Slow Play Sound Off

By Michael CollinsMay 16, 2008, 4:00 pm
Editor's note: Michael Collins has been a stand-up comedian for 15 years and has more than seven years experience as a professional caddie. He currently covers the PGA TOUR as a correspondent with XM Satellite Radio and takes his turn on The Turn Mondays on GOLF CHANNEL.
 
Yes, were slow; do you work for a chance at 9 million bucks a week? No? Then shut up.
 
If I hear one more person complain about slow play Im going to punch em in the nose and look at their face as they try to figure out how, and what just happened.
 
Last week at THE PLAYERS Im on the fifth hole waiting by the green for Tom Lehman and Greg Kraft to putt out so I can call the shots of Phil Mickelson and Bernhard Langer when this Goober in a NASCAR hat, dirty t-shirt, and 13 teeth says to me, These guys are too damned slow. Look at this Bill Shaft guy (he meant Greg Kraft), hes backed off this putt twice already and its only 4 feet.
I patiently waited for Greg to drain his putt (nice par save); he did back off four times, before I turned back to Goober and said, Yeah, I bet youd be much faster than these guys out there if you were playing.
 
Hey man, theyre professionals! He said back getting extremely defensive and for good reason, Im a scary looking dudeor not.
 
Exactly, I explained. So if it takes the best players in the world five-and-a-half hours to play a course with 35 mph winds and greens you couldnt hit, more or less putt, maybe you should respect the fact that for 9.5 million theyre here giving it their all while youre in THAT hat and t-shirt drinking a beer complaining. What do you do for a living?
 
He promptly walked away from me telling his wife what a jerk I was, and how he was going to change from XM to Sirius (too bad he doesnt know were merging!).
Dont get me wrong, golf has gotten slower. So what? You ever watch the last two minutes of an NBA game? How about the two-minute warning in an NFL game thats close? Id have time to prepare a full Thanksgiving turkey in both counts!
 
We all know the problems...
 
The TOUR says, Well, there are too many players on the course! Because 156 divided by 3 is 52 threesomes, no math can make that work on the course. (Here, Here! gruff, gruff, mumble, mumble in the background.)
 
The players say, The courses are too hard! The rough is SO thick and the greens are so hard.... we cant just walk up and hit a shot. (Yeah! Screams the mob in the back.)
 
TV says, Do something!!! Were getting killed by the local TV stations that never get to broadcast their six oclock news on the weekends, and '60 Minutes' and 'Dateline' directors are on the phones now threatening us! (ATM machines firing out money sounds in the background.)
 
But here are the problems (and questions) youre not hearing about. It takes longer to play golf now than it did 10 years ago at the same courses in carts. Why? The same people who complain about the course being too easy for the pros are the same idiots who complain about it taking too long. Is there a real solution to the problem?
 
I have the answer!!!!!
 
First, a shot clock, visible to all. There are already marshals on every hole and on every tee box. Their job from now on is to monitor the shot clock which will be started by the playing competitor who is keeping the scorecard of said golfer. Forty-five seconds for each shot. If said golfer goes over the 45 seconds, 1 shot penalty, then start the clock again; 45 more seconds, one more shot. You want to think it over for two minutes, awesome you just lost three shots. Rules officials are no longer to blame because its self policed by the players who are complaining. The TOUR loves it because they dont have to levee fines that dont affect rich guys. TV loves it because now they have a shot clock and replay to prove a guy took too long hitting a shot.
 
The second solution is snipers, my favorite. Strategically place snipers around the course camouflaged in trees. The rules officials radio which golfers get a bad time, as they walk to their ball a warning shot is fired, just to let them know, Hey, were watching. Now if they get a second bad time.... As they slowly settle in over their shot a tranquilizer dart is fired into the fatty tissue that makes up the backside of said golfer. Then as the golfer gently glides into slumber he is loaded onto a golf cart and driven back to the clubhouse where after being ear tagged, weighed, and measured he is allowed to awaken to soft music being played in his courtesy car with a note saying:
 
It was a pleasure having you at our event, unfortunately in an effort to thin our herd your pace of play has dictated that we remove you from the playing arena so as we can finish in a timely manner. As your removal occurred on a Thursday/Friday you are not eligible for last-place prize money. We look forward to your entry in the next tournament and hope that in the future your herd instincts will prove a valuable asset. Please note the electronic ear tag that is not to be removed until your retirement from competitive golf as we feel it necessary to know where you are on the course at all times. If you try to remove this tag at anytime between now and your retirement, a small explosive will render you unable to play golf in the future, and unable to eat, walk, or read the funny pages. We thank you for your continued support of golf, and wish you speed in the future.
 
Now thats TV worth watching!!
 
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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 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)

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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.