What If Sergio Wins

By Brian HewittJuly 20, 2007, 4:00 pm
No, this column does not come to you direct from David Lettermans home office in Wahoo, Nebraska. But what follows are the 10 top reasons, not necessarily in order, why a victory by 36-hole leader Sergio Garcia Sunday in the Open Championship at Carnoustie will be especially worth noting. Its a big if mostly because theres lots of golf left. But its always fun to take a peek into what-might-happen.
1.The Streak Will Be Over: The last European to win a major championship was Scotlands Paul Lawrie, at Carnoustie, way back in 1999. Since then the Euros have gone 0 for the 21st century. Its a drought theyre very tired of hearing about over and over. So they will be dancing from the bull rings of Pamplona to the soccer pitches of Manchester if El Nino finally delivers on all that promise he hasnt yet kept in the biggest championships.
2.The Clothes Will Have Been Fixed: Too many times in recent years Sergio has shown up on the tee wearing clothes that made him look like a human canary, a mint frappe or a raspberry sherbet cone. Thursday it was smart blue trousers and a tasteful cream-colored sweater. Friday it was sharp black top and crisp tan slacks. Marty Hackel would be proud. Garcia may finally have learned how to dress like a champion.
3.The Torch Will Have Been Passed: Early in the week Severiano Ballesteros, the greatest Spaniard ever to play the game, officially retired from competitive golf. Then another Spaniard, two-time Masters winner Jose Maria Olazabal, withdrew, citing a knee injury. This is clearly a sign from his countrymen that Garcias time has come. Miguel Angel Jimenez (tied for third after two rounds) has hung around for support. And the way hes playing, Jimenez could wind up in the final group with Garcia Sunday. That would be like Sancho Panza and Don Quixote. Jimenez (set in ital.) sanchismos (end ital.) would be the perfect complement to all Garcias (set in ital.) duende (end ital.).
4.Tiger Woods Will Have Been Put On Notice: Woods shocked everybody by dunking the first shot of his second round OB Friday. We have come to know over the years that as much as he hates to lose, there are some players he hates to lose to more than others. Garcia, who gloated openly after bagging Woods at the Battle of Bighorn way back in 2000, is one of those players. In short, the Claret Jug in Garcias possession will only make Woods more determined, if such a thing is possible. Tiger is seven back after 36 holes.
5.Garcias Manners May Improve: On his worst days, Garcia can be peevish, stubborn and downright rude. Earlier this year in Florida he spit into a golf cup on the course after being frustrated by poor putting. Doral officials are still waiting for a public apology. The figurative crown worn by major champions almost always improves their comportment.
6.Sergios Confidence Will Soar: Perhaps the best ball-striker in golf, Garcia obviously has found something with the belly putter. Continued belief with the flat stick is the one thing that could transform Garcia overnight into the best candidate to challenge Woods on a regular basis. Isnt that the player weve all been looking for the last 10 years?
7.Garcia Will No Longer Be TBPNTHWAM: The dubious distinction of being the best player never to have won a major will probably now belong to Adam Scott. Although Northern Irelands Rory McIlroy sure looks like the best 18-year-old (since Woods was that age) Ive ever seen never to have won a major. McIlroy fired a 3-under 68 Thursday and played well enough Friday to make the cut. Not bad for a fresh-faced kid who looks like hes still a couple of years away from shaving.
8.Cry-noustie Will Be A Distant Memory: At Carnoustie in 1999 a 19-year-old Garcia shot an 83 and an 89, missed the cut by millions and wept openly in his mothers arms. This time the only tears will be ones of joy. And there will be enough to fill a keg of Michelob Light.
9.The Americans Will Win The Next Ryder Cup: There is, at least, every reason to hope this will be the case since the Euros played so well in the Ryder Cup when they were playing so poorly in all those majors. Isnt golf supposed to be cyclical?
10.It Will Be Predicted By Experts That Garcia Will Win Multiple Majors Soon: And these predictions will be wrong. Weve heard this blather before. But the fact remains that Garcia and all the other guys out there right now are living in the time of Tiger Woods. Tiger is The Man in golf and will remain so for at least 10 and maybe 20 more years. Enjoy your moment while you can, Sergio.
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    Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

    By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

    Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

    The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

    Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

    Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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    Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

    He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

    “There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

    Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

    Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

    “It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

    More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

    “I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”