Scott leads by four entering final round of Open

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2012, 6:15 pm

The oft-discussed parallels between Adam Scott and Tiger Woods are striking, sure.

Scott using Tiger’s old swing. His former caddie, too.

They both employed Butch Harmon.

But the most important parallel, the one that resonates now on the eve of the final round of the 141st Open Championship, is this: Scott is 18 holes away from denying Woods his first post-scandal major – and winning one of his own.

Showing no signs of relenting during a near-flawless performance Saturday, Scott seized the outright lead on the front nine, then shot a 2-under 68 that gave him a four-shot lead at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.

“It’s a good position,” Scott said. “If I play a solid round of golf, it makes it very difficult for the other guys. So that’s all I’m going to concentrate on, my game, and not concentrate on anyone else.” 

With a late surge, Graeme McDowell (67) leapfrogged Woods (70) on the leaderboard and played his way into the final group for the second consecutive major.

“It was my first time really in the cauldron in a couple of years,” McDowell said of his T-2 at the U.S. Open. “It renewed my belief in myself that I can do it under pressure.” 

Playing alongside McDowell, not Woods, on Sunday should come as a relief to Scott. The Australian’s caddie, Steve Williams, was on the bag for 13 of Woods’ 14 major victories, but his unceremonious split with Woods last year still serves as fodder for many. That potential distraction no longer exists.

At 11-under 199, Scott is four strokes ahead of McDowell and Brandt Snedeker, five clear of Woods, and six in front of Ernie Els and Zach Johnson.

Snedeker (73), the second-round leader, hadn’t made a bogey in 40 holes, but proceeded to drop six shots on Saturday. A birdie on the final hole left him in a tie for second.

Woods (70) bogeyed two of his first three holes, and a few loose iron shots prevented him from mounting a sustained charge. A couple of missed putts didn't help, either.

“A couple of bad misreads today,” Woods said. “That’s the way it goes sometimes.” 

The wind is expected to blow 25-30 mph in the final round – conditions that will bring into play Lytham’s thick rough and pot bunkers, but also reward the most solid ball-striker.

If Scott can hoist the claret jug Sunday, he will become the 16th different winner in the past 16 majors; the 10th consecutive first-time major winner; and the third player in the past four majors to use a longer-than-standard-length putter.

And, potentially, the latest to deal Woods another major disappointment.

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Fowler (oblique) withdraws from playoff opener

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:44 pm

The injury that slowed Rickie Fowler at last week's PGA Championship will keep him out of the first event of the PGA Tour's postseason.

Fowler was reportedly hampered by an oblique injury at Bellerive Country Club, where he started the third round two shots off the lead but faded to a tie for 12th. He confirmed the injury Tuesday in an Instagram post, adding that an MRI revealed a partial tear to his right oblique muscle.

According to Fowler, the injury also affected him at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 17th. After receiving the test results, he opted to withdraw from The Northern Trust next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.

"My team and I feel like it's best not to play next week in the Northern Trust," Fowler wrote. "I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!!"

Fowler is one of eight players who earned automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team when the qualifying window closed last week. His next opportunity to tee it up would be at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship, where Fowler won in 2015.

Fowler has 12 top-25 finishes in 18 starts, highlighted by runner-up finishes at both the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the fall and at the Masters. He is currently 17th in the season-long points race, meaning that he's assured of starts in each of the first three playoff events regardless of performance and in good position to qualify for the 30-man Tour Championship for the fourth time in the last five years.

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Playoff streaks in jeopardy for Garcia, Haas

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:12 pm

Since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007, only 13 players have managed to make the playoffs each and every year. But two of the PGA Tour's stalwarts head into the regular-season finale with work to do in order to remain a part of that select fraternity.

Sergio Garcia has rarely had to sweat the top-125 bubble, but the Spaniard enters this week's Wyndham Championship 131st in the current standings. Left with even more work to do is former FedExCup winner Bill Haas, who starts the week in Greensboro 150th.

Garcia got off to a strong start in the spring, sandwiching a pair of top-10 finishes in WGC events around a fourth-place showing at the Valspar Championship. But quality results largely dried up after Garcia missed the cut at the Masters; he has made only two cuts in 10 Tour starts since April, including early exits in all four majors.

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Garcia has some history at Sedgefield Country Club, having won this event in 2012 to break a lengthy U.S. victory drought. He also finished fourth in 2009 but hasn't played the Donald Ross layout since a T-29 finish as the defending champ in 2013.

It's been a difficult year for Haas both on and off the course, as the veteran was involved as a passenger in a car accident on the eve of the Genesis Open that killed the driver. He returned to action three weeks later in Tampa, and he tied for seventh at the RBC Heritage in April. But that remains his lone top-10 finish of the season. Haas has missed 11 cuts including three in a row.

While the bubble will be a fluid target this week at Sedgefield, Garcia likely needs at least a top-20 finish to move into the top 125 while Haas will likely need to finish inside the top 5.

One of the 13 playoff streaks is assured of ending next week, as Luke Donald has missed most of the year with a back injury. Other players to qualify for every Tour postseason include Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker, Charles Howell III, Charley Hoffman and Ryan Moore.

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Airlines lose two sets of Olesen's clubs in 10 days

By Grill Room TeamAugust 15, 2018, 7:50 pm

Commercial airlines losing the golf clubs of a professional golfer is not exactly a groundbreaking story. It happens.

But European Tour pro Thorbjorn Olesen is on quite the roll, losing two sets of clubs and five suitcases in the span of 10 days.

Olesen, the reigning Italian Open champ, claimed his primary set of golf clubs were lost last week. Having little faith they'd be found before this week's Nordea Masters, he decided to bring his backup set for the event in Sweden.

A veteran move by the 28-year-old, unless, of course, those clubs were lost too. And wouldn't you know it:

After pestering the airlines with some A+ GIFs, Olesen was reunited with at least one of his sets and was back in action on Wednesday.

He also still plans on giving his golf bag away to some lucky follower, provided it's not lost again in transit. Something he's no longer taking for granted.

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Podcast: Brandel compares Tiger and Hogan's comebacks

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 15, 2018, 6:48 pm

Tiger Woods on Sunday at Bellerive recorded his seventh runner-up finish in a major and his first in nine years.

A favorite guest of the Golf Channel Podcast, Brandel Chamblee joins host Will Gray to compare and contrast Tiger's return to competitive golf with that of Ben Hogan and Babe Didrikson Zaharias in the 1950s.

Chamblee also discusses Brooks Koepka's major dominance, Bellerive as a major venue, Tiger and Phil as Ryder Cup locks, and who else might be in line to receive Jim Furyk and Thomas Bjorn's remaining captain's picks.

Finally, Brandel shares what it was it was like to qualify for the Senior Open Championship and compete for a major title on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Listen here: