Ishikawa to get quick baptism at Presidents Cup

By Doug FergusonOctober 8, 2009, 4:19 pm

SAN FRANCISCO – Geoff Ogilvy recalls playing in the Taiheiyo Masters in Japan when he noticed a swarm of photographers and fans descending over a hill, scrambling for the best view.

“It was a Tiger pack,” Ogilvy said.

He turned to his playing partner, Brendan Jones of Australia, a regular on the Japan Golf Tour, and asked, “Who’s that?”

“It’s the kid,” Jones replied.

He wasn’t kidding.

Ryo Ishikawa was only 16 at the time, already a star. He was a 15-year-old amateur when he became the youngest player to win a tournament that carried official world ranking points. Having since turned professional, the Japanese sensation has four victories over the last calendar year, more than anyone else on his International team at the Presidents Cup.

“I think Ryo is one of the most exciting players in the world today,” Ernie Els said.

He is used to having “the youngest” attached to just about everything he does, and this week is no different. Ishikawa, who recently turned 18, is the youngest ever to compete in the Presidents Cup.

The fast track continues Thursday when the Presidents Cup gets under way with six foursomes matches. The most compelling will be the fifth match: Ogilvy and Ishikawa against Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker.

It was International captain Greg Norman’s idea to put Ogilvy, who has an 18-3 record in match play, with Ishikawa. U.S. captain Fred Couples decided to put Woods and Stricker into that match.

Ishikawa is up for the challenge, even while showing his deep respect.

“I know that for the U.S. team, Mr. Woods and Mr. Stricker, they are going to be basically the No. 1 team,” Ishikawa said through a translator. “And I’m very excited because of the fact that Mr. Couples picked Mr. Woods and Mr. Stricker to be our opponents. Obviously, this is going to be an important match.

“I feel that if we can win this one, maybe we can stop the American team from getting out of their rhythm.”

That’s the goal for everyone on the International team.

The first day of the Presidents Cup has rarely meant so much to one team. Memories are still fresh from two years ago at Royal Montreal, however, when the opening session ended without a single International victory.

The United States won five of six matches. The other was halved. The International team never seriously cut into the five-point deficit, and it turned out to be another U.S. victory.

The Americans lead the series 5-1-1, and the tale of the tape does not favor the International side at Harding Park.

  •  The Americans have never lost on home soil.
  • The only International victory came 11 years ago in Australia, played late in the year when the U.S. team was not in form.
  • Seven players on the International team have not won anywhere in the world this year.

How bleak is the outlook? Els figured the International team would consider it a victory Thursday if it can split the matches.

Then again, perhaps that can work in its favor.

“We normally come here with a very good team on paper, and it seems like this year, some of us haven’t played that great,” Els said. “We feel like we are underdogs, and I think we kind of want to prove something this week.”

Ishikawa is not one to get rattled.

He has had what seems like the entire Japanese nation following his entire move for so long, and the presence of photographers is nothing new. As for the stage, he played with Woods and Lee Westwood the first two days at the British Open, where he held his own against the world’s No. 1 player until a late fade that caused him to miss the cut, just like Woods.

About the only thing that spooked him Wednesday was meeting Michael Jordan, who is in official attire in his unofficial role as an honorary assistant for the American team.

“Mr. Jordan was really big, and I saw him from a far distance yesterday,” Ishikawa said. “So I was really excited to get to meet him today and to speak with him briefly.”

The Americans always look as though they are having a good time at the Presidents Cup, perhaps because they usually are winning. The extra dimension this week has been the appearance of Jordan – minus the trail of smoke coming from his cigar.

City officials saw a picture of him in the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday smoking his stogie, and asked the tour to remind Jordan that smoking is banned at Harding Park, even for an NBA icon.

“I think he’s a team motivator,” Zach Johnson said. “You talk about the best basketball player of all time, but you’re also talking about one of the best team players of all time. When you add that ingredient into it, I just think it’s a positive.”

All that matters is points on the board, which is unpredictable until the matches get under way.

The U.S. team looks like the favorite on paper. It has the top three players in the world – Woods, Phil Mickelson and Stricker – and five of the top nine. It has seven major champions. Eight of its players have won in the last five months.

Paper never matters in this format – not the credentials, not the pairings.

“There’s no real equation that you’re going to put on paper that’s going to work,” Vijay Singh said. “You just have to go out there and play good golf, and I think that’s what the guys are geared up for. And hopefully, the golf is going to be a little bit more favorable to us this time.”

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  

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 (

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.

Getty Images

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.