Fantasy Camp at Kiawah Island

By Mercer BaggsNovember 21, 2004, 5:00 pm
2004 UBS CupKIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- Willie did something unusual one summer Saturday afternoon back in 83.
Facing a right-handed Gene Garber, the switch-hitting outfielder decided to stand from the right side of home plate.
It was a little peculiar, but worth a shot. He needed a long ball and had no pop from the opposite side. And lo-and-behold, he pulled a Garber fastball right over the right flank of the Kwileckis house. One bounce off of the roof of Aunt Pennys and Uncle Gerards bedroom and over the fence. Home-run. Game over. Cardinals win.
Willie Magee wasnt my favorite player for the St. Louis Cardinals ' that was Ozzie Smith, but it was his turn in the order ' and Ozzie had singled in front of him with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, down a run, to provide the winning opportunity.
Back as a kid in Georgia, my cousins and I would draw up complete line-ups of our favorite baseball teams and play a regulation game. I got a chance to be Ozzie and Willie and Tommy Herr. I even tried to trade for Bob Horner ' because I needed more power in my line-up, but my cousin wouldnt take the Ken Oberkfell trade.
Fantasy is a part of being a kid. For most of us, we never actually get a chance to realize these juvenile dreams. We never get a chance to turn a double play with The Wizard, score on an assist from Magic Johnson, or catch a touchdown pass from Danny Wuerffel (I know, Im not a kid anymore, but I can still dream ' and dont make fun of Danny).
But some very fortunate ones do ' those whose athletic talents extend beyond Dart Golf.
I used to play a foursome match in my backyard with the Whiffle ball, Jay Haas reminisced. And I played Gary and Arnold and Jack, and I won every single time. I announced my own matches and everything.
This week, Haas not only got a chance to play against Gary Player, he did so while teaming with Arnold Palmer.
Fantasy, meet Reality.
The UBS Cup is kind of like a fantasy camp for those over the age of 40. Just ask Mark McNulty.
When I was 9 years old, recalled the Zimbabwean, (Player and Palmer) came and played an exhibition at Royal Salisbury. I was pulled out of school and had no idea what I was going for, and there they were. It was a very exciting time for me.
McNulty was in the same enviable position as Haas this week. For two days, his partner was Player; his opponent was Palmer.
When youre 5, 6, 7 years old, youre putting and thinking, Im Arnold Palmer here holing a 6-footer to win the Masters. Forty years down the line, youre suddenly in a position of being able to play a match like today with them, against them. I think its something every boy, childhood boy dreams about, and its fantastic to be able to have a dream fulfilled.
Every international team competition gets an unwelcome liken to the Ryder Cup. Fortunately, this is a low-key event which offers very little comparison ' other than the fact that it features several players who have participated in the crucible of Samuel Ryders Cup. That is Cain; this is Able ' no bloodshed here.
No, no, its not the Ryder Cup, said recent Hall of Fame inductee Tom Kite.
Its never going to catch on like the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup, but its a pretty nice version of that for guys that are over 40.
Nice is the adjective most associated by competitors with this event.
Its nice to be able to play alongside your heroes, nice to be able to reunite with old friends, nice to be able to reform old partnerships, nice to be able to rejuvenate those competitive juices.
Now that Im to a point where Im not about to make the Ryder Cup team, said Kite. A tournament like this, it gives us a great opportunity to continue to compete.
The UBS Cup just completed its fourth year of existence. And as long as there is a sponsor willing to ante up the $3 million purse, and Palmer and Player are there to encourage participation, the event is likely to continue to age.
Eventually, the two legends will have to bow out. Maybe they will become ceremonial, non-competing captains. Maybe theyll just relinquish total control and watch the tournament from home.
There would be no true replacements ' they just dont make em like that anymore. But hopefully, with or without them, this competition will continue.
At this time of the year, when all that is left is for Fred Couples and his silly-season squirrels to stockpile Monopoly money like nuts for the winter, its nice to have an event like this.
Not just for the players, but for the fans.
A lot of the spectators on TV, I would guess, would be between the age of 40 and 70, and thats the age group you have out here, said Bernhard Langer. They have been following these players for 20 to 40 years and they can really relate to them.
Sometimes, a 40- or 60-year-old, its hard to relate to Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson or somebody in their 20s who hits the ball 310 (yards) and a wedge 150.
The UBS Cup is what the Champions Tour wants to be on a consistent basis. There is golfing royalty mixed in with a cluster of recognizable names, and top-notch competition to boot ' all in a relaxed and fan-friendly atmosphere.
Upon the conclusion of the event, players from both sides chatted up one another and drank a few beers. There were no long faces for the losers, no champagne baths for the winners. Just some laughs, some smiles, some handshakes, and a bunch of 'See ya down the road's.'
'I would like to see this atmosphere become contagious to all sports, not just golf,' Palmer said, before slapping Player on the arm and wishing him safe travels.
Its a nice blend of nostalgia, camaraderie and birdies ' and a bit of fantasy come reality.
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    More sun, dry conditions expected early at Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 9:14 am

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – An atypically dry Scottish summer is expected to continue this week at The Open.

    There’s a possibility of a few showers Thursday and Friday, but otherwise conditions are expected to remain dry with temperatures around 70 degrees and winds in the 15-20 mph range.

    The forecast for the opening round at Carnoustie is sunshine with clouds developing later in the day. The high is expected to be around 70 degrees, with winds increasing throughout the day, maxing out at 18 mph.

    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    There’s a chance of rain overnight Thursday and into Friday morning, but it’s not expected to slow down the fiery conditions.

    It’s been one of the driest summers in recent memory, leading to fairways that are baked out and fescue rough that is lighter and thinner than in previous years.

    Getty Images

    How to watch The Open on TV and online

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 8:40 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 18, 2018, 8:30 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.