Ryder qualifying looming large over U.S. hopefuls

By Jason SobelJuly 31, 2014, 7:59 pm

AKRON, Ohio – Anyone who has witnessed Keegan Bradley’s stutter-step approach to his ball or constant club-twirling while standing over it understands that he’s quirky and eccentric and …

“I’m a really weird guy,” he stated matter-of-factly on Thursday. “I do a lot of weird stuff.”

One such example came after the last Ryder Cup. Despondent following the United States’ loss, Bradley arrived at his South Florida home and left his team-issued travel bag completely intact. Didn’t touch a zipper, didn’t empty a single pocket.

Nearly two years later, he still hasn’t opened it.

“I’m not even 100 percent sure what’s in there,” he said. “It’s sitting in my house. I just saw it before I left. For a split-second, I thought about opening it. Get a little motivation just to see what was in there.”

Like others who are currently on the bubble for automatic qualifying to this year’s roster, Bradley doesn’t need much motivation.

This week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and next week’s PGA Championship offer opportunities to climb inside the top nine on the points list and – to use a cliché – control your own destiny, rather than remain beholden to captain Tom Watson for a potential wild-card selection. Dustin Johnson was No. 5 on the U.S. points list, but Johnson announced Thursday that he is taking leave of absence "to seek professional help for personal challenges," one that will keep him out of the Ryder Cup. His absence opens up one more spot for guys fighting to make the team.

“It’s brutal,” admits Bradley, currently 16th in the standings. “It’s stuff you don’t think about when you’re younger, grinding it out for spots on Ryder Cup teams. You think about having fun out here. That’s not very much fun.

Therein lies a problem, though. Every player within shouting distance of making the team has those thoughts in the forefront of his mind – and every one of ‘em maintains that he’s trying his best not to think about it.

“It's about the farthest thing from my mind,” Ryan Moore, 14th on the points list, said after an opening-round 5-under 65 at Firestone. “It's just simply, I've got two chances to go play good and hope I can get it done.”

“It's one of those things where you have to take care of yourself,” explained Patrick Reed, another bubble boy who opened with a 67. “If so, then everything will fall into place.”

That’s the goal, at least – and with double points available at Valhalla next week, the qualifying process is far from a done deal.

“I’m so far out of it that I’ve got to play spectacular golf the next few weeks,” said Brandt Snedeker, who shot 68 on Thursday. “I’m playing better golf now than I have all year. I know I’m hitting it really good. I’m excited about that. I have no doubt in my mind I can win one of these next two tournaments and put myself right in the mix.”

Most players also understand, though, that with a few notable superstars – namely, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson – currently on the outside looking in, the chance of securing one of the three captain’s picks is even less than in years past.

“Every year there’s a couple of guys who seem like they’re locks for captain’s picks,” Snedeker continued. “I would find it hard to see a Ryder Cup team without those two guys on it. I think there’s one spot that’s available and I think that’s how everyone views it.”

Neither of them are taking anything for granted, though.

Woods has repeatedly stated some form of his longtime mantra: “Winning takes care of everything." Mickelson has been echoing those sentiments, as well.

“It's been a really good streak that I've had going,” the lefthander said after a first-round 1-over 71. “I have not had to rely on a captain's selection in two decades and I'd like to keep that going. I definitely want to be in Scotland, a country that I've played some good golf in the last few years and I always enjoy going back to. So it would be nice and beneficial, I think, if I were able to play my way on the team by myself. And I feel like I'm starting to play well enough to do it now.”

From those firmly on the bubble to those who need to make a major move in the standings, every potential U.S. team member is thinking about the Ryder Cup without actually trying to think about over these next two weeks.

That’s a difficult conundrum, one that might even flummox the best mental gurus.

There’s not much else these players can do, though, other than block it from their minds and post some low numbers over the next two weeks.

At least one players has a little extra motivation, too.

“I want to play on that Ryder Cup team,” Bradley said. “If good stuff happens, I’ll open that bag.”

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 22, 2018, 8:30 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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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 22, 2018, 8:30 am

Tiger Woods begins the final round of the 147th Open Championship four shots off the lead. He's out at 9:25 a.m. ET on Sunday and we're tracking him.

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Schauffele just fine being the underdog

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1