Toms Seeking Special Delivery

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 FedEx St. Jude ClassicBigger is better on the PGA TOUR. The bigger the drive, the better. The bigger the purse, the better. And, the bigger the lead, the better.
 
But bigger doesnt always equate to easier. Hitting the ball a country mile doesnt mean a player can contend each and every week. When the stakes are higher, the noose is tighter. And the bigger the advantage, the bigger the opportunity to choke it all away.
 
Justin Leonard
Justin Leonard reacts to his narrow escape at last year's FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Justin Leonard knows the latter quite well. He held an eight-stroke lead through 54 holes of last years FedEx St. Jude Classic, but shot 3-over 73 on Sunday and escaped with a one-shot win over David Toms, who closed furiously in 63.
 
I didn't think it was ever going to get that close, said Leonard, who didnt make a birdie in the final round and had to make a 3-foot par putt on the final hole to avoid a playoff.
 
Leonard almost became a dubious part of history that week in Memphis, Tenn., as no player has ever blown a lead that big on the PGA TOUR with 18 holes to play.
 
Six strokes is the largest wasted advantage entering the final round. Five players have had the misfortune of doing that, most recently Sergio Garcia.
 
Garcia led by a half-dozen to start the final day of last years Wachovia Championship, but his closing 72 was good enough for only a playoff, which he lost to Vijay Singh.
 
This year, for the most part, those leading after Saturday have had very good Sundays.
 
In 20 stroke-play events on TOUR, only three times have players come from behind in the final round to win. Tiger Woods overcame a one-stroke deficit to win the Buick Invitational; Kirk Triplett closed in 63 to erase a six-stroke deficit in Tucson; and Brett Wetterich earned his first TOUR title by winning the EDS Byron Nelson Championship after beginning the final round one back.
 
This years field features only two top-20 players: Toms and Chris DiMarco. The event has an unenviable position on the TOUR schedule ' situated after two popular stops in Texas and before two popular stops leading up to the U.S. Open.
 
Next season, as a part of the new FedEx schedule, the tournament will move to the week preceding the U.S. Open.
 
As for this week, Leonard will try and become just the fourth repeat winner in this tournaments 48-year history. Dave Hill won in 1969-70; Lee Trevino in 1971-72; and Toms in 2003-04.
 
Toms has a spectacular record on the par-70, 7,244-yard TPC at Southwind course. And its no surprise that he leads the list of favorites.
 
David Toms
David Toms
David Toms has had plenty of reasons to celebrate over the last four years at the TPC at Southwind.
Toms has played this tournament on 14 occasions. The first 10 times, he never had a top-10s. But in his last four starts, he has finished fourth, first, first, second. Toms earned his 12th career TOUR victory earlier this season at the Sony Open. Hell now be trying to garner his first multiple-win campaign since 2003. After a hot start this year, Toms cooled off with missed cuts in The Players Championship, Masters Tournament and Shell Houston Open. He has since tied for 47th in New Orleans and tied for 30th last week at Colonial.
 
Justin Leonard
Last years win in Memphis was a breakthrough for Leonard. It marked the first time since 1997 that he won more than one event in a single season (Bob Hope). Leonard is still in search of win No. 1 this year. The Dallas native has only two top-10s in '06, and none since the FBR Open in February. Leonard has had success here, however, as he has three top-10s in six starts to go along with last years triumph. This will be the first time since he played here from 1994-98 that he is in the field for a second consecutive year.
 
Bob Estes
Every player has tournament sites where he plays particularly well. This is such a site for Estes. He has played this tournament 17 times, but it wasnt until recently that he found his groove at Southwind. Estes has four top-5s in his last seven starts here, including a victory in 2001. He also tied for eighth a year ago. His best finish this year is a runner-up in Houston.
 
Chris DiMarco
DiMarco has to win again on the PGA TOUR. Right? Though he won in Abu Dhabi on the European Tour earlier this year, he hasnt won in the States since 2002. He doesnt have a top-10 in a stroke-play event on TOUR this season. He has, however, had some pretty good moments at this event. DiMarco tied for second in 2000, tied for 12th in 2001 and tied for ninth in his most recent appearance in 2003.
 
Fredrik Jacobson
Jacobson snuck in a top-5 finish at this years Ford Championship, but up until last week that had pretty much been the extent of his 2006 success on TOUR. He then shot 62 in the second round of the Bank of America Colonial on his way to a tie for 17th The Swede has a tremendous record in just a handful of appearances at the FedEx. In three starts, he has finished T3, T5 and T6.
 
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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 was able to cobble together 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.