Irwins 98 Senior Open Reflected His Golf Philosophy

By George WhiteJune 24, 2002, 4:00 pm
Hale Irwin won 20 tournaments on the PGA Tour, and three of them were U.S. Opens. He won them at every stage of his career ' 1974 at Winged Foot, one of the most difficult Opens of all time; 1978 at Inverness when he was 33 years old and just in his prime; and 1990 at Medinah, when he beat Mike Donald in a playoff at the age of 45.
Irwin began playing the Senior Tour in 1995, and by the end of 1997 he had rang up 13 wins ' nine in 97 alone. In 1998 he was still sizzling, reeling off seven victories and finishing second six times. And that was the year that he picked up again on his U.S. Open conquests, adding the U.S. Senior Open to an already glittering array of trophies.
Winning an Open takes a certain mentality, he was saying. Take Donald in 90 at Medinah. Donald never again was quite the same, after Irwin made a 40-foot putt on the 72nd green to tie him, then won it in 19 holes the following day.
I still feel badly for Mike Donald, Irwin said. He had that tournament won ' I say won, because obviously he didnt win ' but he had two really golden opportunities to win and he just couldnt step across the threshold.
Irwin seized the moment when it was there for the taking on the Senior Tour, too. He had a 15-foot putt at Riviera to win the Open over Vicente Fernandez, and he sank it.
I couldnt see any break in the putt, and I wanted to see a break, Irwin said. You just cant believe greens around here have straight putts.
It was Raymond Floyds tournament all the way, just like it had been Donalds tournament at Medinah. Floyd led each of the first three days. Irwin had to come back from an opening-round 77 just to make the cut. He had to sink a chip shot at 18 Saturday from 35 feet to stay within shouting distance ' three shots ' of Floyd.
You can dig your way out of a hole if you have a belief and a plan for going about it, said Irwin.
Irwin must have had a belief and a play on this day in 98. He birdied the 16th hole to finally get around Floyd. Fernandez, playing two groups ahead of Irwin, had fired a 68 to shoot a 285 total. Irwin missed a birdie putt at 17, falling to the ground in disbelief. But when fate afforded him a second chance for birdie on 18, Irwin did indeed step across the threshold. He drilled the putt dead-center, winning his fourth U.S. Open, and his first Senior Open.
He won it just like he had won the three previous Opens. You sort of keep it in sight, you know, he said, half joking, half serious. Dont hit it so far you cant find out where it is, but keep it right there in front of you so you know where to find it and kind of walk down the fairway. You manage yourself.
Irwin is 57 now, but he still won three times last year despite creeping up the age ladder. He did it despite a flourishing course-design business which consumes much of his time, and the joys of being a new grandfather.
But he prevails while others sit and spin their wheels because he had the proper life goals.
I think it just comes down to how you want to live your life, how you want to conduct yourself professionally out there ' not conduct as your personality, but how you want to spend your career, he said in a 1999 interview.
I played in 35 tournaments a year, I am the 30th leading money winner on tour. Are those acceptable standards, finishing in the top 10 three times? No, for the players that are achievers. They want nothing to do with tops. They want the top. They want to win.
Winning is what they talk about. Its not finishing high ' making a cut, getting a check, all that locker room talk. They talk about achieving at the highest standards.
Those are all things, Irwin was saying, that make an athlete a winner. There is a difference in being good, and being at the top. Irwin has tried throughout his career - even though it has not always been possible - to be a winner, just as he did at the 98 Senior Open.
That is what people respond to, he said. If you are comfortable in that zone (of being a winner), then yes, its a comfort zone. And if you are comfortable, you wont play to it. You just will not do it. Your mind will not let you do it.
Irwin still has his three regular Opens and the Senior Open, so apparently his mind his allowed him to succeed in this environment. And he says that he never has had any regrets since he decided to perform in this environment and in this sport.
Not a single one, he says. The greatest thing to me, its been the opportunity to meet the people I have met. I played some great golf courses and had some great events and been very successful and all that stuff, but its the people that, to me, have been fantastic.
Its been an education all into itself. Nothing in school, in a textbook anywhere, could teach you the kind of things that I have been to learn and forget as I have out here.
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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  

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 (