Stock Watch: Open top 2 elevate; Big 4 depreciate

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2016, 1:25 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Henrik Stenson (+9%): His two-bogey 63 Sunday will be immortalized, but it was his second and third rounds – a best-of-the-day 65 and 68, respectively – that won him The Open. From start to finish, it was links perfection.  

Phil (+7%): Of the 11 career runners-up in majors, Troon might be the hardest for Mickelson to accept, for it was a loss without a mistake. The good news? He illustrated yet again that his window of opportunity is far from closing.  

Troon Open (+5%): Hope you enjoyed the show, because it’ll be decades before we witness another display of golf like that. It was the “Duel in the Sun,” only better.

Beef (+4%): One of the enduring images from the week will be eighth-place finisher Andrew Johnston, wearing a Scottish cap, guzzling a Heineken on the front lawn of the clubhouse, taking pictures and whooping it up with fans on Sunday evening. His cult-like following grew even larger after his breakthrough performance at The Open.

J.B. Holmes (+3): Only three players in the OWGR top 50 have a pair of major top-fives this season: Holmes, Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia. The titanium-denting Holmes, now a lock for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, should be a trendy pick for next week’s PGA.

Steve Stricker (+2%): The 49-year-old usually skips the year’s third major because it conflicts with his wedding anniversary, but the missus green-lighted his trip overseas this year. Good thing, because Stricker finished fourth (his best result in a major since 1998) and punched his ticket to three majors, including the 2017 Masters.


FALLING

Bill Haas (-1%): Sure, he deserves credit for notching his first major top-10 in 28 tries, but instead of applying pressure on the leaders he faded badly during a Sunday 75, the worst score of anyone in the top 45.

Billy Horschel (-2%): Speaking of bad finishes … his 67-85 line at Troon instantly belongs on the list of all-time skids.

Golf gods (-3%): It’s the only explanation, really, for how Mickelson was robbed twice on the greens: (1) His putt for 62, which somehow caught the right edge and spun out; and (2) his eagle putt on 16 Sunday, which crossed the front of the cup and would have lifted him into a share of the lead.

Big 4 Bust (-4%): Rory McIlroy (T-5) and Dustin Johnson (T-9) backdoored top-10s, but it was a collective, and rare, off-week for the game’s biggest stars. Here’s guessing that won’t be the case at Baltusrol.

Olympic cutoff (-8%): Are travel arrangements and uniform fittings really that complicated? Had the International Olympic Committee pushed back the deadline to announce the teams one more week, after The Open (a freakin’ major!), then Mickelson would be on the American squad, restoring some of the luster to the much-maligned event.

Getty Images

Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 12:34 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.

Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.

“We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.

Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.

“It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”

It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.

Getty Images

Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.


Getty Images

McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

Said Harmon:

“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

Getty Images

How The Open cut line is determined

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


• After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

• There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

• There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.