No guarantees Spieth will get another chance

By Doug FergusonJuly 21, 2015, 9:15 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – The odds of a Grand Slam were already long simply because no one had ever swept the four professional majors in one year. If that's the best measure, this sobering piece of history might make Jordan Spieth feel even worse.

No one ever got another chance.

Dating to 1960, when Arnold Palmer hatched the modern version of the Grand Slam on his way to St. Andrews, no one came closer to the third leg than Spieth. He was tied for the lead with two holes to play. Two pars would have been enough for a playoff. A par and a birdie would have sent golf into hysteria.

Instead, he missed a par putt on the low side at the 17th, and hit his drive so far left on the closing hole of the Old Course that Spieth was between clubs and had an awkward angle to a front left pin tucked just above the ridge that leads to the Valley of Sin.

The bogey-par finish left him one-shot out of a three-man playoff. He was reduced to the role – and a classy one at that – of spectator on the steps of the Royal & Ancient clubhouse as Zach Johnson won a three-man playoff to join a select group of names on the claret jug.

Kel Nagle, Lee Trevino and Ernie Els were the other three players who ended the quest for a Grand Slam. All of them are in the World Golf Hall of Fame. It's no longer a stretch to think Johnson might join them one day. In an era where it's hard to win anywhere on the PGA Tour, and when there is such a premium on power, the 39-year-old Johnson has 12 wins and two majors in his 12 years on tour. It's hard to dismiss those numbers.

As for Spieth?

''It's a tough feeling being that close in a major. It doesn't matter the historical element of it,'' Spieth said. ''I believe I'll have plenty of opportunities like I did today.''

If he's talking about winning another major, don't bet against him. Las Vegas already has installed him as the favorite at the PGA Championship.

The Grand Slam is another matter.

Palmer was 30 when he first tried for the Grand Slam. He thought he might get another crack at it when he won the Masters in 1962 and was tied for the lead going into the final round of the U.S. Open at Oakmont. Nicklaus, a 22-year-old Tour rookie, shot 69 in the final round and then beat The King in a playoff the next day. Palmer won one more Masters in 1964 and was one shot out of the lead in the U.S. Open that year until fading on the final day at Congressional.

Nicklaus was 32 when he closed with a 66 in the final round at Muirfield while going for the Grand Slam in 1972. He thought it might be good enough until Trevino chipped in for par on the 17th hole and made another par on the 18th for a one-shot victory. Nicklaus won the Masters again in 1975, but in the U.S. Open at Medinah, he shot 72 in the final round and wound up two shots out of a playoff.

Most surprising was Woods, based solely on his level of dominance.

Woods was 26 when he took himself out of the Grand Slam in 2002 with an 81 in the third round. He was back on top of his game in 2005 when he won the Masters, and he looked like the player to beat in the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 until Michael Campbell stood his ground and won by two. Woods was the runner-up. Woods won five more majors, though never a Masters.

Spieth is 21.

He at least has youth on his side, though that only goes so far.

Spieth dominated Augusta National with a wire-to-wire victory. But the U.S. Open required some help. Dustin Johnson missed a half-dozen putts inside 10 feet on the back nine, including a three-putt par from 12 feet on the final hole at Chambers Bay that cost him a spot in the playoff. At the British Open, he had to contend with the likes of Jason Day, Louis Oosthuizen and Zach Johnson.

Yes, he has closed out his share of tournaments.

''This just wasn't one of those,'' he said. ''It's hard to do that every single time.''

Woods said after winning the 1997 Masters that the Grand Slam was a matter of winning the right four weeks of the year. By the end of that year, when he didn't win another major, he said it was difficult just to contend in four majors a year.

Having done it once, Spieth will be on the short list of players who are asked about a Grand Slam after winning the first one.

In the meantime, there is much history he can chase, even if it isn't the holy grail. Ben Hogan (1953) and Woods (2000) are the only players to have captured three majors in one year. No one has ever won all three American-based majors, and Spieth will get that chance next month at the PGA Championship.

And if that doesn't work out?

Spieth already has $9.17 million, and with a World Golf Championship, one more major and four lucrative FedEx Cup playoff events on the schedule, Spieth is within reach of becoming the first $11 million winner in golf. He turns 22 next week and Monday crossed the $17 million mark in career earnings.

End of the Slam. Just not the end of the road.

Getty Images

Woods: New putter should help on slower greens

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:35 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods’ ice-cold putting showed at least a few signs of heating up earlier this month at The National, where he switched putters and ranked seventh in the field on the greens.

The mallet-style putter is still in the bag as Woods prepares for The Open, and he’s hoping the heavier model with grooves will prove valuable at Carnoustie.


