Corey Pavin News Conference Transcript - 1995
Q. If you were working for the Associated Press, you would have this chore and you would know it has to be done; those of you back home, they need your summaries. We are going to take the few minutes and do it.
COREY PAVIN: No. 3 -- you want every hole?
Q. Yes. Would you? This is the U.S. Open.
COREY PAVIN: I never been in a media room at a U.S. Open.
COREY PAVIN: That is not true, now. So don't write that. One, I drove it in the first cut. What are we calling that -- it's not the primary cut? Long cut?
Q. I don't know.
COREY PAVIN: First cut. I hit a wedge on about 25 feet, 2-putted. No. 2, I hit a 2-iron in between the 2 right bunkers in the grass there and hit a chip there ran up and was right on line. Hit the pin flush, and just bounced off to the left about a foot. No. 3, I hit a driver in the left jungle, drew a very good lie. Hit a 5-iron just right of the pin. Just off the green in the long rough and chipped it about 8 feet short and missed it. 4, hit driver in the fairway, hit 5-iron in the front of the green, about 40 feet and 2-putted. 5, I drove it in the first cut of rough and hit a 2-iron in the left bunker, sand wedge out about 15 feet and 2-putted for par. 6, good drive and hit a 4-iron just short of the green, chipped it up about two feet; tapped it in for par. 7, I hit a 4-iron just short of the green; hit pretty hard shot. Actually hit sand wedge about 6 feet, hit a big breaking right to left and made that. It was a really big putt for me today. No. 8, hit good drive and hit 8-iron about 20 feet from the hole and just missed my birdie putt. No. 9, I hit drive and a 6-iron about 6 feet, above the hole and really hard putt and made that putt there. No. 10, I hit a 3-wood and a 6-iron just over the green, chipped it about 5 feet and made the putt for par. 11, I hit 8-iron about 18 feet right at the hole and missed, made par. 12, I hit good drive and 8-iron about 12 feet and made it for birdie. 13, I hit drive and 7-iron just short of the green and hit really good chip there and it -- almost holed it-- just -- I don't know, foot or two by and tapped it in. 14, I hit 3-wood off the tee and hit a 9-iron, went just over the back edge and hit pretty good putt there. About 25 feet and just missed it right, tapped it in for par. 15, good drive, real nice wedge in there about 12 feet and made it for birdie. 16, hit driver in the fairway; good 3-wood,; hit 8-iron about 10 feet and missed the putt there. 17, 6-iron pretty good shot I hit there just got it over the green, just off the fringe; putted it by about 5 feet and probably hit one of the best putts I have hit under pressure there. Made that putt. 18, drove it pretty good down the right. Hit 4-wood into the green really good shot there about 5 feet and hit one of the worse putts I have hit under pressure. And that was it.
Q. Corey, you were 3 behind today when you started out. Did you have a score in mind that you thought would do it for you?
COREY PAVIN: Well, I thought that, you know, when the wind started kicking up, it looked like it wasn't going to come up; then it did. I felt like even par would be a great score to end up at. I told my caddie Eric, yesterday we are playing - I'd love to finish even for the day on Saturday and didn't quite get there. I knew that Even would have a great chance to win The Championship starting today when the wind started kicking up.
Q. The distance on the second shot on 18, what was the distance to the hole on the second shot?
COREY PAVIN: I had a 209 yards the front edge plus 19 , 228 to the hole.
Q. Tell us what it means to have that trophy sitting there next to you, just the feelings about it?
COREY PAVIN: It is a pretty good feeling, I tell you. I haven't had a feeling like this about a golf tournament ever. I am very excited to have the monkey off my back. It's been 11 and a half years out here I have been trying to win a major championship and I have had some opportunities and haven't won it, and to win the National Open which was actually probably my worse track record of all the Majors is a thrill beyond words. This trophy is not going to get too far away from me in the next couple of weeks, that is for sure.
Q. Corey, a lot of people were saying that PGA in Riviera was your best shot to win a Major. Two part question. One, because of that, did you feel less pressure and more relaxed coming into this one? Two: Now that you have this one, do you think you will feel less pressure going into the PGA?
