Day 1 The Best Day in Golf in 2007

By Mercer BaggsJanuary 1, 2008, 5:00 pm
Editor's note; In the holiday spirit, the Team is counting down the 12 Days of Golf, the most memorable days of the 2007 season. This is Day 1
Day 1This was supposed to be Sergio Garcias day. The day he became a major champion. The day he fulfilled all levels of expectation and promise. The day he could actually start enjoying press conferences.
A day he would never forget.
At least the last part was right.
Padraig Harrington
Padraig Harrington's British Open win was a major loss for Sergio Garcia. (Getty Images)
July 22, 2007 was not Sergio Garcias day. It was not his day to become a major champ. It was not a day of fulfillment. And it certainly was not a day for him to smile and laugh in his post-round presser.
The day was all set up in Sergios favor. He had a three-stroke lead to start the final round of the Open Championship at Carnoustie. He had a friend in his putter. And he had Tiger Woods no way near him.
Steve Stricker was Sergios closest competitor. He was three in arrears, while no one else was within five. There were a few formidable foes six back, like 2002 Open champ Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Chris DiMarco and K.J. Choi.
But, cmon, six back? No way. This was Sergios day.
It seemed that way as the sun woke up and it seemed that way as it started to settle in for sleep.
Argentine Anders Romero had self destructed on the 17th hole to end his inspired run. And when Padraig Harrington plunked two into the Barry Burn on 18 ' after having started the hole with a one-shot lead ' en route to double bogey, it appeared as if he, too, was doomed.
As he reached the 18th hole of regulation, Sergio needed only a par to claim his first major title. It was all on Sergios shoulders.
Oh, if only that was the case. If only Fate didnt hate on Sergio. If only the Union of Bunker Rakers didnt have a grudge against Sergio. If only was there anything else Sergio whined about at the end of the day?
Garcia had to wait a few minutes (which apparently felt like an eternity ' Having to wait 15 minutes in the fairway doesn't help when you're trying to win the British Open, he later said.) while a course employee raked a greenside bunker from the group ahead. A frustrated and impatient Sergio then dumped his approach shot into said bunker, plopped out and had 10 feet for par and the victory.
For the first time in his career, Sergio had what every player dreams of: a makeable putt to win a major championship. Only it wasnt so makeable.
The putt slid by and Sergio buried his head in his unfaithful putter. It was off to a four-hole cumulative playoff with Harrington.
I still don't know how that par putt missed. I'm still trying to ask myself, trying to find an answer on that, Sergio said.
While Garcia was fighting from being distressed and depressed, Harrington was all smiles and confidence heading back to the 10th tee box.
In fact, he was all smiles after walking off the 18th green in regulation. Despite having double bogeyed the final hole to all-but cost himself the Claret Jug, Harringtons Irish eyes could help but light up at the sight of his ??-year-old son running out onto the green to give him a big hug.
Fathers Day may fall on U.S. Open Sunday, but this was the most indelible father-son image of the year. That moment helped keep Harrington focused on a positive outcome.
I never let myself feel like I'd lost The Open Championship as I sat watching. The one thing, I never, ever had it in my head that I'd lost, he said.
History will note that two men entered this playoff and that Harrington ultimately defeated Garcia. It will, however, make no mention of Fates part (at least in Sergios mind).
Sergio Garcia
Nothing seemed to go Sergio's way Sunday at Carnoustie. (Getty Images)
I should write a book on how not to miss a shot and not win a playoff, Sergio said in his post-round press conference.
Apparently, Garcia forgot about his approach shot on the first extra hole, which landed short of the green and ended up costing him a shot. His bogey combined with Harringtons birdie gave the Irishman a two-stroke lead.
On the next hole, Garcia found a bit more misfortune. With Harrington in trouble off the tee, right of the green, Sergio watched in total disbelief as his tee shot clanked off the flagstick and 18 feet past the hole.
He missed the birdie putt, made par, and damned his bad luck.
It's funny how some guys hit the pin or hit the pin and go to a foot. Mine hits the pin and goes 20 feet away, he said.
After both players parred the third extra hole, the par-4 17th, it was back to the infamous 18th. Harrington played the hole conservatively and left himself with a 3-foot putt for bogey, which meant Sergios 25-foot birdie putt could force sudden death.
But, of course, Fate wasnt going to let that fall.
You know what's the saddest thing about it? It's not the first time. It's not the first time, unfortunately. So, I don't know, I'm playing against a lot of guys out there, more than the field, Sergio lamented.
After Sergios miss, Harrington rolled in a little more than a tap-in and became 2007 Champion Golfer of the Year.
I couldn't believe it as it was rolling in from right in the middle hole and I'm thinking, The Open Champion. Am I The Open Champion? What does this mean? Harrington said.
It meant that Harrington had ended Europes major championship drought, which dated back, coincidentally, to the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie. It also meant that Harrington was now the cream of the crop in European golf.
As for Sergio, the events of July 22, 2007 meant that he was still without a major. That he was still unfulfilled professionally.
And that future press conferences were going to be even less tolerable than ever.
Related Links:
  • Harrington Wins, Sergio Sulks at British
  • Golf Central Special: The Wildest Day
  • Golf Central Special: Sergio Loses Style Points
  • 12 Days of Golf Countdown
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    Chamblee: Like Tiger in '13, Mickelson should've DQ'd self

