Tales from Scotland

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2010, 11:44 pm

Emptying out the notebook from a wild 10-day excursion to Scotland for the Open Championship at St. Andrews.

  • Spent several days up north in the Highlands before arriving in St. Andrews. Spent the first night at Skibo Castle, which was a far cry from the St. Andrews University dorms that I slept in for the Open Championship. Madonna was married there 10 years ago. At Skibo, not the dorms. My room was larger than all of the apartments I lived in during college.
  • If you ever go to Skibo you will meet Alan Grant, or Alan the Grant as he’s often called. An entertaining and colorful dude.
  • Royal Dornoch is an absolute treat and is easily in my top-3 favorite golf courses. The other two courses on my list were played in great weather, not the 40 mph winds and rain that we encountered at Dornoch.
  • Castle Stuart is a year old and seems like it’s been there for over 100. It’s nicely woven into the terrain and the large fairways were helpful, especially since I developed a nasty snap hook during the trip.
  • Neat touch at Castle Stuart was the soda machine halfway up a ridiculously steep hill from the 12th green to the 13th tee. The starter gives you a token for the machine before you tee off. At the time it seems hokey. Three hours later when you need it, not so hokey.
  • Had dinner at Castle Stuart with a room full of Brits while the World Cup finale was on the telly. Interesting. During halftime I asked if they could switch to the U.S. Women’s Open so I could see Paula Creamer win her first major. They obliged and wanted to rip my head off at the same time.
  • Discovered Kummel, a sweet, colorless drink with a licorice taste that is extremely popular at many high-end clubs in Scotland. It packs a mean punch but certainly warms you up after finishing a chilly round of golf. It’s a must-try.
  • Played Crail, not a big fan. Way too quirky. Tough to get comfortable on a golf course when your three swing thoughts are don’t hit anyone, don’t get hit and I’m not exactly sure if I’m playing the right hole.
  • Driving on the other side of the road really isn’t that difficult. It makes Americans nervous but it shouldn’t. Think left, look right was the best tip I received. The roundabouts can be tricky but, once you get the hang of them, you realize that they’re much more efficient than stoplights and they make traffic flow better.
  • Never fall for the “omen” bet. You know, the one where you have to bet on the last player you see before heading into a betting parlor? I spotted a player-to-remain-nameless talking on his cell phone just before I walked into Ladbrokes and put a few pounds on him. That player shot 80 in the second round and was on the first flight out of town Friday night.
  • Went to have lunch in the Media Centre early in the week at the Open Championship and one option was a bowl of something with breading on top. I asked what it was and thought I heard “fresh pie.” Turns out, it was fish pie. Fish, good. Pie, good. Fish pie, not good.
  • I forgot to ask an important question while there. It’s no secret that Americans typically aren’t fond of Scottish food. Are Scots fond of American food?
  • There’s never a bad time to swing by the Dunvegan, the best pub and hotel in St. Andrews, which is 112 yards from the Old Course. Ran into everyone from Fluff Cowan to Todd Hamilton to Lucas Glover. Owners Jack and Sheena Willoughby are always an absolute joy to spend time with.
  • Hopped the fence late Saturday evening with several others to visit Old Tom Morris’ grave. I thought it was going to be a creepy experience but it turned out to be a hoot. Made sure not to step anywhere near the tombstone. Wanted to make sure I’m not forever cursed with the aforementioned snap hooks.
  • Louis Oosthuizen sucked the life out of the Open Championship on Sunday. Wish there was more drama. That said, Oosthuizen deserves all the praise, he played flawlessly, which is likely to get lost in the shuffle.
  • Speaking of Oosthuizen, a perk of being a writer is that I only have to know how to spell his name, don’t have to know how to pronounce it. Still, in this case, it’s probably a push with my on-air brethren who’ve had to say it ad nauseam the past week.
  • Would do it all again in a heartbeat.
Getty Images

High school seniors win U.S. Amateur Four-Ball

By Associated PressMay 24, 2018, 1:44 am

TEQUESTA, Fla. - The 18-year-old Hammer, from Houston, is set to play at Texas next fall. Barber, from Stuart, Fla., also is 18. He's headed to LSU.

''Growing up watching U.S. Opens and U.S. Amateurs on TV, I just knew being a USGA champion is something that I desperately wanted,'' said Hammer, who qualified for a U.S. Open three years ago at 15. ''And to finally do it, it feels incredible. It feels as good, if not better, than I thought it would. And especially being able to do it with Garrett. It's really cool to share this moment.''

Hammer and Cole won the par-4 eighth with a birdie to take a 2-up lead. They took the par-4 10th with a par, won the par-5 13th with an eagle - Barber hit a 4-iron from 235 yards to 3 feet - and halved the next two holes to end the match.

''Cole didn't want me to hit 4-iron,'' Barber said. ''He didn't think I could get it there. I was like, 'I got it.' So I hit it hard, hit pretty much a perfect shot. It was a crazy shot.''

The 32-year-old Dull is from Winter Park, Fla., and the 42-year-old Brooke from Altamonte Springs, Fla.

''Cole Hammer is a special player,'' Brooke said. ''Obviously, he's going to Texas (and) I'm not saying he is Jordan Spieth, but there are certain things that he does.''