COREY PAVIN: Gee, I haven't thought about it too much, but I would think that it would be helpful to have won the U.S. Open going into the PGA. I would think that there wouldn't be as much pressure on myself from within me as well and from the media as well. I think I haven't really thought about it a whole bunch. It has to help. Any time you have won a Major championship, it makes it a lot easier to win the second one. And, you know, I am going to enjoy this one for a while before I start thinking about another Major Championship, but you know, I am going to savor this and next Major I will be ready to play again and go after another one. If I can get another one, I will try.
Q. In the past you have shared with us your feelings about your spiritual life and we noticed you kind of stopped to collect yourself on the 18th fairway there. Was there a little prayer or special thing there?
COREY PAVIN: Yeah, I think it was more than a little prayer. On 18 after I'd hit my second shot, I was gathering my thoughts and I was -- I said a little prayer there and just let the Lord do what he wanted to do there with me, and I thought he had been doing a pretty good job so far today. But I just wanted to let him know that this was for him, to glorify him and I don't know what that meant because I missed the putt on 18, but he wanted me to sweat a little bit more, I guess, but that was his doing and I will accept it. Yeah, there was a few times out there I tried to say a few words and tried to keep myself calm and you know, that type of thing out there - things I have done in the past.
Q. Corey, you were again 6 bogeys on Thursday and 6 shots off, I believe, through Friday. I believe 5 shots off the week in the front 9 today. Could you walk us through your week? I mean, did you think that you were playing well enough to win and were you guiding yourself at any point along the way?
COREY PAVIN: The first day I played pretty lousy. There is no two ways about it. I drove the ball poorly. I didn't hit many greens. But the one thing that I was happy about is that I hung in there. I played tough. I got the ball up-and-down and actually could have got some more up-and-downs that I did not on the first day; still 2 over. Still encouraging, played badly and still shot -- I went on the range, started working on a few things; try to figure out a few things. I started to get - hit the ball better and better this week and went on from there. Even yesterday, I didn't finish up very well. Coming down the stretch, I didn't hit the ball well on Saturday afternoon. And I went out to the range and I figured something out, moved the ball back to my stance a little bit, and it allowed me to take the club inside a little bit better and hit my shots more solidly. And that seemed to be the difference today. I had a lot of confidence with my ball striking a lot of control with my ball-striking and that is what you really need here at Shinnecock is to keep control of that golf ball; especially when it blows 25 miles an hour.
Q. Corey, on 17 you had about -- I don't know, 40 or so putt off the fringe; it seemed like you really went for it knowing, you know, looking at the leaderboard that a birdie would probably win it for you or chip it. What was your thought process there? I mean, it seemed like you were being aggressive and going after it.
COREY PAVIN: It is one thing I didn't want to. I wanted to hit the positive putt there. I actually hit a pretty weak putt on 16. I wasn't very pleased with that putt I hit there. Actually misjudged the speed of the putt on 17 a little bit. I thought it came back up to the hole at the end and it didn't. It was pretty level. But hit a really good putt there. Good stroke, real positive. I actually thought it might go in. When it was about halfway there, it didn't break much to the right at theend. When it rolled 5 feet by, I didn't want to be that aggressive with it, but you know, as I said, I made a great stroke on my next putt there and Eric and I have been reading the greens very well this week. We got a good read on that one and putt a good stoke on it.
Q. About the teaching professionals, any lessons from Bruce Hamilton (phonetic) and if so, what kind of lessons are you taking and does it affect this one?
COREY PAVIN: I am working actually with a gentleman by the name of Chuck Cooknow (phonetic). He works with Tom Kite and Payne Stewart and a few other guys as well. He is a really good teacher and he was here early in the week and we did some work. I think some of the most important work is that I have done recently is with Jim Deaton who is the head pro at Bay Hill Golf Club where I live. My wife, a couple of months ago, was saying, you know, you are really not putting well. Maybe you should take a putting lesson. I said, well, I will work it out. That is it, it always comes back. So I kept putting poorly and she reminded me about that conversation. After I missed the cuts at Memorial and Colonial and missed the cut at Atlanta, and I putted so poorly that I called Roger Cleveland up. I said send me every putter that you have because I am going to change putters; I am going to do it now. And I took Shannon's advice and I went to Jim Deaton and we worked the Saturday and Monday before Kemper. We worked for about an hour and a half and as you know, I am not using my Bull's Eye right now. I am using a Cleveland putter like Arnold Palmer type, 8802 type and Jim and I had done great work and anyone -- I would have never done that if it hadn't been for Shannon. I owe a lot of thanks to Shannon urging me to get a lesson and work on my putting a little bit more. It certainly paid off in the last couple of weeks and as I said, that is what I have been working with recently.
