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The Social: Everyone has Tiger fever

By Jason CrookMarch 13, 2018, 5:15 pm

Everyone goes wild for Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler honors Arnold Palmer with some custom shoes and Andrew "Beef" Johnson did the impossible ... he ordered too much food.

All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

Not sure if anyone heard, but Tiger Woods is back.

Sure you’ve probably heard that more times than you can count over the last few years as he’s tried to return to the PGA Tour after several back surgeries ... but this time, it sure looks like the real deal.

Sure, Woods ultimately came up a shot short at the Valspar, but watching that guy in red and black fist pumping his way around Innisbrook over the weekend was a sight for sore eyes. And not just these ones.

Fellow pros, superstar athletes, celebrities and even an ex-girlfriend caught Tiger fever on Sunday as Woods and Co., came down the stretch, and they couldn't help but tweet their support for the 14-time major winner:

With all due respect to the rest of the golfing universe, nobody moves the needle like Tiger. Not even Phil Mickelson's first win in five years, the previous week in Mexico, generated this kind of buzz. And the stats back that up.

The "Tiger Effect" is real and it's spectacular.

It'll be on full display again this week at the Arnold Palmer invitational, an event he's won eight times, and if he heads into the Masters with this kind of form, the first major of the year will be a circus.

While the spotlight will certainly be on Woods this week at Bay Hill, one guy who may steal a few looks from fans is Rickie Fowler.

Fowler plans on sporting some special-edition shoes to honor the event's former host, Arnold Palmer, and hopefully raise a good chunk of change for charity.

The 29-year-old has never been shy about his appreciation for Palmer's contributions to the sport, and he worked with Puma to customize the kicks to include several tributes to Arnie for the second Arnold Palmer Invitational since he passed away, including Palmer's signature, the iconic umbrella logo, pink lining and special inscriptions on the heels.

An identical pair of shoes will be autographed by Fowler and included in a giveaway benefiting Arnie's Army Charitable Foundation.

After a few tweaks during the six-month comment period, the new Rules of Golf have been finalized by the USGA and R&A and are set to take effect on Jan. 1.

There wasn't a ton of chatter online after the announcement, but Tyrrell Hatton did have a refreshing response to suddenly being allowed to tap down spike marks on greens – "What the hell am I meant to blame" for a missed putt?

Golfers of all levels can relate to the three-time European Tour winner. It's never your fault. Maybe it's the equipment? Perhaps the wind kicked up at the wrong moment? Maybe there was a spike mark that knocked your ball off line?

Whatever the case, blame should be placed elsewhere. You're great at golf. Wish the rule makers would understand this simple concept and stop making it harder to embrace.

Sure, we'd all get our ankles broken by Hot Sauce during this tremendous promotion the NBA's Atlanta Hawks are putting on during home games. But I defy you to find a bigger mismatch for the street-ball legend than ESPN reporter Darren Rovell.

Justin Thomas spent his off-week laying around doing nothing ... for good reason.

The world No. 2 had his wisdom teeth removed on Wednesday, and we know that because if you undergo surgery in 2018 and don't post a picture, then did it even happen?

Luckily for us, Thomas posted the aftermath on social media shortly after the procedure. Perhaps it was just bad lighting, but his career as an Instagram model is off to a rough start.

Looking my best #wisdomteethbegone

A post shared by Justin Thomas (@justinthomas34) on

Of course, Thomas' roommate, fellow PGA Tour pro Tom Lovelady, immediately jumped in the comments to reference Thomas' recent run-in with a fan at the Honda Classic that ended with JT issuing an apology for overreacting.

Thomas may not live that incident down with golf fans for a while. But from the looks of things, his friends will remember it for even longer.

Because what good are friends if they don't give you a little kick when your down?

Andrew “Beef” Johnston doesn’t come across as a guy who asks for a doggy bag at restaurants because he can’t finish his meal.

After all, you can’t get dessert if you don’t finish dinner.

That’s why the comment of the week has to go to Beef’s waiter at a restaurant in India, who had the gall to tell him he’d ordered too much food, and then was proven right.

After taking that loss, Beef also ended up losing the Indian Open in a playoff. While he won’t get another shot at that title for a whole year, he vowed to give the restaurant another chance before he left town.

Hope they stocked up. Beef eating with a vengeance must be a sight to behold.

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More sun, dry conditions expected early at Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 9:14 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – An atypically dry Scottish summer is expected to continue this week at The Open.

There’s a possibility of a few showers Thursday and Friday, but otherwise conditions are expected to remain dry with temperatures around 70 degrees and winds in the 15-20 mph range.

The forecast for the opening round at Carnoustie is sunshine with clouds developing later in the day. The high is expected to be around 70 degrees, with winds increasing throughout the day, maxing out at 18 mph.

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

There’s a chance of rain overnight Thursday and into Friday morning, but it’s not expected to slow down the fiery conditions.

It’s been one of the driest summers in recent memory, leading to fairways that are baked out and fescue rough that is lighter and thinner than in previous years.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 8:40 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 18, 2018, 8:30 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.