Garcia still facing questions about Tiger comments

By Jason SobelMay 4, 2014, 8:16 pm

Sergio Garcia doesn't want to talk, which is unfailingly ironic, because talking too much is the very reason he's being asked to talk again on this rainy afternoon in the foothills of Georgia. It is one day after the Masters Tournament ended – and three days after Garcia’s own Masters ended, the result of a missed cut which probably isn't helping his overall mood.

He is being asked to talk because we are quickly approaching the one-year milestone of his infamous public squabble with Tiger Woods during The Players Championship, when Garcia accused him of unsportsmanlike conduct. He said Woods riled up the crowd while the two were paired together in the third round, which disrupted Garcia's shot to the par-5 second. A war of words ensued. Then there was the even more infamous comment just a week-and-a-half later. When questioned at a formal European Tour function about whether he’d have dinner with the multicultural Woods prior to the U.S. Open, Garcia answered, “We’ll have him 'round every night. We will serve fried chicken.”

It was hardly an isolated incident of speaking out of turn. Over the years, Garcia has blamed tournament officials for giving preferential treatment to Woods and the golf gods for giving preferential treatment to, well, everyone but himself.

On each of these occasions, it was talking that got him into trouble. Whereas most professional athletes own a protective filter between their innermost thoughts and spoken words, Garcia has no such filter, which serves as both one of his most endearing qualities and greatest sins. He is unmistakably honest in a role that doesn’t always reward honesty. He is coolly forthright even when his thoughts are best left unsaid.

This time he is being offered a forum. A pulpit on which to preach what he’s learned, how he’s changed and – once again – how much he’d like to echo his apology following that comment. This will be a clear-the-air moment. This will be an opportunity to counsel the world on how he’s evolved, how he understands the need for such a filter, how he’s become a stronger person since the controversy and how he’s found happiness in the wake of such remorse.

This is no sneak attack. His handlers – agents, managers, sponsors and PR wags – have been briefed on the nature of this interview. They understand that he will be given a platform on which to reiterate his thoughts and hopefully, in their minds, put it to rest forever.

Garcia doesn’t want to talk, though. He doesn’t want to relive the past, doesn’t want to answer questions about a situation he has clearly tried to place behind him. He tells the handlers he won’t be discussing this today, no matter the prior arrangement.

But this is his chance to get ahead of the story and address it in a casual setting before the one-year checkpoint, they are told.

He has no interest in recalling any of that, they answer.

But this is his opportunity to get ahead of the expected media crush during Players Championship week and maybe even defer any questions to this interview, they are told.

He knows he’ll only be asked about it again and again, they answer.

And so Garcia doesn’t speak about any of it, at least not in specific terms. Instead, he compromises. He answers questions in generalities – about his career, about his ongoing maturity, about his life.

He is asked how difficult it is to play golf when things are unsettled off the course.

“When you're going through a tough time outside the golf course, there's a lot more things to worry about,” he says. “Which is normal; we all go through those things through life. But it's nice when things are lined up nicely.”

He is asked about being misunderstood by the public.

“I like to be myself; I don't want to be two different persons. Obviously, I think sometimes you say things that either you regret or come wrong at that time. But at the end of the day, like I've always said, I try to be the way I am. I think that's one of the reasons why the people like me.”

He is asked about being too open with his feelings.

“Sometimes being too honest is not the best thing, because even though you're trying to say what you feel or what you think is right, people are not going to see it that way. … I still try to be myself as much as I can and try to present myself as open and honest as I can really be.”

In a way, he speaks about last year’s tribulations without ever directly addressing them.

That probably won’t be the case this week. With Woods, the defending champion, still on the disabled list, Garcia will arrive on the PGA Tour’s home turf Tuesday morning as potentially the biggest story. He won this event in 2008 and nearly did so a year ago before pumping two balls into the water on the par-3 17th on Sunday. Inquiring minds will attempt to uncover how last year’s incidents - particularly of the verbal variety - have impacted him and whether there remain any lingering side effects.

He still won’t want to talk about it – and maybe he won’t, continuing in his decision to not relive the past. He's not slated to give a news conference.

If he does speak, however, expect him to be honest again. This is a personality trait which has stayed with him throughout his career. It’s difficult to believe that will now change.

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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 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.