Q. Can you walk us through your reactions and motions in the split second the ball left the club on 18, that break shot?
COREY PAVIN: My shot? I thought you were talking about Greg's shot. Well, I got into the shot. I drove it where I wanted to. I wanted to be down the right side so I had a better angle to the green. I had 278 to the front edge. My main concern was just getting it down the green somewhere, and I thought about a 2-iron and I didn't think I could hit a 2-iron far enough to get there. I just looked to Eric and I said I can't get a 2-iron there, can I? He said, no, I think it is definitely a 4-wood, so we had no doubt on what club that I needed to hit there. And then, you know, just matter of going through my routine. I took my time. I made sure I was absolutely ready to hit that shot. I wasn't going to hit that shot until I was ready. If I had to sit there for ten minutes, I was going to sit there for ten minutes. I was going to be sure that when I got over the ball there that I knew what I wanted to do and I had all my swing thoughts, everything, you know, in order. And as I said, I went through my routine; got over the ball; aimed it at the right edge of the green; put it back in my stance and just took it inside and hit it. And when I saw it come off the club face, I knew I hit a good shot, and it was low and it was starting to hit the right center of the green drawing right at the pin and I couldn't resist; I had to go run up the hill to watch it. I wanted to see that ball land and see what it did. I took off after it to see it, and it was funny, when it landed, it jumped up onto the green. It started rolling towards the hole. From my angle, all I could see was ball/pin. There was no grass in between that, and it looked like it might actually roll up and go in, from my angle; just broke off to the right. I mean, it was probably the best shot I have hit under pressure. I can't think of any shot that I have hit better under pressure there than that one.
Q. When you made the putt on 15 it gave you the lead by yourself for the first time. Were you aware of that at that time and if so, how did that affect your emotions from that point on?
COREY PAVIN: I was very aware that that put me in the lead. I am a big time leaderboard watcher. I want to know exactly where I stand at all times. I knew that put me in the lead. From there, I just knew that if I just played solidly and you know, made some pars and if I had an opportunity to birdie, it would be great, but I wasn't really too concerned about making birdies. I just wanted to play solid and get the pars under my belt. And as it turned out, I had two fantastic opportunities on 16 and 18; didn't make them, but didn't need them as well, so you know, all I thought about was to hit one at a time; play the shots that I know how to play; don't try to force anything, and just try to keep it smooth and easy and be ready to hit every shot.
Q. Corey, your competitors in here characterized you as gutsy and a lot of heart and do everything it takes to get the ball on the green and in the hole. How would you look at yourself if you were describing yourself as a player?
COREY PAVIN: I don't know - I think when I feel like I play my best golf, I am very much under control, every aspect of my game; from emotions to ball-striking; shaping the ball and hitting it high and low; feeling very good with, you know, wedges, sand wedges around the green, and very confident with the five, six foot putts. And feeling very good about having putts that I need to make. The pressure putts, I feel, for some reason, I have been able to make them. I just concentrate better and I focus better when I am under more pressure. I don't know what all that means, but you know, I just try to do the best I can every time I go out there and, you know, I play within the limitations that I have physically and try never to force things and this was an example, the last few days, is really you had to be patient out there and not try to force anything on this golf course because it is just -- it is not going to give you anything. If you are aggressive out here and do things out of your norm, it is going to come up and bite you one.
Q. Two little questions if I might. No. 1, having won on this course and the wind and the way you did, I presume you will go overseas and represent the U.S. In the British Open and No. 2, you got to feel real comfortable going to Riviera, your home course, to play the PGA. Your thoughts, please.