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“To be honest with you, I’ve struggled on slower greens throughout my entire career,” Woods said Tuesday. “So for me, it’s going to help on these greens, for sure.”

To combat the slower greens, Woods usually applied a strip of lead tape to his putter. But this heavier model of putter doesn’t need the extra weight, and the grooves on the putter face allow the ball to get rolling faster and hotter.

“You don’t necessarily have to do that with the grooves,” he said of the lead tape. “When I putted with the Nike putter, I didn’t have to put lead tape on the putter to get a little more weight to it. I could just leave it just the way it was. This is the same type.”  

For all of the talk about his putting woes this season, Woods still ranks 56th in strokes gained: putting. More crucial this week: He’s 102nd in approach putt performance, which quantifies how well a player lag putts.

Getty Images

Woods: Open best chance for long-term major success

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:26 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods is more than a decade removed from his last major title, but he said Tuesday that The Open is the major that gives him the best chance for long-term success.

“I would say yes, because of the fact that you don’t have to be long to play on a links-style golf course,” Woods said during his pre-tournament news conference. “It certainly can be done.”


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Woods pointed to the late-career success for both Greg Norman (2008) and Tom Watson (2009), both of whom challenged for the claret jug deep into their 50s.

“Distance becomes a moot point on a links-style golf course,” he said.

That’s certainly not the case, however, at the Masters, where bombers long have thrived, or the U.S. Open, which places a premium on long and straight driving.

“You get to places like Augusta National, which is just a big ballpark, and the golf course outgrows you, unfortunately,” he said. “But links-style courses, you can roll the ball. I hit a 3-iron that went down there 330. Even if I get a little bit older, I can still chase some wood or long club down there and hit the ball the same distance.”

Getty Images

"Vantage Point with Mike Tirico" set to debut Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJuly 17, 2018, 10:15 am

Special Hour Complementing the Network’s Week-Long Golf Central Live From The Open News Coverage; Premiere Scheduled to Include Interview with 2014 Open Runner-Up Rickie Fowler On-Site from Carnoustie

Features Include Tirico and Curtis Strange Re-watching ’99 Open at Carnoustie & Jim “Bones” Mackay Facilitating Exclusive Conversation with Caddies Michael Greller, John Wood Recounting Final Round Pairing at 2017 Open

To help set the table ahead of The 147TH Open at Carnoustie, Golf Channel will premiere Vantage Point with Mike Tirico on Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET. An extension of the network’s week-long Golf Central Live From The Open comprehensive news coverage, Vantage Point will revisit landmark moments in The Open’s history, uncover personal stories relevant to the fabric of the week and feature a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year” on golf’s original championship.

“It’s a thrill to be going back to The Open again this year, which is a fitting setting to launch this new opportunity,” said Tirico, NBC Sports host who this week will celebrate his 22nd consecutive year covering The Open. “I love being a part of the Golf Channel team during golf’s biggest weeks, and anticipate contributing to our commitment to great storytelling with Vantage Point.”

Kicking off the premiere of Vantage Point will be Tirico’s exclusive interview with 2014 Open runner-up and 2015 PLAYERS champion Rickie Fowler on-site from Carnoustie. One of Fowler’s favorite events, he has missed just one cut in eight previous appearances at The Open. Other highlights within the show include:

  • Jim “Bones” Mackay facilitating an exclusive conversation between caddies Michael Greller (Jordan Spieth) and John Wood (Matt Kuchar) recounting the final round pairing at The Open last July.
  • Tirico hosting a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year”: David Duval, Tom Lehman and Justin Leonard.
  • A recollection of one of the most unforgettable collapses in major championship golf, when Jean van de Velde surrendered a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole in 1999 at The Open. Tirico and Curtis Strange – both on the live tournament broadcast that year for ABC/ESPN – recently re-watched the telecast together for the first time since calling it live.

 

“This is harder to watch than I thought it was going to be. I’ve never seen anything like

that in my life. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that again.” – Curtis Strange

 

“I think I got caught up in the whole deal and felt human for the guy.” – Mike Tirico

 

Vantage Point with Mike Tirico will complement the network’s Golf Central Live From The Open, which will feature nearly 60 hours of comprehensive news coverage from Carnoustie. In total, NBC Sports will dedicate more than 350 hours to showcasing the third men’s major championship of the year, including nearly 50 live hours of the network’s Emmy-nominated tournament coverage – annually the most live hours of coverage from any golf event – spanning from Thursday’s opening tee shot to Sunday’s final putt.

Getty Images

How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 8:40 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)