Looking Back and Looking Forward

By Kelly TilghmanJune 1, 2007, 4:00 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.
Have you had any heroes in golf broadcasting/journalism and have you had the benefit of their advice and wisdom at any time in you career? ' Dan Dawson
Nick Faldo and Kelly Tilghman
Nick Faldo and Kelly prepare for THE PLAYERS telecast. (WireImage)
Dear Dan,
I don't have any broadcasting heroes per se but I do enjoy some styles more than others. I think it's important to understand a moment and the tone that it requires. I also think it's important to try to be yourself. That combination makes for a very thorough and entertaining anchor. On the sports side, Bob Costas does that very well. On the entertainment side, I think personalities like Matt Lauer and Ryan Seacrest are two of the best. The goal is to be informative and entertaining with the understanding that there is always room for improvement.
I read in last months questions that you do watch tapes of your performances. Like us all, I am sure you compare what you do to others that have preceded you. What do you think is your greatest opportunity for improvement in Golf broadcasting? ' Tom Haake, Centreville, Va.
Dear Tom,
I have the rare privilege of being able to watch my recorded work. Not many people can say that about their career. I would be inclined to think that if everyone was afforded this opportunity, they would probably take advantage of it. I remember when Tiger was just coming onto the professional scene. He would stop by the GOLF CHANNEL to look at all kinds of different tournament tapes. Golfers watch their swing on video all the time. When I do it, I don't actually compare my work to that of others. I just look at my performance individually and ponder the different ways that I can get better. Right now, my main focus is to continue growing into the role. It's a brand new position and I'm in the very early stages of transition. I'm trying to learn and have fun along the way.
I play maybe a dozen times a year during the warmer 8 months, and I usually hit the driving range 5 or 6 times a year to work out the kinks and tune up my swing. Any thoughts on how to continue to improve scores with limited amount of time available to play and practice? How do you keep your game sharp on the road? ' Dan Linney, Brentwood, Tenn.
Hi Dan,
I would recommend a lot of visualization drills to keep your golf game sharp when you have limited practice time. I know it sounds funny but there are proven studies that back up this suggestion. If you can spend five minutes a day recreating some of your best shots in your mind, you may find it easier to execute them when crunch time comes. Try it before you tell me that I'm crazy. Also, anytime you can work on your short game, even if it's indoors, it's worth it. Practice putting into a cup or chipping to a corner of the room when you have a little down time. Good luck!
I know that you are happy with your job and all. But when you cover all of the golf, do you ever (for just 1 second) wish you could be on the LPGA tour? ' par3man
Dear Par3man,
The short answer is no. I had a great run with my golf career but when I walked away it was because my heart told me to, not just my body or my checking account. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the competitive side of golf, I wasn't completely fulfilled on tour. I needed a different kind of challenge. It was time to walk away and I haven't looked back since. I still have that competitive drive and I release it through other activities like working out or water sports. When people ask me what I would be doing if I didn't work in television, I find it hard to come up with an answer. That's how I know I made the right choice.
Thanks for the question.
You were a college golfer. Do you think someone with pro aspirations would be better off turning professional right away or going to college and playing there? It seems like international players do pretty well by professionally early. ' Glenn, Jacksonville, Fla.
Dear Glenn,
That's a very personal choice and one that I couldn't make for someone. I wouldn't trade my collegiate experience for anything in the world but things seemed to work out pretty well for a guy like Tiger, who left after his sophomore season at Stanford. It just depends on your drive. If you know that golf is the only thing you will ever want to do, then skipping college probably isn't a bad decision. Personally, I wanted options because I knew that golf wasn't the only thing for me. Keep in mind, you can always go back to school if you so desire.
I hope that helps!
What event are you looking forward to covering most over the rest of the year? What was your favorite event to cover ' even as a reporter? ' Tracey
I'm really looking forward to so many events, but the one that I think will be most intriguing is the TOUR Championship. It's the first time these players will compete for the FedExCup and I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of drama will unfold. Will someone have a putt for $10 million? That's exciting stuff, don't you think?! My favorite event so far this year would have to be the Sony Open in Hawaii, because it was a real pleasure watching Tadd Fujikawa make the cut and actually make a bit of a run on the weekend. I also enjoyed the first day of the Accenture World Match Play, because it reminded me a little of March Madness. The first two rounds of THE PLAYERS was also a blast considering all of the changes to that event and the par-3 17th.
Thanks for the question!
Email Kelly with your questions for next month's Q&A
Getty Images

Woods on firing shot into crowd: 'I kept moving them back'

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:14 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It added up to another even-par round, but Tiger Woods had an eventful Friday at The Open.

His adventure started on the second hole, when he wiped a drive into the right rough. Standing awkwardly on the side of a mound, he prepared for a quick hook but instead fired one into the crowd that was hovering near the rope line.

