Top 10 Rounds of All Time
No. 10 ' Al Geiberger, First Round 1977 Memphis Classic
Geiberger became the first player in PGA Tour history to break 60, doing so in the first round of the then Danny Thomas Memphis Classic, June 10, 1977. Geiberger's score was all-the-more extraordinary considering it came on one of the Tour's toughest courses and in 102-degree heat. He went on to win the event by three strokes.
Bill Fields, Golf Digest: It was a very long course, well over 7,000 yards. And back then 7,000 yards was different from today with the way the ball travels.
Al Geiberger, Mr. 59: All I could do every time I made a long putt, you know, I would just go, 'I don't know what's happening.'
No. 9 ' Babe Zaharias, 1954 U.S. Women's Open
Once the most dominant player on the LPGA ' and most dominant athlete in the world ' Zaharias completed her comeback from colon cancer by winning her 10th major championship, this time at Salem Country Club, by a record 12 strokes.
Rich Lerner, Golf Channel: You could make the case that Babe was the greatest athlete, male of female, that ever lived.
Babe Zaharias: I laid in bed and I says, 'Please, God, let me play again.' And He answered my prayer.
No. 8 ' Ken Venturi, Sunday at 1964 U.S. Open
Venturi started the final round of the 1964 U.S. Open trailing by five strokes. Faced with a 36-hole finale in excessive of 100 degrees, Venturi battled dehydration and exhaustion to win his first and only major championship, shooting 66-70.
Rich Lerner, Golf Channel: Kenny was on his way to an incredible round. I mean, we're talking Johnny Miller 63 at Oakmont 1973 kind of stuff.
Dr. John Everett: Knowing that he (would) have to walk another 18 holes in this terrific heat and humidity, I suggested he might be smart if he withdrew.
No. 7 ' Annika Sorenstam, Second Round 2001 Safeway
Nearly 25 years after Al Geiberger set the mark on the PGA Tour, Sorenstam became the first female player to shoot 59 on the LPGA. On a Friday afternoon at the Safeway International, Sorenstam started her round with eight straight birdies and claimed five more on the back nine to reach the magical number.
Dottie Pepper, Golf Channel: Once you get off to a smoking hot start, you can't help but think about 59.
Meg Mallon, Annika's playing competitor that day: Annika's mental strength is just incredible and it showed.
No. 6 ' Hubert Green, Final Round 1977 U.S. Open
With four holes to play in the final round of the 1977 U.S. Open at Southern Hills, and leading by one, Hubert Green was informed that a death threat had been made against him. An unidentified woman claimed Green would be shot on the 15th green. After playing the hole without incident, Green birdied 16 and went on to win by one.
Rich Lerner, Golf Channel: It's hard enough to play the game of golf at that level ' final round of a U.S. Open ' with that kind of pressure. How would you like to play it under the threat of death.
Hubert Green, 1977 U.S. Open champion: I didn't think about it one way or the other.
No. 5 ' Davis Love III, Final Round 2003 Players
Faced with temperatures in the low 50s, winds upwards of 25 mph, and on one of the toughest courses on Tour, Love shot a brilliant 8-under 64 to secure his second career Players Championship title.
Bill Fields, Golf Digest: Davis Love was in a rain suit. It was chilly. And (he) played the kind of golf that people wanted to see him play for a long time.
Rich Lerner, Golf Channel: Davis sort of symbolized golf pre-Tiger Woods ' nice but not nasty, friendly but not fiery. He was so good on that day; that's as good a performance as I've seen him in that tournament.
No. 4 ' David Duval, Final Round 1999 Bob Hope
Beginning the fifth and final round six shots off the lead, Duval played the round of his life on the Palmer Course at PGA West. He had a look at birdie or eagle on 17 holes, with 10 of those putts inside 5 feet. An eagle at the last not only gave him a sub-60 round; it helped him win the tournament.
Thomas Bonk, Golf Digest: That was when David Duval was really at the top of his game and he was a true challenger to Tiger.
Rich Lerner, Golf Channel: There was always something mysterious about David Duval. He was Robogolfer. He was the man behind the shades.
No. 3 ' Arnold Palmer, Final Round 1960 U.S. Open
Trailing by seven to start the final round at Cherry Hills, Palmer, angered by a member of the media who felt he could not win, drives the first hole and two-putts for birdie. The rest is history as Palmer shoots 65 and wins his first and only U.S. Open title.
