Parnevik All Smiles in LA
Parneviks father, Bo, is considered the Bob Hope of Sweden, a famous comedian in his country.
His son is noted for being a little offbeat as well: Quirky clothes, including a hat with a turned up bill; a past nutrition regime that included eating volcanic ash; and naming his children, Peg, Penny, Phillipa and Phoenix.
Parnevik is also humorously tinkering with his game, though the reason for the changes are no laughing matter.
The first round of the Nissan Open gave Parnevik reason to smile. He shot a 6-under 65 to lead the first round of the tournament at Riviera Country Club over David Peoples, Jose Maria Olazabal, Toru Taniguchi and Billy Andrade.
Parnevik had been playing horribly the first part of the season, even joking with his caddie about it.
I had a bet with my caddie that wed keep playing until we won, Parnevik said. The way I was playing it looked like it was going to be a long year.
He had entered every PGA Tour event this season, and of the six events he missed two cuts and his best finish was a tie for 15th.
I hate playing bad golf, I guess everyone does, Parnevik said. I was putting in 10-12 hour days and not getting any results. I dont think Ive ever played this poor.
The cure for what ailed Parnevik was not surprisingly, fairly unorthodox. He was playing in the pro am on Wednesday and was faced with a 20-foot putt. On a whim he decided to try a cross-handed grip and made the putt.
I couldnt get comfortable over the ball, Parnevik said. I decided to try this. It felt weird at first.
He practiced it a bit after his round and decided to stick with it. It paid off, as he made two eagles Thursday on putts of 20 and 25 feet.
That took care of the putting woes, but he still had to fight flaws in his swing. Not that Parnevik is vain, but he was walking past a mirror Wednesday night in his hotel and took a look. While he was swinging he noticed he wasn't rotating his hip enough.
It was pretty simple, Parnevik said. I hit the ball (Thursday) 30 yards longer and straighter.
Going against conventional logic has never bothered Parnevik and the reason for the abrupt changes were simple.
When you are desperate, you are desperate, Parnevik said. Youll try anything as long as you think it will work.
Andrade was also struggling this season. He had missed the cut in all three tournaments he played in and took some time off the last two weeks to rest.
I didnt think a whole lot, Andrade said. I just let it happen.
The break was good for Andrade, who said it allowed him to get away from golf. I feel good about myself now and the way Im playing, Andrade said. I went out and played a great round of golf.
Olazabal is trying to capitalize on his victory last week at the Buick Invitational, and used a strong driver for the 5-under 66.
The drive on No. 5 was the only bad drive I had all day long, said Olazabal, who double bogeyed the hole. Sometimes you have to go backwards to make the changes you need.
Full-field scores from the Nissan Open
Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba
Conor Moore is known for his impressions of golfers, and he is back with a new video just in time for The Open.
Moore even got the thumbs up from Ian Poulter.
This is hilarious..— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) July 16, 2018
Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite
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
Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC
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.
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.
Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense
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.
“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.”