Sergio, Tiger set for Saturday showdown

By Will GrayMay 10, 2013, 11:10 pm

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Amid another day of sunny skies and relatively calm conditions, several players were able to again get the better of the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, as even-par 144 was the minimum required to make the weekend. Here’s how things shape up heading into the third round of The Players Championship, where a pair of former winners occupy the first two spots on the leaderboard:

The leaderboard: Sergio Garcia (-11), Tiger Woods (-10), Lee Westwood (-9), Henrik Stenson (-9), Kevin Chappell (-9), David Lingmerth (-9), Ryan Palmer (-8), Casey Wittenberg (-8)

What it means: Five years after he hoisted the crystal trophy, Garcia again finds himself out in front at TPC Sawgrass after a birdie barrage in the second round. He’ll be joined in the final group Saturday by Woods, who carded a 5-under 67 for the second consecutive day and who holds a distinct historical advantage over the Spaniard in the instances where the two have been paired together. In total, 12 players head into the weekend within four shots of the lead.

Round of the day: Beginning on the back nine, Garcia started slowly with six straight pars. From there, though, he heated up. Birdies at 16 and 18 were followed by a bogey at the first, but the Spaniard then reeled off five birdies in a row from holes 2-6 and added a 40-foot birdie on the par-3 eighth hole for good measure. Already the all-time career earnings leader in this event, Garcia now enters the third round in sole possession of the lead after a 7-under 65, tying his final-round effort in 2011 for his lowest round carded in 50 career rounds at the Stadium Course.

Best of the rest: Of the four players to shoot 66 Friday, only Westwood did so without dropping a single shot. The Englishman began his day in impressive fashion, holing a pitch shot for eagle at the par-5 11th, and added birdies at both 12 and 13. A leader after both 36 and 54 holes at this event in 2010, Westwood in fact has yet to drop a shot in either round thus far this week, and now begins the weekend firmly in contention at 9 under, just two shots off the pace.

Biggest disappointment: After making the cut in this event each of the last 11 years, Phil Mickelson saw his streak come to an abrupt halt after a 1-over 73 Friday. A winner here in 2007, Mickelson was never able to get out of the gate this week and reached just seven of 18 greens in regulation during the second round. He appeared likely to survive the 36-hole cut, but a pair of bogeys across his final three holes took Mickelson one shot outside the number, and he will sit out the weekend for just the second time this season.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: Images of Medinah ’99 and Bethpage ’02 will be rekindled, as Garcia and Woods will find themselves together in the day’s final pairing. While Garcia is staked to a slim lead, Woods appears largely in control, displaying the tee-to-green prowess and par-5 scoring that have become trademarks of dozens of wins across his illustrious career. No shortage of strong names are nipping at their heels, though, including former world No. 1 Westwood, defending champion Matt Kuchar and reigning Masters champ Adam Scott.

Shot of the day: Entering the week, just two players had ever recorded an eagle 2 at the Stadium Course’s 18th hole – a figure that has already been equaled through two rounds. A day after Jason Dufner holed out for an improbable deuce, Marc Leishman followed suit Friday en route to a 6-under 66. Leishman, who contended last month at the Masters, struck a mammoth pitching wedge from 172 yards at the home hole, landing softly near the front-right pin before trickling into the hole.

Quote of the day: 'Even though I haven’t played well in the past, I’ve still won here … I know how to get around this golf course.” – Woods, who claimed both the 2001 Players and 1994 U.S. Amateur at the Stadium Course.

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Vegas helicopters in to Carnoustie, without clubs

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 9:33 am

Jhonattan Vegas did some range work, putted a little and strolled to the first tee for his 5:31 a.m. ET start in the 147th Open Championship.

Everything before that, however, was far from routine.

Vegas' visa to travel to Scotland expired and the process to renew it got delayed - and it looked like his overseas' flight might suffer the same fate. Vegas, upon getting his visa updated, traveled from Houston, Texas to Toronto, Canada to Glasgow, Scotland, and then took a helicopter to Carnoustie.

He arrived in time on Thursday morning, but his clubs did not. Mizuno put together some irons for him and TaylorMade got him his preferred metal woods. He hit the clubs for the first time on the range, less than 90 minutes before his start.

"I'm going to go out there and play with freedom," Vegas told Golf Channel's Todd Lewis.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:40 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (

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The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:30 am

Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

How old is it?

It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

Where is it played?

There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

Where will it be played this year?

At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

Who has won The Open on that course?

Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

Who has won this event the most?

Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

What about the Morrises?

Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

Have players from any particular country dominated?

In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

Who is this year's defending champion?

That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

What is the trophy called?

The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

Which Opens have been the most memorable?

Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.