Stanford, Baylor to square off for women's title

By Jay CoffinMay 27, 2015, 2:25 am

BRADENTON, Fla. – Baylor coach Jay Goble has said repeatedly this week that his Bears are on a dream run. After defeating defending champion Duke in an epic semifinal match Tuesday at Concession Golf Club, he said it was “a dream come true” and that there are a lot of “dreams realized” on his team.

Goble better wake his team up. There’s something important on the line.

Baylor will face a hungry Stanford team Wednesday for the NCAA Women’s Championship, the first decided by a match-play format. The Cardinal defeated Southern Cal in the semifinals to advance. It will be the first NCAA title for either team, and if Baylor wins, it’ll be the first championship for a Big 12 team.

“We’ve had a very simple mantra all year that we control what we can control and we’ve come out every single day this semester not focusing on outside things that we can’t take care of,” a tired Goble said after an emotional day where his squad downed Tennessee 3-1-1 in the quarterfinals before dispatching of Duke 3-2 in the afternoon.

“If they play their golf game, we’re going to be in good shape.”

Stanford wiped out two Pac-12 foes with a 4-1 victory over Arizona in the quarterfinals that was much closer than the score indicates and a 3-2 triumph over USC that, frankly, was closer than it should’ve been.


Full coverage: NCAA Division I Women’s National Championship


“We’re not going to do anything different,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said. “We’ve had a really great plan, a great game plan for this course. We have that experience, we have it under our belt and we know if we stick with our plan, that’s the best we can do.”

Baylor vs. Stanford may not be a matchup many predicted, but it’s a matchup of teams that have been consistently in the hunt all year.

Stanford is ranked 13th by Golfstat; Baylor is 18th. The Bears collected four victories this season, including their last two starts at both the Big 12 Championship and the NCAA Regional, while the Cardinal only won once. This is the 30th time that Stanford has qualified for the NCAA Championship. It’s only the third time that Baylor has been here. Better put, Duke has won twice as many NCAA titles as the Bears have appearances.

Sure, it’s not Duke vs. USC  perennial heavyweights who have won nine titles in the past 16 years  but Baylor and Stanford both bring their own brand of power and precision.

Baylor relies heavily on three freshmen, but most on Dylan Kim, who joined the squad earlier this year and defeated the world’s top-ranked amateur Leona Maguire 1 up in a topsy-turvy semifinal match. She’s a bomber who wails away with reckless abandon. When you watch her swing, you think consistent 15-year LPGA pro.

Fellow freshman Lauren Whyte struggled mightily for 72 holes of stroke play  she finished 84th out of 84 who made the cut  but managed to edge Lisa Maguire in 24 holes, the match that pushed the Bears to the finale. The pressure on her was immense.

“Having everyone watching me actually kind of spurred me on,” Whyte said. “It was great motivation having everybody there.”

Leading Stanford is junior Lauren Kim, a first-team All-American who won both crucial matches on Tuesday and never trailed in her semifinal match against Gabriella Then. Freshman Shannon Aubert came up big against USC’s Annie Park in the semifinals, but Park appeared tired and did not have her best in the scorching Florida heat.

Now, ironically, the difficulty begins. After playing 126 holes, including a practice round, over the past six days, both teams must somehow muster their best in order to deliver what they cherish most.

“We’re not even close to the finish line,” Walker said. “We’re looking at it just the same as we have every other day and it will sober them up pretty quickly.”

And at the end of the day, someone’s dreams truly will be realized.

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Woods: New putter should help on slower greens

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:35 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods’ ice-cold putting showed at least a few signs of heating up earlier this month at The National, where he switched putters and ranked seventh in the field on the greens.

The mallet-style putter is still in the bag as Woods prepares for The Open, and he’s hoping the heavier model with grooves will prove valuable at Carnoustie.


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“To be honest with you, I’ve struggled on slower greens throughout my entire career,” Woods said Tuesday. “So for me, it’s going to help on these greens, for sure.”

To combat the slower greens, Woods usually applied a strip of lead tape to his putter. But this heavier model of putter doesn’t need the extra weight, and the grooves on the putter face allow the ball to get rolling faster and hotter.

