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Rosaforte Report: Holmes apologizes and defends self

By Tim RosaforteJanuary 30, 2018, 4:18 pm

In this week's Rosaforte Report: J.B. Holmes responds to criticism of his final-hole approach at Torrey Pines, Jason Day discusses a huge victory, we get to know a little more about the most unknown man in the OWGR top 20, and Brittany Lincicome talks about night golf.

Two days later, there is more commentary about J.B. Holmes’ slow play than there is Jason Day’s first PGA Tour victory in a year-and-a-half, which I get. Four minutes and change is way too long to hit a shot – even with the wind gusting on the 72nd hole of a tournament.

I talked to Holmes on Monday, and he told me he didn’t realize how long it was taking for him to play an approach shot into the 18th hole during Sunday’s final round of the Farmers Insurance Open. He apologized to playing partner Alex Noren but defended himself and offered explanation as to why it took so long to play the shot that lit up Twitter by his peers.

Watching the replay, it looked like Holmes had zoned out.

“I didn’t realize how long it was taking,” he said. “We (Holmes and caddie Brendan Parsons) were just trying to make the best decision to play.”

In other words, Holmes was waiting for the gusts to die down, so he could take the head cover off a 5-wood he didn’t trust, and play a shot to the green. Ultimately, he hit a poor wedge shot and made par to finish fourth.

“If it bothered Alex, he could have said something and he could have hit,” Holmes said. “If I messed him up, I apologize. He still made a good swing. He smoked it. (Hitting 3-wood over the green and through the tunnel, next to the CBS booth.) I don’t understand what the big hoopla is all about. I was just trying to give myself the best chance to win the tournament. I didn’t want to mess anybody up.”

What messed up Holmes is that he hammered a drive, but with his cut and a crosswind, the ball ended up traveling 296 yards instead of the 330 yards he expected. This left 235 yards to carry the water, 240 to the flag. With the conditions, he felt like a career 5-wood was the play, but he lacked trust, which added to the indecision.

Ryan Palmer, the third player in the group, had already laid up with a wedge. He and caddie James Edmonson could hear the gallery get restless, but were more amused than bothered by the delay. “We kind of giggled at times,” Palmer said.

Most didn’t take it as being funny. Mark Calcavecchia called it horrendous sportsmanship to Noren and Palmer. Daniel Berger, Luke Donald, Ken Duke and Steve Elkington weighed in.

Steve Flesch made the point that instead of four minutes and 10 seconds, J.B. “could have taken six minutes and nothing would have been done. Last hole. Last group. Something should have been said way earlier.”

And that “something” should have come from a Tour official. There were no statements released by the PGA Tour and no response when I reached out late Monday afternoon.

Even though the final group took 6 hours to complete their round, they weren’t put on the clock all day – and had consistently been waiting to hit shots – a reason why Tour officials would not have approached them in the 18th fairway.

Holmes, who had a reputation for being a slow player, feels like he’s changed that habit, and doesn’t want to be incriminated.

“I used to be slow. I’d agree with that,” he said. “But it’s been years and I’m not slow any more. I don’t get timed more than anybody else.”



A New Day for Jason

Jason Day couldn’t sleep on Sunday night. Even after a full day of golf at Torrey Pines that included five playoff holes, the 30-year-old Australian couldn’t quiet his mind. Shows you how much pressure he was under, on many fronts.

There was much at stake for Day on Monday morning in the Farmers Insurance Open. A win would be his first since the 2016 Players Championship, and signal that he’s serious about regaining the No. 1 ranking that he held for 51 straight weeks.

There was also the ongoing issue of his back. Unable to bend down and hit a golf shot, Day revealed he had an MRI during his stay at The Vintage Club to get ready for the California swing, and while it came back negative, the tinge of pain was enough to withdraw from the Farmers pro-am.

“The back’s OK,” Day said after shooting 64 on the North Course in the second round of the tournament. “I mean, it’s just sore. I just have to deal with it. It is what it is.”

Day would be the first to say he’s been injury prone, with various wrist and thumb ailments that have cost him playing time and competitive traction. None of them was potentially career ending. He seems more concerned about a bulging disc or the facet joints that that MRI showed were getting closer to his nerves.

