Calcavecchia Remembers Troon in 89

By Golf Channel NewsroomJuly 13, 2004, 4:00 pm
TROON, Scotland -- Mark Calcavecchia left Royal Troon 15 years ago with a claret jug and the bright promise of other majors to come. He's back this week still seeking his second major championship, but now Calcavecchia acknowledges it will take something short of a miracle for him to do it again.
 
'I would have thought for sure I'd have had at least one more major by now,' Calcavecchia said. 'I don't think I'm done, by any stretch, but at this point I wouldn't say 'underachiever' would be a definition, but I should have won far more.'
 
Calcavecchia was 29 and a budding star when he beat Greg Norman in an odd playoff that ended with Norman not even finishing the final hole.
 
It seemed a given he would be a major factor in the 1990s. But, though Calcavecchia's won assorted tournaments, he's yet to win the ones every player wants most.
 
Calcavecchia isn't sure where the time has gone. He's had a respectable career, but yearns for more.
 
He's back at the scene of his greatest triumph this week knowing time is running out. He also knows this: If he could somehow, some way, find a way to win another Open, it would be even sweeter at age 44.
 
After making a handful of birdies Monday in a practice round, he cautioned against counting him out.
 
'I've still got a lot of good shots in me, and we can still wreak some havoc somewhere,' Calcavecchia said. 'Hopefully, six days from now a miracle could happen.'
 
Miracle might be the right word for Calcavecchia, who has struggled this year with only one top-10 finish in 13 tournaments. He's a feel player who hasn't felt well on the course recently, and he admits he needs to lose some weight and get in better shape to compete on a weekly basis.
 
That wasn't the case in 1989 when he birdied the final hole in regulation and the final hole of a four-hole playoff to cost Norman yet another major.
 
'Obviously the greatest thing that's ever happened to me in the game of golf,' Calcavecchia said.
 
He and Norman were tied going into the final hole of the four-hole playoff when his tee shot that was going way right bounced safely off a spectator and left him with an open shot to the green.
 
Norman, on the other hand, watched in disbelief as his perfectly struck tee shot rolled and rolled into a fairway bunker he thought was unreachable. After watching Calcavecchia stick his second shot 5 feet away, he tried for a miracle shot and reached a greenside bunker, then hit that shot out of bounds.
 
It left a stunned Calcavecchia holding the claret jug - which still contains his name.
 
He's never really contended again for a major, though he finished fourth in the 2001 Masters and PGA.
 
'Being 44 years old and winning this tournament - or winning any major - would mean far more today than it did 15 years ago, at least in my position and my mind,' he said. 'But that was a great day for me. And I remember it very well.'
 
Tiger Woods also remembers winning majors well. But that memory is fading as he tries not to extend a streak of eight majors in a row he hasn't won.
 
Woods won in 2000 at St. Andrews, contended at Royal St. George last year and would like nothing better than to make this his ninth major championship.
 
On Monday, he walked to the 10th tee at the far end of Royal Troon and turned to face a freshening breeze off the Irish Sea. Glancing back at the first nine holes he played, Woods grinned and said, 'That was a nice little course, wasn't it?'
 
Then, staring ahead at a blind tee shot over mounds of prickly gorse bushes on a 438-yard hole that begins one of the most daunting back nines in the British Open, Woods said sternly, 'This is where it starts.'
 
'That was the JV,' he added. 'This is the varsity.'
 
Perhaps no other links in the British Open has two nines that are more diverse.
 
The outward nine plays with the prevailing wind and is only 3,462 yards with two par 5s, one of them reachable in two with as little as a 7-iron. The inward nine is 3,713 yards and plays into the teeth of the wind, yet it has only one par 5.
 
'You're going to see a lot of birdies and sure enough some eagles on the front nine,' Calcavecchia said. 'But then you get to the 10th tee, and the fun starts. If the wind is blowing pretty good, which I hope it does, I've got to believe the back nine will play ... five shots harder.'
 
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    Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 12:34 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.

    Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.

    “We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.

    Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.

    “It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”

    It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.

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    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

    Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.


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    McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

    McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

    But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

    Said Harmon:

    “Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

    “This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

    McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

    “Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

    McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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    How The Open cut line is determined

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

    Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

    The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    • After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

    • There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

    • There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

    The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.