In the morning semifinals, Hammer and Barber beat Idaho high school teammates Carson Barry and Sam Tidd, 5 and 4, and Brooke and Dull topped former Seattle University teammates Kyle Cornett and Patrick Sato, 4 and 3.

Getty Images

Watch: Pumped up Beef deadlifts 485 lbs.

By Grill Room TeamMay 24, 2018, 12:19 am

Andrew "Beef" Johnston has been playing some solid golf on the European Tour this season, and he is clearly pumped up for one of the biggest weeks of the year at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

Judging from the video below, Beef will have no problems lifting the trophy on Sunday as he reportedly deadlifted 220 kg ... (Googles kilogram to pounds converter, enters numbers) ... that's 485 lbs!

@beefgolf with a new deadlift PB 220kg ! #youcantgowronggettingstrong

A post shared by ETPI (@etpi_performanceunit) on

Getty Images

Arizona captures NCAA DI Women's Championship

By Jay CoffinMay 23, 2018, 11:56 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – Turns out this match-play format provides fireworks. Almost always.

In the four years since the women’s NCAA Championship has switched from the stale, 72-hole stroke-play format the championship matches have been pure magic.

This year, for the third time in the past four years, the final outcome came down to the last match and Arizona took home its third title with a 3-2 victory over Alabama on Wednesday when junior Haley Moore defeated senior Lakareber Abe on the 19th hole.

The Wildcats also won NCAA titles in 1996 and 2000, the latter when current Arizona coach Laura Ianello was on the team as a player.

“Arizona is my home, it is where I went to school and [the championship] needs to be back home,” Ianello said. “So I am so proud to be the coach to bring it back.”

Two days ago, Arizona was in the midst of an epic collapse. The Wildcats were safely in the third position after 54 holes of stroke play and needed only to be inside the top eight after 72 holes to advance to the match-play portion of the event.

But they played the worst round of the day and were on the outside looking in with one hole remaining when junior Bianca Pagdanganan made eagle on the par-5 18th hole. That propelled the Wildcats into a playoff against Baylor that they ultimately won.

On the first day of match play, Arizona continued to ride the wave of momentum by defeating Pac-12 rivals UCLA, the top seed, and Stanford, a match-play stalwart the past three years.

Next up for Arizona was Alabama, the top-ranked team in the country and the second seed this week after stroke play.


NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Team scoring

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Individual scoring


“Win or lose tomorrow, this has been a hell of a ride,” Ianello said, attempting to take pressure off her team, which, on paper, looked like an underdog.

But you know the saying, anything can happen in match play, and often does.

Alabama coach Mic Potter put out his three first-team All-Americans in the first three spots hoping to jump out to an early lead. Junior Lauren Stephenson played poorly in the opening match and lost, 4 and 3, to freshman Yu-Sang Hou.

Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight dispatched Wildcats Gigi Stoll and Pagdanganan easily in the second and third matches.

Arizona’s Sandra Nordaas beat Angelica Moresco, 1 up, in the fourth match meaning the fifth and final match, which was all square after 16 holes, was going to decide the NCAA title.

Lakareber lost the 17th hole when her approach shot sailed well short and right of the green in thick, gnarly rough. She attempted to advance the ball but could not and headed to the final hole 1 down.

With seemingly every golf fan in Stillwater on site, including several men’s teams here to participate in next week’s championship, Abe hit a laser second shot into the par-5 18th hole setting up a 12-foot look for eagle. Moore missed her birdie putt and Abe won the hole to set up extra holes to decide the championship.

In the extra frame, Moore was left of the green in two shots and Abe was short in the greenside bunker. Moore chipped to 4 feet and Abe’s bunker shot was 6 feet away. Abe missed, Moore made and Arizona walked away with the hardware.

“It means so much, it’s actually like a dream,” Moore said. “I’m just so happy for my team right now.”

Potter has been a head coach for 35 years – at both Furman and Alabama – and finally was able to collect his first NCAA Championship in 2012. Being so close to a second one will sting for quite a while but he will be able to live with the outcome for one simple reason.

“They fought their hearts out all year,” Potter said. “I just want to congratulate them for the way they battled, not only today, but in match play. Everyone gave their best on every shot - that’s all we can ask.”

Arizona def. Alabama, 3-2

Yu-Sang Hou (AZ) def. Lauren Stephenson (AL), 4 and 3

Kristen Gillman (AL) def. Gigi Stoll (AZ), 4 and 3

Cheyenne Knight (AL) def. Bianca Pagdanganan, 4 and 2

Sandra Nordaas (AZ) def. Angelica Moresco (AL), 1 up

Haley Moore (AZ) def. Lakareber Abe (AL), 19th hole

Getty Images

Elway to play in U.S. Senior Open qualifier

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 23, 2018, 10:25 pm

Tony Romo is not the only ex-QB teeing it up against the pros.

Denver Broncos general manager and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway will try to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open next week, according to the Denver Post.

And why not? The qualifier and the senior major will be held in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor. Elway is scheduled to tee off May 28 at 12:10 p.m. ET. The top two finishers will earn a spot in the U.S. Senior Open, June 27 to July 1.