Are There Any Surprises Anymore

By George WhiteNovember 8, 2005, 5:00 pm
Question ' Why are the so-so players winning all the tournaments?
 
Answer ' Ever thought that it might be because they arent so-so?
 
Bart Bryant was the latest, and he sent shock waves up and down the blue-ribbon field with a six-stroke win against the best players on the PGA Tour. Maybe its
Bart Bryant
How many people picked Bart Bryant to finish the year in the Top 10 on the PGA Tour money list?
time we sit up and take notice of something thats become glaringly obvious in the second half of the season: ANYONE who owns a PGA Tour card can win. And sometimes, those who own a Nationwide Card can win.
 
Bryant was completely off the radar screen when last season begin, and I dont mean just off the screen to the average fan ' he was off the screen to HIM.
 
There's always been a seed of doubt in my mind that this would happen, said Bryant. I certainly don't put myself in the same category as Retief and Vijay and Davis Love and Tiger Woods. I mean, these guys are the elite players in the world.
 
The win last year hardly caused a quiver in the fan recognition needle. It was at the Valero Texas Open in September and it was easy to brush it off as an anomaly, a quirk of fate. He was still No. 137 on the Official Golf World Rankings the week after the win in Texas, and not even in the top 200 before it.
 
This year, though, Bryant won Jack Nicklaus event ' the Memorial - and people jerked to attention as they considered this guy hmmmm. Then ' this.
 
Really, though, you need to stop and think who has been winning on tour lately. Since the end of August, one tournament after another, its been surprise after surprise after surprise. And now, its pretty obvious that there ARENT any surprises. In short, these guys are good.

The headliners won four in a row in August - the Buick Open, The International, the PGA Championship, the WCG-NEC. Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen, Phil Mickelson, and Tiger Woods won those events, and all seemed right in the golf world. Oh, Vaughn Taylor successfully defended in Reno the same week as Woods won the NEC, but Reno is a satellite event you know ' as if that makes a difference. Taylor still had to overcome some pretty good talent ' Justin Rose, Philip Price, Jesper Parnevik, Tim Herron, Skip Kendall
 
But then Brad Faxon won at Hartford, and that was a little bit of a surprise since Brad had missed nine cuts in the 20 events played up to that time. But since then at the Buick Championship at Hartford, the PGA Tour has gone topsy-turvey. Pick out a name ' any name ' in the field and he is a potential winner.
 
The top guns, of course, are the only ones eligible for the WCG-American Express. But with the exception of Woods win at the AmEx in early October, look who has been winning all the events the last couple of months:
 
It started with the Deutsche Bank, when Olin Browne won, defeating Woods, Davis Love and Justin Leonard, among others. At the Bell Canadian, it was a creaky old fossil, Mark Calcavecchia.
 
Remember the 84 Lumber, and remember the Nationwide fugitive, Jason Gore, getting home for the win? Singh was in that field. The Valero Texas Open was won by another guy who has been lost in the woods the last 10 years ' Robert Gamez. And at Greensboro, K.J. Choi won after missing cuts in his last two outings.
 
The last four tournaments have been won by complete surprises ' Wes Short at Las Vegas, Lucas Glover at Funai, Carl Petterson at the Chrysler Championship, and now Bryant.
 
Did that quartet steal them? Nope. Short won at Las Vegas with a field that included Jim Furyk, Love, Phil Mickelson, Padraig Harrington and Lee Westwood. The Funai field included Woods, Singh and Goosen, and Glover outlasted them all. And Petterson won in the Tampa Bay area over a field that included Goosen, Love, Singh, David Toms and Mike Weir.
 
Even the Southern Farm Bureau had an unlikely winner last week. Heath Slocum hung tough all four days, and that was against a field that included Loren Roberts, John Cook, Todd Hamilton, Zack Johnson, Lee Janzen, Bob Tway you get the picture.
 
Not since Mickelson at the PGA has a top-15 player won a full-field tournament. But remember Tim Petrovic at New Orleans, Ted Purdy at the Byron Nelson, Peter Lonard at Hilton Head, Sean OHair at John Deere, Jason Bohn at the B.C. Open or Ben Crane at Milwaukee? They all won PGA Tour events this year.
 
And now, Bryant. He will be 43 this month, but Bart Bryant just showed the caliber of player he has become. He was No. 22 on the money list when the Tour Championship began, but now hes ninth after winning $3,249,136 this year. Not bad, Id say, for a guy who formerly was known primarily as Brad Bryants little brother.
 
That's impressive, said Tiger, whose 11-under total was second-best but still six shots in arrears of Bart (Bryant, not Simpson.) Around this golf course it's impressive.
 
The golf course is playing fast and it's right up his alley, but still, you have to make putts, hit fairways and hit greens, and he did that all week. He was very consistent all week. He didn't have any bad stretches where he could have lost it. He had a couple bad holes, but he got right back there yesterday.
 
He played consistent. He made some putts, so hats off to him.
 
Hats off to all the who-dats who have become whose-whos. There really isnt a shocker out there anymore. Anyone, it is true, can win.
 
Email your thoughts to George White
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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.

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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.