Sergio - A Young Tiger Four Years Removed
All along, weve believed this is the Tiger Woods era. Tiger is 26, four years older than this kid. At last, there is a kernel of doubt that is beginning to creep in. Could this Sergio Garcia come along and mess things up?
Maybe, as Woods says, this is just a momentary low point that he has been in since he last won on tour at the WCG-NEC Invitational. He did swoop down for a victory in his Williams World Challenge. But dont forget, even Jack Nicklaus had his down periods in 1970, when he finished ninth on the money list after finishing in the top three each of his first eight years; and 1979, his first year without a victory when he was finishing way back in 79th.
Garcia has one glaring shortcoming, and it isnt the fact that he grips and re-grips until you are certain the wrapping will come off in his hands. He lives in Spain, and he refuses to make a permanent move to America. That is bound to affect him negatively, simply because no one has of yet figured out how to cross the ocean seven or eight times in one year and not be out of sorts a little. And it will only get worse.
You know, I love Spain, he told reporters at the Mercedes Championships. Theres more things about that. You know, there are some things family-wise.
Garcia didnt specify what those family-wise things are, but suffice it to say, those things will keep him navigating back and forth across the Atlantic for the foreseeable future. And that probably will spread him out enough to ruin any chance of winning the U.S. money title. He plans to play just enough on the European Tour to keep his card there, but that probably is enough to scuttle any hopes of matching up the American and European money rankings.
Its still an enormous step to hurdle Tiger, however.
I dont think you put anybody as high as Tiger, Garcia said with finality. Thats to start with. Theres a big difference between that. I think what Tiger has done, its unbelievable. I dont think many people can do it.
To say that Garcia has been superior to Woods the past six months isnt saying a whole lot. There are five or six players who have been the striped ones equal of late. Its the future that will be most interesting to look at ' will Tiger pick up once again where he left off, as the greatest player to ever pick up a club? Or were those 2 years just an anomaly and will he now join the pack of simply very good golfers? Will Sergio be the best in the very near future?
Dont ask Sergio. But he does have one thing to say ' It used to be a tour and a guy. Now its becoming a tour again.
For a 22-year-old, hes not bad. No sir, not bad at all. The question is, is he as good as that certain 26-year-old? If not, will he ever be?
Garcia has been up and down, just as Tiger has. Hes had the occasional fits of temper ' just as Tiger has. The difference is, he turned pro at 19 and immediately started playing in Tour events. He has matured under a microscope. Tiger played two years of college golf at Stanford before he decided to go under this harsh spotlight.
One thing Sergio has going for him, though, is that he always seems like hes having fun. Maybe thats not the way to be No. 1. Tiger rarely looks as though hes really enjoying it when hes playing, although he certainly seems to enjoy it afterwards. But Garcia is having fun from the first drive to the last putt.
That hasnt always been true, even for someone as young as Sergio. Thats why my game wasnt able to come out, he says.
But even last year when I wasnt playing well, I was still trying to have fun. You know, Glen (Murray, his caddie) has been great at that. Peter Jacobsen helped me two years ago - he, too, told me a couple of things that really helped. But I think Glen has really been good. He knows the way I like to be to play good golf.
Even on the bad moments, he always tries to keep me there. He always will make a little comment that, you know, will pump me up.
Garcia is now giving caddie Murray his old Mercedes, an SLK 320. Garcia himself won a new one, an SL500, for the win. Bag-toters who have been instrumental in helping their employers win a $720,000 paycheck are deserving of an old SLK 320, Sergio feels.
And here he is, one week after winning at Mercedes and leading the tours money list.
To tell you the truth, I dont think Id be this good if I wouldnt have been that bad in 2000, he confessed, remembering the season when he finished down at 42nd on the money list. I learned a lot of things in 2000. It made my family come even closer than what it was, and that gave me a lot of strength.
You know, everybody has their own little methods of playing golf. You know, maybe I regrip too many times. But maybe amateurs are starting to try it, because it looks to me like its working.
He had to smile at that one. This is the man who sees Tiger way off in the distance, as just a glint in his eye. But the glint just got a little bit bigger. Maybe one day
How to watch The Open on TV and online
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)
Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship
Tiger Woods is competing in his first Open Championship since 2015. We're tracking him this week at Carnoustie.
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The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major
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.
Four players vying for DJ's No. 1 ranking at Open
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.
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.