COREY PAVIN: Certainly I am going to go over and play the British Open. I have missed maybe one or two British Opens because I wasn't exempt. I am not sure -- one time I wasn't exempt and went over there. It means a lot to me to play in the British Open. It is a great event. And I am looking forward to going back there. Certainly St. Andrews is a great venue. The venues for the Major championships this year are fantastic. I will certainly be there, and you know, going into Riviera, obviously, I am looking forward to that. It is still a long way down the road from me. The British Open is in between and other tournaments as well, so I am not looking ahead to -- not even looking ahead to the British Open yet. I am -- next week I am in Hartford and I am going to savor this little trophy here for a little while, but I am going to do my best to be ready to play golf next Thursday for Hartford.
Q. 10 of 6 you were sitting in the trailer, even par; not knowing you had won the U.S. Open; about 10 of 7 you had gotten phone call from the President up there. Can you go through the conversation and what that sort of felt like as you were speaking to him and kind of was it all sinking in?
COREY PAVIN: Well, first of all, watching up in the booth, I sat up there and I watched Greg hit a shot on 18 and he had to hole it to tie, and I mean zillions of things are going through your mind. I really tried to watch the shot and not think about anything. The one thing I remember is Roger Maltbie was doing the call. He said it is left to the flag. And the second he said that I felt pretty comfortable because it wasn't going to come back right with right to left wind. I felt pretty good when he said that. I saw it land and there it was, I won the U.S. Open. It was quite a feeling that came over me then. After doing a few things, the President was on the phone. That was some kind of neat. I actually played golf with the President last week in Washington. I played my round Friday morning and he had actually called earlier in week asked if I could play, and I said, sure, you know, I am not doing anything Friday afternoon, I will go play. So we went out and played. We played about 15 holes on Friday, and it was a lot of fun. Shannon, my wife, Ryan and Austin, went to the White House and we were able to go into the oval office and the kids were playing with the seal of the country on the rug in the Oval Course. The kids were on the floor playing, that was quite a sight, and it was a lot of fun to play with him out there. He was a gentleman on the golf course and we had a good time and what he said to me on the phone was that he was spreading word around the White House that he had helped my game a lot on Friday.
Q. What was the circumstance for him inviting you to play?
COREY PAVIN: Well, actually during the President's Cup last year, we went to the White House and he had actually -- he had said to us then that when Ryan comes into town, my nine year old, that have him come over to the White House; have him come over to my house, so I actually called up the week before to see if it was possible and they said to call back during the week they were there and hopefully they could set it up, and I had to call back and somehow they found out where we were staying, and they called and asked if I wanted to play golf on Friday with the President and I accepted his invitation and we had a good time.
Q. Where did you play?
COREY PAVIN: We played at Army Navy course.
Q. You said earlier that of all The Majors this was the one in which your record was the poorest. But despite that, is this the one that you wanted to win more than any other?
COREY PAVIN: Of course.
COREY PAVIN: How can I say anything else? I mean, I am going to stand on the fifth on that one.
Q. You are described as being the greatest player without having won a Major. Would you like to personally pass on that onus to somebody else?
COREY PAVIN: Well, I wouldn't personally pass it on. I will just -- I never liked having that label per se. It is a compliment. It's a backhanded compliment, I guess, and I am certainly not going to pass it on because I didn't really enjoy it too much. There are a lot of great players out there and there are going to be players that are going to go down as some of the best players and they are not going to win a Major Championship, but you know, all I can say is that I am happy that I don't have to hear that phrase associated with me anymore, you know. As I said before, it is something that has bothered me a lot more than it has bothered anybody else on this planet, I think, so I am more relieved than anybody to have won a Major Championship.
Q. Corey, Roger Cleveland; Les Miller jumped for joy. You changed to a Cleveland putter, but you are playing with a truly different set of clubs, VAS. Have they had an impact on your game?
