Golf Talk Live - Charles Howell III Transcript Segment 1

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 6, 2001, 4:00 pm
RICH LERNER
NOT SINCE TIGER WOODS HAS A YOUNG PLAYER GENERATED THIS MUCH BUZZ. MEET ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING YOUNG TALENTS IN THE GAME, CHARLES HOWELL THE THIRD, NEXT ON GOLF TALK LIVE.

(MUSIC)
RICH LERNER
CHARLES HOWELL THE THIRD BEGAN THIS SEASON WITH NO OFFICIAL STATUS ON THE PGA TOUR. UNOFFICIALLY HIS STATUS WAS THAT OF THE HOTTEST PROSPECTS IN SOME GUY NAMED TIGER. HOW HOT? WELL WHEN HOWELL SIGNED WITH REPRESENTATIVE ROCKY HAMBRIC THE AGENT GAVE HIM 5%

OF HIS COMPANY, CALLAWAY HANDED THE YOUNGSTER WELL OVER A MILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR FOR BETTER THAN FOUR YEARS. SAID TONY NAVARO, LONG TIME CADDIE FOR GREG NORMAN, THERE'S NOTHING THIS KID CAN'T DO, IT'S SCARY TO THINK ABOUT.

VETERAN ANDREW MCGEE WATCHED THE WIRY HOWELL HIT BALLS THEN PROCLAIM HE MAY HAVE THE BEST SHOULDER TURN OUT HERE. JACK NICKLAUS WAS ASKED WHO MIGHT CHALLENGE TIGER. THE ANSWER, CHARLES HOWELL THE THIRD. LIKE WOODS, HOWELL GREW UP SINGLE MINDED IN HIS

PASSION FOR GOLF. THE SON OF A PEDIATRIC SURGEON FROM INTERESTINGLY, AUGUSTA, GEORGIA, HOWELL WOULD GO ON TO WIN THE NCAA INDIVIDUAL TITLE IN 2000 BY A RECORD EIGHT SHOT, HIS TEAM WINNING AS WELL. HIS OKLAHOMA STATE COACH, MIKE POLDER, CALLED HOWELL THE GREATEST

PLAYER HE'S EVER HAD, AND THE COWBOYS HAVE HAD SOME GOOD ONES THROUGH THE YEARS LIKE BOB TWAY AND SCOTT VERPLANK. THIS YEAR HOWELL'S BACKED UP ALL THE TALK, FINISHING SECOND IN MILWAUKEE AND HAVING ALREADY EARNED

ENOUGH MONEY TO SECURE HIS CARD FOR 2002. HE POSSESSES WOODS LIKE LENGTH OFF THE TEE AND UNDER THE TUTELAGE OF DAVID LEADBETTER HE'S TECHNICALLY SOUND, BUT HE'S STILL LEARNING WHEN TO ATTACK. WHEN TO LAY BACK. HOW TO

BETTER CONTROL HIS DISTANCE ON SHORT IRONS. HOW TO BETTER PLAY VARIOUS SHOTS FROM AROUND THE GREEN. RECENTLY MARRIED, HOWELL'S FEET APPEAR TO BE FIRMLY PLANTED ON THE GROUND EVEN AS HIS PROFILE CONTINUES TO GROW. HE'S AS POLITE AS HE IS TALENTED,

BUT BENEATH THE HUMBLE EXTERIOR LIES A FEARLESS COMPETITOR AND WHILE HIS STATUS AT THE START OF THIS CAMPAIGN WAS IN QUESTION, YOU WOULD DENY HIS POTENTIAL FUTURE STATUS AS ONE OF THE GREAT PLAYERS OF THE NEW ERA.

AND WELCOME TO GOLF TALK. RICH LERNER JOINED BY CHARLIE HOWELL. CHARLES, GREAT TO SEE YOU.

CHARLES HOWELL III
THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

RICH LERNER
YOU'RE AN OLD MARRIED MAN NOW.

(CHARLES AND RICH LAUGH)

RICH LERNER
YOU, YOU GOT MARRIED IN JUNE, WE SAW THAT PICTURE AND CONGRATULATIONS.

