Notes: Injuries are a pain in the neck; Good-timing award

By Doug FergusonJuly 27, 2011, 2:35 am

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Kevin Sutherland stepped back to line up a shot on the practice range at the Texas Open in April when his foot caught a rope and he fell over backward. Little did he know then it would cost him the majority of his season.

He tied for 11th that week - his best finish of the year - and that was that. With pain increasing each week, Sutherland missed the cut in his next three tournaments through The Players Championship before heading home to Sacramento, Calif., to find out what was wrong.

“I’ve got a herniated disk in the base of my neck, and I have a bone spur in the middle of my neck and that drove it into the spinal cord,” Sutherland said. “There was a bunch on inflammation. They told me I needed rest.”

Turns out to be a lot of rest.

He likely is done for the year, having already been given approval to take a major medical exemption for 2012. Sutherland has gone so long without playing that when he picked up a 6-iron last week, it felt strange in his hands. If rest doesn’t fix it, the 47-year-old Sutherland isn’t interested in surgery.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m going to do surgery if it bothers me in everyday life,” he said. “I’m not going to have surgery just to play golf.”

Sutherland’s lone win on tour came at the Match Play Championship in 2001. He has been a steady performer, never losing his card since he joined the PGA Tour in 1996 while averaging 28 starts a year. He played 11 times this year, which has made one person happy - his 10-year-old son.

“Keaton is loving it,” Sutherland said. “He thinks it’s the greatest thing in the world, because he’s got his dad for the summer. So that’s obviously one of the plusses. But I am going a little stir crazy.”

FIRESTONE FIELD: Ryo Ishikawa still hasn’t won this year on the Japan Golf Tour, although he has a knack for finishing runner-up at just the right time.

In the final week to earn a spot in the U.S. Open, the 19-year-old from Japan lost in a playoff and earned enough world ranking points to move to No. 49 and get an exemption into Congressional. On Sunday, he was runner-up to K.T. Kim and moved up four spots again to No. 49—just in time to qualify for the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone, the third World Golf Championship of the year.

The cutoff for the top 50 was Sunday, with another cutoff after this week. Ryan Palmer (No. 52) and Webb Simpson (No. 53) are not eligible for Firestone, although both are playing the Greenbrier Classic in West Virginia.

Also at The Greenbrier is Anthony Kim (62), who has not missed Firestone since his rookie year in 2007.

SETTING ASIDE RIVALRY: Raising money to help tornado victims is enough to united Alabama and Auburn.

Three days of festivities will conclude Aug. 15 with a charity pro-am at Greystone Golf Club in Birmingham, Ala., in which tour players such as Jerry Pate, Leonard Thompson, Steve Lowery and Boo Weekley have agreed to participate. Among the school celebrities who plan to play are Cornelius Bennett, Lee Roy Jordan, Al Del Greco, Gene Stalling and Pat Dye.

Amateurs will play in a group featuring one pro and one celebrity.

The pro-am follows a flag football game between former players of the two schools on Friday and a silent auction on Saturday. The weekend is known as “Heart in Dixie,” and all proceeds go to the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund.

DIVOTS: Asked on Tuesday if he were still Tiger Woods’ swing coach, Sean Foley replied, “Yes.” And the Internet-fueled rumors that he is not? “Hilarious,” he said. … There were no bogey-free rounds at the Canadian Open, the first time that has happened at a regular PGA Tour event was in 2008 at The Players Championship. … Paul Casey has donated the $32,600 he won from the “PowerPlay Golf” exhibition at Celtic Manor to the English Golf Union for its help during his amateur career. “I had great support from the EGC when I was coming through the ranks as a junior, so I am very happy to help them with their player development program,” Casey said. … With so much attention on UCLA freshman Patrick Cantlay, Bud Cauley has quietly put together a nice summer since turning pro at the U.S. Open. Cauley already has earned $319,145 in four starts, and needs another $244,584 by the end of the year to earn special temporary membership.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Only 10 players who won an NCAA title have gone on to win majors over the past 50 years.

FINAL WORD: “What keeps you going is just your love for the game and the love for the competition. Plus, if I quit I’m probably going to be flipping burgers because I can’t do anything else.” - Sean O’Hair.

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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  

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 (

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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.