Down But Not Nearly Out

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 22, 2006, 4:00 pm
36th Ryder Cup MatchesThe first day of the 36th Ryder Cup, at least from an American vantage point, was like getting your hair cut by a barber with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
He takes off a little here; takes off a little there; has to measure the left side with the right side; the front with the back; everything has to be perfect. He just keeps trimming. And in the end, before he hands you the mirror, youre not sure if youre going to look Hollywood or homeless.
Sergio Garcia
The Europeans have the lead and the momentum, but the Americans still have a chance.
Watching the matches play out Friday at The K Club, you had no idea how the score would take its final shape.
Would the U.S. be down five points or possibly up one by days end?
In the end, the deficit was just two ' and the Americans should be counting their blessings (as should anyone who actually wants to view a competitive contest over the weekend).
This easily could have been a blowout early, much like when the Yanks trailed 6 - 1 after the first two sessions two years ago.
The Americans were fortunate, very fortunate ' Geoff Ogilvy 2006 U.S. Open fortunate ' that they still have a chance to win this thing.
  • For one, Irelands own Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley lost a 2-up lead with three holes to play to hand the U.S. a half-point in the afternoon foursomes.
  • For another, Colin Montgomerie played rather pedestrian and didnt make his usual allotment of 25-footers. Had he made just a few more putts in the morning ' like he normally does in this competition ' we might have been looking at a genuine horror film: Oakland Hills: The Sequel.
  • Rookie J.J. Henry and Stewart Cink had to rally from 3-down after 10 holes in the morning fourballs just to get a half.
  • David Howell lipped out an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole that would have won his afternoon match outright. Instead, he and Henrik Stenson settled for a half, thus making the score a little more respectable, and the disadvantage a little more manageable for the U.S.
  • We wont even go into full disclosure on how poorly Chris DiMarco played down the stretch in his foursomes match with Phil Mickelson. The guy who is usually a Match Play Mad Dog, looked out of sorts, more like Christopher Lloyd from Taxi than Robert De Niro from Taxi Driver' over the final few holes.
  • And then there was Furyk, who put Woods in more compromising situations than Bill Clinton in their alternate-shot match. Not only did he cost the Power Duo at least a tie with his butcher job on the first and 18th holes, he gave Sergio Garcia another team victory over Woods.
    No American wants to lose to Garcia, especially Woods. Whether or not Garcia talked a little smack about Tiger a few weeks ago, Tiger thinks he did, and that makes it fact in his mind. Make no mistake about it; these two are not friends, not even close. In fact, Id venture to say that most of the Americans, at least those with Cup experience, think of Sergio as a petulant child ' not that they have been able to administer many spankings to him in this competition.
    Things looked great early on for the U.S in this 36th edition. Woods and Furyk took down Montgomerie and Harrington, avoiding a repeat of 04, when Monty and Paddy took out Tiger and Phil to set a devastating tone.
    Maybe this would be a different Ryder Cup. After all, the U.S. was the underdog this time. And it was the American side which looked more team-oriented. They had the pre-tournament camaraderie, while the Europeans were dealing with some internal strife (criticism of captain Ian Woosnam for having the social skills of a hermit; Darren Clarkes reported distaste of Montgomerie, relating to the alleged cheating incident in Jakarta a year ago; Monty voicing his displeasure over Olazabal skipping the final qualifying event).
    Maybe the U.S. would finally make a bevy of monster birdie putts. Maybe the U.S. would take the early lead. Maybe the U.S. could actually win this thing.
    No. No. Maybe.
    With three sessions and two days still remaining, Europe once again has the lead and the momentum ' getting both without having to play spectacularly well.
    But the U.S. still has a chance. And given the way things went a couple of years ago, and given the way things could have gone this Friday, thats something about which to be very encouraged.
    Email your thoughts to Mercer Baggs
    Related Links:
  • Scoring - 36th Ryder Cup
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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.

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    Four players vying for DJ's No. 1 ranking at Open

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 8:41 pm

    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.

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    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.