COREY PAVIN: Yeah, I think so. I mean, you know, it is -- a lot gets talked about when you change equipment and Roger sent me the VAS irons a long time ago and I wouldn't try them. I was -- I didn't like the way they looked, so I didn't try them. Finally he said, look, just hit them and try them. I went out about six months later, and I hit them and I really liked them a lot, and I hit them again and kept trying them and I said, you know, okay, Roger, I like these clubs a lot. I hit them better than the other clubs; let us start talking now. I always tried my equipment first before I do anything or even start talking about any type of a contract. So I, obviously, I feel like the clubs worked very well for me. I have played very well in the last couple of years with them. I feel like they are pretty forgiving golf clubs. I have hit shots that I have hit pretty unsolidly; they went pretty well. I have been pleased with those. Changing putters, I never thought I go away from the Bull's Eye. It certainly has worked the last couple of weeks and I will continue to use it until it stops working.
Q. You said a little while ago that you play within your physical limitations. Would you describe what you mean by those limitations physically?
COREY PAVIN: Well, my parents were funny this week because I played with Davis Love and Vijay Singh the first two days. Needless to say, the most common phrase was Corey, you are a way-- (audience laughter)-- off the tee, so -- and then I played with Vijay again on Saturday and played Woosman today, so I don't think I was ever first or was last to play hitting into the greens. I think -- obviously, I am not the longest hitter in the world, but I am one of the shorter hitters, but I work on it and I hit a little bit further than I used to. And mostly that is what I mean by physical limitations, I just don't hit it as far as everybody else. But you know, I certainly make up for it with shot making and hopefully intelligent play out there on the golf course. I felt like I played one of the most intelligent rounds of golf in my life today. Any time I missed a shot, I think, with the exception of one shot I could think of, the third tee shot, that was the only shot that I wish I could hit over again. And I guess that was my only bogey today. So you know, I tried to make up for it in other places. I am not the biggest guy; not the strongest guy, certainly, and that certainly is not a prerequisite to win a U.S Open to be the biggest or the strongest.
Q. Do you feel sorry for Greg now?
COREY PAVIN: For who?
Q. For Greg.
COREY PAVIN: He won a couple of Majors. I think he played hard and he played the hardest he could, and he has been on the winning end and losing end of major championships. The thing about Greg is that he contends for Major Championships so much, and he is a great player and he plays hard and you can see him out there grinding on every shot he hits, every putt he hits, every chip. He is trying very hard, and you know, my hat is off to Greg. He played a great tournament. Just came up short, you know, he has won a couple. He will be contending probably winning more Majors in the future. Feeling sorry for him is not the right terminology, but I respect what he did and how he played this week tremendously. Certainly made it a lot harder for me to win and that is a job all of us out here -- that is why we are out here to win golf tournaments and win Major championships and make it as hard on the other guys as we possibly can.
Q. Waiting is part of the deal on Sunday afternoon; when you play late you had to wait a long time on the 18th tee; then you stepped back once after you had already gone through your routine. Can you kind of tell us how tough that was and what your thought process was as you had to wait during that time because that is a different wait than others?
COREY PAVIN: Yeah, it is not fun to wait. I didn't really want to wait there. As I walked off the 17th and walked onto the 18th tee, Steve Stricker and Scott Verplank were playing in front of us. They were 20 yards off the tee. I knew it was going to be a long wait. And the first thing I did was say, okay, it is going to be a long wait; don't even think about this shot, wait, and you can think about it later. But let us talk about other stuff. I talked to Ian about when his flight was and we talked about the traffic; getting out of here, and if he was going to make his flight and talked to some of the troopers -- a couple of troopers that were back there on the tee and they were expressing how bad the traffic was going to be as well. We just talked about stuff and tried to get my mind off the shot that I had to play. And then when it was ready to go, then I started thinking about the shot and what I did, I spot when I play, so I had to spot about 30 yards in front of me; I was trying to hit it over, and when I got over the ball, I looked up and I couldn't find my spot, so I backed off and started over again and I found my spot the second time.
