Trip to China reminds Gay how far hes come

By Doug FergusonOctober 28, 2009, 2:57 am

PGA Tour

Brian Gay was in a faraway land, knowing only where he wanted to go without any assurances he would get there.

It was approaching midnight in India, and the shuttle bus to the hotel was already full. Gay hopped into a cab with his bride of two weeks and two other men he had never seen, then hung on for the ride of his life.

“Everything is dark and we’re driving through Calcutta with no lights,” Gay said Monday evening. “Every few minutes, he would flick the lights on and off. I guess it somehow saves the battery. We thought we would never be seen again. You’ve just got to trust and believe that you’ll get to where you’re supposed to be going.”

They arrived safely at the hotel that night. Gay wound up missing the cut in the 1997 Classic India Open, barely caught the last flight out and headed back to the Philippines for the next adventure in another of golf’s outposts.

That’s what makes his return to Asia next week so rewarding.

Gay is going to China not because he has to play, but because he can. His two victories this year, by a combined 15 shots, earned him a spot in the HSBC Champions, a World Golf Championship with a 78-man field featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington.

The long flight to Shanghai?

That’s nothing compared with the journey that brought Gay to this stage of his career.

The 37-year-old had a breakthrough season that doesn’t get enough attention. He produced the year’s largest margin of victory at Hilton Head (10 shots), then won in Memphis by five. Gay has topped $3 million in earnings and has risen to No. 38 in the world.

Going back to Asia is more about celebration than desperation.

“The last time I went, I was pretty fresh out of college, looking for anywhere to play to make some money,” Gay said.

Gay won the Southeastern Conference title twice and helped lead Florida to a national title in 1993, a year in which he also played on the Walker Cup team and was medalist in U.S. Amateur qualifying. The next step proved to be the toughest.

After winning nine times on four mini-tours, Gay heard about other Americans going to Asia and thought he would give it a try. His first stop was the Mitsubishi Motors-Southwoods Open in the Philippines, where he tied for fifth and earned $8,667 from a $250,000 purse (next week in Shanghai offers a $7 million purse with $1.2 million to the winner and $25,000 for last place).

His travels took him from the Philippines to Malaysia to Singapore to India to Thailand with one break – he returned to Alabama in the midst of this adventure to get married.

Gay had met Kimberly in an airport. She didn’t know much about golf, but love made her learn quickly. No sooner had vows been exchanged, they were on their way to Singapore.

“I knew there was no such word as ‘quit.’ It was ‘Where are we going and how do we get there?”’ Kimberly said. “It was time to figure out how we would live this dream. We just never thought about not making it.”

The honeymoon almost ended before it began.

Gay had his wife caddie for him at the Rolex Masters at Singapore Island, where he opened with a 65. She used a pull cart, and the job was going along fine until Gay hit into a fairway bunker.

“He tells me I have to rake the bunker and I said, ‘Oh, no. I’m not raking that bunker.’ He said, ‘You have to. Caddies rake the bunker.’ The other players are waiting in the fairway, and finally he rakes the bunker,” she said. “That’s how little I knew about golf. We almost have this fight on the golf course and he shoots 65.”

They left there for India, then to the Philippines, where Gay recalls watching from his hotel room in the middle of the night as Woods won the 1997 Masters by a record 12 shots.

He couldn’t help but wonder if he would ever make it to the PGA Tour, or to Augusta National.

“There were good weeks and bad weeks,” he said. “There were times when you said, ‘I can’t believe I’m over here.’ I stayed in some rough places. But the experience of playing other places and all the things you have to deal with, you learn a lot of patience in a hurry.”

The patience finally was rewarded when Gay made it through Q-school and found some stability, although it took him until last year – 293 starts on the PGA – before he won for the first time at the Mayacoba Classic in Mexico.

Kimberly Gay has come to appreciate the coincidences in life.

Cancun was the first vacation they took together, and 10 years later, he won his first PGA Tour event there. She had planned on going to Singapore this week until Gay, worn out from a big year, decided to play only in Shanghai. She will stay home with their two daughters, 10 and 5, although she couldn’t help but notice that Gay leaves Saturday, Oct. 31, the day she considers their first date.

And she still treasures those times in Asia.

“We were at a crossroads,” Kimberly said. “Brian was like, ‘What do I have to do to get my game better?’ I think he had in his brain that he had to make a certain amount of sacrifice. This might be something he deserves, because he paid the price.”

Getty Images

Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 22, 2018, 8:30 am

Tiger Woods begins the final round of the 147th Open Championship four shots off the lead. He's out at 9:25 a.m. ET on Sunday and we're tracking him.


Getty Images

How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 22, 2018, 8:30 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)

Getty Images

Schauffele just fine being the underdog

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

Getty Images

Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1