“It’s hard to get it off my mind,” Day said of the injuries that keep popping up.

Power lifting has been Day’s way to strengthen the muscles around his back. In a Q&A he did for Men’s Fitness, Day explained that the power lifting he’s been doing focuses on his legs and core. “I do a lot of squats, do a lot trap-bar deadlifts and a lot of sumo deadlifts. You can’t get too big.”

With the speed back in his golf swing, Day admitted he felt different this year than last year, that a year ago he felt mentally stressed, rundown and burned out.

“It was hard for me to be on the golf course, but this year my whole mindset’s different,” he said. “I'm very motivated to get back to the No. 1 spot and I know that the only way to get back to the No. 1 spot is win and that's what I've just got to do.”



The Not-So-Invisible Man

In this country, Alex Noren may be the most unrecognized top-20 player in the world. But with all the TV time the Swede earned in the gloaming of Sunday night’s five-hole playoff with Day at Torrey Pines, Noren experienced a breakthrough moment at 35.

“I’m pretty realistic about it,” Noren told me last year in Abu Dhabi. “If somebody says you’re unknown, it doesn’t really matter to me that much. Maybe that’s why you keep trying.”

Tendinitis on both wrists, along with blisters and callouses on his hands, are signs that Noren has been guilty of trying too hard. Having a family has brought out his best golf. “I think Alex found a very good balance in his life with other things to occupy his mind,” offers European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn.

Bjorn seemed to be blessing Noren after his win in last year’s BMW PGA Championship, posting a Tweet that said, “A 62 final round on the West course to win @BMWPGA is beyond impressive! Congrats @Alex_Noren quickly turning into one of the world’s best!”

In America, where he played college golf at Oklahoma State, Noren is best known at The Bears Club, where he practices during the winter months, absorbing the advice of Jack Nicklaus and watching Rory McIlroy crush balls. As Noren told me for a column I wrote last year, “If I was hitting it like Rory, I wouldn’t have these callouses.”

So where does he go from here? To Scottsdale, Ariz., for the Waste Management Phoenix Open, with his family in tow. “I came over here to try to play these golf courses and try to get used to playing against these guys,” he said before leaving Torrey Pines. “I learned a lot and played probably best ever tee to green for me, so it’s big; it’s big for me.”



Lincicome’s Shots in the Dark

It wasn’t just Day and Noren playing great golf in the dark on Sunday night. Brittany Lincicome experienced the same type of lighting closing out the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Championship and finished birdie-birdie for her eighth career win.

Lincicome went over it on Monday, explaining that it was a little different than the nine-hole, night-golf, glow-ball contests that she plays with Angela Stanford.

“It couldn’t have been more stressful,” Lincicome said.

With no leaderboards, Lincicome was praying that she was only fighting against the players in her group. Pumped up with adrenaline, her drive at 18 left an awkward yardage from a divot. Luckily she had been practicing half-wedge shots.

“It helped, for sure,” Lincicome said. “In a divot, last hole, under pressure with no lights wasn’t where I wanted to be. I hit one of the best shots I’ve ever hit in my life.”

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More sun, dry conditions expected early at Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 9:14 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – An atypically dry Scottish summer is expected to continue this week at The Open.

There’s a possibility of a few showers Thursday and Friday, but otherwise conditions are expected to remain dry with temperatures around 70 degrees and winds in the 15-20 mph range.

The forecast for the opening round at Carnoustie is sunshine with clouds developing later in the day. The high is expected to be around 70 degrees, with winds increasing throughout the day, maxing out at 18 mph.


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


There’s a chance of rain overnight Thursday and into Friday morning, but it’s not expected to slow down the fiery conditions.

It’s been one of the driest summers in recent memory, leading to fairways that are baked out and fescue rough that is lighter and thinner than in previous years.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 18, 2018, 8:40 am

Tiger Woods is competing in his first Open Championship since 2015. We're tracking him this week at Carnoustie.


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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 8:40 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 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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The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 8:30 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.