No Time For Army Golf on the BuyCom Tour
But this week, as the Buy.com Tour stages one of the final three tournaments before the season-ending Tour Championship, any sign of misdirection off the tee or from the fairway and you might as well head straight for the barracks!
Interestingly enough, this week's tournament takes place at old Fort Ord. Just north of Monterrey, California, the inactive military base is home to two of the great gems of this tour. Military personnel designed the Bayonet and Black Horse Golf Courses in the 1950's and 1960's. They are now owned by the city of Seaside, California and have been since the city purchased the courses in 1997.
Bayonet is the test this week. And what a test it is. Last year in the inaugural Monterrey Peninsula Classic just 3 players finished four rounds under par! The winner was Richard Johnson, a long-hitting Welshman who opened with a round of 75 but came back to finish at 3-under for the tournament and win by 1 over veteran Michael Allen.
That winning score posted by Johnson was the highest winning total on the tour last year as the field played Bayonet (7117 yards, par 72) at a stroke average of 75-plus. That said, Johnson's opening round of 75 wasn't so bad now was it?
So what's so tough about this place? Start with the tee shots! They must find the fairways. The rough-, which just happens to be a mix of rye and dreaded kikuyu is at 5 inches and growing! Tee shots are shaped here, not just crushed. And you'd better have a good ball-striking week.
And how about this - you'd better be able to work it right to left. This course, named after the Army's 7th infantry division, was designed by a lefty with a bad slice! General Robert McClure, a commanding officer of the post at the time, built the place with his game in mind, as the 11th - 15th holes are dogleg lefts. The stretch is known as 'combat corner.'
As for the 'money game' at this point of the season - no time like the present to have your best stuff! Chad Campbell (2nd) and Australian Rod Pampling (3rd) have sights set on the top money spot which would give them full exempt status on the PGA Tour next year without worrying about being a part of the re-shuffle used at various parts of the season to determine who does and who doesn't get into tournaments.
The 'bubble-man' is Paul Claxton. He's 15th on the money list with a hunch that he might have a good week this week. The 'Georgia Gentleman' as he's known could politely remove himself from worry the next few weeks should he win.
This should be a great week of golf. A golf course which ranked 3rd most difficult on tour last year plays host, and you can see it all unfold on the Golf Channel. Mark Lye, Jerry Foltz and Kay Cockerill are here to join me in our coverage. And, NO, we won't be wearing fatigues!
See you on the tube!
Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba
Conor Moore is known for his impressions of golfers, and he is back with a new video just in time for The Open.
Moore even got the thumbs up from Ian Poulter.
This is hilarious..— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) July 16, 2018
Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite
Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.
Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.
Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.
Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:
12/1: Dustin Johnson
16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose
20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm
25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods
30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed
40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton
50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick
60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson
80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele
100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen
Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC
If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.
Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.
Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.
There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.
There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.
Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.
John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.
Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.
Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.
Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.
“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”
Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.
“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”
But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.
“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”