Good Luck Not Really

By Mercer BaggsJanuary 26, 2009, 5:00 pm

WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?: One week after Colin Montgomerie became the overwhelming betting favorite to be the 2010 European Ryder Cup captain, Jose Maria Olazabal has once again thrown his name into the hat. A captain will be announced this Wednesday.
Backspin Here's what we'd like to see: Ian Woosnam (again) in his native Wales (2010); Ollie at Medinah (2012); and Monty at Gleneagles, Scotland (2014). We'd also like to see current U.S. captain Corey Pavin grow back his mustache and Golf Channel to hire 6-foot-7 Phil Blackmar to do all interviews with Woosie (5-foot-4) and Pavin (5-foot-8).


THE KING AND I: Pat Perez earned his first PGA Tour title at the 50th Bob Hope Classic, defeating John Merrick by three strokes. Perez finished the event at 33 under par, three shots off the Tours 90-hole scoring record.
Backspin Kudos to Perez, for not only winning but keeping his emotions in check. Hes always wondered why media and fans only focus on his temper, but until now weve never had anything else to associate with him. Lets just hope he didnt lose all of that anger; its good to see some emotion on the course.


ILL STRICKEN: Steve Stricker led the Bob Hope through four rounds, establishing a new Tour 72-hole scoring record at 33 under par. He then proceeded to make a seven on the par-4 seventh and an eight on the par-4 10th on his way to a closing 77 and a tie for third.
Backspin There are better ways to honor tournament host Arnold Palmer than trying to shoot his age (79) on Sunday. We didnt think it was possible to shoot 77 on the Palmer Course at PGA West. But like landing on the moon or getting people to eat a McRib sandwich, Stricker showed us there are no limits to what we can accomplish.


CANT SHOULDER THE LOAD: Anthony Kim withdrew from the 50th Bob Hope due to a sore left shoulder. Kim said in a statement: 'We dont consider my shoulder to be anything too serious, and I dont expect to miss extended time.'
Backspin But he did miss the Hope. His absence left the field without a top 15 player. The way the top-ranked players treat the first three events of the year, the Tour might as well not start up until after the Super Bowl.


MEANWHILE ...: The European Tour's Qatar Masters had six of the top 15 players in the world. And for the second straight tournament more world ranking points were handed out to the European winner than the PGA Tour champion.
Backspin That winner, however, did not come from inside the top 15. Instead it was No. 74 Alvaro Quiros who prevailed in Qatar. Actually, make that No. 28, which is where Mr. Quiros currently resides. Perez, on the other hand, only jumped 31 spots, from 90th to 59th. It pays to play in Europe ' now more than ever.


NICE FOURSOME: Ryo Ishikawa accepted an invitation to play in this year's Masters. The 17-year-old Japanese sensation has also accepted exemptions to the Northern Trust Open, the Transitions Championship, and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Backspin That's Riviera, Innisbrook, Bay Hill and Augusta National. Not a bad quartet of courses for a high school student. Kind of like hanging out with three really cute girls and one super hot one.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Bernhard Langer opened up the 2009 Champions Tour season with a win in Hawaii. ... Seve Ballesteros said test results following his first course of chemotherapy came back quite good.' ... Adams Golf dropped Rory Sabbatini and added Chad Campbell. ... Erik Compton was granted an exemption by the Honda Classic. ... Barack Obama was elected the 44th President.
Backspin Langer was the tours Rookie and Player of the Year in 2008. But he didnt win Mr. Personality. ... That's a good start to a long road of recovery. ... Adams got rid of a guy who won't shut up and picked up a guy who won't speak up. ... Compton, who received his third heart last May, will also play this week in Dubai, replacing John Daly. ... Was that on TV? Was too busy watching P90X infomercials.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage ' 50th Bob Hope Classic
  • Complete News Headlines
  • Getty Images

    Four players vying for DJ's No. 1 ranking at Open

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 8:41 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Four players have an opportunity to overtake Dustin Johnson for world No. 1 this week.

    According to Golf Channel world-rankings guru Alan Robinson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm each can grab the top spot in the world ranking.

    Thomas’ path is the easiest. He would return to No. 1 with either a win and Johnson finishing worse than solo third, or even a solo runner-up finish as long as Johnson finishes worse than 49th.

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Twenty years after his auspicious performance in The Open, Rose can get to No. 1 for the first time with a victory and Johnson finishing worse than a two-way tie for third.

    Kopeka can rise to No. 1 if he wins consecutive majors, assuming that his good friend posts worse than a three-way tie for third.

    And Rahm can claim the top spot with a win this week, a Johnson missed cut and a Thomas finish of worse than solo second.   

    Johnson’s 15-month reign as world No. 1 ended after The Players. He wasn’t behind Thomas for long, however: After a tie for eighth at the Memorial, Johnson blew away the field in Memphis and then finished third at the U.S. Open to solidify his position at the top.

    Getty Images

    Punch shot: Predictions for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 4:00 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In advance of the 147th Open Championship, writers sound off on burning questions as players ready for a fast and firm test at Carnoustie. Here’s what our writers think about myriad topics:

    The Monday morning headline will be …

    REX HOGGARD: “Survival.” This one is easy. It always is at Carnoustie, which is widely considered The Open’s most demanding major championship test. Monday’s headline will be that the champion - pick a champion, any one will do - “survived” another dramatic Open. You don’t dominate Carnoustie; you endure.

