Golf Channel Begins Celebration of Golf's Olympic Return at the 2016 Rio Olympics on Monday, February 24

By Golf Channel Public RelationsFebruary 19, 2014, 8:35 pm

As the 2014 Olympic Winter Games from Sochi come to a close this Sunday, the sporting world will begin to turn its attention to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where golf returns to the Olympic program for the first time in 112 years at the 2016 Olympic Games. On Monday, February 24, Golf Channel will begin celebrating golf’s road to Rio with dedicated Olympic-themed coverage on air, online and through its social media channels. The Rio Opening Ceremony will be Friday, Aug. 5, 2016, 893 days from Golf Channel’s celebration on Monday.

“The lead up to golf’s return to the Olympics will be one of the biggest stories in golf in the coming years. Golf Channel will be covering this historic story from a variety of angles as the international growth of golf is put on display with its inclusion in the Olympics,” said Mike McCarley, President of Golf Channel.

Season two of In Play with Jimmy Roberts, which this year expands to an hour, begins Monday at 10 p.m. ET, following the season premiere of Big Break Florida at 9 p.m. ET. In Play will feature an exclusive look at the preparation of the Olympic golf course in Rio through multiple interviews with the course’s designer, Gil Hanse. For the past two years, Golf Channel cameras have captured the development process of the course, including Hanse’s initial visit to the proposed site in 2011, his winning bid to be architect and course designer in 2012 and the current shaping of the course, which is currently under construction. Hanse said, “I don’t know that we will ever get to build a more significant golf course. It is the opportunity of a lifetime.” Hanse also opens up about family stresses during the construction process (his family moved to Rio in January, 2013), his frustrations with the delays of the course development and how he, his family and his management team have overcome these struggles and are moving forward with a scheduled completion of the course in 2014.

Gil Hanse, on the Olympics course design and the schedule changes:

“We can clearly see in what we are building, and the landforms that exist, that we have got something pretty exciting here. The best parts of the day are when the optimism bubbles through of, ‘Boy, wait until we finish this and how good it is going to look.’”

“The schedule has changed – not to fit the pace but basically to fit the reality of where we are now. So, now we have a realistic schedule that will have this golf course being completed sometime in the first half of 2014.”

Hanse’s design team also has been hard at work in renovating and reconstructing the famed Blue Monster Course at Trump National Doral in Miami, Fla. The course, which re-opened in early February to rave reviews, will host the PGA TOUR’s World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship in March. Donald Trump discusses with Roberts on In Play why he selected Hanse as the course architect and some of the enhancements and changes made to the course.

The hour-long episode of In Play also delves into the history of golf in the Olympics, which makes its return in 2016 after a 112-year absence, with three unique stories. In Play will highlight the 1900 Olympic Games (Paris, France), when Margaret Abbott won the women’s golf tournament, becoming the first American woman in any sport to win an Olympic event; the 1904 Olympic Games (St. Louis, Mo.) – the last Olympics when golf was an official sport – when Canadian George Lyon dominated the field and won the gold medal, and how he later refused to accept the gold medal at the 1908 London Games; as well as a retrospective on an international golf event taking place around the 1936 Olympic Games, now known as the “Hitler Invitational,” that took place in Berlin, Germany.

Morning Drive, Golf Channel’s daily morning show, also will look toward Rio on Monday and review the projected field if the men’s and women’s Olympic competitions were to take place today. Hanse is scheduled to join the show on Monday from Rio, and Golf Digest contributor Geoff Shackelford, who has personally surveyed the Rio Olympic golf course project, will join Morning Drive to discuss the latest developments on the design and construction of the course in Rio.

GolfChannel.com will post projected fields for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, based on current world rankings. The field is scheduled to be a total of 60 players for each of the men’s and women’s events. The top-15 ranked players of each gender will qualify with a limit of four golfers qualifying from a country. The remaining 45 spots will go to the highest-ranked players from countries that do not already have two golfers qualified. GolfChannel.com also will launch a dedicated section within the site (www.GolfChannel.com/Olympicgolf) that focuses solely on Olympics-related content, and Golf Channel and NBC Sports’ social media channels will combine efforts to promote Olympics-related content using the #Rio2016 hashtag.

GolfChannel.com will feature on Monday a column from senior writer Jason Sobel on the history of golf in the Olympics. Sobel takes an in-depth look at Glen Echo Country Club in St. Louis, the last venue to host an Olympics golf tournament in 1904 that featured one of the more unique and memorable medal presentations in Olympics history.

VIDEO: In Play Season Premiere Sneak Peek

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

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

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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.

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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.”