Love Harbours Thoughts of No 6

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 12, 2004, 4:00 pm
Davis Love III still doesnt have a green jacket, but he will have an opportunity to earn his sixth plaid jacket this week.
Love leads a pack of 37 players who make the short drive from Augusta, Ga., to Hilton Head Island, S.C. for the MCI Heritage.
Despite his Masters frustrations, Love has experienced immense success at Harbour Town Golf Links ' almost unparalleled in the history of golf.
Love has won this event five times. Only five others have won the same tournament on more occasions than Love has at Hilton Head.
Sam Snead holds the PGA Tour record, having won the Greater Greensboro Open eight times. Jack Nicklaus (Masters), Snead (Miami Open), Alex Ross (North & South Open) and Harry Vardon (British Open) have won the same event six times.
Love has said over the years that he tries to get his game to peak during this time of year. But it has led to two wins the week before the Masters and five wins the week following.
I take a deep breath and drive down the road to Hilton Head and say, Why didn't I win the Masters? And then I play at Hilton Head and I win, because I relax and I play my game and I'm confident, Love said.
I'm tuning it for that time of year. You can't say, all right, Sunday of the Masters is the day I'm going to play good this year. You can't be that good, but you can have your game ready for the big times of the year.
Love tied for seventh at Augusta. That means, if history is any indicator, that he will not be able to successfully defend his title.
He has never won the MCI Heritage after finishing inside the top 10 at Augusta.

Love earned his first tour title at this event in 1987, his second full season. He won again in 1991, 92, 98 and again last year.
His most recent victory was a combination of resiliency ' on Loves behalf ' and a meltdown ' on his opponents.
Love chipped in on the final hole to force a sudden-death playoff with Woody Austin.
Austin then missed a 6-foot putt on the second playoff hole and a 3-footer on the third extra hole, both of which would have given him his first title since the 1995 Buick Open.
Love then slammed the door shut on the fourth playoff hole by making birdie after his approach shot hit the flagstick.
To win five times on a tour is pretty awesome, but to win five times in the same place ' pretty incredible, Love said.
Others in the 132-man field include: Darren Clarke, British Open champion Ben Curtis, Masters runner-up Ernie Els, Jay Haas, 2002 winner Justin Leonard, Mark OMeara,1997 winner Nick Price and 36-hole Masters leader Justin Rose.
Masters champion Phil Mickelson is not in attendance, meaning Bernhard Langer will remain the last player to win both the Masters and the following tournament. Langer captured his first Masters title in 1985 and then won the Heritage immediately thereafter.
The purse is $4,800,000, with $864,000 going to the winner.
Love easily holds the record for most Heritage victories, but he isnt the only multiple champion. Hale Irwin won in 1971, 73 and 94; Johnny Miller in 1972 and 74; Hubert Green in 1976 and 78; Tom Watson in 1979 and 82; Fuzzy Zoeller in 1983 and 85; and Payne Stewart in 1989 and 90.
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    Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

    It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open at Carnoustie. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

    Hauck was one of dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

    The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even continuing to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

    The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

    For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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    Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

    By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

    After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

    But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

    Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

    Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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    Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

    By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

    Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

    The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

    “There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

    “To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

    Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

    “To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.

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    Rose: T-2 finish renewed my love of The Open

    By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 9:00 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose made the cut on the number at The Open and was out for an early Saturday morning stroll at Carnoustie when, all of a sudden, he started putting together one great shot after another.

    There was no pressure. No one had expected anything from someone so far off the lead. Yet Rose shot 30 on the final nine holes to turn in 7-under 64, the lowest round of the championship. By day’s end he was five shots behind a trio of leaders that included Jordan Spieth.

    Rose followed the 64 with a Sunday 69 to tie for second place, two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. His 133 total over the weekend was the lowest by a shot, and for a moment he thought he had a chance to hoist the claret jug, until Molinari put on a ball-striking clinic down the stretch with birdies on 14 and 18.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “I just think having made the cut number, it’s a great effort to be relevant on the leaderboard on Sunday,” said Rose, who collected his third-career runner-up in a major. He’s also finished 12th or better in all three majors this year.

    In the final round, Rose was well off the pace until his second shot on the par-5 14th hole hit the pin. He had a tap-in eagle to move to 5 under. Birdie at the last moved him to 6 under and made him the clubhouse leader for a few moments.

    “It just proves to me that I can play well in this tournament, that I can win The Open,” Rose said. “When I’m in the hunt, I enjoy it. I play my best golf. I don’t back away.

    “That was a real positive for me, and it renewed the love of The Open for me.”