CHARLES HOWELL III
THANK YOU.

RICH LERNER
HOW HAS MARRIED LIFE BEEN SO FAR?

CHARLES HOWELL III
OH IT'S BEEN GREAT. IT'S, UH, WELL IT'S BEEN A WHIRLWIND SO FAR. WE GOT MARRIED IN MAUI AND HEADED STRAIGHT FROM THERE TO CROMWELL, CONNECTICUT FOR THE GREATER HARTFORD OPEN AND HADN'T BEEN HOME SINCE THEN.

RICH LERNER
AND NOW YOU OWE HEATHER, YOUR BEAUTIFUL WIFE, A HONEYMOON, BECAUSE YOU PUT THAT ON HOLD, DIDN'T YOU?

CHARLES HOWELL III
YEAH WE PUT THAT ONE ON HOLD PROBABLY TILL DECEMBER ON HER, SO WE'VE AL... WE HAD A SIX WEEK HONEYMOON ON THE PGA TOUR.

RICH LERNER
GREW UP IN AUGUSTA, GEORGIA. WHY DID YOU TAKE UNTIL SEVEN YEARS OLD TO BEGIN PLAYING GOLF IN AUGUSTA, GEORGIA?

CHARLES HOWELL III
WELL I'M REALLY NOT SURE HOW I, YOU KNOW MY FRIENDS AROUND ME PLAY A LOT OF SOCCER AND BASKET BALL AND YOU KNOW I GUESS I HAD TO BREAK TWO WRISTS AND TWO FINGERS IN BASKETBALL BEFORE I WISED UP.

RICH LERNER
YEAH. WHEN YOU BEGAN PLAYING, YOU STARTED, YOUR DAD'S BACKYARD?

CHARLES HOWELL III
RIGHT, WELL MY DAD BUILT A COUPLE OF PRACTICE GREENS IN OUR BACKYARD AND A PRACTICE BUNKER AND I STARTED THERE AND THEN MY NEXT DOOR NEIGHBORS, THEY ACTUALLY, THEY WERE THE FIRST PEOPLE THAT GOT ME STARTED AND YOU KNOW,

I STARTED WITH THE WHIFFLE BALLS AND THE 7 IRON AND THE SHORT CLUBS AND ALL THAT BUT, NO, IT'S, IT STARTED AT AGE 7 AND HASN'T SLOWED DOWN SINCE.

RICH LERNER
MMM, AND DID YOUR DAD PLAY THE GAME?

CHARLES HOWELL III
NO, NOT AT ALL. NO, HE'S, HE WAS A PEDIATRIC SURGEON AND YEAH MY MOM WAS A NURSE AND SO THEY REALLY DIDN'T EVEN KNOW WHAT GOLF WAS TO BE QUITE HONEST WITH YOU, MY NEIGHBORS.

RICH LERNER
AND, AND WHAT ABOUT THE GAME DREW YOU AS A SEVEN YEAR OLD, EIGHT YEAR OLD?

CHARLES HOWELL III
YOU KNOW I THINK IT WAS BECAUSE IT WAS AN INDIVIDUAL SPORT. ALL THE GLORY THAT YOU GOT AND ALL THE BLAME YOU GOT AND I'M MORE OF A LONER AND AN

INDIVIDUALISTIC TYPE PERSON AND I UH, I, I LIKE THE CREDIT BUT I CAN ALSO TAKE THE BLAME AS WELL.

RICH LERNER
ANY BROTHERS OR SISTER?

CHARLES HOWELL III
YOUNGER BROTHER. HE'S 18 NOW.

RICH LERNER
IS HE A PLAYER?

CHARLES HOWELL III
NO, CAN'T STAND GOLF.

(CHARLES AND RICH LAUGH)

RICH LERNER
SO REALLY YOU WERE THE ONLY ONE IN THE FAMILY

CHARLES HOWELL III
ONLY ONE IN THE FAMILY, RIGHT.

RICH LERNER
WHO SHOWED AN INCLINATION TOWARD THE GAME.

CHARLES HOWELL III
RIGHT.

