After Further Review: Woods keeping options open

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 1, 2016, 10:00 pm

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

On rumors of Tiger Woods' return ...

Depending on which Twitter thread, hotel reservation log or tea leaf you read, Tiger Woods will come back sometime in the next seven months: at The Players, Memorial, Quicken Loans National or World Challenge. Thing is, not even Woods himself knows at this point.

In the past, sure, he could be accused of withholding information just to reassert his dominion over the game. But that doesn’t seem like the case here. He looks and sounds genuinely unsure when he’ll play again, as he recovers from his third back surgery in the past two years.

There are several factors in play, but the threat of re-injury looms large – it would render his months of hard work meaningless and send him to the sidelines for good. With so much at stake, can you really blame him for, quite literally, keeping each and every option open? – Ryan Lavner


On John Daly turning 50 ...

John Daly turned 50 on Thursday, which means the PGA Tour Champions gets a much-needed shot in the arm next week. Daly will make his debut on the over-50 circuit at next week’s Insperity Invitational, a second chance the two-time major champion has been thinking about for some time.

For the PGA Tour Champions, however, it could be an even more beneficial mulligan. As evidenced by the reaction of fans to Daly as he prepares for the next phase of his eventful life, the often-troubled star still connects with a unique portion of the golf world. It’s a portion of the populace that suddenly has a reason to pay attention. – Rex Hoggard


On Jim Furyk's return at Quail Hollow ...

Jim Furyk hasn't been on the PGA Tour since withdrawing from last year's BMW Championship with a wrist injury. The injury led to surgery, and now Furyk will return this week at Quail Hollow and no doubt have one goal in mind – getting ready for the U.S. Open at Oakmont.

Furyk came agonizingly close to winning in front of a home crowd in 2007, the last time the U.S. Open was held at Oakmont. He was No. 7 in the world when he landed on the disabled list, and the soon-to-be 46-year-old has proven he still has plenty of game left. Let's hope his wrist won't keep him from a run at a Cinderella story in June. – Ryan Reiterman


On the youth movement in the LPGA ...

The youth movement continues in the women’s game with Jenny Shin breaking through to win her first LPGA title Sunday at 23 years, 6 months and 24 days old. Remarkably, through 11 events this year, Ha Na Jang remains the oldest winner. She was 23 years, 10 months and 4 days old when she won the HSBC Women’s Champions in February.

This year’s winners: Hyo Joo Kim (20) at Pure Silk Bahamas, Jang (23) at Coates Golf Championship, Haru Nomura (23) at Women’s Australian Open, Lexi Thompson (21) at Honda LPGA Thailand, Jang (23) at HSBC Women’s Champions, Sei Young Kim (23) at Founders Cup, Lydia Ko (18) at Kia Classic, Ko (18) at ANA Inspiration, Minjee Lee (19) at Lotte Championship, Nomura (23) at Swinging Skirts Classic and Shin (23) at Volunteers of America Texas Shootout. - Randall Mell


On Bhavik Patel's comeback from suspension ...

Bhavik Patel has yet to play in a PGA Tour event, but that streak will likely end in a few months.

Patel raced out to an early lead at this week’s Web.com Tour stop in Indiana, and while he faded over the weekend he still finished T-18. That marked his third top-20 finish in his last four starts, a run that was sparked by a runner-up finish in Brazil last month. He currently sits 11th on the season-long money list, with the top 25 earners receiving PGA Tour cards for the 2016-17 season.

If the name sounds oddly familiar, that’s because last year Patel became just the second player ever to be suspended under the PGA Tour’s anti-doping policy. He was suspended for a year for what he described as a “lapse in judgment” that occurred while he was trying to overcome an injury, and the 25-year-old went nearly 18 months in between competitive appearances as a result.

While many players might need a few starts to kick off the rust, Patel has quickly become a mainstay on Web.com Tour leaderboards early this season. Should he keep up the pace, he could have a tee time on the big stage by this fall – a notion that seemed unlikely a year ago. – Will Gray

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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 Carnoustie, 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.