“I kept moving them back,” he said. “I moved them back about 40 yards. I was trying to play for the grass to wrap the shaft around there and hit it left, and I was just trying to hold the face open as much as I possibly could. It grabbed the shaft and smothered it.

“I was very, very fortunate that I got far enough down there where I had a full wedge into the green.”

Woods bogeyed the hole, one of four on the day, and carded four birdies in his round of 71 at Carnoustie. When he walked off the course, he was in a tie for 30th, six shots off the clubhouse lead.

It’s the first time in five years – since the 2013 Open – that Woods has opened a major with consecutive rounds of par or better. He went on to tie for sixth that year at Muirfield.

Getty Images

Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 2:30 pm

Tiger Woods shot his second consecutive 70 on Friday at Carnoustie and enters weekend play at even par for the championship, still in contention for major No. 15.

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Scott and Sunesson a one-week partnership

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 2:13 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Adam Scott has been in between caddies for the last month and went with a bold stand-in for this week’s Open Championship, coaxing veteran looper Fanny Sunesson out of retirement to work for him at Carnoustie.

Sunesson caddied for Nick Faldo in his prime, as the duo won four major titles together. She also worked for Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia before a back injury forced her to retire.

But for this week’s championship, Scott convinced the Swede to return to the caddie corps. The results have been impressive, with the Australian following an opening 71 with a second-round 70 for a tie for 16th place.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“It's been going great. Fanny is, obviously, a fantastic caddie, and to be able to have that experience out there with me is certainly comforting,” Scott said. “We've gotten along really well. She's picked up on my game quickly, and I think we think about things in a very similar way.”

Scott was also asked about a potential long-term partnership between the duo, but he didn’t sound hopeful.

“It's just for this week,” he said. “It would be up to her, but I don't think she's making plans of a comeback. I was being a bit opportunistic in contacting her and coaxing her out of retirement, I guess. But I think she's having a good week. We'll just take it one week at the moment.”

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After tense Augusta Sunday, Rory ready to be aggressive

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 1:51 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy temporarily lost his superpowers during the Masters.  

In one of the most surprising rounds of the year, he played tentatively and carefully during the final day. Squaring off against the major-less Patrick Reed, on the brink of history, with the backing of nearly the entire crowd, it was McIlroy who shrank in the moment, who looked like the one searching for validation. He shot a joyless 74 and wound up six shots behind Reed.

No, the final round was nowhere near as dispiriting as the finale in 2011, but McIlroy still sulked the following week. He binge-watched TV shows. Devoured a few books. Guzzled a couple of bottles of wine. His pity party lasted a few days, until his wife, Erica, finally dragged him out of the house for a walk.

Some deeper introspection was required, and McIlroy revealed a healthier self-analysis Friday at Carnoustie. He diagnosed what went wrong at Augusta, and then again two months later at the U.S. Open, where he blew himself out of the tournament with an opening 80.

“I was worrying too much about the result, not focusing on the process,” he said. “Sunday at Augusta was a big learning curve for me because, even if I hadn’t won that tournament, but I went down swinging and aggressive and committing to every shot, I would have walked away a lot happier.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

And so McIlroy has a new mantra this week at The Open.

Let it go.

Don’t hold back. Don’t worry about the repercussions. Don’t play scared.

“I’m committed to making sure, even if I don’t play my best golf and don’t shoot the scores I want, I’m going to go down swinging, and I’m going to go down giving my best,” he said. “The result is the byproduct of all the little things you do to lead up to that. Sometimes I’ve forgotten that, and I just need to get back in that mindset.”

It’s worked through two rounds, even after the cool, damp conditions led McIlroy to abandon his ultra-aggressive strategy. He offset a few mistakes with four birdies, shooting a second consecutive 69 to sit just a couple of shots off the lead.

During a sun-splashed first round, McIlroy gleefully banged driver on almost every hole, flying or skirting the bunkers that dot these baked-out, undulating fairways. He wasn’t particularly accurate, but he also didn’t need to be, as the thin, wispy rough enabled every player to at least advance their approach shots near the green.

Friday’s weather presented a different challenge. A steady morning rain took some of the fire out of parched fairways, but the cooler temperatures also reduced much of the bombers’ hang time. Suddenly, all of the bunkers were in play, and McIlroy needed to adjust his driver-heavy approach (he hit only six) on the fly.

“It just wasn’t worth it,” he said.

McIlroy hit a few “skanky” shots, in his words, but even his bigger misses – on the sixth and 17th holes – were on the proper side, allowing him to scramble for par and keep the round going.

It’s the fifth time in his career that he’s opened a major with back-to-back rounds in the 60s. He’s gone on to win three of the previous four – the lone exception that disastrous final round (80) at Augusta in 2011.

“I don’t want to say easy,” he said, “but it’s felt comfortable.”

The weekend gets uncomfortable for everyone, apparently even four-time major winners who, when in form, ooze confidence and swagger.

Once again McIlroy has that look at a major.

The only thing left to do?

Let it go.