RICH LERNER
YOU, YOU WERE ALWAYS SINGLE MINDED IN YOUR PURSUIT. HOW EARLY DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU WANTED TO PURSUE GOLF AS A PROFESSION SOME DAY?

CHARLES HOWELL III
WELL IT'S GOING TO SOUND WEIRD BUT WHEN I WAS SEVEN. I, YOU KNOW, I KNEW THIS WHEN I WAS 7 YEARS OLD I WANTED TO PLAY GOLF FOR A LIVING, AND I DON'T KNOW HOW, YOU KNOW, I KNEW THAT THE

FIRST DAY I PLAYED IT I CAME HOME AND ASKED MY PARENTS FOR GOLF LESSONS AND YOU KNOW I THINK THEY THOUGHT I WAS CRAZY. THEY DIDN'T, THEY THOUGHT HERE HE GOES AGAIN WITH ANOTHER SPORT. I WAS

PLAYING SOCCER AND BASKETBALL AT THE TIME BUT YOU KNOW WHEN I WAS SEVEN YEARS OLD AND EIGHT I REALLY KNEW I WANTED TO PLAY THIS GAME FOREVER.

RICH LERNER
WHEN DID YOU FIRST BEGIN HAVING SUCCESS?

CHARLES HOWELL III
WELL WHEN I WAS TEN YEARS OLD I WON THE FUTURE MASTERS WHICH AT THE TIME WAS THE BIGGEST JUNIOR TOURNAMENT IN THE COUNTRY AND YOU KNOW I THINK, I THINK AT THAT AGE

WHEN I WON THAT TOURNAMENT I REALLY THOUGH I COULD DO SOMETHING AND I THOUGHT THAT YOU KNOW, I KNEW I HAD A GOD GIVEN TALENT AND FROM THEN ON IT WAS UP TO HOW MUCH I PUT INTO IT.

RICH LERNER
YEAH, YOU BEGAN SEEING DAVID LEADBETTER WHEN YOU WERE ELEVEN YEARS OLD BUT BETWEEN SEVEN AND TEN HAD YOU HAD ANY FORMAL LESSONS?

CHARLES HOWELL III
I HAD LESSONS FROM SOME TEACHERS IN AUGUSTA, GEORGIA, LEE HAMETT (?) WAS MY FIRST GOLF TEACHER AT A, AT A PUBLIC DRIVING RANGE IN AUGUSTA WHERE YOU COULD HIT BALLS

AT NIGHT.

RICH LERNER
SURE

CHARLES HOWELL III
THE LIGHTED RANGE YOU HIT AT THE PARK.

RICH LERNER
GREW UP AT A LIGHTED DRIVING RANGE THAT MY DAD OWNED.

CHARLES HOWELL III
OH EVERY NIGHT. YOU KNOW MY DAD AND I WERE OUT THERE AND I, MY FIRST LESSONS WERE FROM HER AND THEN I WORKED WITH AN ASSISTANT AT WESTLAKE COUNTRY CLUB NAMED GAYLA GILL FOR A WHILE AND THEN, AND THEN ONTO DAVID LEADBETTER WHEN I WAS ELEVEN, WELL HIS ACADEMY.

MY FIRST YEAR (?) I WORKED WITH SIMON HOMES AND WILL NEAL WHO WERE ASSISTANTS AT THE TIME WHEN I WAS ELEVEN AND TWELVE AND THEN I MOVED ONTO DAVID.

RICH LERNER
OKAY. YOUR FAMILY WAS A MEMBER AT AUGUSTA COUNTRY CLUB.

CHARLES HOWELL III
RIGHT

RICH LERNER
WHICH IS SITUATED WHERE IN RELATION TO THE FABLED COURSE IN THAT TOWN?

CHARLES HOWELL III
OH IT'S RIGHT NEXT DOOR, SO TO SPEAK. THE 9TH HOLE OF AUGUSTA COUNTRY CLUB BORDERS THE, THE 12TH GREEN AND THE 13TH TEE BOX OF AUGUSTA NATIONAL, SO IT'S CLOSE ENOUGH TO PEER INTO THE FENCE.

RICH LERNER
AND, AND WHEN DID YOU FIRST GO TO THE MASTERS?

CHARLES HOWELL III
MY FIRST MASTERS WHEN I WAS SEVEN. IT WAS THE 1987 MASTERS WHEN LARRY MIZE WON AND PRETTY SPECIAL.

RICH LERNER
AND INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, LARRY MIZE, LIKE YOU, GREW UP IN AUGUSTA, GEORGIA.

CHARLES HOWELL III
RIGHT, RIGHT I HOPE THAT PROVES TO BE A GOOD SENSE OF IRONY THERE BUT NO THAT WAS A, THAT WAS MY FIRST MASTERS AND BEING HIM FROM AUGUSTA WINNING IT, IT WAS PRETTY SPECIAL TO WATCH THAT.

RICH LERNER
AND, AND HAVE YOU BEEN TO THE MASTERS PRETTY MUCH EVERY YEAR SINCE THEN?

CHARLES HOWELL III
EVERY YEAR FROM '87 UNTIL COACH HOLDRIC CONVINCED ME TO GO TO OKLAHOMA STATE, AND, I DIDN'T GET TO GO TILL WHEN I WAS OUT OF SCHOOL BUT EVERY YEAR FROM '87 UNTIL I WENT TO SCHOOL.

RICH LERNER
YEAH. WHICH MASTERS STANDS OUT MOST TO YOU WHEN YOU LOOK BACK AT THE ONES THAT YOU HAVE SEEN WITH YOUR OWN TWO EYES IN PERSON?

CHARLES HOWELL III
YOU KNOW I'D HAVE TO SAY THE '96 MASTERS WHEN NICK FALDO BEAT GREG NORMAN. THAT WAS, YOU KNOW, THAT WAS UNBELIEVABLE THERE. I COULDN'T, YOU KNOW THE ONE WHEN LARRY MIZE

WON AND CHIPPED IN THAT MEANT A LOT BUT WHEN GREG, WHEN GREG LOST THAT IT, YOU KNOW, IT WAS, THAT TORE MY HEART OUT BECAUSE I CAN UNDERSTAND THAT AND YOU KNOW, THAT MASTERS RIGHT THERE SHOWS YOU WHAT KIND OF GAME THIS IS, THAT IT'S A,

IT'S AN UNBELIEVABLE MASTERS. IT'S, ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN AND, I MEAN IT'S, YOU KNOW IT'S THE GAME OF GOLF.

RICH LERNER
WHAT, WHAT DO YOU THINK HAPPENED ON THAT DAY?

CHARLES HOWELL III
YOU KNOW, I DON'T KNOW. IT'S UH, IT SHOWS YOU HOW THIS GAME IS AND HOW MUCH MENTAL IT IS AND YOU KNOW GREG IS THIS UNBELIEVABLY TOUGH COMPETITOR AND SO WAS NICK FALDO AND I MEAN IT JUST SHOWS

YOU HOW WHEN MOMENTUM STARTS GOING ONE WAY IT, IT CAN GET OUT OF HAND.

RICH LERNER
OBVIOUSLY THE MASTERS REMAINS A DREAM FOR YOU

CHARLES HOWELL III
SURE

RICH LERNER
TO WIN THAT SOME DAY.

CHARLES HOWELL III
SURE

RICH LERNER
I KNOW YOU, IN, IN, IN PAST INTERVIEWS YOU WOULD NOT ARTICULATE ANY PARTICULAR DESIRE TO WIN ANY TOURNAMENT

CHARLES HOWELL III
RIGHT

RICH LERNER
THAT THAT IS A GIVEN BECAUSE

CHARLES HOWELL III
RIGHT

RICH LERNER
BECAUSE YOU, YOU WANT TO BE THE GREATEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD, BUT THE MASTERS YOU'RE WILLING TO GO ON RECORD AS SAYING YES

CHARLES HOWELL III
OH NO I UH

RICH LERNER
THAT'S WHAT I WANT

CHARLES HOWELL III
I'VE JOKED AROUND AND SAID IF I WIN THE MASTERS I'LL RETIRE

THE DAY AFTER

RICH LERNER
(LAUGHS)

CHARLES HOWELL III
BUT, NO THE MASTERS THAT, THAT'D MEAN MORE TO ME THAN ANYTHING. I HAVE TO WIN THERE. I MEAN THAT WOULD BE A DREAM COME TRUE GROWING UP IN AUGUSTA AND ALL THE,

MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY AND ALL THE PEOPLE THAT WATCHED ME GROW UP AND YOU KNOW THE PEOPLE THAT SAID I COULD MAKE IT AS WELL AS THE PEOPLE THAT SAID I COULDN'T MAKE IT.

