Sorenstam Soars into Seasons First Major

By Mike RitzMarch 27, 2002, 5:00 pm
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - The 2001 LPGA Player of the Year, Annika Sorenstam, may have set too high a standard for herself. But shes sure trying to meet it.
 
Last year Annika had one of the most successful campaigns in her tours history by winning eight times, including the Nabisco, this weeks major championship. That kind of record is not easy to live up to. Just ask Tiger.
 
So what has Ms. Sorenstam done lately? Well, Annika started this year by winning the prestigious Australian Masters on the European Tour, beating world No. 2 Karrie Webb in a playoff. Then, one week later, at this tours season-opener, Annika won again. Two weeks, two continents, two tours, two wins. Nice start.
 
Thanks to her incredible run in March last year, this weeks Kraft Nabisco Championship will mark the fourth week in a row the 31-year-old Sorenstam will be defending a crown. She won the aforementioned Takefuji Classic in Hawaii, then made it to a playoff before losing to Rachel Teske in Phoenix. Last week in Tucson, where Annika played for the University of Arizona, she started poorly, 2-over-par in the first 15 holes. Sorenstam proceeded to play the next 21 holes 8-under to get back into contention.
 
For, seemingly, the umpteenth time in the last couple of years, she had a chance to make history. Annika had won Tucson each of the previous two years, and if she could make it three in row, Sorenstam would become the first LPGA player to win two different tournaments three consecutive years. She first accomplished the feat in St. Louis at the Michelob Light, winning from 1997 through 99.
 
Annika failed to meet her own incredibly high standards and finished seventh to Laura Diaz. That win by the 26-year-old American sets up another terrific story line for this week. Most of the visionaries who watch the LPGA closely have been touting young Ms. Diaz as the next American star. Last year, in the former Laura Philos third full year on tour, she glistened, but didnt quite shine, finishing second four times. Now that shes broken through into the winners circle, Diaz undoubtedly will find it easier to return. For historical examples, just think of Lori Kane and David Duval.
 
I take that as quite a compliment, Diaz said Wednesday. To be mentioned alongside two players with such talent is really something.
 
The 2000 Kraft Nabisco champion, Webb, comes into the years Dinah with her major already in the bag. The girl from Down Under won the Australian Open the week after she lost to Sorenstam in that Aussie Masters playoff. Karries first start in the States was Phoenix, where the jet-lagged star finished 42nd. This past week in Tucson, it was clear Karrie was getting back to normal as she posted 14-under-par to finish tied for fifth. My confidence grows with every round I play, she said.
 
Even though the current Kraft Nabisco Championship, the former Dinah Shore, is just the fourth event on the 2002 LPGA schedule, it appears many forces are conspiring to make this first major of the year an intriguing one.
 
Its a Solheim Cup year, so points earned this week will go a long way for Americans trying to make their much-coveted team. That makes the major even more important to the Yanks. While Diaz may be leading the new breed onto the team, veterans like 84 and 89 Dinah Shore champion Julie Inkster and three-time major champion Meg Mallon showed this past week that their games are far from fading. Jules led in Tucson until late Sunday, when Laura whizzed by; and Meg, who needs to win here to complete the career grand slam, fired a final round 64 as a nice little warm up for the Nabisco.
 
If 24-year-old Se Ri Pak wins this week, she would supplant Webb as the youngest player to complete that career grand slam. But Se Ris main concern could be an injured right wrist. She hurt it practicing chip shots out of the rough in Phoenix and withdrew from last weeks field to get healthy for the Kraft Nabisco. It doesnt hurt me when I swing or putt, Pak said, just when I have to chip. She laughed and added, So I just wont miss any greens.
 
As is usually the case here, some entertaining amateurs will fill out a field of elite professionals. The Wonglukiet twins are back for their third Dinah and someone else worth watching this week will be collegiate star Lorena Ochoa. The University of Arizona junior also got a sponsors exemption to play in Tucson and finished tied with Webb for fifth place.
 
Many knowledgeable and critical eyes will watch the TV ratings that come out of this years Kraft Nabisco Championship with great interest. For years, poor ratings were often blamed on direct competition from the PGA Tours Players Championship. But thanks to a quirk in 2002 schedules, thats not happening this year. If this Dinah Shore lives up to its seemingly enormous potential, those television ratings will go a long way in telling us how far the LPGA has come, or how far it has to go.
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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.