What Im Really Thinking
As it currently stands, Ive received more than 600 comments (some much longer and more in depth than others) regarding last weeks Tiger Take.
You can choose to believe me or not, but the reaction is overwhelmingly in support of Woods and strongly against those who choose to find any reason to dismiss this mans ability and responsibility to the game which he has dominated (until now) for the past seven or so years.
Again, Ill give you a sampling of YOUR responses in the coming weeks. But ' and this is important for you Take Tiger to Task' folks ' the most dominant thread from those who responded is that of his on-course behavior.
Many said I didnt fully address that one. My reason was simple. I didnt want to spew my take on everything as much as I wanted to solicit your take on Woods as a whole. It worked!
Still, you want it? You got it. I admire Woods on the course as much as any player on any tour. His aggressive style is infectious. His competitive nature is unparalleled. HOWEVER, his tendency to toss clubs with the art of an Olympic javelin thrower is, not only embarrassing, but also uncalled for. Imagine Michael Jordan missing a critical shot down the stretch and when the timeout is called, heaving the ball towards the ref. Imagine Sammy Sosa striking out in the seventh with men on and chucking his bat back toward the batboy. And then with runners in scoring position in the ninth, Sammy does it yet again. You get my point.
Tiger Woods is, like it or not, a symbol of excellence in the game. He is a model for those who desire to be the best. He is the player who represents the PGA Tour and professional golf above all others. He didnt ask for it, mind you, but it has come his way.
You all seem to think he doesnt get fined. Many of you think Woods escapes the wrath of the PGA Tour. Well, you are wrong. Woods is fined just like any other player. His poor use of language while on television is a bad habit - really bad. He should know better, and I actually believe he does. But, THIS is the time he needs to show a bit of class, more than any other. People expect you to act professional when things are going well. They dont know what to expect when things are going poorly. So, time to shape up. Its time to respect the game and its fans now more than ever before. It will come back tenfold when things turn around.
There. Theres my take on his on-course behavior. And Ill share many more reactions in the coming articles. Again, my mailbag is stuffed so please be patient.
I have some other thoughts to share:
1. Really getting excited about the U.S. Open. I was there at Shinnecock in 1995 when Corey Pavin won. Its a great track. Normally, the U.S. Open is my least favorite of the major championships to watch for four days because theres not enough excitement. Its more about disappointment. Watching players struggle for pars is great. But there arent enough great moments between Thursday and Saturday to get me hyped for Sunday like I should. Its just different. I feel like Im waiting for the leader to make a critical double bogey instead of a miraculous birdie. Just doesnt seem right to me.
2. Really beginning to think that Phil Mickelson might win two majors this year. He has to be the favorite for the U.S. Open. Not saying hell win it, but you have to believe hes got at least as good a shot as anyone. I cant say Ive thought that before.
3. Really beginning to wonder if Woods might be in for 2-of-3 missed cuts at this
years remaining majors. You know the commercial where he says, Oh, so this is what the rough looks like.? Well, these days hes very well aware of what the rough looks like. Shinnecock wont stand for a less-than-capable Woods; Royal Troon is tight, as well. And Whistling Straits is hardly forgiving. Rescues from the fescue could be the theme for Tiger.
4. Really beginning to believe that if Woods does find it soon and get back to his
winning ways, hell have more fans than ever before and more respect, too, for fighting through his struggles on his own time and maintaining a level of contention that NO ONE ELSE could maintain.
5. Really beginning to tire of the public outcry that the media sucks up to Tiger
like nobodys business. Maybe some think that the media is afraid that they wont land that big interview or something. But remember, hes not exactly offering up sit-down interviews at rapid rates! Ill speak for myself and my colleagues only and you can call me out if you want, but I believe that Tigers faults are pointed out every single time theyre warranted. At the same time, his talents and successes are pointed out, too. Face it folks, the biggest names get the most attention in any sport. Ali, Jordan, Reggie Jackson, Williams sisters etc, are scrutinized for every move they make. And last I checked, Hollywood doesnt roll out the red carpet for the B movie actors the same way they do the megastars. The paparazzi doesnt chase with the same furor either.
6. Really beginning to think the Korean influence on the LPGA Tour is amazing. And with the great golf were seeing because of it, Im quite certain that the American women are feeling their collective grip on the tours spotlight getting looser by the week.
7. Really confused by Michelle Wies choice to head for France and the Evian
Masters during the same summer week that the USGAs U.S. Junior Girls Championship is taking place at Mira Vista Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. Tiger dominated at the USGA Junior level. Hes turned out all right. Is there a feeling that if Wie doesnt show, she avoids a possible no-win situation? Win and shes expected to. Lose and shes talked about more than the girl who beats her.
8. Sticking with Wie ' really an eye-opener that a former PGA Tour professional told me that Wie could seriously make a run at a U.S. Mens Public Links Championship. If she gets into the match-play portion of the event, she begins each match with a 2-up advantage simply because of intimidation, he said. The men will be overanxious, fearing that theyd be the one to lose against Michelle. By the way, the winner goes to the Masters.
9. Really wondering whats up with Greg Norman? DQd again? Thats embarrassing for a man who really needs something positive to happen ON the golf course these days.
10. Really pinching myself over the opportunity that I got this week to caddie for Steve Flesch in the pro-am at the Bank of America Colonial. Caddies on tour tried to scare the bag right off my shoulder, but Id have none of it. You have no idea (probably) how great it is to just hear the sound made by that ball screaming off the clubface of a PGA Tour winner. The bags not as heavy as I thought; walking 18 holes is really good exercise; wasnt anywhere near as sore as I thought Id be; and Id do it again if asked. Fans in the gallery were great! Best line of the day came from one of our amateur players who asked me, So, Kraig, how long have you been on Steves bag?
Heres hoping your golf game is geared up for the summer ahead. Thanks for the comments. Ill empty the mailbag and share some of them next week.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship
Tiger Woods is competing in his first Open Championship since 2015. We're tracking him this week at Carnoustie.
Tweets by GCTigerTracker
How to watch The Open on TV and online
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)
The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major
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.
Four players vying for DJ's No. 1 ranking at Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Four players have an opportunity to overtake Dustin Johnson for world No. 1 this week.
According to Golf Channel world-rankings guru Alan Robinson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm each can grab the top spot in the world ranking.
Thomas’ path is the easiest. He would return to No. 1 with either a win and Johnson finishing worse than solo third, or even a solo runner-up finish as long as Johnson finishes worse than 49th.
Twenty years after his auspicious performance in The Open, Rose can get to No. 1 for the first time with a victory and Johnson finishing worse than a two-way tie for third.
Kopeka can rise to No. 1 if he wins consecutive majors, assuming that his good friend posts worse than a three-way tie for third.
And Rahm can claim the top spot with a win this week, a Johnson missed cut and a Thomas finish of worse than solo second.
Johnson’s 15-month reign as world No. 1 ended after The Players. He wasn’t behind Thomas for long, however: After a tie for eighth at the Memorial, Johnson blew away the field in Memphis and then finished third at the U.S. Open to solidify his position at the top.