RICH LERNER
THERE WERE PEOPLE WHO SAID YOU COULD NOT MAKE IT?

CHARLES HOWELL III
OH SURE, I MEAN I REMEMBER WHEN I WAS, I'M, I'M NO BIG PHYSICAL SPECIMEN NOW, BUT WHEN I WAS TEN, ELEVEN YEARS OLD, HE'S TOO SMALL, HE CAN'T HIT IT FAR ENOUGH AND ALL THOSE (?).

RICH LERNER
WELL YOU, YOU WERE ABOUT WHAT, A BUCK TWENTY UNTIL YOU WERE MAYBE 17, 18 YEARS OLD AND BEFORE YOU STARTED LIFTING WEIGHTS?

CHARLES HOWELL III
RIGHT, THAT, IT'S, IT'S ABOUT RIGHT. I WAS, WHEN I ENTERED SCHOOL I WAS 135 POUNDS, I DO KNOW THAT FOR SURE.

RICH LERNER
SO PEOPLE MUST HAVE LOOKED AT YOU AND SAID, WHO'S THIS GUY?

CHARLES HOWELL III
OH YEAH, OH I, I GOT A LOT OF THAT.

RICH LERNER
AND THEN THEY WATCH YOU HIT A BALL ABOUT 325 YARDS AND THEY GO OH THAT'S WHO HE IS.

CHARLES HOWELL III
OH

RICH LERNER
ALRIGHT. WE'RE TALKING WITH CHARLES HOWELL. WE ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT HIS WORK WITH DAVID LEADBETTER. WHAT GOES INTO THE MAKING OF A GREAT YOUNG GOLFING STAR AND HE MENTIONED HIS VICTORY AT THE FUTURE MASTERS. WE'RE GOING TO GIVE YOU A

QUICK LOOK AS WE HEAD TO BREAK AT CHARLES HOWELL THE THIRD WHEN HE WAS A MERE LAD OF TEN YEARS OF AGE. A GOLF PRODIGY IN THE MAKING. STAY WITH US. WE'RE BACK WITH CHARLIE IN JUST A MOMENT.

(MUSIC)

(BREAK)

NEXT SEGMENT
Getty Images

Molinari hopes to inspire others as Rocca inspired him

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 8:43 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Francesco Molinari was 12 years old when Costantino Rocca came within a playoff of becoming Italy’s first major champion at the 1995 Open at St. Andrews.

He remembers being inspired by Rocca’s play and motivated by the notion that he could one day be the player who would bring home his country’s first Grand Slam title. As he reflected on that moment late Sunday at Carnoustie it sunk in what his victory at The Open might mean.

“To achieve something like this is on another level,” said Molinari, who closed with a final-round 69 for a two-stroke victory. “Hopefully, there were a lot of young kids watching on TV today, like I was watching Constantino in '95 coming so close. Hopefully, they will get as inspired as I was at the time, watching him vie for the claret jug.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Molinari had already made plenty of headlines this year back home in Italy with victories at the European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, and the Quicken Loans National earlier this month on the PGA Tour.

A major is sure to intensify that attention. How much attention, however, may be contingent on Sunday’s finish at the German Grand Prix.

“It depends on if Ferrari won today. If they won, they'll probably get the headlines,” Molinari laughed. “But, no, obviously, it would be massive news. It was big news. The last round already was big news in Italy.”

Molinari won’t have any competition for the front page on Monday; Ferrari didn’t win the German Grand Prix.

