Kite Increases Distance as a Champion

By Golf Channel NewsroomAugust 26, 2003, 4:00 pm
Tom Kite hasnt broken through to the winners circle this year, but the signs of late have been most encouraging. As the Champions Tour prepares to launch its final major Thursday ' the JELD-WEN Tradition - Kite has three top-10 finishes in his last five tournaments.
Kite has won six times on the Champions Tour over-all since he broke in 2000. Since that inauguration, he has been positively super-human in launching the ball. After hitting it around 260 yards during most of his regular-tour career, he has gained an additional 20 yards as a senior. Kite is averaging nearly 280 (279.9) yards per pop this year.
Now, the 53-year-old can joke about how much extra distance he is getting. Actually, Im just standing. As soon as I hit, I walk backwards, he said to a room full of laughter.
But there is not doubt that he is stronger, both with the golf clubs and in the exercise room. When it was almost time for him to hit the trail for the Champions Tour after 19 wins on the PGA Tour, he embarked on a strenuous exercise program. And he also has dialed in the right settings on his equipment.
In my case, obviously the equipment has a lot to do with it, lightweight drivers and lightweight shafts, Kite said. The Pro V1 golf ball, and everything everybody is using right now. The new technology obviously has a lot to do with the distance that everybody is hitting it.
One of the things that I've been able to do is gain ground on the field, and that's through a pretty nice exercise program that I got on a number of years ago that helped me swing the club a little bit better. So, I'm hitting the ball quite a bit further than I used to.

Monster-long, you might say. He stands 13th on the Champions Tour driving distance statistics. But just dont say it where Kite can hear you.
Monster long, I'm not, he said with a grin. Don't even go there.
And the physical activity is somewhat new to him, though he has always exercised in some form. But new knowledge gained over the last decade has placed exercise squarely in the front of the to-do list.
We were a generation ahead of all the fitness, Kite explained.
When I was growing up, it was considered bad for your golf to exercise. As great a teacher as Harvey Penick was, one of his things was, Let's don't do any exercise program, let's don't get in the gym.
He discouraged me from doing that, but that was the general thought that everybody had back then. They didn't want to build up any muscles because you would lose the flexibility. The flexibility was considered more important than the strength.
Gary Player was considered a - I almost hate to say revolutionary because he was considered almost freakish. Why would you do that? He was way ahead of his time, in going to that extreme to work out, but most people considered that to be foolish for your golf. We see that he's still competing, where people that are younger than he is are struggling to stay healthy. So he was way ahead.
Now, everybody does it. If you don't do it, you really have no chance to compete now because, as Tom (Watson) alluded to back there, Tiger and all these other guys, they are in great shape, and if you're not spending some time in the gym working on your strength, flexibility, and speed, then you're not giving yourself a chance at all.
Kite says he has trained mostly on speed work. He has gained strength, yes, but even more so, he has gained quickness in his movements.
The things that have helped me a lot is training to go faster, he said. A lot of drills that the basketball players use to train their muscles to go very quickly, to train their bodies to go quick; not so much - I mean there is strength in the exercises, but really training yourself to go fast. That's the thing that helped me a lot.
Kite has worked extensively with Todd Wright, who is the strength coach of the mens basketball program at the University of Texas.
He wears me out, Kite said in an interview last year. We get together in the off-season and he absolutely just kicks my rear up one cheek and down the other.
But its a wonderful program that has added muscle, reduced fat and added speed to my body. Its really changed the way that I work out. And a lot of the distance that Ive been able to gain, the credit can be given to Todd and the program that hes developed for me.
So some of it is technology, some of it is blood, sweat and tear and blood and guts in the gym. Those are two things that have made a difference.
Related Links:
  • Tom Kite's Bio
  • JELD-WEN Tradition
  • More Champions Tour Preview Information
  • Getty Images

    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 22, 2018, 2:30 pm

    Tiger Woods is under par in the final round of the 147th Open Championship and stalking the lead. We're tracking him on Sunday at Carnoustie.

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    Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 22, 2018, 11:00 am

    NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

    Saturday, Day 3 (Times ET)

    7AM-3PM (Watch): Jordan Spieth fired 65 to move into a three-way share of the 54-hole lead, while Tiger Woods (66) played his way into contention. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler and Thorbjorn Olesen.

    4:30-7AM (Watch): Sunny skies and birdies were on the menu early in Round 3, as Justin Rose made his way around Carnoustie in 64 strokes. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Henrik Stenson and Bryson DeChambeau.

    Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

    8:20AM-3PM (Watch): As the skies cleared on Friday afternoon, defending champion Jordan Spieth made a run to try and regain the claret jug. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

    1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith.

    Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

    Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

    1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.

    Getty Images

    How to watch The Open on TV and online

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 22, 2018, 8:30 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  

    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; or check the GLE app)

    Monday, July 16

    GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

    GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

    GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

    Tuesday, July 17

    GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

    Wednesday, July 18

    GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

    Thursday, July 19

    GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

    GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

    Friday, July 20

    GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

    Saturday, July 21

    GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

    NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

    Sunday, July 22

    GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

    NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

    GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (

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    Schauffele just fine being the underdog

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

    Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

    Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

    Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

    “All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”