More Transcripts from Past U.S. Open Champions
What's in the bag: John Deere winner Michael Kim
Michael Kim won his first career PGA Tour event at the John Deere Classic. Here's a look inside his bag:
Driver: Titleist TS2 (10.5 degrees), with Aldila Rogue Black 60X shaft
Fairway wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Rogue Black 70 TX shaft
Hybrid: Titleist 816H1 (21 degrees), Graphite Design Tour AD DI-85 X Hybrid shaft
Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (4), 718 AP2 (5-PW), with True Temper XP 115 shafts
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 (52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S300 shafts
Putter: Scotty Cameron GSS Newport 350 prototype
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
First-, second-round tee times for the 147th Open
Three-time champion Tiger Woods is playing in The Open for the first time since he missed the cut in 2015 at St. Andrews. Woods will begin his first round Thursday in the 147th edition at Carnoustie at 10:21 a.m. ET, playing alongside Hideki Matsuyama and Russell Knox.
Defending champion Jordan Spieth delivered the claret jug to the R&A on Monday at Carnoustie. He will begin his title defense at 4:58 a.m. ET on Thursday, playing with world No. 2 Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
Other notable groupings:
- Rory McIlroy will look to capture his second claret jug at 7:53 a.m. Thursday. He goes off with Marc Leishman and Thorbjorn Olesen.
- World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is playing with Alex Noren and Charley Hoffman. They will play at 8:04 a.m. ET in the first round.
- World No. 2 Justin Thomas goes at 8:26 a.m. with Francesco Molinari and Branden Grace.
- Masters champion Patrick Reed will play with Louis Oosthuizen and Paul Casey at 5:20 a.m. ET.
- U.S. Open champion and world No. 4 Brooks Koepka is grouped with Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith (9:59 a.m. ET).
- Phil Mickelson, the 2013 Open champion, will begin at 3:03 a.m. ET with Satoshi Kodaira and Rafa Cabrera Bello.
Here's a look at the full list of times for Rounds 1 and 2 (all times ET):
1:35AM/6:36AM: Sandy Lyle, Martin Kaymer, Andy Sulliva
1:46AM/6:47AM: Erik Van Rooyen, Brady Schnell, Matthew Southgate
1:57AM/6:58AM: Danny Willett, Emiliano Grillo, Luke List
2:08AM/7:09AM: Mark Calcavecchia, Danthai Boonma, Shaun Nooris
2:19AM/7:20AM: Kevin Chappell, Oliver Wilson, Eddie Pepperell
2:30AM/7:31AM: Ross Fisher, Paul Dunne, Austin Cook
2:41AM/7:42AM: Tyrrell Hatton, Patrick Cantlay, Shane Lowry
2:52AM/7:53AM: Thomas Pieters, Kevin Kisner, Marcus Kinhult
3:03AM/8:04AM: Phil Mickelson, Satoshi Kodaira, Rafa Cabrera Bello
3:14AM/8:15AM: Brian Harman, Yuta Ikeda, Andrew Landry
3:25AM/8:26AM: Si Woo Kim, Webb Simpson, Nicolai Hojgaard (a)
3:36AM/8:37AM: Stewart Cink, Brandon Stone, Hideto Tanihara
3:47AM/8:48AM: Gary Woodland, Yusaku Miyazato, Sung Kang
4:03AM/9:04AM: Ernie Els, Adam Hadwin, Chesson Hadley
4:14AM/9:15AM: Pat Perez, Julian Suri, George Coetzee
4:25AM/9:26AM: David Duval, Scott Jamieson, Kevin Na
4:36AM/9:37AM: Darren Clarke, Bernhard Langer, Retief Goosen
4:47AM/9:48AM: Matt Kuchar, Anirban Lahiri, Peter Uihlein
4:58AM/9:59AM: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Kiradech Aphibarnrat
5:09AM/10:10AM: Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler, Chris Wood
5:20AM/10:21AM: Louis Oosthuizen, Paul Casey, Patrick Reed
5:31AM/10:32AM: Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Jhonattan Vegas
5:42AM/10:43AM: Yuxin Lin (a), Alexander Bjork, Sang Hyun Park
5:53AM/10:54AM: James Robinson, Haraldur Magnus, Zander Lombard
6:04AM/11:05AM: Kodai Ichihara, Rhys Enoch, Marcus Armitage
6:15AM/11:16AM: Sean Crocker, Gavin Green, Ash Turner
