Walker, Koepka, Singh star in Frys.com drama

By Mercer BaggsOctober 14, 2013, 3:13 am

SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Some events are as much about who doesn’t win as who does. The Frys.com Open qualifies as such.

The tournament epitaph will read: Jimmy Walker won here. It could add, in parentheses, Brooks Koepka and Vijay Singh did not.

This was Walker’s first career PGA Tour victory, in his ninth full season. Lucky No. 188.

“I’m still trying to process it all,” Walker said. “Haven’t won a golf tournament in a long time. Feels pretty good.”


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He earned it, too. The 34-year-old shot 5-under 66 Sunday to defeat Singh by two strokes. His round included six birdies and one bogey, and aside from a 9-foot miss for birdie at the par-4 17th, which would have sealed victory, he was rock solid. He can also say he beat a Hall of Famer.

“When you think about all the things he’s done and all the wins he’s had, it was a pretty good day,” Walker said.

Count Walker among those who believe the wraparound calendar is a good idea. He had his best season in 2013 with five top-10 finishes, including a tie for second at The Greenbrier Classic. He finished 36th in the FedEx Cup standings and made more than $2.1 million.

That yearly total is now over $3 million thanks to the $900K first prize. He also earned what is essentially a three-year Tour exemption, through the 2015-16 season (if we’re still wrapping around in the future).

“When you don’t win and you don’t rack up the two- or three-year exemption, you always start your year off going, 'I’m at ground zero. I got to start at the bottom and go get it,'” Walker said.

“I had always wondered, will it change the way you think about things if you win? But I want to stay hungry.”

This tournament, however, featured an ensemble cast. Walker ended with top billing, but most of those watching came to see Singh and Koepka – two men who couldn’t be more dissimilar.

Singh’s a 50-year-old Fijian whose previous start came last month in his Champions Tour debut. He’s won 34 PGA Tour titles and is enshrined among golf’s all-time greats. Koepka is a 23-year-old Floridian who was making his first start in a regular Tour event. He’s a four-time winner … on the European Challenge Tour.

About the only thing they have in common is their passport history.

Koepka has played in 15 countries this year. Looking for a few more Stateside opportunities, he led by two strokes after 54 holes and four shots through six holes on Sunday. Though 18, however, he was three in arrears. The product of a closing 1-over 72 and a bit of nerves over some short putts.

Koepka describes his demeanor as “chill.” But he came unnerved a bit attempting a 3-foot par putt at the par-5 ninth. He missed. He then missed a 5-footer for par at the 11th.

“You know, certain parts of my game I need to work on. These 5-footers under pressure, I think all of them were missed left,” he said. “Learn from it and move on and everything should be OK.”

One back of Walker on the par-3 16th, Koepka badly pulled his tee shot. He failed to get up and down and made bogey. He bogeyed the par-4 17th as well when he hit a 3-wood into the water while trying to drive the 297-yard hole.

“You know, things weren’t going my way. I didn’t execute the shots. We were making the right decisions, playing well,” Koepka said. “I just didn’t make the shots I needed to win.”

Singh’s day was ultimately undone in a two-hole stretch. Bogeys at Nos. 7 and 8 dropped him five off the pace at the time and he was unable to make up that much ground. He still left with a smile on his face, a positive attitude and a few words. Yes, that Vijay Singh.

“I hung in there. Had a lot of good shots, and really, really happy with the way I putted,” Singh said. “So it’s a good start for the season, and I’m really excited.”

Who knew Vijay was an optimist? Maybe he’s more like Koepka than we thought, so chill.

Singh, Koepka and Walker are headed to Las Vegas now, where they’ll try to headline another show at the Shriners Hospitals Open. Koepka is in thanks to his top 10 this week. Another good week and he could get his Tour card based on the non-exempt money list.

Singh said he’s been working on a slight change in his swing and with the way he’s putting, he sounded downright giddy Sunday evening. “It’s a great feeling,” he said.

As for Walker … well, he doesn’t seem to get too excited. There wasn’t much reaction after he secured his maiden win and there wasn’t much emotion in his voice when he spoke about it. He may be drier than a cracker, but, in his own way, he expressed its significance.

“This game is tough. It’ll beat you up. You can’t keep thinking about what could’ve been. You can only learn from it and keep going. That’s what I try to do, just try to keep getting better,” Walker said.

“This is pretty cool. It’s pretty great. I wouldn’t take back anything I’ve ever done or anything I’ve ever gone through to get here.”

And then there’s Koepka. The man who's played everywhere from Tallahassee, Fla., to Ahmedabad, India. This week was just one more new endeavor, a chance to learn and mature.

“This whole experience is kind of new,” Koepka said. “Everything in the last year has been a bit crazy.”

“It was a good week, if you take it overall. It was very good. I played very well, so I just can’t get too down on it. Tied for third isn’t too bad. Just move on.