    RYAN LAVNER: “DJ Bashes Way to Victory at Carnoustie.” If somehow a two-win season could be disappointing, it has been for DJ. He’s first in scoring average, birdie average, par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring, strokes gained: tee to green and proximity from the rough. Those last two stats are the most important, especially here at Carnoustie, with these dry conditions. The game’s preeminent long-and-straight driver, there’s a better-than-decent chance he rolls.

    MERCER BAGGS: “Rahm Tough: Spaniard charges to Open victory.” Jon Rahm will claim him maiden major title this week by powering his way through the winds and fescue at Carnoustie.

    JAY COFFIN: “Thomas wins second major, ascends to world No. 1 again.” Shortly after The Open last year, Thomas rolled through the end of the PGA Tour season. This is the time of year he likes best. Despite a poor Open record the last two years, he’s not remotely concerned. He’s a tad miffed he didn’t win in France two weeks ago and comes to Carnoustie refreshed, with a gameplan, and ready to pounce.

    Who or what will be the biggest surprise?

    HOGGARD: Style of play. Given Carnoustie’s reputation as a brute, the surprise will be how the champion arrives at his lofty perch. Unlike previous editions at Carnoustie, this week’s dry conditions will promote more aggressive play off the tee and the winner will defy the norm and power his way to victory.

    LAVNER: Tiger Woods. This is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year, and here’s believing he contends. His greatest strengths are his iron game and scrambling, and both aspects will be tested to the extreme at Carnoustie, helping separate him from some of the pretenders. With even a little cooperation from his putter, he should be in the mix.

    BAGGS: Padraig Harrington. He had a good opening round last week at the Scottish Open and has some good vibes being the 2007 Open champion at Carnoustie. He won’t contend for four rounds, but a few days in the mix would be a nice surprise.

    COFFIN: Alex Noren. Perhaps someone ranked 11th in the world shouldn’t be a surprise, but with so much focus on some of the bigger, household names, don’t be surprised when Noren is in contention on Sunday. He hasn’t finished worse than 25th since early May and won two weeks ago in France. He also tied for sixth place last year at Royal Birkdale.

    Who or what will be the biggest disappointment?

    HOGGARD: Jordan Spieth. Although he was brilliant on his way to victory last year at Royal Birkdale, Spieth is not the same player for this week’s championship, the byproduct of a balky putter that has eroded his confidence. Spieth said giving back the claret jug this week was hard, but his finish will be even tougher.

    LAVNER: Weather. This might sound a little sadistic, but one of the unique joys of covering this tournament is to watch the best in the world battle conditions they face only once a year – the bone-chilling cold, the sideways rain, the howling wind. It doesn’t appear as though that’ll happen this year. With only a few hours of light rain expected, and no crazy winds in the forecast, the biggest challenge for these stars will be judging the bounces on the hard, baked-out turf.

    BAGGS: Jordan Spieth. The defending champion is still trying to find his winning form and Carnoustie doesn’t seem the place to do that. As much as he says he loves playing in strong winds, there should be enough danger around here to frustrate Spieth into a missed cut.

    COFFIN: Rory McIlroy. I hope I’m wrong on this, because the game is better when Rory is in contention at majors. Putting always has been his issue and seemingly always will be. While there isn’t as much of a premium placed on putting this week because of slower greens, he may still have to hit it close. Super close.

    What will be the winning score?

    HOGGARD: 10 under. The last two Opens played at Carnoustie were won with 7-under and 6-over totals, but this week’s conditions will favor more aggressive play and lower scores. Expect to see plenty of birdies, but the great equalizer will come on Sunday when wind gusts are forecast to reach 25 mph.

    LAVNER: 15 under. An Open at Carnoustie has never produced a winner lower than 9 under (Tom Watson in 1975), but never have the conditions been this susceptible to low scores. Sure, the fairway bunkers are still a one-shot penalty, but today’s big hitters can fly them. The thin, wispy rough isn’t much of a deterrent. And the wind isn’t expected to really whip until the final day.

    BAGGS: 12 under. We aren’t going to see the same kind of weather we have previously witnessed at Carnoustie, and that’s a shame. Any players who catch relatively benign conditions should be able to go low, as long as they can properly navigate the fairway rollout.

    COFFIN: 14 under. Walked into a local golf shop in the town of Carnoustie wearing a Golf Channel logo and the man behind the counter said, “It’ll take 14 under to win this week.” Well, he’s been here for years and seen Carnoustie host The Open twice before. He knows more about it than I do, so I’ll stick with his number.

    @kharms27 on Instagram

    Watch: Na plays backwards flop and practices lefty

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 3:16 pm

    Fresh off his victory at The Greenbrier, Kevin Na is taking a quite-literally-backwards approach to his Open prep.

    Caddie Kenny Harms has been sharing videos of Na's early work at Carnoustie.

    This one shows Na standing in a bunker and playing a flop shot over his own head (as opposed to someone else's):

    While it's unlikely he'll have a need for that exact shot this week, it's far more likely a player may have to think about turning his club over and playing from the wrong side of the ball, like so:

    Na has made 4 of 6 cuts at The Open and will look to improve on his best career finish, currently a T-22 in 2016 at Royal Troon.

    Getty Images

    McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.

    Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.

    “It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”

    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.

    “Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”

    He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.