Notes St Andrews set up Calcavecchias caution

By Doug FergusonJuly 21, 2009, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship TURNBERRY, Scotland ' The tradition each year at the British Open is to congratulate the champion on the large scoreboard over the 18th green and look forward to the following year, in this case St. Andrews.
 
And what will everyone see? About the same Old Course from the last British Open there in 2005.
 
Length will be about the same, R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said following a wrap-up news conference at Turnberry.
 
The only significant change being planned is for No. 4, the 480-yard par 4 in which players try to carry a mound of thick stuff to reach the left side of the fairway.
 
What were planning to do is make the shot up the right more accessible, Dawson said. There is a plateau in the middle, and the proper way to play the hole is up the right. Many of the pros dont fancy that. They tend to shove up the left.
 
This should be good news for Tom Watson.
 
Watson has won on every Scottish course on the British Open rotation except St. Andrews. Asked if he liked his chances, especially after coming within an 8-foot par putt from winning at age 59, Watson said it would depend on the wind.
 
If the wind comes from the west there, I have a hard time with that golf course, he said. Hole No. 4 gets me. I cant hit it far enough to get it over the junk. You have the rough there, and it depends on how deep the rough is. Im driving into the rough all the time. Its like the 10th hole at Bethpage Black there at the first U.S. Open. When they moved the tee back, nobody could get to the fairway.
 
Sounds like next year, hell at least have a good option.
 

 
MICKELSON UPDATE: Phil Mickelson, who has not played since his runner-up finish at the U.S. Open, is still waiting on one more test before they decide how his wife, Amy, will battle breast cancer.
 
Even so, it is looking better.
 
The best news so far is that the cancer has not spread to lymph nodes, which improves our chances of beating this in the short and long term, Mickelson said on his Web site last week during the British Open. Were awaiting one test result that will influence Amys treatment plan. The waiting and wondering sometimes can be the most difficult part, but she has a very positive attitude and has handled all of this with her usual grace.
 
Mickelsons mother was diagnosed with breast cancer the week his wife had surgery.
 
He said Mary Mickelson had surgery last week and everything appeared to go well.
 
We are all optimistic, he said. It meant so much to me and Amy to be there with her.
 

 
SETTING HIM STRAIGHT: Mark Calcavecchia made it through all four rounds at the British Open, and so did his wife, Brenda. She caddied for him again, a tough chore considering the bag is loaded with rain gear.
 
I cant lie, it is physically tough, she told TNT Sports over the weekend. But even when Im not carrying the bag, we talk throughout the round and I give him encouragement. This is a way for me to be out with him full-time, and it works for us.
 
Calcavecchia, however, is notorious for throwing clubs, and his wife gave him an incentive not to do that.
 
He did throw one club one time at the Tour Championship, she said. It almost hit my ring. I said, If you break the diamond, you buy a bigger one. And that was the end of that.
 

 
TURNBERRY TEST: Turnberry is the only British Open course to yield a 63 in different years, and it was getting a reputation of being among the easiest links courses on the rotation.
 
But it was lengthened this year, with bunkers added to put a greater premium on accuracy.
 
The winning score was 278, 10 shots higher than when Nick Price won in 1994. There was only one round below 65, shot by Miguel Angel Jimenez in the opening round. Someone asked R&A chief executive Peter Dawson if he would be concerned if someone shot a 63 this year.
 
Id be surprised, he replied.
 
After the opening day, Dawson had no worries. Without a trace of wind, the best anyone could imagine was the 64 by Jimenez.
 
The proof of the pudding was not Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Dawson said, noting that no one did better than 67 those days. It was Thursday, when it was deathly calm, and the course did very well. I knew then, once the wind blew, it would be fine.
 

 
THOMSONS TIME: Everyone talks about the golf balls, metal clubs, big drivers, shafts, launch monitors and lawn equipment when the discussion shifts to technology. Five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson says not to forget grips.
 
The drivers really were made of wood, and Thomson said if a player found a good driver with a good head and the right loft, he would hang on to it for as long as he could until the wood began to wear out.
 
Also, they have wonderful, slide-on rubber grips now, he said. But in those times, in the 50s, we wrapped the leather grip around and had to do this every week to get a fresh tackiness. So we battled with equipment and right up to the last minute people were changing their clubs hoping for something better than last week.
 

 
DIVOTS: Butch Harmon was voted No. 1 in Golf Digest magazines annual survey of Americas 50 Greatest Teachers, which comes from a direct ballot survey of golf teachers across the country. It was the fifth straight year Harmon was voted No. 1. He beat out Hank Haney, the coach for Tiger Woods, by seven votes. David Leadbetter finished third, followed by Jim McLean and Chuck Cook. Ernie Els finished out of the top 10 in the British Open only two times this decade. With Tiger Woods missing the cut at the British Open, the longest active cut streak on the PGA Tour is 22 tournaments by Kenny Perry.
 

 
STAT OF THE WEEK: The British Open was decided by a playoff four times this decade, the most of any major.
 

 
FINAL WORD: This was absolutely Tom Watsons Open, win or lose. Tom long ago secured his legacy in the game. This would have been something to add to the top of the cake. ' Jack Nicklaus.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - The 138th Open Championship
  • Getty Images

    Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

    The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

    The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

    After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

    “I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”

    Getty Images

    Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

    Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

    “I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

    To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

    “More punishment,” he said.

    Getty Images

    DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

    Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

    Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

    It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

    With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

    Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

    Getty Images

    TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

    • Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

    • This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

    • Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery

     


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    • In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

    • At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

    • Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

    • My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.