The Good the Bad -- and Faldo

By Kelly TilghmanFebruary 2, 2007, 5:00 pm
Editor's Note: Each month, Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman will be answering reader and viewer questions. Kelly is the first female in golf television history to be a lead play-by-play commentator.
Has it been difficult adapting to a 4-hour or so telecast after doing mostly half-hour-to-hour shows? And what is a normal work day like for you? -- Robert from Georgia
Dear Robert,
Thankfully, it hasnt been much of a problem adapting to a 4-hour broadcast. I had plenty of practice for those with our 'Live From' shows in 2006. We actually did 6 hours a day for last years Masters and well likely do it again. That was tough. I will say that the main thing you need to do to maintain your energy is eat! We have plenty of protein snacks and fruit in the booth to get us through the broadcast. You can imagine how hungry (Nick) Faldo must get being nearly 64'! He eats like a horse!
Best wishes,
Is Faldo the same guy off camera that he is on camera? ' Ryan from Canada
Dear Ryan,
Kelly Tilghman and Nick Faldo
Kelly and Nick make a great on-air tandem. (WireImage)
Faldo is not the same guy off camera that he is on camera. Hes even funnier! Multiply his enthusiasm times 5! Nick is a rare kind of person. Hes constantly thinking, creating, moving and making everyone laugh. He is a bright and witty guy who has a deep passion for what he does. He puts just as much energy, if not more, into his television career as he did into his golf game over the years. I think the most important thing for viewers to understand about Nick is that hes not faking it for the camera. Thats the real Faldo.
Best wishes,
How has your reception been from players and others in the business with you being the first female golf anchor on a tournament broadcast? ' Angela from California
Dear Angela,
My reception out here has been overwhelmingly positive. Several players and fellow members of the media have congratulated me on my new position and it has been heartfelt. Im sure there are plenty of people who are taken aback by this move, but hopefully over time, they will come to accept it. I know that this is a new concept for many but its not the first time theres ever been a first in the business! As long as I bring credibility to the broadcast booth, that will ease the transition. Judy Rankin and Dottie Pepper are two of the most revered talents in the business because they are knowledgeable and hard working. It just takes time.
Thanks for the support.
What is the hardest part of your job and what do you need to work on to be as good an anchor as you want to be? ' Terry from Indiana
Hi Terry,
Kelly Tilghman
A lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes to make everything look good. (WireImage)
The hardest part of my new job is the adjustment to life on the road. I traveled a lot when I was a touring professional but I was much younger then with less of a sense for home base. Its not easy jumping from city to city, hotel to hotel, and airplane to airplane, but it does make me appreciate the long anticipated return to my own bed and my family and friends. As far as being the best anchor I can be, I feel that time and repetition will help me hone my skills. The more shows you do, the stronger your sense of timing and your feel for the moment becomes. Remember, Im just 3 weeks into my new career, whereas Jim Nantz, Mike Tirico and Dan Hicks are decades along. Im looking forward to the journey.
Do you get to play the courses at the tour stops each week? ' Mike from Indiana
Hi Mike,
I have the opportunity to play the tournament course only once in a blue moon. Usually, I cant fly in until the day before the broadcast because of other obligations and I leave immediately following the broadcast to prepare for the next event. Occasionally, I will tee it up somewhere and when I do, its great. Nick and I played the Plantation Course (host to the Mercedes-Benz Championship) on New Years Eve. Its totally different getting to play a course under tournament conditions. Its a real test of your game. The greens are usually lightning fast and the rough is always thick. It makes you appreciate the scores these pros are shooting week in and week out.
How do you stay in shape on the road? Do you have a fitness routine that you stick to with all of the work? ' Kevin from Canada
Dear Kevin,
Its a real challenge staying in shape on the road but I use workouts for more than just staying fit. They are mental releases for me. We have gym benefits just about everywhere we go or I will use the hotel facility if it has all of the equipment I like to use. To make it easy, I simply make it a part of my daily routine, much like you would at home. I always work out in the mornings. It helps my metabolism jumpstart and it gets my blood pumping to the brain!
All the best,
I think you are doing a tremendous job, but Im sure you ' like every other broadcaster ' get your fair share of criticism. Do you pay attention to the critics; whether they say good things or bad things, and how do you deal with it? ' James from New York
Dear James,
One thing I learned pretty quickly in this business is that critics are about as common as the number of breaths you take in a day. My thought process is quite simple in that department: I wake up every day trying to be a little better than I was the day before, knowing that I cant possibly please everyone on this journey. My priority has always been to be true to myself and the viewer. The rest will work itself out. I have a close circle of friends and I value their opinions very highly. Letting too many comments rule your world only creates confusion. Like the great Arnold Palmers father once said, Son, you go ahead and listen to all of those people who think they have the answer to your swing problems. Ill have a tractor waiting for you when youre finished so you can make a living.
Thanks for your questions and support,
Email Kelly with your questions for next month's Q&A
Getty Images

McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.

Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.

“It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.

“Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”

He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.  

@radiosarks on Twitter

Height of irony: Phil putts in front of 'rules' sign

By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 1:36 pm

A picture is worth 1,000 words and potentially two strokes for playing a moving ball under Rule 14-5 but not Rule 1-2.

Phil Mickelson has been having some fun during his Open prep at Carnoustie hitting flop shots over human beings, but the irony of this photo below is too obvious to go over anyone's head.

Mickelson also tried tapping down fescue two weeks ago at The Greenbrier, incurring another two-shot penalty.

