After Further Review: Anchoring snafu; Poulter primed for Ryder Cup

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds:

On anchoring confusion...

Well that didn’t take long.

In just the second PGA Tour event since the anchoring ban took effect, Zac Blair was questioned by officials Sunday about whether he anchored the butt end of his fairway wood against his belly while chipping to the 71st hole at the Sony Open. Replays brought into question whether the club was pressed against his belly. The replay clearly showed the club pushing into his shirt, but there was no way to know if the club was actually braced against his body, as his shirt was tucked loosely into his pants.

And that’s the potential problem with this rule. There’s going to be no way of knowing definitively if a club’s actually anchored to a player’s body, especially when players are in sweaters and jackets in cool weather.

Blair, who was in contention, told Golf Channel’s Steve Burkowski that he didn’t even know what rules officials were asking about after the round. He said he wasn’t anchoring, and there’s no reason to doubt him, but this rule is going to create suspicion, often unfairly, especially if players continue to use long putters, with their top hand slightly away from their chests, as opposed to anchored to their chests. At the British Open, who’s going to know if the butt end of a long putter is only pressed into a player’s jacket and not into his chest? We expect players will abide, but it’s human nature to be suspicious. If somebody’s going to wonder about Blair in a golf shirt in Hawaii’s warmth, suspicion is likely to rear its head more than once this PGA Tour season. – Randall Mell

On Europe's match-play dominance ...

The biennial thorn in the U.S. Ryder Cup team’s side seems intent to reprise his role as European hero later this year if this week’s EurAsia Cup in Kuala Lumpur was any indication.

Although most of European captain Darren Clarke’s top players are content skipping the second-tier team event that pits a team from the Continent against Asia’s top players, Poulter made the trip undoubtedly looking to impress this year’s captain.

The plan worked, with Poulter – along with Lee Westwood – delivering a point on all three days of play to help lift the European team to a commanding 18 1/2 to 5 1/2 victory. – Rex Hoggard

On Luke Donald ...

Through 15 holes Sunday, Luke Donald looked as if he was going to record his first PGA Tour top-10 since last June. He had made four straight birdies from Nos. 11-14 and was 4 under on his round. Unfortunately, bogeys at 16 and 17 dropped him all the way down to T-28.

Sunday’s result comes just one week after the former world No. 1 publicly admitted that he considered quitting the game altogether last year. Donald has just one worldwide top-10 since the Travelers last summer – which allowed him to qualify for the Open Championship – and he managed to submarine a chance to build momentum on an easy track at Waialae.

Sure, he’s struggling with his swing and juggling instructors, but he certainly tapped into something for a brief, beautiful stretch on the back nine Sunday. Sometimes, these things are just as mental as they are technical. And, clearly, Donald is having doubts. He admitted as much. – Nick Menta

On veteran success ...

Perhaps we should slow down on all of this young gun discussion. Sure, the future generation of PGA Tour stars continue to make names for themselves in front of our eyes, but this week in Hawaii we saw that the ... more seasoned guys still have some game. 

First it was Vijay Singh, who like Davis Love III continues to play a full slate of events after age 50 thanks to his life member status. The big Fijian opened the Sony Open with a sizzling 63, briefly flirting with becoming the oldest winner in Tour history at age 52. Then there was Fred Funk, who at 59 years young became the oldest to make the cut in tournament history. Funk has always been able to play within his means - even well beyond the usual prime years on Tour - and the former Players champ again turned back the clock with a surprisingly strong effort this week in Honolulu. 

It may still be a young man's game, but clearly there are also a few members of the old guard who can still hold their own. – Will Gray

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:40 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 (

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The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:30 am

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.

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Four players vying for DJ's No. 1 ranking at Open

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 8:41 pm

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.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

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.