Rand Jerris, director of the USGA's museum and archives: 1960 was an important year in Arnold's career, an important year for the game. He wins the Masters early in the year and really it's the U.S. Open at Cherry Hills in Denver that Palmer comes to define himself.
Bob Drum, Pittsburgh Press: We sat down and (Palmer) said, 'Well, what do you think a 65 will do?' I said, 'It's not going to do you any good.'
No. 2 ' Johnny Miller, Final Round 1973 U.S. Open
It's been called the single greatest round of golf ever played. Or, in our case, the second greatest round of golf ever played. After hearing a voice in his head telling him to open his stance, Miller hits all 18 greens on the par-71 Oakmont course, makes nine birdies to one bogey, and shoots 63 ' a score that has been duplicated, but never surpassed in a men's major. Having started the day six back, he wins by one shot over John Schlee.
Dr. Robert Winters, sports psychologist: What people don't remember is that he was battling the nerves with his putter, big time.
David Stein, sports radio broadcaster: What I love about Johnny Miller's 63 is how emotional he gets today when he describes it.
Johnny Miller, 1973 U.S. Open champion: It was one of those rounds that I ... I don't know why it happened to me, it just did. That's all.
No. 1 ' Jack Nicklaus, Final Round 1986 Masters
The greatest round had to come from the greatest player who ever lived. At age 46, Nicklaus shoots an improbable 65 in the final round of the Masters to claim his record sixth career green jacket.
Bill Fields, Golf Digest: He played a very ordinary front nine, couldn't get anything going. But, you know, the back nine was a different matter. It was as if it was scripted.
Jeff Rude, Golfweek: He shot 65. He beat a whole bunch of good players. He beat (Seve) Ballesteros. He beat (Tom) Kite. He beat (Greg) Norman. He was beating Hall of Famers. And to do it at 46, when people thought he was washed up, nothing moved the golf Richter scale like that round.
Michael Arkush, golf author: I don't think we've had a major championship, a two-hour stretch of golf on television that was as compelling and captivating as that afternoon in April of 1986.
"The Men In Blazers" Hosting Nightly Show From The Open, July 18-22 on NBCSN
Show to Include Off-beat Interviews, Unique Features and Men In Blazers Distinctive Takes on The Open
Culminating in France’s thrilling win on Sunday, NBC Sports’ critically-acclaimed The Men In Blazers – Roger Bennett and Michael Davies – have spent the past month breaking down all of the action surrounding the FIFA World Cup. However, there will be no rest for the duo as they leave behind their Panic Room studio in the “crap part of SoHo” in Manhattan to host a nightly show in conjunction with The 147TH Open. The show will feature the pair’s signature, unconventional style in providing unique takes on golf’s original championship while “sporting an arsenal of the finest golf sweaters that could be found on eBay.” Originating from Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland, Men In Blazers will air nightly on NBCSN Wednesday, July 18 through Sunday, July 22.
In addition to delivering a series of features for NBC Sports’ coverage surrounding The Open, the nightly Men In Blazers show on NBCSN will offer expanded highlights following each round; off-beat interviews, special guests and cameos; along with non-traditional stories highlighting cultural elements relevant to Carnoustie and The Open.
“Both Davo and I grew up with The Open being the heartbeat of our sporting year,” said Bennett. “To cover it from that beautiful monster that is Carnoustie is the honor of a lifetime. We look forward to savoring every attempt to tame Hogan’s Alley, the futile battle between man and nature, and all those ‘subtle’ Ian Poulter wardrobe changes, in equal measure.”
Dedicated features being showcased over the duration of the week include: a retrospect on past Opens having been staged at Carnoustie; an in-depth recollection of the unforgettable 1999 Open; an introduction to the second-oldest golf shop in the world; a history lesson on Carnoustie and its influence on golf around the world; and an examination of Carnoustie’s local delicacy known as “bridies”.
MEN IN BLAZERS AIRTMES FOR THE 147TH OPEN WEEK (All Times EST)
Wednesday, July 18 11-11:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Thursday, July 19 11-11:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Friday, July 20 1-1:30 a.m. (NBCSN, Saturday overnight)
Saturday, July 21 11:30 p.m.-Midnight (NBCSN)
Sunday, July 22 10-10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Woods delofts 2-iron to use off Carnoustie tees
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods has been effective this season hitting a 2-iron off many tees, reverting to a version of the stinger shot he made so popular.
This week at baked out and brown Carnoustie he went to the next level, adding a new 2-iron to his bag that he bent to 17 degrees, down from his normal 20-degree version.
