Champs reminisce on shots that led to major glory

By Doug FergusonDecember 18, 2013, 12:54 am

The putt that Adam Scott thinks about most wasn't the one that won him the Masters. The best shot Justin Rose hit at the U.S. Open didn't even stay on the green.

The majors were filled with great shots, even if they didn't produce the obvious outcome.

Scott's putt on the 18th at Augusta National ultimately got him into a playoff when Angel Cabrera answered with a great birdie of his own. Rose's 4-iron into the 18th at Merion ran off the back of the green into a collar. It was a relatively simple up-and-down from there, though such a great shot deserved better.

Every major has a signature shot. Some are easier to define than others.

And with every major champion, there is another shot that is just as pleasing to them, even if it doesn't get as much attention:


MASTERS

The putt that made Scott the first Australian in a green jacket was a 12-footer for birdie on the second playoff hole at No. 10. Scott, however, believes the defining moment of this Masters was the 20-foot birdie putt he made on the 18th in regulation.

Adding to the significance of the putt was his reaction. Scott, the image of GQ, transformed into WWF as he screamed with all his might, ''C'mon, Aussie!''

''No matter what I do in my career from now on, I think it's going to be the one I'm remembered for,'' Scott said. ''Even if I do happen to win other big tournaments or majors, it might not quite be everything that Augusta was.

''There's no doubt, as I look back in my career, that's going to be the one moment I'll think of first as a far as a signature moment.''

He won't forget the 6-iron, either, as good as any shot he struck all week.

On the second playoff hole, Scott had 191 yards from a hook lie in the 10th fairway. Cabrera already was on the green with a reasonable look at birdie.

''I didn't want to sling a 7-iron in there,'' Scott said. ''It wasn't the right shot. The atmosphere was heavy and I was jacked up, but I had to hold a 6-iron. Somehow, I managed to hit such a beautiful shot. If you asked me to do it right now, I couldn't. But I had it at that moment. Absolutely, it's the best shot of my life right now.''


U.S. OPEN

Rose had a one-shot lead on the 18th hole at Merion. He was 229 yards from the pin, and just 15 feet behind the plaque that commemorates Hogan's 1-iron into the 18th during his 1950 U.S. Open victory. While it was not as historic as Hogan's moment, it was the signature shot of his first major.

''It has to be the 4-iron into 18, given the poignancy of the hole, the iconic photograph we've all grown up with and the 18th hole of a major,'' Rose said. ''That was the one that put it away.''

Adding to the pressure was the wait. Luke Donald was taking a penalty drop, leaving more time for Rose to contemplate the consequences of the shot.

''I appreciated the situation I was in and relished it,'' Rose said. ''And luckily, the shot came off. I drilled it. It came off perfectly.''

He believes the 18th hole played a big role earlier in the week. Rain kept the second round from being completed on Friday, and Rose was in the last group that managed to finish without having to return Saturday morning. He watched Phil Mickelson ahead of him make birdie to share the 36-hole lead. Rose missed the fairway, hacked it out of rough and had 115 yards to a pin that was just over the false front, a shot that required close to perfection.

He delivered, hitting wedge to 7 feet.

''It was pretty dark by this time,'' he said. ''But I wanted to hit the putt. Even if I missed, the advantage was there to sleep in. It was a slippery, downhill, left-to-righter for a 69 to stay even par. From a momentum point of view, just finishing and giving myself time in bed for the rhythm of the week ... that was big.''


BRITISH OPEN

Mickelson didn't hesitate when asked for the signature shot of his British Open victory – the 3-wood on the par-5 17th that set up a two-putt birdie.

''Very simply put, there was no margin for error,'' he said. ''If I miss it a little bit to the right, it goes in a bunker and I have a very difficult par. I have to go out sideways and try to get up-and-down for par. If I miss it left, it's the worst rough on the golf course and I could lose my ball or have an unplayable lie. But if I hit it perfectly, there's a good chance I could have a two-putt birdie. And that's what happened.

''I hit it dead perfect at the time I needed it most,'' he said. ''If I made birdie, I felt like I would win.''

Mickelson's closing 66 at Muirfield is considered the best round of the year, and one of the best final rounds in any major. He made birdie on four of the last six holes. As much attention as that 3-wood receives, Lefty was equally pleased with a 5-iron into 8 feet for birdie that started his big run.

It was on the 13th hole, 190 yards and dead into a strong wind to a narrow green.

