Open Makes for Great Reading

By George WhiteJune 20, 2005, 4:00 pm
Maybe its just this internal gizmo that I have inside me, but for whatever reason, the U.S. Open has nearly always been the one major championship that I least enjoy watching.
 
What does it mean? Probably means something about my immaturity. It probably means something about this go-go world, where weve become accustomed to external stimuli nearly every minute of every day. Whatever ' it just doesnt hold the same allure as the Masters, the British Open or the PGA Championship.
 
Maybe its because the other three are win it championships. Most of the action is involved with trying to do something to win the title. Here, its different - in the U.S. Open, the champion almost always is the one who repeatedly shakes off bad fortune, catapults to the lead though a series of misfortunes visited on someone else, then hangs on for dear life until he finally just outlasts the field, one by one by one.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods was never able to get a good feel for the greens at Pinehurst No.2.
I realize it takes a particular kind of golfer to achieve this. Retief Goosen is an excellent example, though he didnt get it done this time. I dont think of Michael Campbell when I think of this particular type, though he certainly was on Sunday. To win a U.S. Open, you seldom shoot for flags. You drive the ball in the fairway, somehow get the ball to stop somewhere on the green with your approach shot, then putt like a banshee.
 
As the United States Golf Association wishes, this exposes the golfer to the utmost in mental pressure. Obviously, the person who wins is an exceptional player when it comes to managing oneself around 72 holes. It just isnt particularly enjoyable to watch ' for me.
 
Despite what I think, there are some golfers and a lot of fans who thoroughly enjoy the U.S. Open. They appreciate the fact that disaster is always only a shot away.
 
I always will feel that it's much better to play a tournament where, if you shoot a round in the mid-60s, you should fly up that board' not if you shoot a round like 67 you get lapped, said no less an authority than Tiger Woods. I don't like tournaments where 25 under par is the winning score. I'd much rather prefer to play challenges like this.
 
I dont particularly enjoy a tournament where 20-under wins, either. But I think 6-10 under is perfectly with reason.
 
That, for me, strictly means for purposes of watching on television. I enjoy reading about the Open, about who had the guts and the skill to stick in there for four days and persevere until the very last potential three-putt. And I confess that I always watch the final day, regardless of how bad the leaders are getting cuffed around. Ive found that I can take about four hours of this torture ' look forward to it, in fact. But given the four majors, this one is generally the least interesting.
 
It's more of a thinking man's game, said Woods. And you have to think, you have to be patient. It brings out all different types of shots you have to play and you have to know how to play. And that's why it's a major championship. It seems like we see the same guys in the top 10 or 15 in each and every major, and there's a reason why. They know how to hit shots.
 
Thats all very true. And its the very nature of what the founding fathers intended, I guess. Golf was originally meant to be an exercise in masochism. Course designers around the turn of the century had it so right ' a shot poorly played is a shot irretrievably lost! Recovery shot? Balderdash! There should no such thing as a recovery shot!
 
Tiger tried to explain the difficulty of playing Pinehurst during Open week.
 
I don't think they (the fans) quite understand how difficult it really is out there, he said. No one really does, unless you've played. And I've tried to explain it to some of you guys or people that watch it on TV, some of my friends (who) say, What were you thinking here?
 
I said, You have no idea. You have to get out there and experience the speed of the greens, the slope, the feel of the shots.
 
It is so hard to explain to people how difficult this golf course was playing I mean, I was joking the entire week, thank God I wore spikes, because if you backed off some of these holes you slip right down the hill. At least I had some cleats, I dug in.
 
It makes for fascinating reading, this U.S. Open. But for watching? Nope, not for me. Let the gents go about being clipped on the jaw, and when its over, let me know who lasted the longest.
 
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    Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

    NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 146th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Royal Birkdale, broken down into daily segments:

    Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

    Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

    1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.

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    Knox relishes round with 'mythical figure' Woods

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 8:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Russell Knox was expecting the worst and hoping for the best Thursday at The Open.

    Playing with Tiger Woods tends to have that effect.

    The native Scot received a treat earlier this week when he saw his name on the tee sheet alongside his boyhood idol, Woods.

    “Felt good out there, but obviously my swing, it was just like I had too much tension,” Knox said after an opening 73. “I just wasn’t letting it go as normal. First round with Tiger, I expected to feel a little bit different. The way I felt was better than the way I swung.”

    Knox said that he was nervous playing alongside Woods, a player he’d only encountered on the range. “He’s almost like a mythical figure,” he said.