And so we're left to wonder about what Phil asked himself back at Shinnecock Hills: "The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’”

Getty Images

Rory looking for that carefree inner-child

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:28 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eleven years later, Rory McIlroy cringes at the photo: the yellow sweater with the deep V-neck, the chubby cheeks and the messy mop that curled under his cap.

“You live and you learn,” he said Wednesday, offering a wry smile.

The last time McIlroy played at a Carnoustie Open, in 2007, he earned the Silver Medal as the low amateur. He tied for 42nd, but the final result had mattered little. Grateful just to have a spot in the field, courtesy of his European Amateur title, he bounced along the fairways, soaking up every moment, and lingered behind the 18th green as one of his local heroes, Padraig Harrington, battled one of his favorite players, Sergio Garcia. Waiting for the trophy presentation, he passed the time playing with Padraig’s young son, Paddy. On Wednesday, McIlroy spotted Paddy, now 15, walking around Carnoustie with his three-time-major-winning father.

“He’s massive now – he towers over me,” he said. “It’s so funny thinking back on that day.”

But it’s also instructive. If there’s a lesson to be learned from ’07, it’s how carefree McIlroy approached and played that week. He was reminded again of that untroubled attitude while playing a practice round here with 23-year-old Jon Rahm, who stepped onto each tee, unsheathed his driver and bombed away with little regard for the wind or the bounce or the fescue. McIlroy smiled, because he remembers a time, not too long ago, that he’d attack a course with similar reckless abandon.

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I just think, as you get older, you get a little more cautious in life,” said McIlroy, 29. “I think it’s only natural. There’s something nice about being young and being oblivious to some stuff. The more I can get into that mindset, the better I’ll play golf.”

And so on the eve of this Open, as he approaches the four-year anniversary of his last major title, McIlroy finds himself searching for a way to channel that happy-go-lucky 18-year-old who was about to take the world by storm, to tap into the easygoing excellence that once defined his dominance.

It’s been a year since he first hinted at what he’s been missing. Last year’s Open at Royal Birkdale was the final event of his long run with caddie J.P. Fitzgerald. The chief reason for the split, he said, had nothing to do with some of the questionable on-course decisions, but rather a desire to take ownership of him game, to be freed up alongside one of his best friends, Harry Diamond.

That partnership has produced only one victory so far, and over the past few months, McIlroy has at times looked unsettled between the ropes. It’s difficult to compute, how someone with seemingly so much – a résumé with four majors, a robust bank account, a beautiful wife – can also appear disinterested and unmotivated.

“I think sometimes I need to get back to that attitude where I play carefree and just happy to be here,” he said. “A golf tournament is where I feel the most comfortable. It’s where I feel like I can 100 percent be myself and express myself. Sometimes the pressure that’s put on the top guys to perform at such a level every week, it starts to weigh on you a little bit. The more I can be like that kid, the better.”

It’s a decidedly different landscape from when the erstwhile Boy Wonder last won a major, in summer 2014. Jordan Spieth had won just a single Tour event, not three majors. Dustin Johnson wasn’t world No. 1 but merely a tantalizing tease, a long-hitting, fast-living physical freak who was just beginning a six-month break to address "personal challenges." Two-time U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka hadn’t even started playing in the States.  

McIlroy’s greatest asset, both then and now, was his driving – he put on clinics at Congressional and Kiawah, Hoylake and Valhalla. He was a mainstay at or near the top of the strokes gained: tee to green rankings, but over the past few years, because of better technology, fitness and coaching, the gap between him and the rest of the field has shrunk.

“I think at this stage players have caught up,” Harrington said. “There’s many players who drive the ball comparable and have certainly eaten into that advantage. Rory is well on pace to get into double digits with majors, but it has got harder. There’s no doubt there’s more players out there who are capable of having a big week and a big game for a major. It makes it tough.”

It’s not as though McIlroy hasn’t had opportunities to add to his major haul; they’ve just been less frequent and against stronger competition. In the 13 majors since he last won, he’s either finished in the top 10 or missed the cut in 11 of them. This year, he played in the final group at the Masters, and was on the verge of completing the career Grand Slam, before a soul-crushing 74 on the last day. His U.S. Open bid was over after nine holes, after an opening 80 and a missed cut during which he declined to speak to reporters after both frustrating rounds.

“I’m trying,” he said Wednesday. “I’m trying my best every time I tee it up, and it just hasn’t happened.”

A year after saying that majors are the only events that will define the rest of his career, he recently shrugged off the doom and gloom surrounding his Grand Slam drought: “It doesn’t keep me up at night, thinking, If I never won another major, I can’t live with myself.”

Eleven years ago, McIlroy never would have troubled himself with such trivial questions about his legacy. But perhaps a return to Carnoustie, to where his major career started, is just what he needs to unlock his greatness once again.


Getty Images

Own history, grow the game with Open memorabilia auction

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 1:00 pm

Get a piece of history and help grow the game, that's what The Open is offering with its memorabilia auction.

The official Open Memorabilia site features unique Open assets from famous venues and Champion Golfers of the Year. All net proceeds received by The R&A from this project will be invested to support the game for future generations, including encouraging women’s, junior and family golf, on the promotion and progression of the sport in emerging golf nations and on coaching and development.

Items for auction include limited edition prints of Champion Golfers of the Year, signed championship pin flags and limited edition historical program covers. Memorable scorecard reproductions and caddie bibs are also available to bid for on the website, with all items featuring branded, serialized holograms for authenticity.

Click here to own your piece of history and to get more information on the auction.