Big News and Bad News

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 13, 2008, 4:00 pm
In Backspin, takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf ' with a spin.
SCRAMBLING SEVE: Amid a week's worth of news reports discussing his health, Seve Ballesteros announced on Sunday that doctors had indeed found a brain tumor. The Spanish legend will undergo further tests this week so doctors will know how to proceed with his condition.
BackspinSupport for Ballesteros has already begun pouring in from all over the world, and rightfully so. One of the most charismatic golfers to ever play the game, Seve is now starting to see how his style of play endeared him to golf fans the world over. And like always, it's too bad that it takes news like this for the love and respect to really bubble up.

A COUPLE OF THOUGHTS: Next year's U.S. Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples said in a press conference that he would like to include basketball legend Michael Jordan and comedian Robin Williams as part of his team. Couples wants Jordan, a six-time NBA champion, to add inspiration, while Williams would add some levity during the evenings.
BackspinPerhaps International captain Greg Norman could counter with Canadian comedians Dan Aykroyd, Jim Carrey or Mike Myers on the funny side. And maybe some cricket or rugby legend (wed list some, but we dont know of any) to stoke competitive fires. This is the difference between the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup: the former doesnt take itself as seriously. And this is why Couples is the perfect Presidents Cup captain.

TIGER'S PEBBLE BEACH: Tiger Woods announced this past week that he is designing a course 70 miles south of San Diego. Woods says the course, called Punta Brava, has 17 greens or tees on the water, with eight shots played over water. The price tag on this development is roughly $100 million and will include the golf course, a hotel, some villas and 40 estate lots where the price tag starts at $3 million and goes to $12 million.
BackspinWere sure the course will be strikingly beautiful, but just having Tigers name on the design will truly make it shine. Tiger is definitely golfs golden child. Not only does he make a fortune on and off the course; he makes others tons of money simply by association.

BLIND AMBITION TOUR: The European Tour unveiled its 2009 schedule, introducing the highly anticipated Race to Dubai. The schedule includes more than two dozen countries on five continents, has more tournaments than there are weeks in the year, and culminates with a $20 million destination in Dubai.
BackspinThe top 60 on the money list qualify for the season-ending Dubai World Championship, which offers a $10 million purse for the tournament, along with a $10 million bonus for the top 15 on the money list. You have to be a member, however, in order to qualify ' and being a member now means competing in 12 European Tour events on the season, not 11. The Race to Dubai will certainly have intrigue and possibly more excitement than the FedEx Cup, but there is one thing it wont have: Tiger Woods.

GEORGIA ON MY MIND: Zach Johnson played a nearly flawless final round, posting a 6-under 64 to win the Valero Texas Open by two shots over a trio of players. It was Johnson's fourth career PGA Tour title.
BackspinThe victory also happened to be Johnson's first outside of Georgia. After a tough year in which the former Masters champion had just one top-10 to his credit, were pretty certain he could have won on Mars and been just as happy. Two states down and just 48 to go. Well, actually a lot less seeing as how we don't think the Tour will ever stage an Alaskan Open.

FINAL CURTAIN: The Champions Tour played the season's final major of the year and D.A. Weibring was the last man standing, winning the Senior Players Championship by a stroke over Fred Funk and by two over Nick Price, Jeff Sluman and Ben Crenshaw.
Backspin The 55-year-old Weibring made no apologies for the win, despite believing that the crowd in Maryland had other players in mind to win the title, saying, I know the people here wanted Nick Price to win and they wanted Fred Funk. I understood that. The $390,000 first-place check ' the biggest payday of his career ' no doubt took some of the sting out of feeling slighted.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Madrid, Spain made a bid to host the 2018 Ryder Cup Tiger Woods AT&T National may be headed to Aronimink Golf Club in suburban Philadelphia for 2010 and 2011 Tigers caddie, Steve Williams, will debut as a TV analyst during the Kiwi Challenge in his native New Zealand In-Kyung Kim held on to win the Longs Drugs Challenge, her first career LPGA Tour title Charl Schwartzel won the Madrid Masters. Coincidentally, the South African's only other victory on tour came in Spain, at last year's Spanish Open.
BackspinSergio Garcia will be 38 years old by that time. Think hell have a major by then? Members at Aronimink are to vote Oct. 15 on whether to accept the proposal Williams as a member of the media? Thats less believable than a player winning a major on a broken leg This win for Kim is no fluke as the 20-year-old South Korean already has six top-10 finishes this year, including a tie for third at the U.S. Womens Open Unfortunately for Schwartzel, the big news out of Madrid all week was the health of a local golfing hero.

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage ' Valero Texas Open
  • Full Coverage ' Senior Players Championship
  • Full Coverage ' Longs Drugs Challenge
  • Full Coverage ' Madrid Masters
  • Full Coverage ' WNB Golf Classic
  • More Headlines
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    Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

    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

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    Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

    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.

    Updated Official World Golf Ranking

    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.

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    Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

    By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    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.

    Full coverage of the 147th Open 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.”

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    Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

    Hoylake in 2006.

    That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

    So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

    With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

    “The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”