickelson would not, under this scenario, be teammates the way Davis Love III and Freddie Couples were when they won four straight World Cups together in the early 90s.
Whether you like it or not, youre going to be hearing more and more about the concept of golf in the Olympics from the executive suites of golfs highest levels in the days to come.
The powers-that-be, that now also includes PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem, recognize, among other things, that the Olympics, in many countries, is the most effective way to tap money sources that can best grow the game worldwide. And with the rising population and economic tides in countries like China and India, these are sources that cannot be ignored.
Fay said we should not be surprised if a member of the International Olympic Committees program committee visits a major golf venue this year--most likely Birkdale and the Open Championship because of its proximity to IOC headquarters in Switzerland.
Chicago, meanwhile, is not believed to be a current frontrunner for the 2016 Olympics. But if it is named the host city and if golf gets into its Olympics, the choice of golf course will be up to the host city organizing committee and the United States Olympic Committee.
Way back in 1992, when golf was being contemplated for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Fay first met Billy Payne. Payne was the driving force behind the Atlanta games. Now he is chairman of the Masters Tournament.
Fay actually spoke to the IOCs program committee in Switzerland in 1992. And, he says now, Our format has always contemplated that the competition be individual stroke play, for both men and women.
If Champions Tour player Brad Bryant is Dr. Dirt, PGA TOUR player Bart Bryant (Brads younger brother) is Mr. Stealth.
Unobtrusively, Bart Bryant finished third at last weeks EDS Byron Nelson Championship, earning a check for $430,000.
He now ranks 15th on the money list; 13th on the FedExCup point standings; 12th on the Ryder Cup point standings; and is up to No. 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Not bad for a 45-year-old veteran who has made the leap from journeyman to elite player at a relatively late stage of his career.
In recent weeks Bryants agent, Mark Johnston, has been doubling as his caddie while Bob Mr. Clean Chaney recovers from a bad back.
Contacted earlier this week, Johnston, whose clients also include Steve Lowery, Ken Duke and Brad Bryant, emphasized that his looping duties are strictly temporary until Chaney returns.
Speaking of Ryder Cup points, if the European team was named tomorrow, based on the qualifying standards, the following players could only make the team as Nick Faldos Captains picks:
Sergio Garcia, Colin Montgomerie, Darren Clarke, Luke Donald, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey.
Sure, theres a lot of golf left before the Aug. 31 deadline for Faldos team to be finalized. But its beginning to look more and more like U.S. captain Paul Azinger may have, temporarily at least, outflanked Faldo.
For starters, Azinger has four captains picks to Faldos two. And Azinger wont be naming those picks until September 2, two days after Faldo shows his hand.
Its never too early to start speculating on what the current Masters champion has in mind for the traditional Champions dinner during Masters week next year.
This time the current champion is South African Trevor Immelman. And, he said, we shouldnt be surprised if boeries on the braai (barbecued sausage) and boboeti (a mince dish served on rice) are on the menu at Augusta National.
All, presumably, complemented by a fine South African sauvignon blanc. Yes, Immelman said of the clean, crisp wine that has increasingly impressed the wine critics in recent years, there will definitely be some of that around, for sure.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Getty Images

Vegas helicopters in to Carnoustie, without clubs

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 9:33 am

Jhonattan Vegas did some range work, putted a little and strolled to the first tee for his 5:31 a.m. ET start in the 147th Open Championship.

Everything before that, however, was far from routine.

Vegas' visa to travel to Scotland expired and the process to renew it got delayed - and it looked like his overseas' flight might suffer the same fate. Vegas, upon getting his visa updated, traveled from Houston, Texas to Toronto, Canada to Glasgow, Scotland, and then took a helicopter to Carnoustie.

He arrived in time on Thursday morning, but his clubs did not. Mizuno put together some irons for him and TaylorMade got him his preferred metal woods. He hit the clubs for the first time on the range, less than 90 minutes before his start.

"I'm going to go out there and play with freedom," Vegas told Golf Channel's Todd Lewis.

Getty Images

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 GolfChannel.com.  

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; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Getty Images

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.