Punch Shot: Most likely to play himself into a Ryder Cup automatic berth

By Jason SobelJuly 28, 2014, 11:08 pm

Push is coming to shove when it comes to the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Just two events - this week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and next week's PGA Championship - for players to wrap up one of the nine automatic spots on the team. We asked our writers, which player outside the top nine in points has the best chance to play his way in?


Nobody wants to be on this year’s U.S. Ryder Cup team more than Keegan Bradley.

OK, so maybe that’s not fair. Maybe there’s no palpable, tangible method for measuring a player’s desire. Maybe other players want it just as much – or even more.

But nobody else outwardly shows it as much, either with their words or their actions. Bradley hardly goes a few sentences without volunteering how much he wants to be part of Tom Watson’s roster at Gleneagles. And he’s put his money where his mouth is, too, flying over to Scotland prior to The Open Championship in order to play the course with the captain and see how it suits his game. (According to Watson, it’s tailor-made for him.)

All of which is well and good, but doesn’t erase the fact that Bradley remains 16th on a points list with only the top nine automatically qualifying.

That could – and maybe should – change this week, as he travels to Firestone Country Club, site of his last PGA Tour win two years ago and a course for which he’s professed his fondness on numerous occasions.

That’s a lot of mojo pointing in Bradley’s favor. For a player who so desperately wants to be on the team, this week looks like an excellent opportunity to make it happen.


OK, so this is a critical stretch for most everyone carrying a PGA Tour card, but it’s especially so for a player like Keegan Bradley. Yes, he’s a former winner at Firestone. Yes, he’s a former winner of the PGA. But the Ryder Cup is coming, now just eight weeks away, and no event in golf jangles his nerves quite like the biennial gathering.

The thing is, Bradley is in danger of missing out. He has played decent this season – a runner-up at Bay Hill, a top 5 at the U.S. Open, a few other top 10s sprinkled in. But he’s winless in the past 104 weeks, and high intensity alone won’t be enough to leapfrog some of the other Ryder Cup contenders.

Bradley knows this better than anyone, which is why he seems most likely to parlay his recent good form – back-to-back top 20s, including a T-4 at the Greenbrier – into an automatic spot. If not, he’ll do enough to warrant a pick. The Americans need as many in-form firecrackers as they can get.


For some, professional golf’s version of the two-minute drill begins with this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

While technically U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson has until Sept. 2 before he will finalize this year’s team with his three captain’s picks, for many hopefuls the real deadline is just a fortnight away.

Players like Brendon Todd, who may be the U.S. side’s hottest player right now, have this week’s World Golf Championship and next week’s PGA Championship to punch their ticket to Gleneagles in September.

It’s not as though Todd isn’t worthy of one of Watson’s picks. The third-year PGA Tour player has finished outside the top 10 in just two of his last seven starts dating back to his breakthrough victory at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

It’s why Todd has the look of a serious 11th-hour qualifier.

Todd will also have extra motivation to earn his spot onto the team considering the tough decisions Watson will likely face. Currently Tiger Woods (70th on the U.S. points list), Phil Mickelson (11th) and Keegan Bradley (16th) are all potential picks.

It’s a reality that could leave Todd as the odd man out, and why he has the motivation, and talent, to play his way onto the U.S. team.


Phil Mickelson is due for a nice little run to salvage a disappointing season, and now’s the time to make it. Yeah, he hasn’t won all year, hasn’t had a top-10 finish in a PGA Tour event, either. If you’re handicapping his chances to make the Ryder Cup team on points, you might not like the way the next two weeks set up. Lefty hasn’t had a top 10 at the WGC-Bridgestone since 2008. It has been just as long since he had a top 10 at the PGA Championship. And that’s perfect. Mickelson seems to deliver best when it’s least expected. A nice little run over the next two months can do more than salvage a season. It can still turn it into a memorable one.


There are several players within reach of the U.S. Ryder Cup bubble heading into the final fortnight of qualification, but the player most likely to play his way into the top nine is Brendon Todd.

After playing the Web.com circuit last year, Todd broke through for his maiden win in Dallas in May and has showed no signs of slowing since. His T-39 finish at Hoylake snapped a string of six straight top 20s dating back to his HP Byron Nelson victory, but at a time when many top Americans are struggling to produce results, Todd is providing plenty of them while putting the finishing touches on a career year.

The 29-year-old has an enviable stat line: third on Tour in strokes gained putting, fifth in scrambling and 10th in scoring average. While Firestone and Valhalla are unfamiliar venues for the Georgia product, his current form trumps his relative inexperience and, as he sits only 200 points out of the No. 9 slot heading into this week, Todd will earn his ticket to Gleneagles by mid-August.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 22, 2018, 8:30 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 GolfChannel.com.  

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; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 22, 2018, 8:30 am

Tiger Woods begins the final round of the 147th Open Championship four shots off the lead. He's out at 9:25 a.m. ET on Sunday and we're tracking him.

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Schauffele just fine being the underdog

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

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

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1