Peers Speak Up for The Quiet Man

By Mercer BaggsJune 9, 2005, 4:00 pm
The Quiet Man sits in his chair, flanked to his right by an official moderator. He resides slightly above his audience on a small platform, looking down as they try to get him to speak.
He does speak; usually three or four sentences at a time. Invariably, a question concerning respect will arise. And the Quiet Man will answer.
Retief Goosen
Retief Goosen has five career PGA Tour victories and at least one each year from 2001-04.
He will say something like: Its your problem if you overlook me, like he did at The Players Championship this year. Or he might respond, like he did at the Masters: No, it doesnt, not at all, when asked if it hurts his feeling that the media talks of a Big 4 and not a Big 5. Or he might just say: I dont really worry about it, like he did at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship.
Just about wherever Retief Goosen goes, he gets questioned about a perceived lack of respect ' in comparison to the top 4-ranked players in the world.
Certainly, he doesnt have the charisma of Tiger Woods. He doesnt have the popularity of Phil Mickelson. He doesnt have the worldly appeal of countryman Ernie Els. And he doesnt have the ability to regularly dominate like Vijay Singh.
He is simply who he is. Hes a soft spoken, demure and, at times, ignored individual. Hes the fifth man in whats billed as a Big 4 band. For the most part he sits in the shadows, comfortably devoid of attention. But occasionally, he plays his instrument more brilliantly than any of the others ' usually on the biggest stage.
Im not really all that bothered about (being overlooked), said Goosen, who will defend his U.S. Open title this week at Pinehurst. I go out there to play my game, and hopefully at the end of the week I win a tournament and that will take care of itself.
For as reticent as he is in personality, his resume speaks volumes.
He is who he is. Hes a two-time U.S. Open champion, and the reigning title holder. Hes a two-time Order of Merit champion on the European Tour. Hes a winner of more than 20 events around the world. Hes the fifth-ranked player in the world.
While he feels a little ill at ease in discussing his accomplishments or his abilities, his peers are quick to praise him ' and defend him.
Hes one of the best players in the world, said Woods. You know that if hes in contention, hes never going backwards. Hes always going to keep where hes at, if not go forward. Hes a tough person to beat come major championship time, because he doesnt make a lot of mistakes. And hes one of the best putters out here, too ' he makes everything.
Just one of those guys who just goes about his business, just doesnt draw any attention; but hes always there. Any time he tees it up he seems to be in contention.
Hes one of the best in the world, said Singh. You dont win two U.S. Opens by being a mug, you know. He can play. When hes on, theres nobody better. Hes just very underrated. He doesnt say much which is why people dont hear of him. But hes one of the best in the world.
When the courses get tough, he manages to get around. Hes just an extremely good putter in those types of conditions, said Sergio Garcia.
You know, hes a great guy, too. Im fortunate enough to be a fairly good friend of his. You know, hes a really funny guy when he gets going. I really enjoy spending time with him.
Hes pretty awesome ' strong player, said Adam Scott. I played the final round with him in China (at the Johnnie Walker Classic) and I started with a five-shot lead. After three holes it was a two-shot lead. I mean, he hit some of the most beautiful long-iron shots Ive ever seen that day. I got the upper hand on him in the end, but, I mean, hes phenomenal, really. Hes so solid. Put those long clubs in his hand, he looks so pure.
Possibly by you guys but certainly not by us, responded Darren Clarke when asked if Goosen was overlooked. He's one of the best players in the world. He's won two U.S. Opens. You've got to play some to win a couple of those. He's a world-class player.
Winning majors every couple of years is a really high standard ' (hes) last year's U.S. Open champion. I would say there's not a top four, there's a top 5, exclaimed Padraig Harrington.
I think looking at a guy like Retief is kind of like a stranger looking at Manhattan; you don't realize how tall the buildings are until you go there, said Joey Sindelar. Retief is a long hitter with a beautiful, fabulous, slow swing and nobody even talks about him. It's like ' it's amazing.
You guys don't talk about him too much, Els said to a room full of media members earlier this year. He's obviously got the game. He's proven that; he's won Tour Championships and U.S. Opens and who knows what. He's won everything. He's done just about everything, too, already. He's been No. 1 in Europe and he's done what he has to do to be a top-ranked player.
I don't know; I've got to ask you guys, why you guys don't write about him, because we regard him as definitely a real star player.
And that kind of peer respect ' along with winning ' means more to Goosen than he could ever say.
Email your thoughts to Mercer Baggs
Related links:
  • Full Coverage - 105th U.S. Open

  • Tee Times - U.S. Open

  • Photo Gallery from Pinehurst
  • Getty Images

    Schauffele just fine being the underdog

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

    Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

    Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

    Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

    “All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

    Getty Images

    Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

    So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

    Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

    Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Jordan Spieth: 7/4

    Xander Schauffele: 5/1

    Kevin Kisner: 11/2

    Tiger Woods: 14/1

    Francesco Molinari: 14/1

    Rory McIlroy: 14/1

    Kevin Chappell: 20/1

    Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

    Alex Noren: 25/1

    Zach Johnson: 30/1

    Justin Rose: 30/1

    Matt Kuchar: 40/1

    Webb Simpson: 50/1

    Adam Scott: 80/1

    Tony Finau: 80/1

    Charley Hoffman: 100/1

    Austin Cook: 100/1

    Getty Images

    Spieth stands on brink of Open repeat

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 7:49 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth described Monday’s “ceremony” to return the claret jug to the keepers of the game’s oldest championship as anything but enjoyable.

