Notes Bart Bryant facing another elbow surgery

By Doug FergusonJanuary 20, 2010, 12:18 am
HONOLULU – In his 25-year career in golf, Bart Bryant knows what it’s like to play in pain. He has had elbow surgery three times, along with surgery on his knee and his left rotator cuff.

The bad news for the 47-year-old Bryant is that a sixth surgery is on the way.

Bryant, whose three PGA Tour titles include a six-shot victory over Tiger Woods at the 2005 Tour Championship, is preparing for surgery on his left wrist that most likely will keep him out the entire year.

“The only chance I have is to get surgery,” Bryant said.

He felt pain in the wrist toward the end of 2008, tried to play through the injury most of last year and finally shut it down after the John Deere Classic in July.

“I didn’t know how bad it was until I had an MRI,” Bryant said from his home in Florida. “I tried to rest it extensively, I had it in a cast for a while and had no success at all.”

He spent last weekend in New York meeting with Andrew Weiland, the same doctor who treated the wrist injuries of Jim Furyk, Trevor Immelman and Luke Donald. Bryant said he has extensive loss of cartilage in his left wrist, causing the bones to shift. He said doctors planned to fuse the bones.

Bryant had rotator cuff surgery in 1992, the first of three elbow surgeries in 2000, and knee surgery in 2006. The son of a Baptist minister, he studied sociology at New Mexico State and never dreamed he would ever learn so much about anatomy.

“I know a lot about knees, shoulders, elbows, and I’m getting an education on wrists,” he said. “I think I could pass a pretty good test on bones. No brain surgery yet. Luckily, I’ve stayed away from that.”
SPONSOR HELP: The PGA Tour embarked on its “Sponsor Value Program” last week at the Sony Open, when 15 players not eligible for the pro-am met with sponsors and clients at breakfast, for clinics, just about anywhere.

Even a local driving range. That’s where Mark Calcavecchia wound up.

“The Ala Wai driving range at the most played course in the world,” Calcavecchia said.

Calcavecchia thinks the program is a good idea, although it apparently wasn’t the smoothest of starts. For one thing, he didn’t see any sponsors on the public course. He did meet a man with tattoos on every inch of his body, and three other “clients” in tank tops and sandals.

“What am I going to tell him? Get some cleats for your flip flops?” he said.

Calcavecchia, Justin Rose, Ben Curtis and a host of others will find themselves doing that a lot this year. They are in that group low enough on the money list that they won’t always be eligible for pro-ams. That leaves out those at the bottom of the money list – Rich Beem, who is supremely gifted at sponsor functions, and even some of the rookies who could learn early the importance of sponsors.

“I think it’s a much-needed thing right now,” Rose said. “What I don’t 100 percent agree with is that if you fall into that category where you’re just missing the pro-am, you’re going to get hit up every week. But listen, even if that’s the case, I’m still happy to do it.”

His recommendation was to establish a rotation of players not in the pro-am.

“We knew going in we would have a learning process the first part of the year,” said Rick George, the tour’s chief of operations. “There’s real positive things, and things that are not so positive. We’ll get it worked out.”
PLAYER ADVISORY COUNCIL: Steve Stricker is among 16 players named to the Player Advisory Council, which serves as a liaison between players and the policy board on competition matters.

He also is in the running to be a co-chair, which eventually would put him on the policy board. The election ends at Pebble Beach.

“I’ve never been on any board,” Stricker said. “What would I bring? A level head. I’m not very extreme. I think I get along with everybody, and guys would feel comfortable discussing whatever issue they have.”

Other PAC members are Rich Beem, Jonathan Byrd, Steve Flesch, Harrison Frazar, Jim Furyk, Jeff Gove, Paul Goydos, Jerry Kelly, Scott McCarron, Joe Ogilvie (former board member), Sean O’Hair, Brett Quigley, Kevin Streelman, Mike Weir and Mark Wilson.

LONGEST DRIVE: PGA Tour rookie Troy Merritt deserves credit for the longest drive of the year—not off the tee, but on the way to the golf course at the Sony Open.

Going with familiarity, Merritt decided to stay with his fiancee at Turtle Bay Resort, where he played a college tournament while at Boise State. He had a deluxe room on the top floor at a reasonable rate.

Trouble is, Turtle Bay is on the other side and other end of Oahu from Waialae.

Merritt said it took him 1 hour, 40 minutes to drive to the course for his opening round at the Sony Open. The good news? It was a beautiful drive on a two-lane coastal road. And he opened with 65.

Merritt couldn’t help but consider the Sony Open as coming full circle. He remembers telling his mother after the college tournament, “The next time I’m over here will be for the Sony Open.”

“Kind of funny that’s how it worked out,” he said.

SLOW START: Going into the third week of the PGA Tour, only five players have perfect attendance. Brian Gay, Jerry Kelly, Matt Kuchar, Bo Van Pelt and Pat Perez played both Hawaii tournaments, and they are entered in the Bob Hope Classic.

DIVOTS: Dave Kindred, who has spent nearly 50 years writing about sports and has covered 75 majors, has been selected for the PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism. He will be honored April 7 in Augusta, Ga., at the Golf Writers Association of America annual awards dinner. … Joe Steranka, the PGA of America chief executive, begins his one-year stint as chairman of the World Golf Foundation. Previous chairmen were Royal & Ancient chief Peter Dawson, and USGA executive director David Fay. … Jessica Korda, the 16-year-old daughter of former Australian Open tennis champion Peter Korda, broke the scoring record at the 84th Sally Championship with a 13-under 275. She set another record with a 62 in the third round.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Five players competing in their first PGA Tour event at the Sony Open all made the cut – Troy Merritt, Brian Stuard, Blake Adams, Jerod Turner and Aaron Goldberg, who is not a PGA Tour rookie but made it through Monday qualifying.

FINAL WORD: “It’s like you misspelling your first word of the year.”— Justin Leonard, on missing the cut in the Sony Open.
Getty Images

Vegas helicopters in to Carnoustie, without clubs

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 9:33 am

Jhonattan Vegas did some range work, putted a little and strolled to the first tee for his 5:31 a.m. ET start in the 147th Open Championship.

Everything before that, however, was far from routine.

Vegas' visa to travel to Scotland expired and the process to renew it got delayed - and it looked like his overseas' flight might suffer the same fate. Vegas, upon getting his visa updated, traveled from Houston, Texas to Toronto, Canada to Glasgow, Scotland, and then took a helicopter to Carnoustie.

He arrived in time on Thursday morning, but his clubs did not. Mizuno put together some irons for him and TaylorMade got him his preferred metal woods. He hit the clubs for the first time on the range, less than 90 minutes before his start.

"I'm going to go out there and play with freedom," Vegas told Golf Channel's Todd Lewis.

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.