“You don’t necessarily have to do that with the grooves,” he said of the lead tape. “When I putted with the Nike putter, I didn’t have to put lead tape on the putter to get a little more weight to it. I could just leave it just the way it was. This is the same type.”  

For all of the talk about his putting woes this season, Woods still ranks 56th in strokes gained: putting. More crucial this week: He’s 102nd in approach putt performance, which quantifies how well a player lag putts.

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Woods: Open best chance for long-term major success

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:26 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods is more than a decade removed from his last major title, but he said Tuesday that The Open is the major that gives him the best chance for long-term success.

“I would say yes, because of the fact that you don’t have to be long to play on a links-style golf course,” Woods said during his pre-tournament news conference. “It certainly can be done.”


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Woods pointed to the late-career success for both Greg Norman (2008) and Tom Watson (2009), both of whom challenged for the claret jug deep into their 50s.

“Distance becomes a moot point on a links-style golf course,” he said.

That’s certainly not the case, however, at the Masters, where bombers long have thrived, or the U.S. Open, which places a premium on long and straight driving.

“You get to places like Augusta National, which is just a big ballpark, and the golf course outgrows you, unfortunately,” he said. “But links-style courses, you can roll the ball. I hit a 3-iron that went down there 330. Even if I get a little bit older, I can still chase some wood or long club down there and hit the ball the same distance.”

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"Vantage Point with Mike Tirico" set to debut Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJuly 17, 2018, 10:15 am

Special Hour Complementing the Network’s Week-Long Golf Central Live From The Open News Coverage; Premiere Scheduled to Include Interview with 2014 Open Runner-Up Rickie Fowler On-Site from Carnoustie

Features Include Tirico and Curtis Strange Re-watching ’99 Open at Carnoustie & Jim “Bones” Mackay Facilitating Exclusive Conversation with Caddies Michael Greller, John Wood Recounting Final Round Pairing at 2017 Open

To help set the table ahead of The 147TH Open at Carnoustie, Golf Channel will premiere Vantage Point with Mike Tirico on Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET. An extension of the network’s week-long Golf Central Live From The Open comprehensive news coverage, Vantage Point will revisit landmark moments in The Open’s history, uncover personal stories relevant to the fabric of the week and feature a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year” on golf’s original championship.

“It’s a thrill to be going back to The Open again this year, which is a fitting setting to launch this new opportunity,” said Tirico, NBC Sports host who this week will celebrate his 22nd consecutive year covering The Open. “I love being a part of the Golf Channel team during golf’s biggest weeks, and anticipate contributing to our commitment to great storytelling with Vantage Point.”

Kicking off the premiere of Vantage Point will be Tirico’s exclusive interview with 2014 Open runner-up and 2015 PLAYERS champion Rickie Fowler on-site from Carnoustie. One of Fowler’s favorite events, he has missed just one cut in eight previous appearances at The Open. Other highlights within the show include:

  • Jim “Bones” Mackay facilitating an exclusive conversation between caddies Michael Greller (Jordan Spieth) and John Wood (Matt Kuchar) recounting the final round pairing at The Open last July.
  • Tirico hosting a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year”: David Duval, Tom Lehman and Justin Leonard.
  • A recollection of one of the most unforgettable collapses in major championship golf, when Jean van de Velde surrendered a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole in 1999 at The Open. Tirico and Curtis Strange – both on the live tournament broadcast that year for ABC/ESPN – recently re-watched the telecast together for the first time since calling it live.

 

“This is harder to watch than I thought it was going to be. I’ve never seen anything like

that in my life. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that again.” – Curtis Strange

 

“I think I got caught up in the whole deal and felt human for the guy.” – Mike Tirico

 

Vantage Point with Mike Tirico will complement the network’s Golf Central Live From The Open, which will feature nearly 60 hours of comprehensive news coverage from Carnoustie. In total, NBC Sports will dedicate more than 350 hours to showcasing the third men’s major championship of the year, including nearly 50 live hours of the network’s Emmy-nominated tournament coverage – annually the most live hours of coverage from any golf event – spanning from Thursday’s opening tee shot to Sunday’s final putt.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 17, 2018, 8:40 am

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