Shark Bites Back at 95 Hartford

By George WhiteJune 17, 2002, 4:00 pm
Wherever old golfers get together to rehash tournaments gone by and championships won-lost, there will never be a sadder statement than, It might have been.
 
And when old championships are being rehashed, no golfer in history comes to mind quicker than Greg Norman. Norman has won 18 PGA Tour events plus two British Opens, certainly a laudable figure. But more prominent is his 31 seconds. He has managed to lose by means that would send any other golfer screaming to the psychiatrists couch.
 
He finished second four times in 1986, four times in 1993, and three times in 1994. He lost a playoff for the British Open (to Mark Calcavecchia) in 89, which would have 32 runner-ups. He also lost a U.S. Open playoff to Fuzzy Zoeller in 1984, the PGA to Paul Azinger in 93 and the Masters in a playoff with Larry Mize in 1987.
 
He had to be exceptional, of course, to be so close so often, yet come up empty. One of the times he was not a runner-up was the 1995 Canon Greater Hartford. He won in a final round in which he looked eyeball to eyeball with Zoeller, and Zoeller blinked first. And it was the week after the U.S. Open, just like it is in 2002. Norman, incidentally, had once again finished second at Shinnecock to Corey Pavin.
 
In 1995, though, he was the top of his game. The brilliance at Hartford proved it. He had slipped at the last moment at the Open to allow Pavin to squeeze through to the victory, yet didnt let a bad memory intimidate him the following week. Norman was once again in a real struggle for most of the day, just like the week before, but in the end he just turned on the afterburners and blew the pursuers away.
 
I could have easily come into this week and not performed as well, he said afterwards. As it turned out, I made myself concentrate and work hard.
 
I wanted to pull myself up because I knew my game was good. Coming back after a major and doing this, especially after being in contention in a major, is important. I think it was easier because I knew I was playing so good. It was harder because of what happened last week.
 
A 64-65 start on Thursday and Friday had put Norman in control of the tournament. The rains came on Sunday, putting the breaks on scoring for the entire field. Consequently, by the time the nine-hole turn came in the final round, Norman was ahead by three shots.
 
Just like that ' snap! ' though, Norman lost his lead. It happened on No. 10, when a snap-hook drive, a tree limb which caught his approach, and a long pitch combined to send him spiraling down with a double bogey. And when Fuzzy Zoeller birdied the 11th, the tournament was tied.
 
And there was more ' another birdie by Zoeller at the par-5 13th, at the same time Norman was missing a three-footer for a birdie of his own, gave Zoeller the lead. Suddenly, it was put-up or shut-up. Norman had to look inward and ask himself for a little something extra. Would he indeed be the Great White Shark? Or would he be the Chicken of the Sea?
 
He would find out on the 15th tee. Zoeller had already hit, laying up on the 296-yard shortie. Norman had to answer a big question as he prepared to drive the ball.
 
I stood on the tee and asked myself, Do I want to win the golf tournament? said Norman. And I said, Yeah, I do. I thought, Well, lets go ahead and win it.
 
He yanked out the driver and went for the par-4 green with one big bash of the club. The drive hit the green but bounded down the side. Zoeller chunked a short pitch, finally reached the green in three, and two-putted for a bogey. And something good was about to happen to Norman.
 
He lofted the short pitch toward the pin, then watched with everyone else as it circled the cup and fell in for eagle. He had begun the hole a shot behind, but as he left the green, he was two shots ahead.
 
Norman had a couple of slips the final four holes, but no one could nab him. He still led by two shots as he came to 18, and won for the 15th time when the day was over.
 
To come out and do it, that makes me feel very good, said Norman. He had experienced plenty of days when someone had done it to him. This was one when he did to someone else.
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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”

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After 36, new Open favorite is ... Fleetwood

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 7:49 pm

With a handful of the pre-championship favorites exiting early, there is a new odds-on leader entering the third round of The Open at Carnoustie.

While Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner share the 36-hole lead, it's England's Tommy Fleetwood who leads the betting pack at 11/2. Fleetwood begins the third round one shot off the lead.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.

Tommy Fleetwood: 11/2

Zach Johnson: 13/2

Rory McIlroy: 7/1

Jordan Spieth: 8/1

Rickie Fowler: 9/1

Kevin Kisner: 12/1

Xander Schauffele: 16/1

Tony Finau: 16/1

Matt Kuchar: 18/1

Pat Perez: 25/1

Brooks Koepka: 25/1

Erik van Rooyen: 50/1

Alex Noren: 50/1

Tiger Woods: 50/1

Thorbjorn Olesen: 60/1

Danny Willett: 60/1

Francesco Molinari: 60/1