6:36AM/1:35AM: Brandt Snedeker, Sam Locke (a), Cameron Davis
6:47AM/1:46AM: Patton Kizzire, Jonas Blixt, Charles Howell III
6:58AM/1:57AM: Charl Schwartzel, Daniel Berger, Tom Lewis
7:09AM/2:08AM: Alex Levy, Ryan Moore, Byeong Hun An
7:20AM/2:19AM: Michael Hendry, Kelly Kraft, Lee Westwood
7:31AM/2:30AM: Henrik Stenson, Tommy Fleetwood, Jimmy Walker
7:42AM/2:41AM: Matthew Fitzpatrick, Russell Henley, Jovan Rebula (a)
7:53AM/2:52AM: Rory McIlroy, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen
8:04AM/3:03AM: Dustin Johnson, Alex Noren, Charley Hoffman
8:15AM/3:14AM: Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Brendan Steele
8:26AM/3:25AM: Justin Thomas, Francesco Molinari, Branden Grace
8:37AM/3:36AM: Jason Day, Shota Akiyoshi, Haotong Li
8:48AM/3:47AM: Todd Hamilton, Beau Hossler, Jorge Campillo
9:04AM/4:03AM: Ryuko Tokimatsu, Chez Reavie, Michael Kim
9:15AM/4:14AM: Kyle Stanley, Nicolas Colsaerts, Jens Dantorp
9:26AM/4:25AM: Tom Lehman, Dylan Frittelli, Grant Forrest
9:37AM/4:36AM: Lucas Herbert, Min Chel Choi, Jason Kokrak
9:48AM/4:47AM: Padraig Harrington, Bubba Watson, Matt Wallace
9:59AM/4:58AM: Ian Poulter, Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka
10:10AM/5:09AM: Sergio Garcia, Bryson DeChambeau, Shubhankar Sharma
10:21AM/5:20AM: Tiger Woods, Hideki Matsuyama, Russell Knox
10:32AM/5:31AM: Jason Dufner, Ryan Fox, Keegan Bradley
10:43AM/5:42AM: Ryan Armour, Abraham Ander, Masahiro Kawamura
10:54AM/5:53AM: Jazz Janewattananond, Fabrizio Zanotti, Jordan Smith
11:05AM/6:04AM: Brett Rumford, Masanori Kobayashi, Jack Senior
11:16AM/6:15AM: Matt Jones, Thomas Curtis, Bronson Burgoon
Rahm's Carnoustie strategy: 'As many drivers as I can'
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In his practice round Monday at Carnoustie, Jon Rahm bashed away with driver on the 18th tee, reducing one of the most intimidating finishing holes in championship golf into a driver-wedge.
Indeed, when it comes to his choice of clubs off the tee this week at The Open, Rahm has one strategy in mind.
“As many drivers as I can,” he said after playing 18 alongside Rory McIlroy. “I just feel comfortable with it.”
Playing downwind, the firm and fast conditions on the 18th have led some players, even a medium-length hitter like Brandt Snedeker, to challenge the burn fronting the green.
Rahm explained Monday why that was the prudent play.
“You can lay up with an iron farther back and have 140 or 150 meters to the front and have a 7-, 8- or 9-iron in,” Rahm said. “But if you hit a good one with a driver, you’re going to have nothing to the green.
“If you hit the rough this year, it’s not as thick as other years. You actually get a lot of good lies, so you can still hit the green with confidence.”
Rahm said that revelation was “quite surprising,” especially after encountering thicker fescue when he played the French Open and Irish Open, where he recorded a pair of top-5 finishes.
“But with this much sun” – it hasn’t rained much, if at all, over the past six weeks – “the fescue grass can’t grow. It just dies,” he said. “It’s a lot thinner than other years, so unless they can magically grow it thicker the next few days, it’s pretty safe to assume we can be aggressive.”
Remembering Jean, because we'll always remember Jean
The thing I remember about the 1999 Open Championship is that for 54 holes, it was boring. I can’t speak for the next 17, because I didn’t watch. I took advantage of a beautiful Sunday morning to play golf. When our group finished, we went into the clubhouse hoping to catch the last few holes or at least find out who won. Instead, we were greeted by an almost deafening buzz. It seemed everyone in the dining room was excitedly talking at once.
