Looking Back at the First-Timers Part 1

By Golf Channel NewsroomNovember 6, 2002, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)First-time winners were more frequent than inclement weather this season on the PGA Tour. Eighteen players recorded their maiden tour victories, with three winning on multiple occasions. That number easily broke the old tour record of 14, set in 1991.
 
From Jerry Kelly winning the first full-field event to Luke Donald winning the last, here is a brief look at the first nine this season. Tomorrow we'll make the turn and look at the second nine.
 

Jerry Kelly
 
The 36-year-old Wisconsin won his first PGA Tour event in his 200th career start. He birdied the par-5 18th to defeat John Cook by a single shot in the Sony Hawaii Open. Kelly added his second title in July at the Advil Western Open, and ended the season sixth on the money list with nearly $3 million ' roughly what he made the last four years combined.
 

Matt Gogel
 
Gogel earned the most redemptive victory of the season when he captured the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He was the helpless victim to Tiger Woods seven-shot comeback in 2000. He then took a three-stroke lead into the weekend in 2001, only to shoot 81 on Saturday. This time, he birdied the 72nd hole from 45 feet, while Pat Perez self-destructed with a triple-bogey-8.
 
That was easily the highlight of Gogels season. He recorded only a pair of top-10 finishes over his final 21 starts. The $720,000 he collected at Pebble comprised 66 percent of his yearly intake.
 

Len Mattiace
 
He was best known as the man who lost the 1998 Players Championship when he put two in the water on 17 that Sunday; that was until this years Nissan Open. It took over seven years and 220 events for Mattiace to get win No. 1, but it only took 13 more starts to get win No. 2. Mattiaces FedEx St. Jude victory was part of a career-best year in which he earned over $2 million, and finished for the first time, at 18th, inside the top 60 on the money list.
 

Kevin Sutherland
 
It started with a come-from-behind, 20-hole upset over David Duval. It ended with a 1-up win over Scott McCarron, and a $1 million paycheck. Sutherland defeated Duval, Paul McGinley, Jim Furyk, David Toms, Brad Faxon and McCarron to win the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.
 
Sutherland was seeded 62nd among the 64 participants. It was his first victory since joining the tour in 1996. He notched only one more top-10 over the remainder of the season, however, earning just over half of what he made that one week at La Costa.
 

Ian Leggatt
 
The same week that Sutherland danced in the debutante's ball, so too did Ian Leggatt. The now 37-year-old Canadian won the Touchstone Energy Tucson Open, which was played simultaneously to the Match Play Championship.
 
Leggatt recorded sparse results the remainder of the year, with five top-20s, five missed cuts, and two withdrawals. He finished the year 47th on the money list.
 

Matt Kuchar
 
The 1997 U.S. Amateur champion won the Honda Classic by combining a four-hole birdie stretch on the back nine Sunday with a handful of difficult par saves. The victory was rewarding in more ways than the $630,000 check. Kuchar silenced critics who said he made a career mistake by not turning professional after his early amateur success.
 
After earning his 2002 card through sponsor's exemptions, Kuchar made over $1.2 million this year to finish 49th in the cash department.
 

Craig Perks
 
Chip-in eagle at 16; 25-foot birdie at 17; chip-in par save at 18; thats the way Perks concluded his remarkable victory in The Players Championship. The New Zealander, ranked 203rd in the world at the start of the week, won in his first appearance in the tours most important non-major event. He made $1,080,000 for his maiden triumph, but missed 10 of his final 19 cuts to miss The Tour Championship, and end the season 34th in earnings.
 

K.J. Choi
 
Choi became the first Korean-born player to win a PGA Tour event by cruising to a four-stroke victory in the Compaq Classic of New Orleans. To prove that wasnt a fluke, he also won the Tampa Bay Classic. Choi earned over $2 million in just his third season on tour, finishing 17th on the money list.
 

Chris Smith
 
Smith finally secured a spot in the big leagues after bouncing back and forth for the past seven years between the primary circuit and the developmental tour. He won the Buick Classic to garner a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour. He finished the year with $1.36 million, nearly doubling his career tour earnings.
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Woods: New putter should help on slower greens

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:35 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods’ ice-cold putting showed at least a few signs of heating up earlier this month at The National, where he switched putters and ranked seventh in the field on the greens.

The mallet-style putter is still in the bag as Woods prepares for The Open, and he’s hoping the heavier model with grooves will prove valuable at Carnoustie.