“And the end of the day, it’s just golf. Things could be a lot worse.”

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Woods: New putter should help on slower greens

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:35 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods’ ice-cold putting showed at least a few signs of heating up earlier this month at The National, where he switched putters and ranked seventh in the field on the greens.

The mallet-style putter is still in the bag as Woods prepares for The Open, and he’s hoping the heavier model with grooves will prove valuable at Carnoustie.


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“To be honest with you, I’ve struggled on slower greens throughout my entire career,” Woods said Tuesday. “So for me, it’s going to help on these greens, for sure.”

To combat the slower greens, Woods usually applied a strip of lead tape to his putter. But this heavier model of putter doesn’t need the extra weight, and the grooves on the putter face allow the ball to get rolling faster and hotter.

“You don’t necessarily have to do that with the grooves,” he said of the lead tape. “When I putted with the Nike putter, I didn’t have to put lead tape on the putter to get a little more weight to it. I could just leave it just the way it was. This is the same type.”  

For all of the talk about his putting woes this season, Woods still ranks 56th in strokes gained: putting. More crucial this week: He’s 102nd in approach putt performance, which quantifies how well a player lag putts.

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Woods: Open best chance for long-term major success

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:26 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods is more than a decade removed from his last major title, but he said Tuesday that The Open is the major that gives him the best chance for long-term success.

“I would say yes, because of the fact that you don’t have to be long to play on a links-style golf course,” Woods said during his pre-tournament news conference. “It certainly can be done.”


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Woods pointed to the late-career success for both Greg Norman (2008) and Tom Watson (2009), both of whom challenged for the claret jug deep into their 50s.

“Distance becomes a moot point on a links-style golf course,” he said.

That’s certainly not the case, however, at the Masters, where bombers long have thrived, or the U.S. Open, which places a premium on long and straight driving.

“You get to places like Augusta National, which is just a big ballpark, and the golf course outgrows you, unfortunately,” he said. “But links-style courses, you can roll the ball. I hit a 3-iron that went down there 330. Even if I get a little bit older, I can still chase some wood or long club down there and hit the ball the same distance.”

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"Vantage Point with Mike Tirico" set to debut Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJuly 17, 2018, 10:15 am

Special Hour Complementing the Network’s Week-Long Golf Central Live From The Open News Coverage; Premiere Scheduled to Include Interview with 2014 Open Runner-Up Rickie Fowler On-Site from Carnoustie

Features Include Tirico and Curtis Strange Re-watching ’99 Open at Carnoustie & Jim “Bones” Mackay Facilitating Exclusive Conversation with Caddies Michael Greller, John Wood Recounting Final Round Pairing at 2017 Open

To help set the table ahead of The 147TH Open at Carnoustie, Golf Channel will premiere Vantage Point with Mike Tirico on Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET. An extension of the network’s week-long Golf Central Live From The Open comprehensive news coverage, Vantage Point will revisit landmark moments in The Open’s history, uncover personal stories relevant to the fabric of the week and feature a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year” on golf’s original championship.

“It’s a thrill to be going back to The Open again this year, which is a fitting setting to launch this new opportunity,” said Tirico, NBC Sports host who this week will celebrate his 22nd consecutive year covering The Open. “I love being a part of the Golf Channel team during golf’s biggest weeks, and anticipate contributing to our commitment to great storytelling with Vantage Point.”

Kicking off the premiere of Vantage Point will be Tirico’s exclusive interview with 2014 Open runner-up and 2015 PLAYERS champion Rickie Fowler on-site from Carnoustie. One of Fowler’s favorite events, he has missed just one cut in eight previous appearances at The Open. Other highlights within the show include:

  • Jim “Bones” Mackay facilitating an exclusive conversation between caddies Michael Greller (Jordan Spieth) and John Wood (Matt Kuchar) recounting the final round pairing at The Open last July.
  • Tirico hosting a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year”: David Duval, Tom Lehman and Justin Leonard.
  • A recollection of one of the most unforgettable collapses in major championship golf, when Jean van de Velde surrendered a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole in 1999 at The Open. Tirico and Curtis Strange – both on the live tournament broadcast that year for ABC/ESPN – recently re-watched the telecast together for the first time since calling it live.

 

“This is harder to watch than I thought it was going to be. I’ve never seen anything like

that in my life. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that again.” – Curtis Strange

 

“I think I got caught up in the whole deal and felt human for the guy.” – Mike Tirico

 

Vantage Point with Mike Tirico will complement the network’s Golf Central Live From The Open, which will feature nearly 60 hours of comprehensive news coverage from Carnoustie. In total, NBC Sports will dedicate more than 350 hours to showcasing the third men’s major championship of the year, including nearly 50 live hours of the network’s Emmy-nominated tournament coverage – annually the most live hours of coverage from any golf event – spanning from Thursday’s opening tee shot to Sunday’s final putt.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 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 GolfChannel.com.  

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; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)