Like Father Like Son

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 12, 2003, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- The kid is not stagestruck.
Ricky Barnes might be at the Masters, instead of watching it on TV with his roommates at the University of Arizona, the way he has the last three years. And the guy playing alongside him might be Tiger Woods, instead of just another college senior whose monthly living expenses don't equal Woods' cleaning bill. And judging by the scores, Augusta National might be playing longer and tougher than it has at any time in the last 15 years.
But the kid does not scare easily.
After completing 28 holes Friday, he was at 1-under and clinging to fourth place.
'If you come out here ready to settle for a missed cut or something like that,' Barnes said, 'you're out here for the wrong reason.'
At least Barnes comes by his bravado honestly, same as his athletic pedigree.
His father, Bruce, played two seasons in the NFL as a punter for the New England Patriots, and older brother Andy, who is carrying his bag, played on the Canadian tour and is spending this season playing Monday qualifiers on the PGA Tour.
Talk about growing up in a competitive household: the brothers have been playing against each other since Ricky was as tall as a putter and now he's 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds. They went head-to-head two months ago at the Tucson Open, and the desire to zing each other hasn't subsided one bit.
Coming off the 18th hole after his opening round 69 - seven shots better than playing partner Woods - someone asked Andy Barnes whether Ricky was young enough to ignore the pressure that was mounting.
'He's just dumb enough ... ' Andy began.
But his questioner cut him off with, 'I said 'young enough.''
'I heard what you said,' Andy said, flashing an ever-widening grin.
The only thing that really matters at the moment, though, is whether Ricky Barnes is good enough to hold his place among the pros, as opposed to the college crowd he's been running with. Phil Mickelson, who played his college golf at nearby rival Arizona State, has watched Barnes long enough to vouch for him.
'I wouldn't be surprised if he stayed there for 72 holes. In fact,' Mickelson said, 'I expect that type of play out of him.'
Barnes didn't know what to expect when he arrived at the Masters. The only thing that worried him in the least was getting his opening tee shot into the fairway. So naturally, Woods sidled over, said, 'Relax, things are going to be OK. It's going to be a long day.'
Sure enough, Barnes short-armed his opening swing and sent a hook skidding into the left rough. Being the cool character he is, Barnes promptly found it and knocked it on the green. Tiger sidled up a second time.
'He said, 'See'' Barnes recalled, 'and I was like, 'OK.''
OK doesn't quite capture the up-and-down quality of Barnes' day. He was great in the lousy weather that dominated the morning and not so great in the benign conditions of the afternoon. The only constant was that he followed all but one of his bogeys with a birdie at the next hole, and after making a double at the 14th, he nearly eagled No. 15.
'That's what I was most proud about,' Barnes said.
It was harder to say what made Bruce and Cathy Barnes proudest.
His mother, a schoolteacher, probably was most impressed by his demeanor
'He was a hothead growing up, but now we think it's because he's such a perfectionist. It's one reason why he reminds me of Tiger Woods.'
His length off the tee is another. But that's not what impressed his father.
'It's probably his imagination,' Bruce Barnes said. 'When he gets into trouble, he can be really creative. He's got a short game I'd kill for. He had that early on.'
That's one reason why Bruce didn't mind that Ricky's last competitive football game was his freshman year in high school.
'I never pushed them in that direction. I knew for a fact unless you're really good AND really lucky, the chances of a long career in the NFL are really bad.'
Besides, nobody in the family ever lacked for competitive juices. Though Ricky gave up basketball in high school as well, he still plays pickup games at school, where one of his roommates was starting Wildcat forward Rich Anderson.
'That's why,' Barnes said, pointing, 'I have these six stitches over my eye.'
If the apple really doesn't fall from the tree, it's easy to see where Ricky learned his deadpan delivery. Asked about his NFL career, his dad summed it up this way:
'I got picked the same year the Patriots took Sam Cunningham, John Hannah and Darryl Stingley. It was a pretty good draft,' he recalled, 'except for me.'
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”

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Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

Hoylake in 2006.

That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

“The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”