“I took a few degrees off of it, just trying to be able to have the ability to chase one down there,” he explained on Tuesday.
Woods said he still carries the club about the same distance, from 245 to 250 yards, but “it gets to its final destination much differently [on the ground].”
“Obviously, it rolls out whereas mine back home, I've generally liked having it 20 degrees because I can hit the ball into the par 5s as an option,” he said. “This one's not really designed for hitting the ball in the air to par 5s as an option. It's more of a driving club.”
After playing two practice rounds, Woods said he wasn’t sure how much he would use the new 2-iron given the dry conditions which have led to ridiculously long tee shots, and he said he might adjust the club more if the course doesn’t slow down.
“If it softens up, it could be a good club,” he said. “If it doesn't soften up, then I might just add a degree to it and keep it a little softer and not have it so hot.”
The Open is the second consecutive event where Woods has added to his bag. At The National earlier this month, he went with a new mallet-headed putter that he plans to continue to use this week.
Europeans out to end the recent American dominance
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In golf’s biggest events, the Americans have left the rest of the world feeling red, white and mostly blue.
If you’re wondering whether the U.S. currently holds a meaningful title, the answer is probably yes.
Golf’s four majors? Yep.
The Ryder Cup? Indeed.
The No. 1 player in the world? Absolutely.
The Presidents, Solheim, Walker, Palmer and Curtis Cups? Uh-huh.
It’s been a popular talking point at the men’s majors, as Europe’s finest players have been peppered about why they’ve all seemingly fallen under Uncle Sam’s spell.
After all, the Americans haven’t ripped off five major wins in a row like this since 1981-82 – when Justin Rose was still in diapers.
“I don’t know what I’d put it to down to,” the Englishman said Tuesday, “other than the American boys in the world rankings and on the golf course are performing really, really well. The top end of American golf right now is incredibly strong.”
Since 2000, the Americans have taken titles at eight of the nine courses on the modern Open rota. The only one they’ve yet to conquer is Carnoustie, and that’s probably because they’ve only had one crack at it, in 2007, when an Irishman, Padraig Harrington, prevailed in a playoff.
Not since Tom Watson in 1975 has a U.S. player survived Carnoustie, arguably the most difficult links on the planet. But Americans ranging from Dustin Johnson to Tiger Woods comprise six of the oddsmakers' top 10 favorites, all listed at 25/1 or better.
“America, there’s no doubt about it, and there’s no other way to put it, other than they have an exceptional bunch of players at the moment,” Tommy Fleetwood said. “It just so happens that it has been a run of American golfers that have won majors, but at the same time, they’ve generally been the best players in the world at the time that they’ve won them.
“You don’t really look at them as a nationality. You just look at them as players and people, and you can understand why they’re the ones winning the majors.”
Indeed, there’s not a fluke among them.
Since this American run began last summer at Erin Hills, Brooks Koepka (twice), Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed have hoisted trophies. All were inside the top 25 in the world when they won. All were multiple-time winners on the world stage before that major. And all, most ominously for Europe, were 29 or younger.
“There’s a bit of camaraderie amongst all of them,” Rose said. “I know Brooks and Dustin are incredibly close, and you’ve got Rickie (Fowler) and Justin Thomas and Jordan as a group are all really close. It’s working really well for them. They’re spurring each other on.”
That’s why there’s even more anticipation than usual for the Ryder Cup. The Americans haven’t won on foreign soil in a quarter century, but this band of brothers is better and closer than those who have tried and failed before them. Couple that with a few aging stars on the European side, and there’s a growing sense that the Americans could be on the verge of a dominant stretch.
That should sound familiar.
During an eight-major span in 2010-11, the most common refrain was: What’s Wrong with American Golf? International players captured seven consecutive majors, including six in a row at one point. They took over the top spot in the world rankings. They turned the Ryder Cup into a foregone conclusion. In the fall of 2010, Colin Montgomerie pounded his chest and declared that there’d been a “changing of the guard over to Europe,” and it was hard to find fault in his reasoning.
“European golf was very healthy a few years ago for a long time,” McIlroy said. “It seemed like every major someone from the island of Ireland turned up to, we were winning it. It doesn’t seem that long ago.”
Because it wasn’t.
So even though it’s been more than a year since an International player held any title of consequence, these types of runs are cyclical, and Europe in particular has no shortage of contenders.
