Friendly Fire

By Mercer BaggsOctober 18, 2000, 4:00 pm
Does familiarity breed contempt? Ken Venturi and Peter Thomson hope not in regards to the 4th BIennial Presidents Cup.
Wednesday, the United States and International captains spoke on the importance of sportsmanship over gamesmanship this week in Price William County, Va.
'I was personally disgusted really with what happened at Boston,' Thomson said of the 1999 Ryder Cup. 'There's no point in anybody hurling any abuse; it just won't happen with this contest, I'm sure.'
No raucous celebrations. No verbal abuse from the fans. No disparaging remarks from the players.
'I hope that we will be a competition that will be copied and a lot of people will speak about our teams and the respect that they had, both sides had, for the game. That's our ultimate goal,' said Venturi.
So what should we expect? Peace, love and happiness? Not quite. There will be plenty of hard-fought matches. Plenty of bitter defeats. Plenty of high-fives and fist pumps. But each side has agreed to be graceful in victory as well as defeat.
This might technically be an international competition, but it more closely resembles a PGA Tour event divided among lines of nationality.
In fact, unlike past Ryder Cups, the players representing these two teams see each other on a regular basis.
'I think we know the American team better than the Ryder Cup team (did),' said Australian Steve Elkington. 'We play (against) them all the time.'
Of the 12 International players, only two of them aren't official PGA Tour members. Retief Goosen and Michael Campbell are those two players, though, neither is a stranger to the U.S. team. Both have played extensively on American soil; and both are worldwide winners many times over.
Residency is another factor of familiarity. Over half of the 'International' team has at least a part-time home in the state of Florida.
'We live in the same places,' said Australian Greg Norman, who resides in Hobe Sound, Fla. 'The good advantage for us it that a lot of us live here in the United States. We are in certain ways friendly faces.'
'It seems like every single (International player) lives in Orlando and plays the U.S. tour,' said Phil Mickelson. 'So we're good friends with just about everyone on the (International) team.'
So what are these guys fighting for - neighborhood bragging rights? Hardly. Each team has something to prove in 2000. The U.S. is looking for revenge following a nine-point defeat - the largest in either of the two major international competitions - two years ago.
'Anytime you get beaten that badly, it makes you more motivated the next time,' said David Love III, who went 1-3-1 in 1998.
The Internationals are trying to show that `98's drubbing was no fluke. Certainly, a win in the United States would prove that.
'It's a stimulus, because we haven't won here,' said Norman. 'We'd like to win here. We've come close the last couple of times on this golf course. We strongly believe we can. But it's not that easy. It's not as easy as going down to Australia and knowing the golf course.'
The first two Presidents Cups were contested at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club. The U.S. won, 20-12, in 1994. However, the Americans retained the Cup in 1996 by a mere one point.
Wednesday, the captains released their respective pairings for Day-1 foursome matches.
Phil Mickelson and Tom Lehman, who have combined for five Presidents Cup appearances, will face Australians Greg Norman and Steve Elkington. Elkington has played in each of the previous three Presidents Cup matches, while Norman has played in the past two. Norman qualified for the 1994 team, but had to skip the event due to injury.
The second match features Hal Sutton and Jim Furyk against another pair of Aussies, Robert Allenby and Stuart Appleby. Sutton is a Presidents Cup rookie; Allenby played in 1994 and 1996; and Appleby and Furyk each made their debuts two years ago.
The third match of the day pits a foursome of Presidents Cup rookies. Stewart Cink and Kirk Triplett will face Canadian Mike Weir and South African Retief Goosen.
The marquee match is in the fourth group - Tiger Woods and Notah Begay III versus Vijay Singh and Ernie Els. Woods and Begay are former Stanford teammates. Singh and Els have combined for four major championships. This is the first time Woods has played since winning the Bell Canadian Open six weeks ago.
'It just came out like that,' Thomson said of the match-up. 'It wasn't planned. I had my pairs in the sequence and logically, Ken must have has his the same way.
'I want to see this Presidents Cup succeed, and this is a great step for it. And I hope in the succeeding rounds there's also some pretty good match-ups that see Tiger under a bit of pressure.'
The final match of the day has David Duval and Love facing Nick Price and Carlos Franco. Love joins Mickelson as the only American players to compete in all four Presidents Cup matches. Duval competed in 1996 and 1998. He was a perfect 4-0-0 in `96, and a dismal 0-4-1 in '98.
Price has played in the three previous President Cup matches, with a career record of 4-6-4. Franco made his debut in 1998. The Paraguayan was 0-2-1, the only member of the victorious '98 squad to record a losing record.
Venturi decided to sit out his two captain's selections on day one. Loren Roberts, who played in the inaugural Presidents Cup in 1994, and Paul Azinger, who is participating in his first President Cup, will watch from the sidelines on Thursday.
'I left off Loren Roberts and Azinger because they were my picks,' Venturi said. 'I let the ten who qualified be up there (on Thursday.)'
Presidents Cup rookie Campbell and '98 hero Shigeki Maruyama will also have to wait a day to see action. The Japanese star went a perfect 5-0-0 two years ago.
'I'm really happy to get to rest tomorrow and can practice the whole day and get ready for Friday and the rest of the days,' said Maruyama.
Shigeki may need that extra rest. Thomson stated on Thursday: '(Maruyama) will get his chance tomorrow, he'll play twice tomorrow or the next day, I'm not sure. But he plays from here on.'
Play will commence Thursday at 12:10 p.m. ET. Thursday's format is foursomes, or alternate shot. Friday, the two teams will compete in five morning four-ball matches, or better ball, and then play five afternoon foursomes.
Saturday, play will consists of five four-ball matches. Sunday, there will be 12 singles matches. Thirty-two points are up for grabs. Sixteen-and-a-half points are needed for victory.
Should the overall match end in a 16-16 tie, a sudden-death playoff will be played, with the captains choosing one player to compete from their respective teams.
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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.