Slow turnaround for not-so-great Scott

By Doug FergusonJuly 14, 2009, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship TURNBERRY, Scotland ' Adam Scott embraces his Australian golf heritage and the comparisons to major champions whom he would like to join someday, the sooner the better. This one, however, made him wince.
 
The topic was Ian Baker-Finch.
 
Im not sure I like where youre headed with this, Scott said.
 
Baker-Finch captured the claret jug at Royal Birkdale in 1991 and was among the top players in golf until one of the most celebrated slumps in golf. He went 31 straight tournaments without making the cut, the last straw his 92 at Royal Troon in the 1997 British Open.
Adam Scott tees off during a practice round Tuesday on the Ailsa Course, Turnberry Golf Course. (Getty Images)
Scott managed a smile, perhaps because he believes the worst is behind ' and it didnt last very long.
 
Its only been three months, Scott said.
 
Maybe so, but it has felt like an entire season.
 
Scott is not the only player who has gone through a rough patch this year. Padraig Harrington, the two-time defending champion at the British Open, had missed five straight cuts until winning the Irish PGA last week, a tournament that amounted to little more than a club championship. Ernie Els has gone nearly 18 months without winning.
 
Both, however, are major champions.
 
Scott will turn 29 on Thursday when the British Open begins at Turnberry. In a career marked by steady progress to as high as No. 3 in the world last summer, it was astonishing to see him vanish from leaderboards from February until June.
 
He lost in the first round of the Accenture Match Play Championship. He missed six cuts in a row, including The Players Championship, where he hit one tee shot onto the adjacent golf course.
 
The questions piled up faster than the big numbers.
 
  • How bad was his injury from surfing in Australia, the sixth time he had dislocated his knee cap?
     
  • What was he doing surfing?
     
  • Was he more motivated making the cover of fashion magazines or golf magazines?
     
  • Who was he dating now?
     
    Those close to him grew concerned when he only made news for the company he was keeping ' actress Kate Hudson for a week in Hawaii, tennis star Ana Ivanovic for the last few months ' than the shots he was hitting.
     
    After scores of 77-81 at the Memorial, Scott finally snapped.
     
    And so did one of his clubs.
     
    I think it was three months of frustration, Scott said of the 7-iron he broke. Just my luck, I needed it six more times that day. And the Memorial is the only tournament without a repair van, so I played with 13 clubs the next day. But I felt better about it.
     
    Scott has won a tournament every year since his first full season in Europe in 2001. He was the youngest to win The Players Championship. He was the kid who swung just like Tiger Woods, before Woods changed his swing.
     
    Then, he couldnt make a cut.
     
    For nine years, I thought I could win anywhere, and I would just fall into a major one of these years, Scott said. It was hard to comprehend why this was happening. Its never taken me so long to figure this out.
     
    How far had he fallen?
     
    Just over a year ago, Scott was featured with Woods and Phil Mickelson in that 1-2-3 grouping taken off the world ranking. He nearly fell out of the top 50 until he put three good rounds together at the Scottish Open and tied for fourth, moving up to No. 43.
     
    My play was disgusting, Scott said.
     
    He thought he was working on the right drills to get his swing back to where it was. He stood on the range and hit the ball where he was looking. Then he stuck a tee in the ground and put a scorecard in his pocket, and everything changed.
     
    I didnt have a clue, Scott said. Everyone was telling me it looked good, trust it. But I fell apart on the course.
     
    Lee Westwood once climbed as high as No. 4 in the world until his game went south, falling out of the top 100 during two years of misery. He sought help from four swing coaches until finally, thankfully, getting back on his feet.
     
    Baker-Finch went through nearly a dozen coaches, which he said ruined him.
     
    The key is not to panic, Westwood said. Youve just got to go back to the basics. Generally, youll find it was an obvious thing.
     
    Thats just what Scott did.
     
    After his 81 at the Memorial, he retreated to Queenwood Golf Club outside London. He didnt invite Butch Harmon, his longtime coach. He didnt ask help from his caddie, Tony Navarro.
     
    A club employee worked the video and Scott went to the practice range, sessions that lasted up to four hours, six straight days. Before long, he watched the flight of one ball, which was just as he imagined it should go.
     
    Then came his first big test, Bethpage Black for the U.S. Open. He opened with a 69, easily made the cut and even saw his name on the leaderboard early in the final round until a string of late bogeys that only cost him money. He played in the final group on the weekend at Loch Lomond, and the smile grew wider, even as the tabloids quizzed him about Ivanovic.
     
    He is not over the hump. He still doesnt have a major.
     
    Still, he believes he is closer than ever, not because of steady progress but a surprising detour.
     
    Ill be a better player than I ever was before, Scott said. Im sure of that.
     
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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.