A Handful of Questions

By Kraig KannOctober 12, 2006, 4:00 pm
Friday the 13th. Scary thought that 2006 is nearing an end. And Im not just talking about the golf season as we know it. My how time flies. But did we have any fun?
I was asked this week on a radio show to summarize the year as it currently stands. A very good question, which put me on the spot but also left me with two quick replies to that topic. Ill get to that in just a minute. But first, think along with me.

Was 2006 the best it could have been? Are we left searching for more as the PGA TOUR season winds down? Is the LPGA Rolex Player of the Year honor enough of a race to keep us enthused? Is the Frys.com Open compelling enough to keep us motivated for the TOUR Championship?

If you are like me, youve been left to ponder what was and think about what might be as we look ahead to 2007.

So with that, here are five questions to think about:

1. What was the PGA TOUR story of the year?
To which I answered on that radio interview that there were actually two. It started as the year for Phil Mickelson. No question ' he was the story leading into the Masters and heading out of the Masters. Mickelson had won the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol and arrived at the Masters with a blowout victory under his belt at the Bellsouth Classic. Mickelson won at Augusta, but blew it at the U.S. Open and was never heard from again in the same conversation. Mickelson was definitely a huge story this year.

Tiger Woods is the other story. Obviously hes reaffirmed our belief in him as the worlds best player. After losing at Augusta and missing the cut at Winged Foot, people tied his misfortune to the health of his father. After Earl passed, Tiger mourned and regrouped to play arguably the best golf of his career. Woods is back on top with an exclamation point. And we are left ' regardless of what happens the rest of the year ' thinking about Tiger and his dominance as the most important memory of 2006.

2. Is the LPGA at its highest point in history?
You could argue the point, thats for sure. Annika Sorenstams the best and that hasnt changed. But with Karrie Webb and Se Ri Pak back in the mix, Michelle Wie closing in the rearview mirror, and a group of talented youngsters really making their presence felt, things are as good as the LPGA could hope for. Sure, we could question Paula Creamer and Natalie Gulbis as non-winners this year (thus far) and ask what happened to Grace Park (health issues), but that would be to nit-pick. Cristie Kerr is playing terrific and that Ochoa girl is a star. Bottom line ' the These Girls Rock campaign is legit. The LPGA is as good as it could possibly be and given that, the Solheim Cup cant come soon enough.

3. Was the 2005 Presidents Cup the exception?
Wow! What happened to Woods-Furyk and Mickelson-DiMarco? What happened to the United States turning things around in team competition? We all watched it together. And a few weeks back, I submitted a team of 12 that might actually have as good a chance. Guess who you all seemed to feel had been left off my team and Tom Lehmans team? John Daly, thats who. John Daly didnt even have a decent year in 2006 and youre putting him in the mix for a Ryder Cup? My how the USA has fallen. I like Daly, too, but at least pick him when hes on a roll. Next years Presidents Cup is in Montreal. Perhaps we should annex Canada before then and use the Presidents Cup as a building block for Valhalla in 2008.

4. Are the PGA TOUR stars really going to buy into the FedEx Cup?
That question has been asked a time or two of late as well. My hunch is that they will. But youd have to believe theres a chance that Woods could win the thing without playing them all. And given that, Mickelsons gone and not coming back until January or February ' theres no proof that the PGA TOURs second best draw will be there for the payoff. My gut says theyll both play the last three and the TOUR Championship next year, too. (Mickelson isnt scheduled to play this years TOUR Championship). Id hope they would. After all, Tim Finchems new plan is exactly what the big stars hoped for. Remember? A shorter season with a big show at the end. Well see.

5. Has Nick Faldo lost his mind?
Hell have more air-time next year than Regis and Kelly. Hes great in the booth and will be a huge asset to The Golf Channel and CBS in 2007. Overexposure is always a concern for any good act. I know hell be good. Im excited hes on our team at TGC. But if he thought his playing schedule was busy then wait until this train gets rolling.

And by the way, just who will Faldo be talking about most in 2007? Can Ernie Els come back? Can Vijay Singh find his winning consistency again? Can Phil rebound and get us hyped for a third Masters title? Or will it be all Tiger all the time.

Those are my questions. Im sure you have yours. And I always appreciate hearing them. I do read them all.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
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More sun, dry conditions expected early at Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 9:14 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – An atypically dry Scottish summer is expected to continue this week at The Open.

There’s a possibility of a few showers Thursday and Friday, but otherwise conditions are expected to remain dry with temperatures around 70 degrees and winds in the 15-20 mph range.

The forecast for the opening round at Carnoustie is sunshine with clouds developing later in the day. The high is expected to be around 70 degrees, with winds increasing throughout the day, maxing out at 18 mph.

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

There’s a chance of rain overnight Thursday and into Friday morning, but it’s not expected to slow down the fiery conditions.

It’s been one of the driest summers in recent memory, leading to fairways that are baked out and fescue rough that is lighter and thinner than in previous years.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 8:40 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 18, 2018, 8:30 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.