Getty Images

Play scrapped, scores reset at now 54-hole Evian

By Randall MellSeptember 14, 2017, 12:47 pm

Updated at 10:45 a.m. ET

The Evian Championship’s abbreviated start was scrapped Thursday after play was suspended because of a storm that brought high winds and rain, leading to the LPGA announcing that the event would be shortened to 54 holes.

Rolex world No. 1 So Yeon Ryu and Jessica Korda were leading at 2 under through six and eight holes, respectively, when play was halted. World No. 3 Sung Hyun Park was at 6 over through five holes.

All the scores from Thursday will be taken off the board, with play beginning anew on Friday.

Play began at 1:45 a.m. ET and was initially suspended at 4:04 a.m. ET.

“While we did not make this decision lightly, we believe that this is the right decision,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said in a statement. “We are happy and encouraged with how well the golf course is handling the weather, and it should set up for another amazing Evian finish.”


Evian Championship: Articles, video and photos

Tee times for the Evian Championship


The first round will make its new start Friday at 1:45 a.m. ET. The first- and second-round tee times that were originally announced will be used on Friday and Saturday with a cut to the low 70 and ties before the third and final round on Sunday.

 

Whan said wind gusts up to 45 mph were reported on Thursday, and that while the forecast is pretty good for Friday and Saturday, more rain is expected Sunday. He told the Associated Press that a 54-hole event was the “cleanest, fairest, most competitive” option, given “nobody even played half a round.” He didn’t like the possibility of play extending beyond Sunday; though, there is no LPGA event scheduled for next week.

 

"We know that if we said 72 holes and we start again tomorrow (Friday), we're probably looking at Monday and Tuesday, and that's not great for anyone," Whan said.

The Golf Channel team calling the TV coverage said there were reports of downed tree limbs among the debris left on the course in the storm’s passing.

“Rain was coming down sideways,” Golf Channel analyst Karen Stupples reported. “I felt bad for the players being out there.”

The LPGA designated the Evian Championship as a major championship beginning in 2013, with the announcement creating some controversy over the decision to host five majors in a year. That controversy was further fueled when players arrived that first year to find giant portions of the Evian Resort Golf Club marked as ground under repair because of a long, wet summer. With more rain that week, Evian’s debut as a major was shortened to 54 holes.

Debate over Evian as an elite test was further fueled when Hyo Joo Kim shot a major championship record 61 in the event’s second year as a major. She posted that score in the first round on her way to winning.

The lowest 18-hole and 72-hole scores in a men’s or women’s major have been posted at Evian. In Gee Chun won Evian with a 21-under total last year, the lowest score in relation to par in a major championship history.

Stacy Lewis, 32, a two-time major champion, who is putting more focus on majors as her career moves to another phase after her marriage late last year, decided long before Hurricane Harvey hit her Houston hometown that she was going to skip the Evian Championship this year.

“I wanted to play a little less this year,” Lewis told GolfChannel.com back in the spring. “And, honestly, it’s more about wanting to go play places where I’m happy and that I enjoy going to, places I want to be, instead of going there and wanting to be someplace else. I went through the schedule and picked out events where I’m not happy at, and Evian was one of them.”

Getty Images

Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

Getty Images

Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

Getty Images

Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”

Getty Images

Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

Hoylake in 2006.

That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

“The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”