Major drought or not, McIlroy is a threat every time he tees it up. Rose turns 38 in two weeks, but he’s playing arguably the best golf of his career, recording a top-10 finish in a ridiculous 17 of his past 21 starts. Fleetwood is fresh off a runner-up finish at the U.S. Open, where he closed with 63. Jon Rahm is a top-5 machine. Alex Noren just won on the Ryder Cup course in France.
“I think Tommy, clearly, showed how close the Europeans are to challenging that dominance as well,” Rose said. “So it’s not like we’re a mile behind. It’s just that they’re on a great run right now, and there’s no reason why a European player shouldn’t come through this week.”
Links to the past: Tiger's return revives Open memories
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods rekindles his love affair with links golf this week at Carnoustie, which seems about right considering his introduction to the ancient ways of the game began here on the Angus coast.
It was here on the most brutal of the Open Championship rota courses that a 19-year-old Tiger first played links golf at the 1995 Scottish Open, an eye-opening and enlightening experience.
“I remember my dad on the range with me, saying, ‘Are you ever going to hit the ball past the 100 yard sign?’” Woods recalled on Tuesday at Carnoustie, his first start at The Open since 2015. “I said, ‘No, I'm just enjoying this. Are you kidding me? This is the best.’”
During this most recent comeback, Tiger has been all smiles. A new, relaxed version of his former self made calm and approachable by age and the somber influence of injury. But this week has been different.
During a practice round with Justin Thomas on Monday he laughed his way all the way around the brown and bouncy seaside layout. Much of that had to do with his return to the unique ways of links golf, the creative left side of his brain taking the wheel from the normally measured right side for one glorious week.
He talked of game plans and strategic advantages on a parched pitch that has seen drives rolling out over 400 yards. At his core, Tiger is a golf nerd for all the right reasons and this kind of cerebral test brings out the best of that off-the-charts golf IQ.
Although there are no shortages of defining moments in Tiger’s career and one can make all sorts of arguments for what would be his seminal moment – from the 1997 Masters to the 2008 U.S. Open –the 2006 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool stands out, based on near-perfect execution.
In ’06 at Liverpool, which played to a similar shade of dusty yellow as Carnoustie will this week, Tiger hit just a single driver, opting instead for a steady diet of long irons off tees. For the week he hit 48 of 56 fairways, 58 of 72 greens and rolled the field for a two-stroke victory and his third, and most recent, claret jug.
This Open has all the makings of a similar tactical tour de force. For this championship he’s put a new 2-iron into play that’s more like a strong 1-iron (17 degrees) and imagines, given the conditions, a similar low, running menu.
“It could be that way,” Woods said when asked the similarities between this week’s conditions and the ’06 championship. “I'm not going to hit that many long clubs off the tees, just because I hit a 3-iron on Monday, down 18, I went 333 [yards]. It can get quick out here.”
If Tiger ever needed a major championship confidence boost the Carnoustie Open would be it, an inspiring walk down memory lane to a time when he was the undisputed king of golf.
“[The ’06 Open] is the closest you can compare to this,” David Duval said. “But I struggle to remember that golf course being as fast as this one. It was close, but this one is something else.”
Ernie Els had a slightly different take, albeit one that was no less ominous to the rest of the field this week.
“Liverpool is on a sand hill, this has a bit more run to it,” Els said. “But it’s got the same feel. It’s almost like St. Andrews was in 2000. Very, very fast.”
It’s worth noting that Tiger also won that ’00 Open at the Home of Golf with an even more dominant performance. It is the unique challenges of the links test that make many, even Tiger, consider the Open Championship his best chance to continue his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors.
More than any other Grand Slam gathering, The Open is blind to age and the notion of players competing past their prime. In 2008 at Royal Birkdale, then-53-year-old Greg Norman flirted with the lead until the very end, finishing tied for third; a year later at Turnberry, Tom Watson came within one hole of history at 59 years young.
“It certainly can be done,” Woods said. “You get to places like Augusta National, where it's just a big ballpark, and the golf course outgrows you, unfortunately. That's just the way it goes. But links-style golf courses, you can roll the ball. Even if I get a little bit older, I can still chase some wood or long club down there and hit the ball the same distance.”
Whether this is the week Tiger gets back into the Grand Slam game depends on his ability to replicate those performances from years past on a similarly springy course. As he exited the media center bound for the practice putting green on Tuesday he seemed renewed by the cool sea breeze and the unique challenges of playing the game’s oldest championship.
Coming back to Carnoustie is more than a reintroduction to links golf; for Tiger it’s starting to feel like a bona fide restart to his major career.