Tiger salvages 73 during very erratic opening round

By Rex HoggardJune 4, 2015, 6:14 pm

DUBLIN, Ohio – All things considered, Tiger Woods was at least at peace with his wild opening walk at the Memorial.

The 172nd-ranked player managed just two pars on his opening nine, along with two birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey-6 at the 18th hole after pushing his tee shot out of bounds. To put that in context, Woods’ drive was the only tee shot to find the wrong side of the OB stakes on the 18th hole from the morning wave.

Things didn’t get much better from the tee on his closing loop (he started on No. 10), with Woods hitting just two of seven fairways coming in, but he showed signs of progress with clutch recovery shots and steady putting.

“I didn’t play very good today at all,” said Woods, who finished with a 1-over 73 thanks to an inward loop of 33 for his highest first round at Muirfield Village since an opening 74 in 2002. “I fought hard.”

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Woods explained after his round the swing he and “consultant” Chris Como have been working on is different than the one he used to tie for 69th place last month at The Players.

While the five-time Memorial winner explained the action produces much more “flush” shots, it also leads to some concerning inconsistencies.

“I can hit it either way; we have to fix it,” Woods said.

Consider that Woods missed five fairways on his closing nine, three to the right and three to the left. The most surprising of those miscues was at the par-5 seventh hole that was so far left that he hit a provisional fearing he’d sailed another attempt out of bounds.

The seventh is also where Woods appeared to be at his grinding best, punching his second shot (he didn’t go out of bounds) under a tree and converting a 4-footer for his fifth birdie of the day. It was the same number of birdies Jordan Spieth made on Thursday, although the Masters champion finished at 4 under and was one stroke off the early lead.

Woods, who said he was “mentally beat up” following his round, is playing just his fifth PGA Tour event since he announced he was working with Como in November and added that it’s important that he focus on the new action and not revert back to old “patterns” when things aren’t going well on the golf course.

“I’ve gone through phases like this in the past, sometimes it’s taken a year [for a new swing to click]. When it turns around I’ve had periods where I’ve played well for four, five years,” said Woods, who needed just 11 putts on his final nine holes.

Woods tees off at 1:05 p.m. ET on Friday for Round 1.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 12:55 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch.

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.

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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.

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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.

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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.