No. 1 Day: 'I'm in it for the long haul'

By Doug FergusonMay 18, 2016, 1:04 am

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - To see him now, it's hard to believe Jason Day had only one victory in his first six years on the PGA Tour.

Then again, consider the start of the year.

Day finished a combined 35 shots out of the lead in the three tournaments he finished. The other was Torrey Pines, where he was defending champion and missed the cut while coping with a nasty virus.

Since then, he has gone wire-to-wire against strong fields twice in the last two months, and he effectively did the same at the Dell Match Play, when only one of the seven matches he won reached the 18th hole. He has seven victories in his last 17 tournaments. He is No. 1 in the world with the highest points average since Tiger Woods.

For Day, it's all about the long haul.

To measure his career to date, he is different from Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth in one respect. Everyone knew McIlroy and Spieth had exceptional talent, and it didn't take long for them to get on the fast track. McIlroy locked up his European Tour card in two events, won in his second full season and was a U.S. Open champion at 22. Spieth had no status when he turned pro, won on the PGA Tour, was the youngest American to play in the Presidents Cup and had two majors at 21.

Day had every bit as much talent.

He turned heads when he came to America to play the Web.com Tour and won a tournament at 18. What followed were marriage, nagging injuries, his first child, finding a balance between home and golf and questions about why he wasn't winning more.

The answer was a hard look at who he was and motivated him.

Colin Swatton, his longtime coach and caddie, recalls a conversation they had early in his career.

''He said, 'When do you think I'll win on Tour?' And I said, 'You'll win when you want to win. You'll dominate when you want to dominate.' He never understood that,'' Swatton said Tuesday. ''And then at the British Open he was like, 'Gosh, I let another one slip through my fingers. Enough is enough. This is my time. This is when I want to make my mark in golf.'

''Motivation for any player has to come from within.''

Day looks back at that British Open last summer as a turning point in his career. He came up short on a 30-foot birdie putt to get into a playoff at St. Andrews, and he walked away more determined than ever to make it his time.

There was another moment this year at Doral that reminded the 28-year-old Australian what it took.

Swatton prefers data over emotion because that's what gets through to Day, so he keeps files of information. One reason Day started off the year so slowly is because he stayed away from the game for three months, mainly because wife Ellie gave birth to their second child.

Day was disappointed at Doral, where he tied for 23rd and was never in the picture.

Swatton was realistic. He knew that Day couldn't expect to have the same form after sitting out three months. Hours lost meant more hours required to reformulate the swing and the feel. So he kept a log of the hours Day had put in and showed it to him after Doral.

''When he walks off and he's disappointed, you have to present him with facts. You can't present him with emotion,'' Swatton said. ''I said, 'The fact is, this is all the practice you've done.' He looked at it and said, 'Oh my goodness.' I said, 'Exactly.'

''He just had to be patient.''

Day is diligent when it comes to work. He thought winning would come easier when he showed up on the PGA Tour in 2008. He doesn't want to make that mistake again. So he kept working. And he started winning. And here he is, No. 1 by a margin that suggests he might be there for some time.

''He found what motivates him to work hard,'' Swatton said. ''And right now he's motivated to do something similar to Greg Norman, to Tiger Woods. I think he just loves winning. Walking down 18 on Sunday, people are yelling and screaming, and he said, 'This is why I work hard. This walk.'

''It's not about the $1.8 million or whatever,'' Swatton said. ''He just loves winning.''

It doesn't come as easily as he can make it look.

Day said he has been building to this moment, even during the lean years, finding something that will make him a little better each year.

''Look, I'm in it for the long haul,'' he said after his most recent victory. ''It's not like I'm here for five years and someone younger than me is going to be a half-step quicker or I'm going to be an old, slow man. At the end of my career, I want to be able to look back and know that I incrementally got better as the years went on. And if I can focus on that, then I will.

''As long as I want it, and if I do the work, then I'll get better.''

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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.