Wishful Thinking

By Mercer BaggsAugust 17, 2009, 4:00 pm

KOOL AND THE YANG: Y.E. Yang won his first major title, defeating Tiger Woods head-to-head in the 91st PGA Championship. Yang became the first player ever to knock off Woods after he held at least a share of the 54-hole lead in a major.
Backspin Y.E. Yang. Not Phil Mickelson, not Ernie Els, not Vijay Singh, not David Duval back in the day, not any of those 20somethings. But Y.E. Yang. That's the guy who takes down Tiger in a major while looking him straight in the eyes. This could only happen in a state which elected a fake wrestler as a real governor.

THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN: As mentioned, Tiger Woods is no longer invincible when holding the 54-hole lead in a major. Up by two to start the final round, Woods bogeyed his final two holes Sunday to shoot 3-over 75 and finish three back of Yang.
Backspin Poor putting killed Tiger. In fact, he played rather suspiciously all weekend. After taking a four-shot lead after 36 holes, it seemed like he played conservatively, as if he figured no one would would be able to catch him so long as he didn't make any mistakes. It had always worked in the past, but this time he did make mistakes. And Yang caught him, passed him, and beat him.

THE WRONG WAY: Aside from Yang, who deservedly won the 91st PGA Championship, the final round was filled with players doing their best to avoid winning the tournament at all costs. Only 10 of the 79 players who made the cut shot under par Sunday, and that didn't include defending champion Padraig Harrington, U.S. Open winner Lucas Glover and three-time major champ Ernie Els ' all of whom missed a great chance to add to their major collections.
Backspin Aside from Yang's chip-in eagle at the par-4 14th and birdie at the last, the final round was so horrible I had to take my children to another room so they'd be able to sleep at night. 'Harold and Maude' wasn't that offensive. Ultimately, Yang was victorious. He deserved to win. Everyone else deserved to lose.

CRAZY EIGHTS: Padraig Harrington, vying for his second consecutive Wanamaker Trophy, was one shot back of Tiger Woods while playing the par-3 eighth Sunday. He then proceeded to make an 8 to fall out of contention. He finished his title defense shooting 78 to tie for 10th.
Backspin We saw something eerily similar to this just one week prior at the WGC-Bridgestone. But Harrington had a 'put-on-the-clock' excuse. There was no excuse for this. On a day filled with ugly golf, this was the Aunt Esther of them all.

THERE IN BODY, NOT MIND: Phil Mickelson opened with a pair of 74s and closed with a pair of 76s to finish 73rd at the PGA Championship, just his second event since the U.S. Open.
Backspin Mickelson wasn't sure when he would play again, saying that it would depend upon the timing of any medical procedures his wife Amy might need in her battle with breast cancer. That leaves his FedEx Cup and Presidents Cup participations up in the air. It was obvious at Hazeltine that Mickelson's mind wasn't focused solely on golf. As Cubs' fans say, 'Wait till next year.'

DROP IT LIKE IT'S SCOTT: As always in a major, some notable names weren't around for the weekend. This time the list included: John Daly, who withdrew; Sergio Garcia, who shot a Friday 78; Seve Stricker, who didn't make a birdie over 36 holes (I know this because I picked him to win and I'm a bitter man); Mike Weir, who carded a second-round 81; and Adam Scott, who finished 149th.
Backspin After shooting 82-79 this week, Scott admitted that he was on 'a break' from long-time instructor Butch Harmon. GolfChannel.com copy editor Dena Davis and I, however, place blame on his split from Kate Hudson. Scott was seen with the actress in Hawaii, where he tied for second at the Sony Open. Since then Hudson has moved on to Alex Rodriguez and Scott has been axed in nine of 12 Tour events with a 36-hole cut. This Kate Curse is the real deal. Her recent ex-boyfriends reportedly include actors Heath Ledger (deceased), Owen Wilson (tried to be deceased) and Dax Shepard (career deceased). Fortunately, I never have to worry about Hudson wanting to date me (though, I'm a bit scared just writing about her).