The wall-mounted televisions provided the answer. There stood Jean Van de Velde, resplendent in a white visor and blue shirt, and whatever the opposite of “resplendent” is with his trouser legs rolled up above his knees. He was up to his ankles in the burn that winds in front of Carnoustie’s 18th green, hands on hips, holding a wedge. He was staring down into the water the way you’d stare at a storm grate through which you had just accidentally dropped your car keys. You know, the “What the heck am I going to do NOW?” stare.
Van de Velde was the reason I had dismissed this 128th Open Championship as boring. Actually, he was one of two reasons. The first was that Tiger Woods was no factor. The second was that Van de Velde was running away with it, having taken a five-shot lead into the final round. It also didn’t help my interest level that I knew nothing about Van de Velde. I didn’t know Jean Van de Velde from Jean Valjean. The only thing I knew about him was that he was French, and the last great French golfer was … uh, I’ll have to get back to you on that.
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As we got caught up on Van de Velde’s predicament – he had gone to the tee of the par-4 18th hole with a three-shot lead, but through a series of calamities now lay 3 … underwater – now my opinion of the guy did a 180. NOW I wanted him to win. It wasn’t going to be easy, though. Surely he would come to his senses and take a drop (4), then pitch onto the green (5) and hope to get that shot close enough that he could make the putt for 6 and claim the claret jug. A 7 – which would have plunged him into a playoff – was not a farfetched possibility.
Not farfetched at all; that’s the score he made, only it didn’t unfold quite as simply as I had envisioned. After taking his drop, Van de Velde hit his next shot into a greenside bunker. He then blasted out to 8 feet and, needing to make the putt to get into a playoff with Justin Leonard and Paul Lawrie, he did just that.
You think Leonard’s 45-footer at Brookline that won the Ryder Cup later that year was clutch? I’ll take Van de Velde’s putt eight days a week.
But there would be no happy ending for Van de Velde. In the four-hole, aggregate playoff, he opened with a double bogey and watched Lawrie win his only major.
Van de Velde got roasted in the media for “choking” and “making stupid decisions.” I felt this was unfair. So the next day, in my capacity as a sports columnist for The Palm Beach Post, I wrote this:
“I have a new hero. Jean Van de Velde, The Man Who Gave Away the British Open.” I wrote that Van de Velde had “remained true to himself” and that had he geared down and played the hole safely and won with a double bogey, he would have been quickly forgotten.
As it turned out, because of his tragedy (self-inflicted though it was), he gained far more fame for losing than Lawrie did for winning (which is unfair to Lawrie, but that’s a tale for another time). I’ll also wager that Van de Velde gained far more fans for the grace with which he took his defeat than he would have had he won. See Norman, Greg, Augusta, 1996.
Van de Velde may have made some questionable decisions – hitting driver off the tee, bringing water into play on his third shot when he had a horrible lie – but he had reasons for all of them. Nowhere do you see him saying “I am such an idiot” a la Phil Mickelson, or “What a stupid I am” a la Roberto De Vicenzo.
“Sure, I could have hit four wedges,” he recently told Golf Channel. “Wouldn’t they have said, ‘He won The Open, but, hey, he hit four wedges.’ I mean, who hits four wedges?”
There’s a great scene in the 1991 movie “The Commitments,” about putting a soul-music band together in the slums of Dublin. Against all odds, the band reaches the brink of success before sinking in a maelstrom of arguments and fistfights after its last gig.
Manager Jimmy Rabbitte is trudging home through the gloom, when saxophonist Joey “The Lips” Fagan rides up on his ever-present scooter. Joey tries to get Jimmy to see the bright side.
“Look, I know you're hurting now, but in time you'll realize what you've achieved,” Joey says.
“I've achieved nothing!” Jimmy snaps.
“You're missing the point,” Joey replies. “The success of the band was irrelevant - you raised their expectations of life, you lifted their horizons. Sure we could have been famous and made albums and stuff, but that would have been predictable. This way it's poetry.’
That’s what Jean Van de Velde created on that memorable Scottish day in July 1999.