    But after a while, he settled into the rhythm of the round at Carnoustie.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I thought it would be worse,” he said, “I feel like I should know what I’m doing. It’s cool playing with Tiger, but I’ve got to get over that. I’m here to win, not just enjoy my walk around the course.”

    Knox probably had more interaction with Woods than he anticipated, if only because the third member of the group, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, keeps to himself because of the language barrier.

    “It’s kind of a blur,” Knox said. “It’s like, Oh, I’m chatting away with Tiger here like normal. I don’t even remember what I was saying.”

    There have been countless stories from this year as the next generation of players – guys who grew up watching Woods dominate the sport – get paired with Woods for the first time.

    It was no less special for Knox on Thursday.

    “It’s nice for him to say things like that,” Woods said, “and we enjoyed playing with each other. Hopefully we’ll play a little bit better tomorrow.”

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    Rain expected to shower Carnoustie Friday morning

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:43 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – By the end of the day Friday, we’ll be able to determine which side of The Open draw ended the first two rounds at Carnoustie with more favorable conditions. With rain expected for most of Friday morning, it seems those who played early/late may be more pleased.

    According to Weather.com, there is a 75 percent chance of rain beginning at 2 a.m. local time Friday here in Scotland. That percentage vaults up to 95 percent by 7 a.m., with the first tee time scheduled for 6:35. At 11, the number drops to 55 percent. After 2 p.m., the percentage chances of rain are 25 percent and below for the remainder of the day.

    Temperatures during the day are expected to be from the low 50s to the low 60s and winds will vary between 14-18 mph, again per Weather.com.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    This is The Open’s official weather report for the weekend:

    Saturday: A dull start with some drizzle possible. Staying cloudy for much of the day but gradually becoming brighter with a chance of some sunny intervals during the afternoon and evening. Winds light and variable in direction but should predominantly settle in to a SSE 8-12mph during the afternoon. Max temp 20C (68F).

    Sunday: Often cloudy but mainly dry. A better chance of some decent sunny spells compared to Saturday. Most likely the windiest day of the Championship; SW 12-18mph with gusts 20-25mph. Feeling warm, especially in any sunshine with a max temp of 23C (73F).

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    Bandaged Woods 5 back after even-par 71

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 8:38 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods arrived Thursday with therapeutic tape on the back of his neck.

    Carnoustie’s back nine inflicted even more pain.

    Playing in the most difficult conditions of the day, Woods’ progress was stalled by two late bogeys as he settled for an even-par 71 that left him five shots off the lead at The Open.

    “I played better than what the score indicates,” he said. “It certainly could have been a little bit better.”

    Woods created a stir when he showed up with black kinesiology tape on his neck. Afterward, he said that his neck has been bugging him “for a while” and that Thursday was merely the first time that the tape was visible.

    “Everyone acts like this is the first time I’ve been bandaged up,” he said, smiling. “I’ve been doing this for years.”

    Woods said that the discomfort didn’t really affect his swing, other than a few shots “here and there.” It didn’t seem to affect his score, either, as he went out in 2 under before a few stumbles on the back nine.

    On the fast, baked-out turf, he played conservatively off the tee, using driver only once and 3-wood just twice. Apparently he didn’t need the added distance, not with his 6-iron traveling 240 yards. He tried to play to his spots, even if it routinely left him more than 200 yards for his approach.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    That’s the strategy he employed at Hoylake in 2006, where he hit driver just once and captured the third of his Open titles. Despite some of the similarities in firmness, Woods said that Carnoustie presents a different challenge off the tee.

    “These fairways are very small,” he said. “They’re hard to hit right now. They’re so fast, and they’re so moundy.”

    Finding the fairway wasn’t the chief problem for Woods on Day 1, however. He missed just four fairways but found only 11 greens.

    More damaging to his score was his play on the par 5s. Despite having only an 8-iron in, he failed to birdie each of the two par 5s and then bogeyed Nos. 10, 13 and 15 to squander his early momentum.

    Though the draw here won’t be a significant factor – or at least not like in recent years, with a wide range in scores from morning to afternoon – it’s clear that Woods (in game 47 of 52) encountered the most difficult of the conditions Thursday, with the wind gusting to 20 mph and the fairways running even faster after another sun-splashed afternoon.

    Still, his opening 71 was one of the better scores in the late wave.

    “He hit it good,” said playing partner Russell Knox. “He plotted his way around, which I expected him to do, and he was very conservative off the tee. It’s kind of fun to watch him do that, to be honest.”

    Even more fun would be a major with Woods in contention.

    He hasn’t broken par in the opening round of his last eight majors. Indeed, for Woods, these slow starts have been the real pain in the neck.