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 19, 2018, 2:46 pm

    Two days after Brooks Koepka left Long Island with the U.S. Open trophy, the third-round antics of Phil Mickelson are still garnering plenty of discussion.

    Mickelson became a lightning rod of opinion after he intentionally hit a moving ball on the 13th green Saturday at Shinnecock Hills, incurring a two-shot penalty but not a disqualification. In the aftermath, he explained that he made a conscious choice to take the penalty to avoid playing back and forth across the crispy putting surface, and he tied for 48th after a final-round 66.

    Speaking Tuesday on "Morning Drive," Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee shared his view that Mickelson would have been well-served to disqualify himself ahead of the final round. He also compared it to Tiger Woods' incident at the 2013 Masters, when he took an incorrect drop and, like Mickelson, received a two-shot penalty but not a disqualification.

    "I think Tiger, at least it's my opinion that his year would have been less distracting if he had done so," Chamblee said. "And I think the same of Phil Mickelson. If he had withdrawn from the championship and said, 'Look. This is a little sketchy. It didn't play out the way I thought. I've given it some thought and it's in the best interest of the championship that I withdraw.'"

    Chamblee added that Mickelson's antics were "really distracting" on a day filled with drama as the USGA lost control of course conditions, noting that Mickelson and playing partner Andrew "Beef" Johnston were the only tee time where both players failed to break 80 despite the difficult conditions.

    But having had time to review the situation and having surveyed a number of peers, Chamblee is as convinced as ever that Mickelson made a mistake by showing up for his final-round tee time.

    "What Phil did, I haven't run into a single person that hasn't said he deserved to be disqualified," Chamblee said. "Under any interpretation, a serious breach - if gaining an advantage is not a serious breach, I don't know what is. And he clearly said he was gaining an advantage and doing it for strategic reasons."

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    Norman to pose in ESPN's 'Body Issue'

    By Grill Room TeamJune 19, 2018, 2:05 pm

    Professional golfers have, from time to time, appeared in ESPN's "Body Issue," which features athletes strategically posed in the nude. The list includes: Belen Mozo, Carly Booth, Gary Player, Camilo Villegas, Sandra Gal, Christina Kim, Anna Grzebien, Suzann Pettersen and Sadena Parks.

    And now, Greg Norman.

    Modesty has never been an issue for Norman, who has an affinity for posing without a shirt (and sometimes without pants) on his Instagram account.

    He joins a list of athletes, in this year's edition, ranging from professional wrestlers (Charlotte Flair) to Olympians (Adam Rippon) to WNBA stars (Sue Bird). Click here for a full list of the athletes to appear.


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    DJ listed as betting favorite for The Open

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 2:00 pm

    With the U.S. Open officially in the books, oddsmakers quickly turned their attention to the season's third major.

    Minutes after Brooks Koepka holed the winning putt to successfully defend his title at Shinnecock Hills, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook published its first set of odds for The Open. Jordan Spieth, who opened at 14/1, will defend his title as the tournament shifts to Carnoustie in Scotland for the first time since 2007, when Padraig Harrington defeated Sergio Garcia in a playoff.

    Joining Spieth at 14/1 is 2014 Open champion Rory McIlroy, but they're both listed behind world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Johnson, who was a runner-up at the 2011 Open at Royal St. George's and just finished third at the U.S. Open, opened as a 12/1 betting favorite. Koepka, now a two-time major winner, is listed at 20/1 alongside U.S. Open runner-up Tommy Fleetwood.

