Whos Up Next

By Mercer BaggsJuly 13, 2009, 4:00 pm

SHE'S OUT; WHO'S IN?: Carolyn Bivens' tumultuous four-year tenure as LPGA commissioner officially came to an end Monday. The tour announced Board of Directors member Marsha Evans as the new interim commissioner. She will serve in the role until a full-time replacement can be found.
Backspin Well, the players got their wish. So who's up next? Jan Stephenson says she wants to be commissioner. Not going to happen (see: Asians are killing the LPGA). Some are calling for Judy Rankin. Not likely to happen (see: Why in the world would I want that job?). I'll throw Dottie Pepper's hat into the ring. She is still an integral part of the tour and has great connections with the old-time sponsors. But that, too, is unlikely (see: choking freaking dogs).

FORGET ME NOT: Eun Hee Ji birdied the 72nd hole to avoid a playoff with Candie Kung and capture the U.S. Women's Open. The 23-year-old South Korean finished at even-par 284, one shot clear of Kung. It was her second career LPGA victory (2008 Wegmans).
Backspin It was a tough week for the women's premiere event, and one that will likely be remembered for all the wrong reasons. The first two days of play were overshadowed by the Bivens saga. Round 3 saw Paula Creamer, the most popular American player in the field, take a brutal nose dive out of contention. And Sunday, despite the U.S. Golf Association's best efforts to create birdie opportunities, lacked any drama. In time, Eun Hee Ji's name will be harder to recall than Inbee Park's.

MAJOR DIFFICULTY: Cristie Kerr held the lead from late Friday to late Sunday at the U.S. Women's Open, but couldn't hold on and finished tied for third, two back of Ji. The 2007 Open champion had only one birdie in a final-round 4-over 75.
Backspin This major was Kerr's to win ' as was this year's Kraft Nabisco, where she was in the lead until hitting her tee shot OB on the 15 hole. Kerr has been working to employ a Zen Buddhist approach on the course when under pressure. I never saw Buddha kick his golf bag. Then again, I never saw Buddha.

CREAMED AT THE OPEN: Paula Creamer was one off the 36-hole lead at the U.S. Women's Open, but shot 8-over 79 in the third round. She closed in 69 to finish four shots behind the winner. It's the second year in a row she has tied for sixth. Last year, she was one off the 54-hole lead but shot 78.
Backspin Aside from Kerr, no one leaves Saucon Valley more frustrated than does Creamer. (The two should take out their anger by reprising the final scene in 'Rocky III.') Creamer, an eight-time winner on the LPGA but still without a major, is fortunate the tour doesn't receive the same level of media scrutiny as does the PGA Tour. If it did, she would face a wrath that would make Sergio Garcia quit the game.

JUST ONE OF THE GIRLS?: Lorena Ochoa failed in her bid to win her first U.S. Women's Open, tying for 29th. Ochoa opened in 2-under 69 but was ultimately undone by a second-round 79.
Backspin Ochoa has won only two events this year, and none since April. For the first time in a very long time there appears to be no distinct No. 1 player on the LPGA. Annika Sorenstam is gone and Ochoa hasn't been dominant since early in the 2008 season. Parity, unfortunately, does not create public interest. Dominance does.

FAMILY FIRST: Phil Mickelson officially announced that he would not be playing in this week's Open Championship, ending his consecutive majors-played streak at 61. He is instead staying Stateside to be with his wife, who recently underwent surgery related to breast cancer. It was revealed last week that Mickelson's mother, Mary, has also been diagnosed with breast cancer. She was scheduled to have surgery last Friday.
Backspin The Mickelson's aren't alone in their need for prayer. Kenny Perry's mother is dying of blood cancer. Angela Stanford's mother has breast cancer. And Jonathan Byrd's father passed away due to a brain tumor. If you haven't talked to your parents in a while, give them a call and say 'I love you.'

OH, DEERE: Steve Stricker won his second PGA Tour event of the season, shooting 68-64 on a 36-hole Sunday to capture the John Deere Classic. The final two rounds were compacted into one day when Friday's second round was postponed due to inclement weather.
Backspin With the delay, the British Open this week, the U.S. Women's Open last week, and the whole Bivens ordeal, the John Deere could have been played in North Korea and received less attention. But they played ' and finished before Monday ' and Stricker picked up his sixth career Tour title. All that's missing is a major. He has back-to-back top-10s at the Open. If he's not worn out, he could be a legitimate contender at Turnberry.

TIGER'S TURN: Speaking of Turnberry, the site of the 138th Open Championship, Tiger Woods got his first look at the links venue Sunday. For the first time since 2004, Woods will enter a major championship without one of golf's four top prizes in his possession.
Backspin If history holds true, that will change come Sunday. Turnberry has hosted only three Opens, but each time the best player in the world has prevailed: Tom Watson (1977), Greg Norman (1986), and Nick Price (1994).

YOU WISH YOU WERE ME: Martin Kaymer won his second straight event on the European Tour, capturing the Barclays Scottish Open. He finished two ahead of two others, while Adam Scott tied for fourth, three back.
Backspin Congratulations, Kaymer. Now let's get to the real news of the week: Scott's special guest in Scotland. It seems tennis star Ana Ivanovic is Scott's latest girl ... friend ... or something. Scott will likely never have to worry about money, but if he should one day face financial ruin he should figure out a way to rent his life to others. Being Adam Scott would be much better than Being John Malkovich.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Tiger Woods will compete in Notah Begay's charity skins game next month in central New York. ... Tickets for the Australian Masters sold out quickly with Woods scheduled to make his first start on the continent since 1998. ... John Daly received a sponsor's exemption into the Canadian Open. ... Bernhard Langer eagled the last hole to win the 3M Championship on the Champions Tour by one shot over Andy Bean.
Backspin Cheers for Tiger. Jeers to the tournament officials who made tickets $330 a pop. ... Woods receives an estimated $3 million just for showing up, which means he can buy about 9,091 tickets to Begay's skins game. ... This will be Daly's second start on the PGA Tour this year. He tied for 59th in Memphis, but has missed his last four cuts on the European Tour. ... Langer has four wins on the senior circuit this year. Too bad he's not in the field for the Open Championship. Too bad it's not 1986.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage ' John Deere Classic
  • Full Coverage ' U.S. Women's Open
  • Full Coverage ' Barclays Scottish Open
  • Complete News Headlines
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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 GolfChannel.com.  

    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; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)

    Monday, July 16

    GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

    GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Tuesday, July 17

    GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Wednesday, July 18

    GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Thursday, July 19

    GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

    GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

    GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

    GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

    GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Friday, July 20

    GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

    GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

    GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

    GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Saturday, July 21

    GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

    GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

    GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

    GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

    Sunday, July 22

    GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

    GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

    GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

    GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

    GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

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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.

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    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.