After Further Review: USGA may have lost the players

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 20, 2016, 1:20 pm

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

On player reaction to USGA's handling of Dustin Johnson's penalty ...

By so badly botching the Dustin Johnson ruling in a critical moment Sunday, the USGA has lost the respect of the players, perhaps for good.

A rough few years for the organization – the anchoring ban, an unnecessarily compromised Merion, a bumpy Chambers Bay – has now gotten even worse.

This wasn’t a few grumpy players sounding off on the USGA’s handling and enforcement of Rule 18-2/0.5; it seemed like the entire PGA Tour emphatically disagreed with how it all went down. Here were a few of the words the stars used to describe the USGA’s absurd ruling: farce, ridiculous, embarrassing.

It has never sat well with the players that an organization of amateurs is policing the professionals, but this may prove to be the final straw. They’ve largely held their tongue over the past few years. Don’t expect them to stay silent any longer. – Ryan Lavner

On DJ's major potential ...

Following his victory this year at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, Adam Scott completed an interview with Claude Harmon III, who was moonlighting as a television announcer.  The conversation turned to Dustin Johnson, who Harmon coaches with his father, Butch. “He said, ‘Once he gets it figured out, we’re all playing for second,’” Harmon recently recalled.

On Sunday at Oakmont Johnson figured it out, overcoming a surreal episode that included a penalty that might not have been a penalty, an increasingly difficult golf course and the demons born from so many major losses.

Three days shy of his 32nd birthday, the man some thought couldn’t win a major suddenly looks like he could win any of them.  Rex Hoggard

On the DJ penalty controversy ...

I tweeted this shortly after the U.S. Open ended and it was retweeted and favorited quite a bit, and it’s something I truly believe. No one watching the U.S. Open rule debacle will say: “Hey, that looked cool. I want to wake up tomorrow, buy clubs and take up the game.”

I’m not a rules expert, never have been and never have professed to be. Let’s say the USGA got this one exactly right. Then why was there no one, and I mean no one, who agreed with anything they did in the waning hours of the Open? A group of the game’s biggest names – including Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Tiger Woods, among other – vented openly on social media about the USGA’s ineptness. They don’t agree on much of anything but were unanimous on this issue.

The rules forever have been too difficult and too vague. When an explanation comes that a ruling is made because “it’s more likely than not” that it happened, I get infuriated.

People may think golf’s cool because DJ is cool. But will never think it’s cool because of anything that has to do with arcane rules.  Jay Coffin

On two big USGA mistakes ...

The USGA’s first big mistake in the Dustin Johnson rules fiasco Sunday at the U.S. Open was reviewing the video and failing to immediately clear him of any rules violation after his ball moved once he stepped over it to putt at the fifth hole. Rule 18-2 as revised doesn’t require the rules committee to be 100 percent certain a player caused a ball to move to assess a one-stroke penalty.

Instead, the committee merely needs “the weight of evidence” to indicate the player caused the ball to move. With Lee Westwood and a referee at the hole failing to see cause to assess a penalty, it ought to take indisputable video evidence to conclude a penalty incurred, not “weighted evidence.”

The USGA’s second big mistake was going to Johnson at the 12th tee to inform him there was a potential violation and that they would further review it after the round. If Johnson was going to be assessed a penalty – and he was at the end of the round – it should have been decided right there.

By waiting, the USGA unnecessarily brought down a fog of confusion and angst  over the entire finish.  Randall Mell

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Vegas helicopters in to Carnoustie, without clubs

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 9:33 am

Jhonattan Vegas did some range work, putted a little and strolled to the first tee for his 5:31 a.m. ET start in the 147th Open Championship.

Everything before that, however, was far from routine.

Vegas' visa to travel to Scotland expired and the process to renew it got delayed - and it looked like his overseas' flight might suffer the same fate. Vegas, upon getting his visa updated, traveled from Houston, Texas to Toronto, Canada to Glasgow, Scotland, and then took a helicopter to Carnoustie.

He arrived in time on Thursday morning, but his clubs did not. Mizuno put together some irons for him and TaylorMade got him his preferred metal woods. He hit the clubs for the first time on the range, less than 90 minutes before his start.

"I'm going to go out there and play with freedom," Vegas told Golf Channel's Todd Lewis.

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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.