A Peaceful Round with Arnie
Take it from Drake basketball coach Tom Davis, that is nerve-racking.
'He does everything he can to make you feel relaxed, but playing golf with him is not relaxing,' Davis said with a laugh.
Davis played nine holes with Palmer on Thursday at the recently opened Tournament Club of Iowa, which was designed by Palmer's company. It was Palmer's first look at the course since it was completed this spring and, as usual, he drew a crowd.
Dozens of fans followed the pair around the back nine of the hilly, heavily wooded course in central Iowa. They gave Palmer a standing ovation when he was introduced at a press conference afterward.
'I think this golf course will maybe set a new standard for golf in this area,' Palmer said. 'I'm hopeful people will come out and enjoy it.'
Davis certainly enjoyed it -- and impressed Palmer with his shot-making. On the par-3 16th hole, for example, Davis dropped his tee shot right onto the green. Palmer plunked his into the pond in front of the green.
'He plays very well and I'm pleased to have played with him,' Palmer said. 'I hope he can shoot a basketball that well.'
Davis, who took the Drake job in April, taught himself to play golf. One of the books he read while learning the game was Palmer's 'My Game and Yours.'
'This meant a lot to me because of that,' Davis said.
The course is expected to become the future home of the Allianz Championship, the Des Moines stop on the Champions Tour. That tournament, which will be played next week, is now held at Glen Oaks in West Des Moines.
'I think eventually this course will be a good fit for any tour, any kind of golf,' Palmer said. 'You could play any kind of tournament here you wanted.
'There's a couple of holes where we would have to shuttle players. Other than that, it's ready,' Palmer added. 'And with a year or so grow-in, it'll be very good.'
Palmer said he'd make only a few subtle changes on the course, such as removing a couple of trees that he feels are too close to the fairway on No. 12, and trimming some trees that throw too much shade on some greens.
But overall, 'I think it's even better than I thought it would be,' he said.
Arnie, it seems, was satisfied. And so was his nervous partner.
'I just tried to stay out of his way, tried to enjoy him and watch his interaction with the fans and appreciate what he is all about,' Davis said. 'He is really good with people, as everybody pretty much knows. It was fun to be with him.'
TheGolfChannel.com Bio: Arnold Palmer
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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.”