Azinger a True American But What if

By George WhiteAugust 20, 2001, 4:00 pm
There was a time, not too long ago, when Paul Azinger was thin as a 1-iron, long-haired, wearing white shoes, dark slacks and a shirt that was some shade of red. It was less than a decade ago, and Azinger was just a kid, a kid who happened to be pretty good at golf.
 
Today, he isnt so skinny. He isnt so long-haired. And he isnt as good. But at age 41, this Floridian is back on the Ryder Cup team after an eight-year absence. He still is a kid, but an older, wiser kid. At the end of 1993, he was diagnosed with cancer in his shoulder and underwent the debilitating effects of chemotherapy. Forced for a period of time to stare death right in the face, he struggled and eventually won that battle. The fight to regain a semblance of a professional golf game took longer.
 
In 1996, Paul and I did a story for an English magazine in which he delved into his feelings for his country, among other things. During his three years as a Ryder Cupper, Azinger was the most rabid of competitors, bleeding red-white-and-blue all over. His confrontations with Seve Ballesteros, Europes most ardent Ryder Cupper, are legendary now. But when Curtis Strange selected Azinger as a member of the 2001 team, you knew patriotism had re-entered the Ryder Cup, I mean old-fashioned, red-blooded, salute-the-flag and hold-your-heart patriotism.
 
Azingers father was an Air Force officer, which must be where it came from. Paul was a normal high school boy with all the high-jinks that come to boys of that age. He caroused and played numerous pranks and sneaked a beer and generally was a bit mischievous, but nothing to suggest he would become a flag-waver.
 
The magazine story was quite revealing, though. What did he want the Europeans to know about him?
 
That Im just a typical red-blooded American boy who takes his golf pretty seriously, with no offense to anyone, he began. I just feel like Im as competitive as anybody theyd ever want to know, and everything I do, I do with malice towards no one.
 
I love life, I love living, Im fun to be around and the biggest kid they would ever know.
 
Azinger, it must be remembered, was the most disliked of any American by the European fans. But if he had been born, say, in England, he says he would have been just as drawn to that countrys flag as he is Americas.
 
Yes, Im sure I would, he said. I would be exactly the same in that regard.
 
I think love of country is a wonderful thing. I respect and admire anybody who feels that for his country. Had I been raised in England, I would be just as fiercely proud of England as I am about the USA.
 
Azinger can rhapsodize about some things British, proving that he isnt blinded to all things from the island. What does he most like about the United Kingdom? He loves the quietness, the majesty that is Great Britain.
 
The beauty, he says simply. The countryside. Incredible. The scenery. Just the overwhelming beauty of the nature of Great Britain. Its such a beautiful place.
 
If he could change it, there is but one thing he would dare tinker with ' 'the weather. Thats pretty simple ' just the weather. Everything else, why would anyone want to change it?
 
He sat beside Strange at the Monday media conference and was, well, reclusive, in a way. He politely and thoughtfully answered questions. But he knows plenty well that he wont be the focal point of the team this year. That role belongs to Woods and Duval and Mickelson and all those guys in the 20s and 30s.
 
But it will be a long time before we forget about Azinger and Ballesteros, both trying to achieve what they could through all means legal ' and some that were rather shady. Strange played a hunch in picking Paul, and Azinger is in no condition to guarantee Strange points for the American side. But he will give the American lads a reason to stand up to the flag, if nothing else.
 
Im not sure Azinger was the right pick in this age of political correctness ' after all, the situation is about as fragile as it can get, considering the ugly mood still lingering following the events at Brookline in 1999. But Paul is, if nothing else, patriotic. And if he had been born in the UK, he would have been just as British as Prince Charles. He loves his golf, but even more, he loves his flag.
 
Full Coverage of the 34th Ryder Cup Matches
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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.


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McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

Said Harmon:

“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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How The Open cut line is determined

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


• After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

• There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

• There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:30 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)