Clarke in Search of a Pair of Volvos

By Mercer BaggsNovember 4, 2000, 5:00 pm
Darren Clarke has already made enough money this year to buy a fleet of luxury automobiles. However, a win this week could provide the Ulsterman with a pair of Volvos.
Saturday in Jerez, Spain, Clarke played his final three holes in 3-under-par to tie overnight leader Pierre Fulke for the 54-hole lead at the Volvo Masters, and, in the process, put himself in prime position to overtake Lee Westwood for the top spot on the Volvo Order of Merit.
Clarke fired a 4-under-par 68 to move to 11-under through three rounds, the same number reached by Fulke, who birdied the home hole for a 2-under-par 70.
Stephen Leaney is in solo third place at 10-under after a third-round 69. Jose Maria Olazabal stands in a four-way tie with Ricardo Gonzalez, Angel Cabrera and Fredrik Jacobson for fourth place at 8-under. The Spaniard could only manage an even-par 72 on Saturday.
Clarke, who trails Westwood by roughly $70,000 in earnings, began the day two shots back of Fulke. The Northern Irishman got off to a hot start on Saturday, birdying three of his first seven holes, but cooled quickly, thereafter.
Clarke bogeyed three of his next eight holes to drop to 8-under-par for the tournament, and even-par for the day.
He then hit his favorite stretch of holes at Montecastillo.
Clarke eagled the par-5 16th, parred the par-4 17th, and birdied the par-4 18th. Clarke has played the final three holes in 7-under-par through three rounds.
'I said at the start of the week that I wanted to put myself into a position where I could challenge for the tournament and that's what I've managed to do,' said Clarke.
'I was very patient again today. I waited for things to happen. If I could bottle (the attitude) I've got this week I would pay a fortune for it. I don't know what's going on. This hasn't been like me.'
Saturday, Clarke played alongside the man he's trying to secede as Order of Merit champion. Needing to win this week and next to secure his eighth-straight money title, Colin Montgomerie dropped from a three shots off the lead as the day began to eight strokes back by day's end.
Monty carded a dismal 3-over-par 75 in the third round. The Scot's poor performance, combined with the Clarke's stellar play, has all-but assured the European Tour of a new money champion in 2000.
If Clarke is to come out of this week leading the Order of Merit, he'll have to fend off a surging Westwood. After opening in 76, the Englishman has fired rounds of 69-65 to climb within five strokes of the lead at 6-under-par.
Westwood carded six birdies and an eagle before finding the water on the 18th with his tee shot for his only bogey of the day. He blamed the mishap on a spectator who moved in the middle of his backswing.
'I didn't say anything to the guy,' Westwood said. 'I just gave him one of those glares - the Seve glare! The one that makes you tremble and feel like crawling into the nearest hole.'
Water also resulted in Fulke's lone dropped shot of the day. The Swede found the hazard at the 16th to fall off his perch at the top of the leaderboard. However, Fulke reclaimed a share of the lead by sinking a birdie at the 18th.
'I had a lot of chances, but the putter didn't work,' Fulke said. 'I had a nice birdie to finish from ten feet at the last, but my goal is to win the Volvo Masters which would get me into the WGC-American Express Championship next week.'
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Vegas helicopters in to Carnoustie, without clubs

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 9:33 am

Jhonattan Vegas did some range work, putted a little and strolled to the first tee for his 5:31 a.m. ET start in the 147th Open Championship.

Everything before that, however, was far from routine.

Vegas' visa to travel to Scotland expired and the process to renew it got delayed - and it looked like his overseas' flight might suffer the same fate. Vegas, upon getting his visa updated, traveled from Houston, Texas to Toronto, Canada to Glasgow, Scotland, and then took a helicopter to Carnoustie.

He arrived in time on Thursday morning, but his clubs did not. Mizuno put together some irons for him and TaylorMade got him his preferred metal woods. He hit the clubs for the first time on the range, less than 90 minutes before his start.

"I'm going to go out there and play with freedom," Vegas told Golf Channel's Todd Lewis.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:40 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  

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; or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (

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The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:30 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.