    For the last 12 months the silver chalice has been a ready reminder of what he was able to overcome and accomplish in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, a beacon of hope during a year that’s been infinitely forgettable.

    By comparison, the relative pillow fight this week at Carnoustie has been a welcome distraction, a happy-go-lucky stroll through a wispy field. Unlike last year’s edition, when Spieth traveled from the depths of defeat to the heights of victory within a 30-minute window, the defending champion has made this Open seem stress-free, easy even, by comparison.

    But then those who remain at Carnoustie know it’s little more than a temporary sleight of hand.

    As carefree as things appeared on Saturday when 13 players, including Spieth, posted rounds of 67 or lower, as tame as Carnoustie, which stands alone as The Open’s undisputed bully, has been through 54 holes there was a foreboding tension among the rank and file as they readied for a final trip around Royal Brown & Bouncy.

    “This kind of southeast or east/southeast wind we had is probably the easiest wind this golf course can have, but when it goes off the left side, which I think is forecasted, that's when you start getting more into the wind versus that kind of cross downwind,” said Spieth, who is tied for the lead with Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner at 9 under par after a 6-under 65. “It won't be the case tomorrow. It's going to be a meaty start, not to mention, obviously, the last few holes to finish.”

    Carnoustie only gives so much and with winds predicted to gust to 25 mph there was a distinct feeling that playtime was over.

    As melancholy as Spieth was about giving back the claret jug, and make no mistake, he wasn’t happy, not even his status among the leading contenders with a lap remaining was enough for him to ignore the sleeping giant.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    But then he’s come by his anxiousness honestly. Spieth has spent far too much time answering questions about an inexplicably balky putter the last few weeks and he hasn’t finished better than 21st since his “show” finish in April at the Masters.

    After a refreshingly solid start to his week on Thursday imploded with a double bogey-bogey-par-bogey finish he appeared closer to an early ride home on Friday than he did another victory lap, but he slowly clawed his way back into the conversation as only he can with one clutch putt after the next.

    “I'm playing golf for me now. I've kind of got a cleared mind. I've made a lot of progress over the year that's been kind of an off year, a building year,” said Spieth, who is bogey-free over his last 36 holes. “And I've got an opportunity to make it a very memorable one with a round, but it's not necessary for me to prove anything for any reason.”

    But if an awakened Carnoustie has Spieth’s attention, the collection of would-be champions assembled around and behind him adds another layer of intrigue.

    Kisner, Spieth’s housemate this week on Angus coast, has led or shared the lead after each round this week and hasn’t shown any signs of fading like he did at last year’s PGA Championship, when he started the final round with a one-stroke lead only to close with a 74 to tie for seventh place.

    “I haven't played it in that much wind. So I think it's going to be a true test, and we'll get to see really who's hitting it the best and playing the best tomorrow,” said Kisner, who added a 68 to his total on Day 3.

    There’s no shortage of potential party crashers, from Justin Rose at 4 under after a round-of-the-week 64 to 2015 champion Zach Johnson, who also made himself at home with Spieth and Kisner in the annual Open frat house and is at 5 under.

    Rory McIlroy, who is four years removed from winning his last major championship, looked like a player poised to get off the Grand Slam schneid for much of the day, moving to 7 under with a birdie at the 15th hole, but he played the last three holes in 2 over par and is tied with Johnson at 5 under par. 

    And then there’s Tiger Woods. For three magical hours the three-time Open champion played like he’d never drifted into the dark competitive hole that’s defined his last few years. Like he’d never been sidelined by an endless collection of injuries and eventually sought relief under the surgeon’s knife.

    As quietly as Woods can do anything, he turned in 3 under par for the day and added two more birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. His birdie putt at the 14th hole lifted him temporarily into a share of the lead at 6 under par.

    “We knew there were going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win on Sunday, and it's turning out to be that,” said Woods, who is four strokes off the lead. “I didn't want to be too far back if the guys got to 10 [under] today. Five [shots back] is certainly doable, and especially if we get the forecast tomorrow.”

    Woods held his round of 66 together with a gritty par save at the 18th hole after hitting what he said was his only clunker of the day off the final tee.

    Even that episode seemed like foreshadowing.

    The 18th hole has rough, bunkers, out of bounds and a burn named Barry that weaves its way through the hole like a drunken soccer fan. It’s the Grand Slam of hazardous living and appears certain to play a leading role in Sunday’s outcome.

    Perhaps none of the leading men will go full Jean Van de Velde, the star-crossed Frenchman who could still be standing in that burn if not for a rising tide back at the 1999 championship, but if the 499 yards of dusty turf is an uninvited guest, it’s a guest nonetheless.

    It may not create the same joyless feelings that he had when he returned the claret jug, but given the hole’s history and Spieth’s penchant for late-inning histrionics (see Open Championship, 2017), the 18th hole is certain to produce more than a few uncomfortable moments.

    Getty Images

    Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

    One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

    McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

    McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

    “I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”