Slam Hopes Dead Alive

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 9, 2008, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: In Backspin, the editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
TSENG IS BELIEVING: Taiwan's Yani Tseng became the first rookie in a decade to win a major, topping Maria Hjorth on the fourth hole of a playoff with a 5-foot birdie on the 18th hole to win the McDonalds LPGA Championship. Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa both finished one shot back in a tie for third.
Backspin After charging up the leaderboard on Friday to take the 36-hole lead, it looked as if Ochoa would win in a runaway. It wasn't to be though; the Mexican star was stuck in neutral for the rest of the way. Tseng, on the other hand, looked calm under pressure after opening her week with a 73. Tseng, the 2004 U.S. Amateur Public Links champ, picked up her first major having only made the cut in a major once before.

MEDICAL NEWS: GOLF CHANNEL reported last week that world's third-ranked player Adam Scott has been playing with a broken pinky finger on his right hand. Scott broke the finger three weeks ago in an incident that involved his hand and the slamming of a car door.
Backspin The injury draws into question the health and readiness of two-thirds of the USGAs premier group. According to Butch Harmon, Scott's coach, the young Aussie has not played since THE PLAYERS and the trials and tribulations of Tiger Woods' left knee have been well documented. The man who benefits the most from all this? Phil Mickelson.

ST. JUDE WINNER: Justin Leonard won his second Stanford St. Jude Championship in four years, defeating Masters champion Trevor Immelman and Robert Allenby in a playoff.
Backspin It took just 4 under par to reach the playoff. That shows that the good people who run the St. Jude tournament have made their event a good prep for the U.S. Open. But does anyone really want to play two very difficult weeks in a row? Obviously, Leonard doesnt mind. Meanwhile, Immelman finally resurfaced near the top of the leaderboard for the first time since winning the Masters. Pretty good timing.

TO QUALIFY OR NOT TO QUALIFY?: Davis Love III made it through 36 holes last week to qualify for his 18th consecutive trip to the U.S. Open. Loves streak of 70 consecutive majors ended when he failed to qualify for the Masters. However, Fred Couples and Tom Lehman were not as fortunate at DL3 as both failed to qualify for this week's major.

Backspin Couples and Lehman weren't the only two major winners who will be watching this year's Open as opposed to playing, as former PGA champ Steve Elkington fell short as well. The 156-man field is set for this week's U.S. Open. Eighty-three players qualified at one of the 14 different sectional qualifiers, while nine players will try to become the first amateur win the Open since 1933.

DAY AT THE MUSEUM: After more than three years of renovation, expansion and new construction, the United States Golf Association Museum christened the grand opening of the USGA Museum and the Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History last week. The museum is located at the USGA headquarters in Far Hills, N.J.
BackspinThe new expansion is headlined by the 16,000-square-foot Palmer Center, that houses more than 5,000 square feet of public exhibition galleries and signifies the first time a USGA building been dedicated to a single individual. The museum is sure to be revered as hallowed ground for members of Arnie's Army and golf fans alike.
HOLY ROMO!: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and singer Justin Timberlake won't be playing in this week's U.S. Open, but both proved they could at least break 100 at Torrey Pines South Course. The duo joined Today host Matt Lauer and a regular guy from Omaha, Neb., in a foursome determined to debunk Tiger Woods theory that only professionals could possibly beat the course.
Backspin Any person to ever pick up a golf club has wondered what it would be like to play on a U.S. Open course with greens faster than a speeding bullet and dreamed of reaching the green from the second cut in a single bound. While no one will mistake any of the foursome as Superman, Romo's 84 and Timberlake's 98 to disprove Tiger's claim was nonetheless heroic for weekend golfers everywhere.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: The PGA TOUR announced that a title sponsor has been procured for it's annual event in Tampa at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club. The Transitions Championship, formerly PODS Championship, will be held March 19-22....Jeev Milkha Singh pared all 18 holes in the final round to win a rain-shortened Bank Austria Golf Open...Scott Gutschewski won his second career Nationwide Tour title Sunday, closing with a 5-under 66 for a two-stroke victory over Chad Ginn and Esteban Toledo in the Rex Hospital Open
Backspin With this new deal, the PGA TOUR has secured a full 'Florida swing' for at least the next 4 years...18 straight pars doesn't exactly read as flashy way to win, but it sure isa model of consistency for JM Singh...If Scott Gutschewski's victory did nothing else, it certainly increased the use of the spell check function for sports editors across the country.

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - McDonald's LPGA Championship
    Full Coverage - St. Jude Championship
  • Full Coverage - The Celtic Manor Wales Open
  • More Headlines
  • Getty Images

    Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

    The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

    The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

    After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

    “I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”

    Getty Images

    Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

    Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

    “I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

    To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

    “More punishment,” he said.

    Getty Images

    DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

    Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

    Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

    It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

    With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

    Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

    Getty Images

    TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

    • Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

    • This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

    • Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    • In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

    • At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

    • Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

    • My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.