Stat attack!: BMW Championship preview

By John AntoniniSeptember 2, 2014, 11:50 pm

Cherry Hills Golf Club in Colorado is about to host the second-oldest PGA Tour event on a course that hasn’t hosted the best players in the world since the 1985 PGA Championship.

Very few of the 69 players in the current field have played a competitive round at Cherry Hills, which makes handicapping the BMW Championship (formerly known as the Western Open, which began in 1899) a riskier business than usual.

Long thought of as a “second-shot” golf course, where accurate approach shots can make or break a round, Cherry Hills also plays at altitude, which could lead to longer ball flight and more aggressive play.

Phil Mickelson might not be among the longest hitters on the PGA Tour any more, but the veteran is still one of its most aggressive players, ranking 34th in going for the green, 28th in scrambling and 29th in scoring. We mention Lefty because he won the 1990 U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills, but the amount of local knowledge he can take from 24 years ago is minimal at best.

And it reminds us that Mickelson hasn’t won a PGA Tour event this year, putting his tour-best streak of 10 straight years with a victory in jeopardy.

Longest active streak of consecutive years with a PGA Tour victory

 No. of years with a win Player Years
 10 Phil Mickelson 2004-2013
 7 Dustin Johnson 2008-2014
 5 Justin Rose 2010-2014
 4 Bill Haas 2010-2013
 3 Matt Kuchar 2012-2014
 3 Zach Johnson 2012-2014

Bill Haas is also in jeopardy of ending his streak, although at 17th on the FedEx Cup standings, this likely won’t be his last appearance of the season. He’ll still have the Tour Championship at East Lake (where he won in 2011) to extend his streak to five seasons.

Mickelson, at 56th in points, is likely not going to Georgia unless he has a high finish at Cherry Hills.

Phil Mickelson’s record at the BMW Championship in the Playoff era

 Year Finish Scores Course
 2013 T-33 70-74-68-71—283 Conway Farms
 2012 T-2 69-67-64-70—270 Crooked Stick
 2011 T-56 72-73-71-75—291 Cog Hill
 2010 T-8 72-71-70-67—280 Cog Hill
 2009 T-30 71-69-70-76—286 Cog Hill
 2008 T-17 68-65-71-70—274 Bellerive 

It’s worth noting that Mickelson was T-2 at Crooked Stick, another new BMW venue that isn’t normally used for PGA Tour events. And, in addition to his win at altitude at the 1990 U.S. Amateur, Mickelson has won two PGA Tour events in Colorado - the 1993 and 1997 International -which was held at Castle Pines. He was second at the International in 1998 and 2000, and had seven top 10s in 14 starts at what was the Tour’s annual Stableford event.

Here’s a look at other players in this week’s field who fared well at the International before it disappeared from the schedule in 2006.

How selected players in the BMW field fared at the PGA Tour’s International: 1991-2006

 Player International record
 Ernie Els 15 starts, 15 cuts made; 9 top 10s, with a win in 2000
 Jim Furyk 5 starts, 4 cuts made; 1 to 10 (T-7 in 1997)
 Charles Howell III

7 starts, 4 cuts made; 4 top-20 finishes with a best of fifth in 2005

 Phil Mickelson

14 starts, 11 cuts made; 7 top 10s, with two wins and two seconds

 Bubba Watson 1 start, 1 cut made; T6 in 2006

Although the International’s champions were often long hitters – think Els, Mickelson, Vijay Singh and Davis Love III for example – there were some shorter hitters who won, notably Brad Faxon, Lee Janzen and Dean Wilson, who won the last event in 2006.

Granted a stroke-play playoff event has a different atmosphere than a modified Stableford event midway through the long season, but the point remains: A long hitter only has an advantage in altitude if he controls his ball flight and avoids danger.

The BMW Championship has been the third event of the PGA Tour playoffs since the FedEx Cup was formed in 2007. In that time no player ranked outside the top half of the 70 players who make up the field has won. Justin Rose, 34th in 2011, was the highest seed to win.

FedEx Cup ranking of the BMW Championship winner

 Year Player FedEx rank Deutsche Bank finish
 2013 Zach Johnson 27 T-27
 2012 Rory McIlroy 1 1
 2011 Justin Rose 34 T-68
 2010 Dustin Johnson 16 T-57
 2009 Tiger Woods 2 T-11
 2008 Camilo Villegas 25 T-3
 2007 Tiger Woods 3 T-2

Although the BMW champ has tended to play well at the Deutsche Bank, with four of the seven champions finishing in the top 11 at Boston. Only Rory McIlroy won both events. In fact the Deutsche Bank winner has not fared particularly well in his playoff follow-up. In additon to McIlroy, who was a world-beater in 2012, only Webb Simpson in 2011 managed better than a top-30 finish the week after his win.

How the Deutsche Bank winner fared at the BMW Championship

 Year Deutsche Bank winner BMW finish
 2013 Henrik Stenson T-33
 2012 Rory McIlroy 1
 2011 Webb Simpson 5
 2010 Charley Hoffman T-30
 2009 Steve Stricker T-53
 2008 Vijay Singh T-44
 2007 Phil Mickelson Did not play

That doesn’t bode particularly well for Chris Kirk’s chances at Cherry Hills, but the Boston champ already has two wins this PGA Tour season.

One final thought: Jim Furyk lost in the third round of the 1990 U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills (to David Eger). Morgan Hoffmann and Cameron Tringale played for the U.S. in the 2009 Palmer Cup at Cherry Hills (won by Europe, 13-11), and Jordan Spieth and Hideki Matsuyama played in the 2012 U.S. Amateur at the course (Matsuyama didn’t make match play, Spieth lost in Round 1). With Mickelson, this is about the extent of the BMW field’s competitive history at Cherry Hills.

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Woods: New putter should help on slower greens

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:35 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods’ ice-cold putting showed at least a few signs of heating up earlier this month at The National, where he switched putters and ranked seventh in the field on the greens.

The mallet-style putter is still in the bag as Woods prepares for The Open, and he’s hoping the heavier model with grooves will prove valuable at Carnoustie.

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“To be honest with you, I’ve struggled on slower greens throughout my entire career,” Woods said Tuesday. “So for me, it’s going to help on these greens, for sure.”

To combat the slower greens, Woods usually applied a strip of lead tape to his putter. But this heavier model of putter doesn’t need the extra weight, and the grooves on the putter face allow the ball to get rolling faster and hotter.

“You don’t necessarily have to do that with the grooves,” he said of the lead tape. “When I putted with the Nike putter, I didn’t have to put lead tape on the putter to get a little more weight to it. I could just leave it just the way it was. This is the same type.”  

For all of the talk about his putting woes this season, Woods still ranks 56th in strokes gained: putting. More crucial this week: He’s 102nd in approach putt performance, which quantifies how well a player lag putts.

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Woods: Open best chance for long-term major success

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:26 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods is more than a decade removed from his last major title, but he said Tuesday that The Open is the major that gives him the best chance for long-term success.

“I would say yes, because of the fact that you don’t have to be long to play on a links-style golf course,” Woods said during his pre-tournament news conference. “It certainly can be done.”

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Woods pointed to the late-career success for both Greg Norman (2008) and Tom Watson (2009), both of whom challenged for the claret jug deep into their 50s.

“Distance becomes a moot point on a links-style golf course,” he said.

That’s certainly not the case, however, at the Masters, where bombers long have thrived, or the U.S. Open, which places a premium on long and straight driving.

“You get to places like Augusta National, which is just a big ballpark, and the golf course outgrows you, unfortunately,” he said. “But links-style courses, you can roll the ball. I hit a 3-iron that went down there 330. Even if I get a little bit older, I can still chase some wood or long club down there and hit the ball the same distance.”

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"Vantage Point with Mike Tirico" set to debut Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJuly 17, 2018, 10:15 am

Special Hour Complementing the Network’s Week-Long Golf Central Live From The Open News Coverage; Premiere Scheduled to Include Interview with 2014 Open Runner-Up Rickie Fowler On-Site from Carnoustie

Features Include Tirico and Curtis Strange Re-watching ’99 Open at Carnoustie & Jim “Bones” Mackay Facilitating Exclusive Conversation with Caddies Michael Greller, John Wood Recounting Final Round Pairing at 2017 Open

To help set the table ahead of The 147TH Open at Carnoustie, Golf Channel will premiere Vantage Point with Mike Tirico on Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET. An extension of the network’s week-long Golf Central Live From The Open comprehensive news coverage, Vantage Point will revisit landmark moments in The Open’s history, uncover personal stories relevant to the fabric of the week and feature a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year” on golf’s original championship.

“It’s a thrill to be going back to The Open again this year, which is a fitting setting to launch this new opportunity,” said Tirico, NBC Sports host who this week will celebrate his 22nd consecutive year covering The Open. “I love being a part of the Golf Channel team during golf’s biggest weeks, and anticipate contributing to our commitment to great storytelling with Vantage Point.”

Kicking off the premiere of Vantage Point will be Tirico’s exclusive interview with 2014 Open runner-up and 2015 PLAYERS champion Rickie Fowler on-site from Carnoustie. One of Fowler’s favorite events, he has missed just one cut in eight previous appearances at The Open. Other highlights within the show include:

  • Jim “Bones” Mackay facilitating an exclusive conversation between caddies Michael Greller (Jordan Spieth) and John Wood (Matt Kuchar) recounting the final round pairing at The Open last July.
  • Tirico hosting a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year”: David Duval, Tom Lehman and Justin Leonard.
  • A recollection of one of the most unforgettable collapses in major championship golf, when Jean van de Velde surrendered a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole in 1999 at The Open. Tirico and Curtis Strange – both on the live tournament broadcast that year for ABC/ESPN – recently re-watched the telecast together for the first time since calling it live.


“This is harder to watch than I thought it was going to be. I’ve never seen anything like

that in my life. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that again.” – Curtis Strange


“I think I got caught up in the whole deal and felt human for the guy.” – Mike Tirico


Vantage Point with Mike Tirico will complement the network’s Golf Central Live From The Open, which will feature nearly 60 hours of comprehensive news coverage from Carnoustie. In total, NBC Sports will dedicate more than 350 hours to showcasing the third men’s major championship of the year, including nearly 50 live hours of the network’s Emmy-nominated tournament coverage – annually the most live hours of coverage from any golf event – spanning from Thursday’s opening tee shot to Sunday’s final putt.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 8:40 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 (