    Here's a look at the first edition of odds, with The Open just five weeks away:

    12/1: Dustin Johnson

    14/1: Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy

    16/1: Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas

    20/1: Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm

    25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama

    40/1: Phil Mickelson, Branden Grace, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Marc Leishman

    50/1: Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Tyrrell Hatton

    60/1: Matt Kuchar, Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Ian Poulter, Francesco Molinari, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick

    80/1: Tony Finau, Zach Johnson, Thomas Pieters, Daniel Berger, Xander Schauffele, Bubba Watson, Shane Lowry

    100/1: Charl Schwartzel, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker

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    Golf Channel, Loch Lomond Partner on Claret Jug Tour Ahead of 147TH Open

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsJune 18, 2018, 9:35 pm

    Award-Winning Independent Scotcb Whisky Sponsoring Tour to Select U.S. Cities; Will Include Special Tastings and Opportunities for Fans to Engage with Golf’s Most Storied Trophy

    Golf Channel and Loch Lomond Group are partnering on a promotional tour with the Claret Jug – golf’s most iconic trophy, first awarded in 1873 to the winner of The Open – to select U.S. cities in advance of the 147TH Open at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland. Loch Lomond Whisky’s sponsorship of the tour further enhances the brand’s existing five-year partnership with the R&A as the official spirit of The Open, initially announced in February.

    “We are proud to partner with Golf Channel to support this tour of golf’s most iconic trophy,” said Colin Matthews, CEO of Loch Lomond Group. “Whisky and golf are two of Scotland’s greatest gifts to the world, and following the news of our recent partnership with the R&A for The Open, being a part of the Claret Jug tour was a perfect fit for Loch Lomond Group to further showcase our commitment to the game.”

    “The Loch Lomond Group could not be a more natural fit to sponsor the Claret Jug tour,” said Tom Knapp, senior vice president of golf sponsorship, NBC Sports Group. “Much like the storied history that accompanies the Claret Jug, Loch Lomond’s Scottish roots trace back centuries ago, and their aspirations to align with golf’s most celebrated traditions will resonate with a broad range of consumers in addition to golf fans and whisky enthusiasts.”

    The tour kicks off today in Austin, Texas, and will culminate on Wednesday, July 11 at the American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe one week prior to The Open. Those wishing to engage with the Claret Jug will have an opportunity at one of several tour stops being staged at Topgolf locations in select cities. The tour will feature a custom, authentic Scottish pub where consumers (of age) can sample Loch Lomond’s portfolio of whiskies in the spirit of golf’s original championship and the Claret Jug. The Claret Jug also will make special pop-up visits to select GolfNow course partners located within some of the designated tour markets.

    (All Times Local)

    Monday, June 18                    Austin, Texas              (Topgolf, 5:30-8:30 p.m.)

    Tuesday, June 19                    Houston                      (Topgolf, 5-8 p.m.)

    Wednesday, June 20               Jacksonville, Fla.        (Topgolf, 6-9 p.m.)

    Monday, June 25                    Orlando, Fla.               (Topgolf, 6-9 p.m.)

    Wednesday, July 4                 Washington D.C.        (Topgolf, 5:30-8:30 p.m. – Ashburn, Va.)

    Monday, July 9                       Edison, N.J.                (Topgolf, Time TBA)

    Wednesday, July 11               Lake Tahoe, Nev.       American Century Championship (On Course)

    Fans interacting with the Claret Jug and Loch Lomond during the course of the tour are encouraged to share their experience using the hashtag, #ClaretJug on social media, and tag @TheOpen and @LochLomondMalts on Twitter and Instagram.

    NBC Sports Group is the exclusive U.S. television home of the 147TH Open from Carnoustie, with nearly 50 live hours of tournament coverage, Thursday-Sunday, July 19-22. The Claret Jug is presented each July to the winner of The Open, with the winner also being given the title of “Champion Golfer of the Year” until the following year’s event is staged. The Claret Jug is one of the most storied trophies in all of sports; first presented to the 1873 winner of The Open, Tom Kidd. Each year, the winner’s name is engraved on to the trophy, forever etched into the history of golf’s original championship. It is customary for the Champion Golfer of the Year to drink a favorite alcoholic beverage from the Claret Jug in celebration of the victory.