Long Haul at US Womens Open

By Golf Channel NewsroomJuly 1, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 U.S. WomenSOUTH HADLEY, Mass. -- The only shortcut at this U.S. Women's Open is from the putting green to the clubhouse.
 
Players got reacquainted with their drivers during their practice rounds, and even the long hitters found they have their work cut out for them.
 
Orchards Golf Club is 6,473 yards and plays even longer because of the moist grass, gentle bends in the tree-lined fairways and elevated greens that must be carried to certain spots.
 
Rosie Jones summed up the course in four words.
 
'Long, long, long,' she said, 'and long.'
 
The long road to finding a winner of the most prestigious event in women's golf started Thursday, with Annika Sorenstam and Grace Park among the favorites, and Michelle Wie and Paula Creamer among the record 16 teenagers in the 156-player field.
 
It won't be anything like last year.
 
The Orchards is the opposite of Pumpkin Ridge in Oregon, where the longest Women's Open course in history at 6,550 yards played as one of the shortest because of crusty, dry conditions.
 
'At Pumpkin Ridge, I hit three drivers. This is 6,400 yards, and I'm only hitting two or three 3-woods,' two-time Open champ Juli Inkster said. 'There's a big difference in hitting wedges into par 4s. But you've still got to get the ball in the fairway.'
 
No one will be hitting wedges into the last two par 4s, unless it's their third shot.
 
No. 16 is 439 yards - unusually long for women's golf - with a bowl-shaped green fronted by a creek. The 18th is among the most demanding with more water cutting diagonally through the 412-yard hole, and the two-tiered green is a steep uphill finish.
 
'The last three holes, you play those in even par for the week and you'll be in contention,' Karrie Webb said.
 
The challenging conditions are in contrast to the quiet New England charm of the course. Small winding roads through tiny New England towns that lead to the Orchards, a course built for a woman and owned by female-only Mount Holyoke College.
 
Joseph Skinner, a textile magnate, wanted a place for his daughter to play and commissioned Donald Ross to build it in 1922.
 
The clubhouse is an understated, three-story Colonial. The practice green is no bigger than a two-car garage.
 
Only when they set foot on the course do they get a rude reminder what is at stake. The Women's Open is the toughest test they face all year, and this is no exception.
 
'It closes down the opportunity for people to win,' Beth Daniel said Wednesday. 'There are very few players who can win this tournament on this golf course.'
 
That wasn't the case last year at Pumpkin Ridge, where conditions opened up the Open to just about every variety of game, and the winner - Hilary Lunke - emerged from a three-way playoff despite having to use metal woods to reach some of the par 4s.
 
Because the Orchards is playing long, the advantage goes to big hitters who are trying to capture the $560,000 first-place check from the $3.1 million purse, the richest in women's golf.
 
'This is the biggest tournament we have, and it would mean a lot,' said Sorenstam, who hasn't won the Open in eight years and wasted a great chance last year by making a bogey-6 on the final hole to finish one shot out of the playoff.
 
For the second straight year, the Women's Open looks like a day-care center. The 16 teenagers are two more than the previous record set last year at Pumpkin Ridge.
 
Wie is getting most of the attention because she has become the most celebrated teen in golf, and because the USGA afforded her special treatment by giving her an exemption from qualifying. Even at 14, the prodigy from Hawaii already has a rival in the same age group - Creamer, who finished second on the LPGA Tour two weeks ago.
 
'I'm playing good golf,' Creamer said. 'It's not my best but, you know, I definitely think I can win this year.'
 
No one doubts Wie, Creamer and 18-year-old Aree Song have the game to win the biggest tournament. Song, a rookie on the LPGA Tour, came close to winning the first major of the year.
 
About the only player being written off is Lunke.
 
Not only was Pumpkin Ridge her biggest victory, it was her only victory. In fact, Lunke has never finished in the top 10 at any other professional tournament.
 
Add to that the length at Orchards, and it compounds the difficulty. Lunke has yet to reach the par-4 16th and 18th holes in two shots during her practice rounds.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Women's Open
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    How to watch The Open on TV and online

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 8:40 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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    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 17, 2018, 8:40 am

    Tiger Woods is competing in his first Open Championship since 2015. We're tracking him this week at Carnoustie.


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    The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 8:30 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.

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    Thirty players have drivers tested by R&A

    By Tim RosaforteJuly 17, 2018, 1:00 am

    Thirty players, including seven major champions, arrived at the 147th Open and received a letter from the R&A notifying them to bring their respective drivers to the equipment standards office located on Carnoustie’s practice ground by 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

    Keegan Bradley, Brendan Steele and Brooks Koepka all confirmed that their drivers all passed the COR test (coefficient of restitution, or spring-like effect) administered by the R&A.


    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    This was the first time the R&A took measures that were not part of the distance insight project being done in conjunction with the USGA.

    The PGA Tour has been testing club for approximately five years but has not done random testing to this point.  The Tour’s rules department works in conjunction with manufacturers and tests clubs from manufacturer fans at tournaments on a voluntary basis. The USGA assists the PGA Tour in this process.