Notes: Global golf tour still taking shape

By Doug FergusonNovember 26, 2014, 12:52 am

The PGA Tour has small circuits in Latin America, Canada and China. Commissioner Tim Finchem spoke in 2010 about golf heading toward a ''world tour,'' even though he wasn't sure what it would look like or when it would all come together.

It's worth paying attention to the activity of players over the last month.

Brandt Snedeker was in Japan for the Bridgestone Open. Jordan Spieth was in Japan last week at the Dunlop Phoenix, and he's at the Australian Open this week. Webb Simpson was in Japan. Jason Dufner went to Thailand.

Finchem wants to see golf get through the 2016 Olympics - and the schedule problems that will present - before looking too far ahead.

''We need at least two and maybe three years of looking at the schedule in this environment with the wraparound,'' he said earlier this month in Shanghai. ''We need that experience before we start tinkering. In terms of fundamental schedule, we're at least another year away from starting to think about that.''

But when asked about a world tour, Finchem made it sound as though the three satellite tours could be part of a larger, global picture.

''I think what we're going to do - and are doing - is watching carefully not just this tour in China, but also South America and Canada,'' he said. ''And we're spending more time evaluating the other core tours - the Asian Tour, Australia, South Africa - understanding more about co-sanctioning between Europe and some of these other tours. We're just asking ourselves, overall, what's the best mix?''

''Those two things dovetail,'' he said. ''We need to get a better sense of what the Olympics are going to do on the weeks it's played and the weeks around it. And then that kind of feeds into the world schedule.''

Finchem said it was a ''possibility'' of co-sanctioning an event in Australia, though it didn't sound as if the PGA Tour was headed in that direction.

Australia now has four big events on world schedule - the Masters, Open and PGA, along with Perth on the European Tour. This week in Sydney features Nos. 1 and 2 in the world with Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott, along with Spieth.

''We've got more big events around the world that are linked to the PGA Tour,'' Scott said. ''I think the ball is really in their court as to what direction we want to go. It certainly has got the power to dictate to tournaments when they are and where they are. ... If I was the Australian Open or one of the other tournaments, I'd be knocking on Tim Finchem's door and trying to make it a World Golf Championship.''

HE'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS: U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer is looking forward to the holidays, and for good reason. The German will be home for Christmas for the first time since 2006.

Kaymer also has a place in Arizona, and for the last seven years, he felt the need to stay in the desert to make sure he was prepared for a new season. After winning a second major, and The Players Championship, it's time to celebrate.

''The last seven years I've been in Phoenix on my own. I don't want to do that again,'' Kaymer said. ''I always went in the beginning of December and stayed four or five weeks. It was difficult to have Christmas, your birthday (Dec. 28) and New Year's Eve in a different country, with not many friends. You know what's happening at home. But for me, it always was important to prepare for tournaments. I wanted success. Now, I have success.

''But that time of the year, you should enjoy it more, especially when you've had a year like that.''

There are significant differences between Christmas in Arizona and Christmas in Germany.

''It's so weird when they put lights on the cactus,'' Kaymer said. ''It's not cold. I like that hot wine we drink on the Christmas market in Germany. In Phoenix, we drink ice cold water. It doesn't feel like Christmas. I didn't really have Christmas the last seven years, and I do miss it. And I really want to go home this year.''

EUROPEAN ROOKIE: The Americans have cornered the market when it comes to rookie of the year on the European Tour.

The tour announced Tuesday that Brooks Koepka won the Sir Henry Cotton award as Europe's top rookie. Koepka finished at No. 8 in the Race to Dubai, helped immensely by his victory in the Turkish Airlines Open. He also had four other top 10s, including the U.S. Open.

Koepka won the award over Tyrell Hatton of England.

Peter Uihlein was European Tour rookie of the year last season. Uihlein and Koepka often traveled together and are roommates when both are home in Florida.

''I've worked so hard this year, and to see the results is fun,'' Koepka said. ''To cap the year off with a win in Turkey has made this year special, and it's a goal I've been working for since I was able to come out on tour, and that was the goal starting the year.

''To win rookie of the year, you look at all the guys who have won it, especially last year - Pete Uihlein - so at least we can keep it in the house.''

ROAD TO ST. ANDREWS: The Australian Open already has the top two players in the world in Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott. It also marks the start of British Open qualifying, with the leading three players from the top 10 on Sunday exempt into St. Andrews.

Only six players at The Australian Golf Club already are exempt to the British Open - McIlroy and Scott, Jordan Spieth, John Senden, Geoff Ogilvy and U.S. Amateur champion Yang Gunn of South Korea.

The Australian Open is the first of 14 tournaments in nine countries on five continents that comprise the Open Qualifying Series, offering a total of 44 spots.

DIVOTS: The LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals said Tuesday that Shirley Englehorn of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Donna White of West Palm Beach, Florida, will be inducted into its Hall of Fame next year. ... Tiger Woods has lost more world ranking points this year (341.927) than all but two players - Rory McIlroy (565.132) and Bubba Watson (390.961) have earned. ... Americans have 26 players in the top 50 in the world, up from 22 at this time last year.

STAT OF THE WEEK: For the first time, the LPGA Tour had three players top $2 million in earnings for the season.

FINAL WORD: ''I always say just have fun. That's a big key, I think, to having a long career.'' - Lydia Ko, who already has five LPGA Tour wins at age 17.

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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.