''If you miss it at all, the ball gets blown off sideways, and you saw it with just about every player behind me,'' Mickelson said. ''I hit it so solid and perfect through the wind the ball just soared. It was the prettiest shot.''


PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

Jason Dufner had a two-shot lead with three holes to play. Leads like that can disappear quickly at a major, especially with the tough, two closing holes at Oak Hill.

Jim Furyk hit his approach to 10 feet on the 16th, easily birdie range. Dufner followed with a sand wedge from 105 yards that spun back to a foot, which stands out as his signature moment at the PGA Championship (though a case could be made for the love tap he gave his wife when it was over).

''I was trying to take it a little bit past the pin on the right,'' Dufner said. ''Obviously, with a wedge in hand, I was thinking it could be a makeable birdie effort. Inside a foot is great for me because I struggle with the putter.''

Not so obvious – except to Dufner – was how he played the par-3 11th hole for the week. At 226 yards, it was the sixth-toughest hole at Oak Hill. Dufner never had a birdie putt outside 20 feet in all four rounds, and he played the hole in 1-under par for the week.

''It was one of the tougher holes, and I made it easy for me,'' he said. ''The 16th is the shot people are going to remember. The one people will forget about is to play that hole (No. 11) in 1 under and never sweat a bogey. That's a pretty good deal.''

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Chamblee: Like Tiger in '13, Mickelson should've DQ'd self

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 19, 2018, 2:46 pm

Two days after Brooks Koepka left Long Island with the U.S. Open trophy, the third-round antics of Phil Mickelson are still garnering plenty of discussion.

Mickelson became a lightning rod of opinion after he intentionally hit a moving ball on the 13th green Saturday at Shinnecock Hills, incurring a two-shot penalty but not a disqualification. In the aftermath, he explained that he made a conscious choice to take the penalty to avoid playing back and forth across the crispy putting surface, and he tied for 48th after a final-round 66.

Speaking Tuesday on "Morning Drive," Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee shared his view that Mickelson would have been well-served to disqualify himself ahead of the final round. He also compared it to Tiger Woods' incident at the 2013 Masters, when he took an incorrect drop and, like Mickelson, received a two-shot penalty but not a disqualification.



"I think Tiger, at least it's my opinion that his year would have been less distracting if he had done so," Chamblee said. "And I think the same of Phil Mickelson. If he had withdrawn from the championship and said, 'Look. This is a little sketchy. It didn't play out the way I thought. I've given it some thought and it's in the best interest of the championship that I withdraw.'"

Chamblee added that Mickelson's antics were "really distracting" on a day filled with drama as the USGA lost control of course conditions, noting that Mickelson and playing partner Andrew "Beef" Johnston were the only tee time where both players failed to break 80 despite the difficult conditions.

But having had time to review the situation and having surveyed a number of peers, Chamblee is as convinced as ever that Mickelson made a mistake by showing up for his final-round tee time.

"What Phil did, I haven't run into a single person that hasn't said he deserved to be disqualified," Chamblee said. "Under any interpretation, a serious breach - if gaining an advantage is not a serious breach, I don't know what is. And he clearly said he was gaining an advantage and doing it for strategic reasons."

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Norman to pose in ESPN's 'Body Issue'

By Grill Room TeamJune 19, 2018, 2:05 pm

Professional golfers have, from time to time, appeared in ESPN's "Body Issue," which features athletes strategically posed in the nude. The list includes: Belen Mozo, Carly Booth, Gary Player, Camilo Villegas, Sandra Gal, Christina Kim, Anna Grzebien, Suzann Pettersen and Sadena Parks.

And now, Greg Norman.

Modesty has never been an issue for Norman, who has an affinity for posing without a shirt (and sometimes without pants) on his Instagram account.

He joins a list of athletes, in this year's edition, ranging from professional wrestlers (Charlotte Flair) to Olympians (Adam Rippon) to WNBA stars (Sue Bird). Click here for a full list of the athletes to appear.

 

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DJ listed as betting favorite for The Open

By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 2:00 pm

With the U.S. Open officially in the books, oddsmakers quickly turned their attention to the season's third major.

Minutes after Brooks Koepka holed the winning putt to successfully defend his title at Shinnecock Hills, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook published its first set of odds for The Open. Jordan Spieth, who opened at 14/1, will defend his title as the tournament shifts to Carnoustie in Scotland for the first time since 2007, when Padraig Harrington defeated Sergio Garcia in a playoff.

