Montys Mental Lapse

By Mercer BaggsAugust 31, 2000, 4:00 pm
Per-Ulrik Johansson and David Gilford played mistake-free golf to earn a share of the lead after the first round of the BMW International in Munich, Germany. But the big news of the day was a mental lapse by the defending champion.
Colin Montgomerie showed up one minute late for his 1:20pm tee time at the Golfclub Muchen Nord-Eichenried. He was penalized two strokes, and found himself ten shots off the lead before striking his first shot of the day.
'I thought I was off at 1:30 and I arrived nine minutes and 40 (seconds) early for my tee time,' explained Montgomerie. 'In fact, I was 20 seconds late. Simple as that. A rule's a rule and you've got to abide by it. It's the first time in my career it's happened and obviously won't happen again.'
Had Monty arrived five minutes late, the penalty would have been disqualification. As it was, the Scot carded an even par 72 to finish the day eight strokes off the lead.
While Montgomerie began the day by carding a double-bogey six, Johansson jump-started his round with a birdie three. Over the next 17 holes, the Swede added five more birdies to his total, along with an eagle at the par-5 6th.
Johansson is a three-time winner on the European Tour, though he hasn't entered the winner's circle since 1997. Recently, he's collected a pair of top-3 finishes, but he's still in search of that elusive victory.
'That would be nice but you can only play as well as you can,' said Johansson, currently 21st on the 2000 Order of Merit. 'I've come close a couple of times this year and that's what I'm playing for - to try to win a tournament and get into the ($5 million) American Express event at the end of the season.'
Much like Johansson, Gilford is trying to end a winless drought. The Englishman has six career European Tour wins under his belt, but none since 1994. Last season, Gilford finished 90th on the Order of Merit - his worst finish in nearly a decade.
'I haven't played very well the last three or four years and haven't won for six,' said the 1991 and 1995 European Ryder Cup Team member. 'I have been working on changes with David Whelan for the last eight or nine months and my swing looks better now.'
Thursday, Gilford posted eight birdies and no bogeys en route to his 64. At 8-undr-par, he and Johansson lead Greg Turner and Wayne Riley by one shot. Greg Norman, playing in his first event in Europe in over a year, is tied for 7th at 5-under. Ernie Els is six off the pace after opening in 2-under-par 70.
Getty Images

Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
Getty Images

Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

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

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

Getty Images

Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

Getty Images

Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”