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Schauffele on close call: Nothing but a positive

By Ryan LavnerJuly 22, 2018, 8:41 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Playing in a final group at a major for the first time, Xander Schauffele awkwardly splashed out of three pot bunkers, went out in 40 and still somehow had a chance to win at Carnoustie.

Playing the 17th hole, tied with Francesco Molinari, Schauffele flared his approach shot into the right rough and couldn’t get up and down for par. He dropped one shot behind Molinari, and then two, after the Italian birdied the final hole.

Just like that, Schauffele was doomed to a runner-up finish at The Open.

“A little bit of disappointment,” he said. “Obviously when you don’t win, you’re disappointed. Hats off to Francesco. I looked up on 17 and saw he got to 8 under, which is just incredible golf and an incredible finish.”

Schauffele did well to give himself a chance. The 24-year-old was in the final group with Spieth, but both youngsters fell off the pace after rocky starts. The Tour’s reigning Rookie of the Year birdied the 14th but couldn’t convert a 15-footer on the treacherous 16th that would have given him a one-shot cushion.

“It’s going to go in the memory bank as a positive,” he said. “I had a chance to win a major championship. I was in the final group. I had to face a little bit of adversity early in the round, and I still gave myself a chance. Anyone can look at it however they want to, but I’m going to look at is as a positive moving forward and try to learn how to handle the situations a little better next time.”  

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They came, they saw and Molinari conquered The Open

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 8:28 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – From a perch above the 17th tee, next to a three-story grandstand that may well be the tallest structure on the Angus coast, the 147th Open Championship unfolded with more twists and turns than a Russian novel.

It was all there like a competitive kaleidoscope to behold. In quick order, Rory McIlroy’s title chances slipped away with a whimper, a par at the last some 100 yards to the left of the 17th tee. Tiger Woods, seemingly refreshed and reborn by the Scottish wind, missed his own birdie chance at the 16th hole, a half-court attempt near the buzzer for a player who is 0-for-the last decade in majors.

Moments later, Kevin Kisner scrambled for an all-world par of his own at No. 16 and gazed up at the iconic leaderboard as he walked to the 17th tee box, his title chances still hanging in the balance a shot off the lead.

Francesco Molinari was next, a textbook par save at No. 16 to go along with a collection of by-the-book holes that saw the Italian play his weekend rounds bogey-free. He also hit what may have been the most important drive of his life into what a Scot would call a proper wind at the 17th hole.

Xander Schauffele, who was tied with Molinari at the time at 7 under par, anchored the action, missing a 15-footer for birdie at the 16th hole. Moments later the Italian calmly rolled in a 5-footer for birdie at the last to finish his week at 8 under par.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


All this unfolded over a frenzied final hour of play at Carnoustie, offering just a taste of what the other four-plus hours of play resembled.

“I couldn't watch Xander play the last two holes, to be honest,” said Molinari, who became the first Italian to win a major. “That's why I went to the putting green, because I probably would have felt sick watching on TV,”

Carnoustie may not be the fairest of the Open rotation courses, but it certainly delivers the dramatic goods regularly enough.

Woods’ prediction earlier in the week that this Open Championship would come down to no fewer than 10 would-be champions seemed hyperbolic. It turns out he was being conservative with his estimate.

All total, 11 players either held a share of the lead or moved to within a stroke of the top spot on a hectic Sunday. For three days Carnoustie gave, the old brute left exposed by little wind and even less rough. Earlier in the week, players talked of not being able to stop the ball on the dusty and dry links turf. But as the gusts built and the tension climbed on Sunday, stopping the bleeding became a bigger concern.

If most majors are defined by two-way traffic, a potpourri of competitive fortunes to supercharge the narrative, this Open was driven in one direction and a cast of would-be champions with a single goal: hang on.

A day that began with three players – including defending champion Jordan Spieth, Kisner and Schauffele – tied for the lead at 9 under, quickly devolved into a free-for-all.

Kisner blinked first, playing his first three holes in 3 over par; followed by Spieth whose poor 3-wood bounded into a gorse bush at the sixth hole and led to an unplayable lie. It was a familiar scene that reminded observers of his unlikely bogey at Royal Birkdale’s 13th hole last year. But this time there was no practice tee to find refuge and his double-bogey 7 sent him tumbling down the leaderboard.

