CIMB goes deep into FedEx list to fill field

By Doug FergusonOctober 22, 2014, 12:05 am

Nicholas Thompson missed qualifying for the FedEx Cup playoffs by one point last year. He finished at No. 125 on the PGA Tour money list by $725 and only kept his full card for this season because the tour used the top 125 from the money list for the last time.

So what does that get him?

A trip to Kuala Lumpur next week for a $7 million tournament with no cut for the 78-man field.

The CIMB Classic, the first part of the two-event Asian swing, is for the top available players from the final FedEx Cup standings last year, the top 10 from Asian Tour Order of Merit and eight sponsor exempts. And if needed, the field is filled by additional players from the FedEx Cup.

Exactly why the tournament had to go so deep into the FedEx Cup is not entirely clear, although there are a few theories, starting with the schedule. A year ago, the Asian swing was the third event on the schedule after two tournaments on the West Coast. Now the McGladrey Classic is the third event, preceding Malaysia.

There also is another tournament from which players can choose. The Sanderson Farms Championship in Mississippi, which previously was held opposite the British Open, now is the same week as the HSBC Champions in Shanghai. That option wasn't available last year.

It's worth nothing that CIMB used to offer players two business-class tickets on Air Malaysia - typically one for the player, one for his caddie - and that perk has been reduced to one ticket this year.

Among those going to Malaysia is Kevin Chappell, who would have made the field easily at No. 55.

''It worked well with my schedule,'' Chappell said from Sea Island. ''My goal was to play in the fall, but not play too many in a row. And obviously, the perks are good. They run a great golf tournament. You get police escorts to and from the golf course. It's a first-class event. Yes, it's a long way to go, but I really do like it.''

Carlos Ortiz of Mexico decided to play Malaysia primarily because with a short field he is guaranteed points.

Tim Wilkinson (No. 119), Brice Garnett (121) and James Hahn (123) also are in the field.

The CIMB Classic next season will go back to being held after the opening two events on the West Coast, and perhaps the tour won't have to go so deep in the standings to fill the field. Or maybe it will.

''I think the wraparound season is a little bit more known now,'' Chappell said. ''Guys might feel comfortable taking time off and not playing an event.''


ASIA-PACIFIC AMATEUR: Yang Gunn is the U.S. Amateur champion from South Korea who plays at San Diego State. And he figures to have a home-field advantage when the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship gets underway at Royal Melbourne.

Yang spent his teenage years on the fabled sand belt courses in Melbourne.

''This is one of the best tournaments in the world,'' Yang said. ''I'm really excited about being here and kind of competing on my home soil. I grew up here, and I really love the way they play golf here on the sand belt. It's like links golf.''

It's the first time the 72-hole tournament has been held outside Asia since it began in 2009.

Others in the field include 2012 champion Guan Tianlang of China. The winner gets a spot in the Masters next year and is exempt into the final stage of qualifying for the British Open. Yang already is exempt into both as the U.S. Amateur champion.

The real home-course advantage belongs to 16-year-old Ryan Ruffels, the Australian junior champion and a member at Royal Melbourne. And he is well aware of the spoils that go to the victor this week.

''All week I've been holing putts out on the 18th green pretending that it's the putt to get into the Masters,'' Ruffels said. ''It's something we're all aware of, whether we say we're thinking about it or not.''


GOLF BEER: First there were the Golf Boys. Maybe this group should be called the Beer Boys.

Graeme McDowell, Keegan Bradley and Freddie Jacobson are in the beer business, launching their own label of craft beers through Lakeland, Florida-based Beer Hub. The name of their company is GolfBeer Brewing Co.

Jacobson's Scandinavian Style Blonde Ale is brewed with Crystal malt and a variety of European hops. Bradley's New England Style Lager is made with two-row barley and North American hops. The other is G-Mac's Celtic Style Pale Ale, with a floral hope aroma and a snappy finish.

Each golfer contributed to the design of the packaging that features their name, signature and silhouette.

GolfBeer initially will be available on draft and in 12-ounce cans at select golf courses and restaurants in Florida, with plans to expand to grocery stores and bars next year. Among the restaurants that will carry the craft beer is McDowell's restaurant in Orlando called Nona Blue.

McDowell said as a golfer and a restaurant owner, the beer company brings together ''two of my favorite things.''


LPGA SPONSOR: The LPGA Tour has a new sponsor for one of its best events, along with a new location.

Underwriters Laboratories, based in Northbrook, Illinois, will be the title sponsor of the UL International Crown for 2016 and 2018. The tournament among eight qualifying countries will be held at Rich Harvest Farms in the Chicago suburbs in 2016. The LPGA announced it would be played in South Korea in 2018.

Spain won the inaugural event this year at Caves Valley.

''When we came up with the idea for the International Crown, our goal was to launch a truly global event for women's golf,'' LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said. ''We were looking for a partner to help grow it globally and I can think of no better partner than UL, whose business aligns perfectly with the LPGA.''

UL was an ambassador sponsor for the inaugural event.

The location of the 2018 tournament has not been announced.


DIVOTS: Adam Scott tied for 38th in the Japan Open last week, his 52nd consecutive tournament worldwide that he has made the cut. He also began his search for a new caddie, using Eddie Gardino in Japan. Gardino was on Angel Cabrera's bag for his 2007 U.S. Open victory at Oakmont. ... Ian Poulter said Tuesday on Twitter that he will be a full Titleist staff player next season. He previously was with Cobra-Puma Golf. ... PGA Tour rookie Tony Finau has made 43 birdies in his first two events.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Stacy Lewis remains No. 1 in the women's world ranking by six-thousandths of a point over Inbee Park.


FINAL WORD: ''My staff back in Florida has informed me that we've already set a record for the most picture tweets of any resort in 24 hours in LPGA history.'' - LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan on this week's tournament at the Blue Bay Resort on Hainan island in China.

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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 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)

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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.