Notes: Els to stage charity series for autism

By Doug FergusonFebruary 16, 2012, 1:40 am

LOS ANGELES - Ernie Els is staging his “Els for Autism” golf challenge again, and this time he has backing from SAP, one of his top corporate sponsors.

He describes it as the largest golf charity event in the world, a series of 30 tournaments from April through September, with the final being held Oct. 19-20 at The Gallery Club in Las Vegas for the low net winning team (two players) and any team that raises at least $10,000.

In the first year, the event included 1,700 golfers, 9,000 donors and raised $1.8 million. “SAP has taken over the golf challenge, so they’ve come in all guns blazing this year, and I think we’re going to have a wonderful time,” Els said. “I think we can double what we did last year.”

The money is going toward a $30 million education and research facility in south Florida for children with autism. Els’ son, Ben, is autistic, and Els has been driven in recent years to help families cope with children with autism and to help find a cure.

Els said with his own money and separate fundraising, he has reached the $9 million mark toward building the center.

“I was struck when I got to the grand finale in Vegas last year,” Els said. “Ninety percent of the people there that played in the challenge, those people’s lives are affected by autism, and a lot of them brought their kids to the event. I met people, numerous families, where the families have three kids, and all three of them have autism at a level where they have to care for their kids. They can’t even go to a school or anything.

“There were some really heart-wrenching moments there,” he said. “We learned. We give back to the autism community, and I think we feel like a big family when we get together there.”


PRESIDENTIAL FUTURE: Fred Couples wouldn’t mind coming back as U.S. captain at the Presidents Cup for a third time.

A decision for the 2013 matches at Muirfield Village is expected in the next few months. The Americans have won the last two times with Couples at the helm, and with Greg Norman leading the International team. Couples said he has spoken to PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and other tour brass.

“I think I have a very good shot at it, and I would love to do it again,” he said.

For the International side, speculation had shifted toward Nick Price, who wanted to wait until after Norman was captain, especially at Royal Melbourne last year.

Now, however, Ernie Els wonders if the Shark shouldn’t get another turn.

One of the complaints from the International team was it didn’t have enough say in how the matches were run - from picking which format to use on opening day, to how the team is selected (such as number of captain’s picks) to how the course is set up.

That’s the biggest difference from the Ryder Cup, which essentially is a competition between two tours. The Presidents Cup is run solely by the PGA Tour. Norman spoke out against these issues in the final press conference in Australia.

“There’s change coming, and it’s because of him,” Els said. “I feel Greg should get the benefit of these changes.”


CHAIRMAN FRAZAR: Harrison Frazar gave up golf for a corporate job when he left Texas, unsure whether he wanted to play the game for a living. It won’t be long before he’ll be in a coat and tie at board meetings again, very much vested in golf.

Frazar has been elected chairman of the Players Advisory Council, winning a player election over Scott Verplank and Ben Crane. As head of the 16-player group, that means Frazar in two years will become one of four players on the PGA Tour policy board.


MATCH PLAY: Ernie Els has had such a love-hate relationship with the Match Play Championship that he didn’t even bother playing in 2004 and 2005. This time, he barely made it. After sitting out last week, Els slipped to No. 65 in the world. The only reason he will get into the first World Golf Championship of the year is because Phil Mickelson is not playing.

Els is desperate to play in such tournaments as he tries to get into the top 50 to avoid missing the Masters.

“There were days when I didn’t even go there. It shows you how times have changed,” Els said. “Now I’m grateful to be in the field. I’ll be playing next week, and I’ve got to play myself into Doral and I’ve got to play myself into the Masters. That’s a nice break coming my way.”

Els wouldn’t have to worry about the Masters if he had won a green jacket. His closest call came in 2004, when he was tied for the lead until Mickelson holed an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole. Now, he owes one to Mickelson for getting into the Match Play.

“I’ll buy Phil a steak dinner this week at some point,” Els said with a smile. “Maybe send him a good bottle of Bordeaux or something.”


DIVOTS: The forecast is for a strong wind the opening two days, shifting directions on Friday. … UCLA sophomore Patrick Cantlay didn’t offer much when asked about his future, saying only that he is letting his father sort through the offers and possibilities. … Tim Clark is making his first start of the year. He played only four times last year - the last one as defending champion of The Players Championship - because of a mysterious elbow injury.

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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.

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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.