PRESS PASS: Pre-major press conferences are usually informative, and sometimes entertaining. Some of the highlights prior to the PGA: Tiger Woods said he would be able to beat the 2000 version of himself; Colin Montgomerie said he and Sandy Lyle talked and put behind them their dispute; and Stewart Cink told a funny story about picking up a hitchhiker.
Backspin One item that really stood out was Tiger's response to his temper and use of foul language on the course. 'It is what it is,' he said. Criticizing Woods for his temper would be hypocritical, because I'm not always on my best behavior while playing golf. But I hate that answer. That's lamer than Inspector Kemp's wooden arm. Woods said, 'I don't mean to; it just comes out.' Usually when people don't mean to do something, and then they do it, they apologize. 'It is what it is' sounds more defensive than apologetic.

THE PRESIDENTS MEN: The top 10 qualifiers were cemented for the United States and International Presidents Cup teams. Yang's win knocked Rory Sabbatini out of the final top 10, while the U.S. top 10 remained the same, with Lucas Glover moving to 11th. U.S. captain Fred Couples and International captain Greg Norman will select their two wildcards Sept. 8. Couples told GolfChannel.com's Randy Mell that Hunter Mahan is a lock for a pick and that the other likely choice would be Glover.
Backspin Compared to the Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup receives the love of a stray cat. They could have discontinued the points process, had the captains meet in an undisclosed Alaskan igloo and pick 12 players each, and it would have received more publicity. In actuality, the Presidents Cup is an entertaining team event that fills a nice void at the end of the 'regular' season. It's just not the Ryder Cup. If the PGA Championship is 'Glory's Last Shot,' the Presidents Cup should be: 'The Presidents Cup ... it is what it is.'

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Tiger Woods refuted a report that said he was fined for his critical comments of referee John Paramor (above) after the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. ... The International Olympic Committees executive board recommended golf for submission into the 2016 Games.
Backspin Players/coaches in all sports should be allowed to criticize officials without monetary punishment. ... Y.E. Yang is the early favorite for gold.

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    Watch: Tiger makes 6 birdies, 1 amazing par in Rd. 3

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 4:10 pm

    Tiger Woods started the third round of The Open at even par, having made seven birdies and seven bogeys over the first 36 holes at Carnoustie.

    Following three pars to start on Saturday, Woods went on a birdie binge.

    No. 1 came with this putt at the par-4 fourth.

    No. 2 with this two-putt at the par-5 sixth.

    No. 3 thanks to this 30-footer at the par-4 ninth.

    No. 4 after nearly jarring his approach shot on the par-4 10th.

    No. 5 when he almost drove the green at the par-4 11th and two-putted, from just off the green, from 95 feet.

    And No. 6, which gave him a share of the lead, came courtesy another two-putt at the par-5 14th.

    Woods bogeyed the par-3 16th to drop out of the lead and almost dropped - at least - one more shot at the par-4 18th. But his tee shot got a lucky bounce and he turned his good fortune into a par.

    Woods shot 5-under 66 and finished the day at 5 under par.

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    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 21, 2018, 4:05 pm

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    Rose's Saturday 64 matches Carnoustie Open record

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 1:03 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose needed to sink a 14-foot putt on the final hole Friday just to make the cut on the number at The Open.

    Freewheeling when he came to the course Saturday, Rose tied the lowest score ever recorded in an Open at Carnoustie.

    Entering the weekend nine shots off the lead, the world No. 3 carded a bogey-free, 7-under 64 to at least make things interesting. It won’t be known for several hours how many shots Rose will be behind, but his back-nine 30 gives him an opportunity, if the wind blows 25 mph Sunday as forecast, to challenge the leaders.

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    After all, Paul Lawrie was 10 shots back entering the final round here in 1999.

    “I think the birdie on 18 last night freed me up, and I’m just very happy to be out on this golf course and not down the road somewhere else this morning,” said Rose, who is at 4-under 209. “So that might have been part of the shift in mindset today. I had nothing to lose from that point of view.”

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    Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 12:20 pm

    NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

    Saturday, Day 3 (Times ET)

    4:30-7AM (Watch): Sunny skies and birdies were on the menu early in Round 3, as Justin Rose made his way around Carnoustie in 64 strokes. Click here or on the image below to watch.

    Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

    8:20AM-3PM (Watch): As the skies cleared on Friday afternoon, defending champion Jordan Spieth made a run to try and regain the claret jug. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

    1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith.

    Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

    Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

    1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.