Joining Spieth at 14/1 is 2014 Open champion Rory McIlroy, but they're both listed behind world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Johnson, who was a runner-up at the 2011 Open at Royal St. George's and just finished third at the U.S. Open, opened as a 12/1 betting favorite. Koepka, now a two-time major winner, is listed at 20/1 alongside U.S. Open runner-up Tommy Fleetwood.

Here's a look at the first edition of odds, with The Open just five weeks away:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

14/1: Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy

16/1: Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas

20/1: Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama

40/1: Phil Mickelson, Branden Grace, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Marc Leishman

50/1: Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Tyrrell Hatton

60/1: Matt Kuchar, Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Ian Poulter, Francesco Molinari, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick

80/1: Tony Finau, Zach Johnson, Thomas Pieters, Daniel Berger, Xander Schauffele, Bubba Watson, Shane Lowry

100/1: Charl Schwartzel, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker

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Golf Channel, Loch Lomond Partner on Claret Jug Tour Ahead of 147TH Open

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJune 18, 2018, 9:35 pm

Award-Winning Independent Scotcb Whisky Sponsoring Tour to Select U.S. Cities; Will Include Special Tastings and Opportunities for Fans to Engage with Golf’s Most Storied Trophy

Golf Channel and Loch Lomond Group are partnering on a promotional tour with the Claret Jug – golf’s most iconic trophy, first awarded in 1873 to the winner of The Open – to select U.S. cities in advance of the 147TH Open at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland. Loch Lomond Whisky’s sponsorship of the tour further enhances the brand’s existing five-year partnership with the R&A as the official spirit of The Open, initially announced in February.

“We are proud to partner with Golf Channel to support this tour of golf’s most iconic trophy,” said Colin Matthews, CEO of Loch Lomond Group. “Whisky and golf are two of Scotland’s greatest gifts to the world, and following the news of our recent partnership with the R&A for The Open, being a part of the Claret Jug tour was a perfect fit for Loch Lomond Group to further showcase our commitment to the game.”

“The Loch Lomond Group could not be a more natural fit to sponsor the Claret Jug tour,” said Tom Knapp, senior vice president of golf sponsorship, NBC Sports Group. “Much like the storied history that accompanies the Claret Jug, Loch Lomond’s Scottish roots trace back centuries ago, and their aspirations to align with golf’s most celebrated traditions will resonate with a broad range of consumers in addition to golf fans and whisky enthusiasts.”

The tour kicks off today in Austin, Texas, and will culminate on Wednesday, July 11 at the American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe one week prior to The Open. Those wishing to engage with the Claret Jug will have an opportunity at one of several tour stops being staged at Topgolf locations in select cities. The tour will feature a custom, authentic Scottish pub where consumers (of age) can sample Loch Lomond’s portfolio of whiskies in the spirit of golf’s original championship and the Claret Jug. The Claret Jug also will make special pop-up visits to select GolfNow course partners located within some of the designated tour markets.

(All Times Local)

Monday, June 18                    Austin, Texas              (Topgolf, 5:30-8:30 p.m.)

Tuesday, June 19                    Houston                      (Topgolf, 5-8 p.m.)

Wednesday, June 20               Jacksonville, Fla.        (Topgolf, 6-9 p.m.)

Monday, June 25                    Orlando, Fla.               (Topgolf, 6-9 p.m.)

Wednesday, July 4                 Washington D.C.        (Topgolf, 5:30-8:30 p.m. – Ashburn, Va.)

Monday, July 9                       Edison, N.J.                (Topgolf, Time TBA)

Wednesday, July 11               Lake Tahoe, Nev.       American Century Championship (On Course)

Fans interacting with the Claret Jug and Loch Lomond during the course of the tour are encouraged to share their experience using the hashtag, #ClaretJug on social media, and tag @TheOpen and @LochLomondMalts on Twitter and Instagram.

NBC Sports Group is the exclusive U.S. television home of the 147TH Open from Carnoustie, with nearly 50 live hours of tournament coverage, Thursday-Sunday, July 19-22. The Claret Jug is presented each July to the winner of The Open, with the winner also being given the title of “Champion Golfer of the Year” until the following year’s event is staged. The Claret Jug is one of the most storied trophies in all of sports; first presented to the 1873 winner of The Open, Tom Kidd. Each year, the winner’s name is engraved on to the trophy, forever etched into the history of golf’s original championship. It is customary for the Champion Golfer of the Year to drink a favorite alcoholic beverage from the Claret Jug in celebration of the victory.