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“To be honest with you, I’ve struggled on slower greens throughout my entire career,” Woods said Tuesday. “So for me, it’s going to help on these greens, for sure.”

To combat the slower greens, Woods usually applied a strip of lead tape to his putter. But this heavier model of putter doesn’t need the extra weight, and the grooves on the putter face allow the ball to get rolling faster and hotter.

“You don’t necessarily have to do that with the grooves,” he said of the lead tape. “When I putted with the Nike putter, I didn’t have to put lead tape on the putter to get a little more weight to it. I could just leave it just the way it was. This is the same type.”  

For all of the talk about his putting woes this season, Woods still ranks 56th in strokes gained: putting. More crucial this week: He’s 102nd in approach putt performance, which quantifies how well a player lag putts.

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Woods: Open best chance for long-term major success

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:26 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods is more than a decade removed from his last major title, but he said Tuesday that The Open is the major that gives him the best chance for long-term success.

“I would say yes, because of the fact that you don’t have to be long to play on a links-style golf course,” Woods said during his pre-tournament news conference. “It certainly can be done.”


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Woods pointed to the late-career success for both Greg Norman (2008) and Tom Watson (2009), both of whom challenged for the claret jug deep into their 50s.

“Distance becomes a moot point on a links-style golf course,” he said.

That’s certainly not the case, however, at the Masters, where bombers long have thrived, or the U.S. Open, which places a premium on long and straight driving.

“You get to places like Augusta National, which is just a big ballpark, and the golf course outgrows you, unfortunately,” he said. “But links-style courses, you can roll the ball. I hit a 3-iron that went down there 330. 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.”

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"Vantage Point with Mike Tirico" set to debut Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJuly 17, 2018, 10:15 am

Special Hour Complementing the Network’s Week-Long Golf Central Live From The Open News Coverage; Premiere Scheduled to Include Interview with 2014 Open Runner-Up Rickie Fowler On-Site from Carnoustie

Features Include Tirico and Curtis Strange Re-watching ’99 Open at Carnoustie & Jim “Bones” Mackay Facilitating Exclusive Conversation with Caddies Michael Greller, John Wood Recounting Final Round Pairing at 2017 Open

To help set the table ahead of The 147TH Open at Carnoustie, Golf Channel will premiere Vantage Point with Mike Tirico on Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET. An extension of the network’s week-long Golf Central Live From The Open comprehensive news coverage, Vantage Point will revisit landmark moments in The Open’s history, uncover personal stories relevant to the fabric of the week and feature a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year” on golf’s original championship.

“It’s a thrill to be going back to The Open again this year, which is a fitting setting to launch this new opportunity,” said Tirico, NBC Sports host who this week will celebrate his 22nd consecutive year covering The Open. “I love being a part of the Golf Channel team during golf’s biggest weeks, and anticipate contributing to our commitment to great storytelling with Vantage Point.”

Kicking off the premiere of Vantage Point will be Tirico’s exclusive interview with 2014 Open runner-up and 2015 PLAYERS champion Rickie Fowler on-site from Carnoustie. One of Fowler’s favorite events, he has missed just one cut in eight previous appearances at The Open. Other highlights within the show include:

  • Jim “Bones” Mackay facilitating an exclusive conversation between caddies Michael Greller (Jordan Spieth) and John Wood (Matt Kuchar) recounting the final round pairing at The Open last July.
  • Tirico hosting a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year”: David Duval, Tom Lehman and Justin Leonard.
  • A recollection of one of the most unforgettable collapses in major championship golf, when Jean van de Velde surrendered a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole in 1999 at The Open. Tirico and Curtis Strange – both on the live tournament broadcast that year for ABC/ESPN – recently re-watched the telecast together for the first time since calling it live.

 

“This is harder to watch than I thought it was going to be. I’ve never seen anything like

that in my life. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that again.” – Curtis Strange

 

“I think I got caught up in the whole deal and felt human for the guy.” – Mike Tirico

 

Vantage Point with Mike Tirico will complement the network’s Golf Central Live From The Open, which will feature nearly 60 hours of comprehensive news coverage from Carnoustie. In total, NBC Sports will dedicate more than 350 hours to showcasing the third men’s major championship of the year, including nearly 50 live hours of the network’s Emmy-nominated tournament coverage – annually the most live hours of coverage from any golf event – spanning from Thursday’s opening tee shot to Sunday’s final putt.

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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)