“I was trying to take the burn out of the equation by hitting 3-wood to carry it. It was unlucky. It went into the only bush that's over on the right side. If it misses it, I hit the green and have a birdie putt,” Spieth said.



Schauffele’s struggles coincided with Spieth’s, with whom he played on Sunday, with a bogey at the sixth sandwiched between a bogey (No. 5) and a double bogey (No. 7).

This opened the door to what the entire golf world has awaited, with Woods vaulting into the lead at 7 under par, the first time since the ’11 Masters he’d led at a major, and sending a low rumble across the course.

Since Woods last won a major, that ’08 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines on one leg, Spieth and Schauffele, who Tiger spotted four strokes on Sunday, graduated from high school; McIlroy went from phenom to four-time major winner and Donald Trump was transformed from being a TV celebrity to the President of the United States.

But the fairytale only lasted a few minutes with Woods playing Nos. 11 and 12 in 3 over par. They were the kind of mistakes the 14-time major champion didn’t make in his prime

“A little ticked off at myself, for sure. I had a chance starting that back nine to do something, and I didn't do it,” said Woods, who finished tied for sixth but will have the consolation prize of moving into the top 50 in the world ranking to qualify for the last WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone in two weeks.

But as Woods faded, McIlroy made a familiar move, charging in an eagle putt at the par-5 14th hole to tie Molinari and Schauffele at 6 under par. The Northern Irishman would run out of holes, playing the final four in even par to finish tied for second, but the moment wasn’t lost on him.

“It was great, just to be a part of it and hear the roars. Tiger being back in the mix. You know, everything,” McIlroy said. “There's a lot of big names up there. It was nice to be a part of it. For a while, I thought Tiger was going to win. My mindset was go and spoil the party here.”

By the time the final groups reached Carnoustie’s finishing stretch it was a two-man party, with Molinari proving for the second time this month that boring golf can be effective.

Although he’d won the European Tour’s flagship event in May, Molinari decided to add the Quicken Loans National to his schedule because of his precarious position on the FedExCup points list (122nd) – he won that, too. The week before the Open, he fulfilled his commitment to play the John Deere Classic, a requirement under the PGA Tour’s new strength of field rule, and finished second.

Although his track record at The Open was nothing special – he’d posted just a single top-10 finish in his first 10 starts at the game’s oldest championship – his machine-like game was always going to be a perfect fit for a brown and bouncy links like Carnoustie and a topsy-turvy final round.

“I told his caddie earlier this week, because I didn’t want to say it to [Molinari], I have a good feeling this week,” said Molinari’s swing coach Denis Pugh. “It was the perfect combination of clarity and confidence.”

With the sun splashing against the baked-out fairways, Molinari emerged from the clubhouse, wide-eyed and a little dazed after what could only be described as a major melee, his no-nonsense, fairways-and-greens game the perfect tonic for an Open that defied clarity until the very end.

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Spieth and Schauffele were put on the clock Sunday

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 8:13 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Contending in a major championship on what is largely considered the toughest major championship course can be hard enough, but as Jordan Spieth reached the 10th tee box, he was given another layer of anxiety.

Spieth, who was playing with Xander Schauffele on Sunday at Carnoustie, was informed that his group had fallen behind and been put on the clock. On the next tee, he was given a “bad time” for taking too long to hit his drive.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I handled it OK, but looking back, you know, that was a turning point in the round,” said Spieth, who played Nos. 10 and 11 in even par and finished tied for ninth after a closing 76. “If you get 1 under on those two holes with a downwind par 5 left [No. 14], it's a different story.”

Spieth, who began the day tied for the lead with Schauffele and Kevin Kisner at 9 under, had dropped out the top spot with a double bogey-7 at the sixth hole. He was tied for the lead when officials put his group on the clock.

“I took over the allotted time on the tee on 11 to decide on 3-iron or 3-wood, but throughout the day, I think I played the fastest golf I've probably ever played while contending in a tournament,” he said.