Stock Watch: Thomas soars; Stevie flops

By Will GrayNovember 3, 2015, 2:40 pm

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

RISING

Justin Thomas (+8%): Nice little win for #JSGB (that would be Jordan Spieth's good buddy). Following a T-3 finish in Napa, I used this space to write one word about Thomas: soon. It turns out that his maiden title was only one start away, as Thomas put the hammer down over the closing four holes in Malaysia. Thomas always had the game to win at the highest level; now he has the confidence to match.

Youth movement (+6%): If you can rent a car, you're probably too old to win on Tour these days. Thomas' victory makes for four straight winners age 23 or younger, and 11 of the last 13 trophies on Tour have gone to players under 30. Don't expect that trend to end until guys like Jason Day and Rickie Fowler start aging into a new bracket.

Adam Scott's putter (+5%): Perhaps there is life after anchoring, after all. Scott is back to a conventional putter, and he had it working in Malaysia where he finished second after a final-round 63. Sure, he showed flashes of form with the short putter earlier this year only to falter for weeks on end, but this time he appeared much more comfortable on the greens. Scott was never a world-class putter even when anchoring, but if he can upgrade his putting to "decent," all might not be lost after the ban takes effect.

Sei Young Kim (+3%): You may not know the name, but you should probably learn it soon. Kim nabbed a one-shot win in China, her third victory this year on the LPGA, and basically locked up Rookie of the Year honors in the process. She's a force.  

Rory McIlroy (+2%): He didn't win, and he didn't play particularly well on Sunday, but McIlroy still made some clear progress in Turkey. He played 38 holes without a bogey, barely broke a sweat tee-to-green and moved into contention despite a lack of course knowledge and some overall rust. The putter that proved balky in Napa began to cooperate, and it's only a matter of time before the Ulsterman returns to the winner's circle.


FALLING

U.S. Ryder Cup standings (-1%): They're actually staying the same, which is a problem. Despite stellar play, Thomas (T-3, Win) and Kevin Na (P-2, T-2, T-3) are no closer to earning a spot at Hazeltine than Tiger Woods. U.S. Ryder Cup points don't kick in full-time until January, which may seem like a good idea - until it proves to be the difference when a veteran edges out a fresh face for one of the final spots. With the American record over the last 15 years, why protect the status quo?

Ontario housing market (-2%): News broke last week that Glen Abbey, host of 27 Canadian Opens and perhaps one of the best shots ever, may soon be turned into a housing development. While that transformation may be a few years down the line, if and when it comes to pass, it will be a sad day for golf - and not just in Canada.

John Peterson (-3%): The Happy Gilmore swing was a welcome bit of levity, and the only unfortunate aspect is that it will probably bring with it an (undisclosed) fine from Ponte Vedra. But Peterson spent last weekend tweeting about how he much he wanted a spot in Malaysia, then pulled the plug mentally after an opening 80. If you can't have your head in the game, stay home and give the spot to someone who will compete for all 72 holes.

Race to Dubai rules (-4%): The European Tour fashioned the Race to Dubai after the FedEx Cup Playoffs, but it hit an ugly snag this week when Victor Dubuisson won in Turkey - then was denied a spot in the WGC-HSBC Champions because of his prior world ranking. It's hard to spin the four-event stretch as a "final series" when winning one of the tournaments doesn't even earn you a tee time the following week.

Follow-up procedures (-6%): It's never good when the term "bed rest" is used to describe an athlete's recovery. But that's where we stand with Woods, who suffered another setback last week. The lack of details about the procedure, and the prognosis, are certainly a red flag, and his return to competition is anyone's guess. As McIlroy noted over the weekend, the best way to avoid a fifth back surgery is to not have the first one. Sadly for Woods, that ship has sailed.

Steve Williams' word choice (-9%): The guy wants to sell some books. Fine. And this is hardly the first time he has taken a swipe at his former boss. But Williams is 51 years old, and that's old enough to know that "slave" is not a word you can drop to describe any relationship, let alone one between two people of different races. He knew exactly what he was doing - dumping kerosene on a literary fire - which makes the deliberate word choice all the more egregious.

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Vegas helicopters in to Carnoustie, without clubs

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 9:33 am

Jhonattan Vegas did some range work, putted a little and strolled to the first tee for his 5:31 a.m. ET start in the 147th Open Championship.

Everything before that, however, was far from routine.



Vegas' visa to travel to Scotland expired and the process to renew it got delayed - and it looked like his overseas' flight might suffer the same fate. Vegas, upon getting his visa updated, traveled from Houston, Texas to Toronto, Canada to Glasgow, Scotland, and then took a helicopter to Carnoustie.

He arrived in time on Thursday morning, but his clubs did not. Mizuno put together some irons for him and TaylorMade got him his preferred metal woods. He hit the clubs for the first time on the range, less than 90 minutes before his start.

"I'm going to go out there and play with freedom," Vegas told Golf Channel's Todd Lewis.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:40 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 19, 2018, 5:30 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.