Golf Channel Am Tour Senior National Championships: Let the games begin

By Brandon TuckerSeptember 4, 2012, 3:13 am

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – On the eve of the Golf Channel Am Tour Senior National Championships, David Feherty addressed the competitors at the Sawgrass Marriott Resort with a little pep talk:

'The tournament starts tomorrow but I just want to you know this,' said Feherty. 'This is golf. You're meant to suck, and you will suck this week.'

Not exactly 'Win one for the Gipper' in front of a packed house ready to go into battle. But maybe Feherty's logic was to hammer home to the participants that staying loose is probably the best way to succeed this week. After all, this will be the toughest Am Tour Nationals to win in history, with a record attendance of 500 competitors in the Senior division split up into six flights. 640 more participants will come to Sawgrass next week for the Under 50 National Championship.

A day after flying home from Ireland to cover the Notre Dame-Navy game in Dublin, Feherty was on hand to give thanks to the Am Tour for a charitable donation of over $63,140 to Feherty's Troops First Foundation, a charity supporting wounded veterans. The money was raised through 50/50 raffles at Am Tour major championships throughout the season. Tonight, Am Tour announced that the charity will be the official charity of the tour for 2013, as well.

With a colorful speech from Feherty and happy hour pleasantries exchanged amongst attendees, the attention now turns to golf, where the stakes are high. Winners of each flight will receive a Golf Galaxy gift card between $500-750, a lifetime exemption into the national tournament and a prized piece of crystal for their mantels back home.


Going back to a happy place

Three competitors should be especially confident in their chances this week at the Golf Channel Am Tour Senior National Tournament: John Damron, Ravi Kannan and Brad Polhemus.

What do they have in common? Each won the Golf Channel Am Tour's TPC Sawgrass Open two-day major tournament held back in January. Each hope to call on some positive vibes from the Pete Dye-designed Valley and Stadium courses to go along with rounds on the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club Ocean and Lagoon courses in the four-day event. Dye designs, after all, toy with the mind, both pro and amateur, unlike any other architect.

Polhemus, 51, has enjoyed a five-win campaign in 2012 and will compete at Nationals in the Sr. Palmer flight (4.0-7.9 hcp).

Kannan, 60, won the Sr. Hogan flight in a playoff over Mark Milman. Milman is back at Sawgrass himself, hoping for redemption but was bumped up a flight to the Sr. Palmer after a strong campaign that included two Am Tour victories (4.0-7.9 hcp).

While Kannan and Polhemus reside in the southeast, Damron, 65 made the journey from Columbus, Ohio. He decided to come to Sawgrass for the same reasons that thousands of golfers do each year: the infamous island green. 'I like playing good golf courses,' he said. 'And I always wanted to play No. 17. I'd been playing it on PlayStation.'

The 20-handicapper, competing in the Sr. Snead flight, admits that during the event Pete Dye got the best of him a few times. But the defining moment in his victory was sweet. The action was tight within his threesome, until on the 17th, his two playing partners found the water, while Damron landed safely on the green for a routine par.

'That was the deciding hole,' recalled Damron. His major win at Sawgrass was his only victory of the Am Tour season, so he better summon his happy thoughts on the Stadium Course quickly. His flight opens on the back nine of the Stadium Course in Round One Tuesday.

17th at Sawgrass

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McIlroy 'committed to everything ... ran out of holes'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 7:08 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy summed it up: “I don’t really feel like it’s a defeat. I feel like it’s a good week.”

McIlroy, in search of his fifth major, tied for the lead at The Open late on Sunday at Carnoustie when he made eagle on the par-5 14th hole. An hour later, he had made five consecutive pars to close out a 1-under 70 and tie for second place with Justin Rose, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele.

That group ended two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. McIlroy thought it was realistic to squeeze one more shot out of his round, but he never though it was possible to squeeze out two.

“I committed to everything,” he said. “I hit the shots when I needed to. I made good swings on 17 and on 18. I just ran out of holes.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

McIlroy hasn’t played poorly this year, but this hasn't been a year that would rank as a total success. He took the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and collected a second-place finish at the BMW PGA Championship. He had a legitimate chance to win the Masters before a terrible Sunday round, and then missed the cut at the U.S. Open last month at Shinnecock Hills.

Sunday at Carnoustie, McIlroy bogeyed two of his first five holes and quickly became an afterthought. When others faltered, McIlroy birdies Nos. 9 and 11, then eagled 14 to vault back into the picture.

“I’m happy with how I played,” he said. “I didn’t get off to a great start, but I hung in there, and I battled back.

“So I’ll look back at this week and be very encouraged about what I’ve done and the golf that I played. I feel like that will stand me in good stead for what’s coming up.”

McIlroy is scheduled to play the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks, followed by the PGA Championship and the FedExCup Playoffs.

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Edoardo, other pros congratulate Francesco on Twitter

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:54 pm

Francesco Molinari played a bogey-free weekend at Carnoustie to claim Italy's first claret jug.

His rock-solid performance in the final round earned him his share of social media plaudits.

Here's a collection of Twitter hat-tips, and we start off with Frankie's brother, Dodo.

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Woods: Fan who yelled had 'tipped back a few'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 6:37 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods stood on the 18th tee and thought he needed birdie to have a chance to win The Open. He pulled driver out of his bag, a sign he wanted to boot the ball as far down the fairway as possible.

Woods took a mighty swat and - right in the middle of his downswing - someone yelled. Woods flinched.

Luckily his ball still found a decent spot just off the right of the fairway.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I’ve had things like that happen a lot in my career with people who just tried to time it,” Woods said Sunday at Carnoustie after shooting 71 to tie for sixth place. “They tipped back a few, and it’s late in the day.

“Unfortunately, that’s part of what we have to deal with in today’s game. People are trying to yell out things to try to be on TV or be in social media or whatever it may be. That was too close to the game of play.”

Woods hit his approach to 6 feet and missed the birdie putt. He tapped in for par to shoot even par and finish 5 under for the week, in a tie for sixth.

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Pros melt down on Twitter as they watch Tiger

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:30 pm

Tiger Woods mounted a final-round charge and, for a little while, took the outright lead at Carnoustie on Sunday.

His fellow pros were watching and tweeting like your average fans.

We compiled some of their missives below:

Woods would go on to finish in a tie for sixth at 5 under par for the week.