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Masters Week on Golf Channel (April 1-8) Led by "Golf Central Live From the Masters"

By Golf Channel Public RelationsMarch 29, 2018, 3:25 pm

Masters Champions Including Nicklaus, Watson, Crenshaw & Floyd Expected to Join Golf CentralLive From the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club

Masters Features Include: Matt Parziale’s Improbable Journey; Long-Awaited Moment of Vindication for Sergio and DeChambeau’s Fateful Encounter

Masters Week on Golf Channel to Kick Off with 2018 Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals from Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday, April 1

The 2018 Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals will officially kick off Masters week on Golf Channel, Sunday, April 1 at 8 a.m. ET, featuring junior golfers from across the U.S. and Canada making up the field of 80 finalists convening at Augusta National Golf Club. The network will dedicate more than 150 hours to Masters-themed programing April 1-8, led by Golf Central Live From the Masters, focusing on emerging storylines, analysis, features and guest interviews throughout the week surrounding the first men’s major of 2018. Notable guests expected to join Golf Channel’s coverage include past Masters champions: Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, Ben Crenshaw, Tom Watson and Raymond Floyd.

Anchoring Golf Central Live From the Masters coverage from Augusta National will be Rich Lerner in primetime, along with Steve Sands and Mike Tirico during the day, while Cara Banks and Ryan Burr will host from Golf Channel’s World Headquarters in Orlando. Analysts on-site for the network in primetime include Brandel Chamblee, David Duval and Frank Nobilo, in addition to Notah Begay, Justin Leonard and Mark Rolfing during the day. Todd Lewis and Whit Watson will serve as reporters from the golf course. Golf Channel Insiders Jaime Diaz, Rex Hoggard and Tim Rosaforte will join to discuss emerging storylines as the tournament unfolds, while Ken Schofield and Geoff Shackelford will act as contributing guests over the course of the week.

Coverage of Golf Central Live From the Masters will be complemented by a number of dedicated feature stories, including:

  • An Improbable Journey for Matt Parziale A former mini tour professional, Matt Parziale assuredly once had visions of walking inside the ropes at Augusta National. As Rich Lerner details, only after Parziale stepped away from the professional game – to instead follow in his father’s footsteps to become an active fireman in his hometown – was he able to fulfill his dream of competing in the Masters.
  • A Long-awaited Moment of Vindication for Sergio– With his victory at the Masters last year, Sergio Garcia at long last erased the anguish of two decades of near misses: 12 previous top-5 finishes in major championships. Todd Lewis ventured to Garcia’s roots in Borriol, Spain, where the Spainard and his father/coach Victor reflected on the younger Garcia’s proudest moment of his professional career. 
  • DeChambeau’s Influence on Fate and Good Fortune – Bryson DeChambeau has quickly demonstrated that his uncommon approach translates to the PGA TOUR. However, as Todd Lewis details, it was DeChambeau’s heroics as an amateur that ultimately led to a series of fateful events that would save his father’s life.
  • Rory's Latest Crack at the Career Grand Slam - For the fourth consecutive year, Rory McIlroy enters the season's first major with a chance to capture the career Grand Slam. As Mike Tirico details, this go-round McIlroy has dedicated his entire off-season toward winning the one event that has agonizingly escaped him.
  • Bob Goalby’s Unfortunate Injustice – Bob Goalby for decades has been the overlooked footnote to the 1968 Masters when he slipped into a green jacket as a result of Robert De Vicenzo notoriously signing an incorrect scorecard. Ridiculed by fans for years in the aftermath of his victory, Rich Lerner details how Goalby never really got his proper due aside from Masters co-founder Bobby Jones.
  • An Introduction to Fred Ridley Augusta National Golf Club named Fred Ridley its next chairman last August. From his collegiate golf days at the University of Florida to U.S. Amateur champion and a successful career in law, Mike Tirico visits with several of Ridley’s closest friends in golf and in business to learn more about the game’s newest leader.

Additional features airing throughout the week include: Geoff Shackelford consulting with past champions Nick Faldo and Ben Crenshaw to weigh the merits of lengthening the par-5 13th hole, Azalea; a closer look at the privileged view inside Augusta National’s Crow’s Nest with Tim Rosaforte; perspective from Masters champions on the secrets to navigating Augusta National’s demanding greens; and a look at Bobby Jones’ venture into Hollywood.

Drive, Chip & Putt Championship National Finals: Sunday, April 1

Coverage of the 2018 Drive, Chip and Putt Championship National Finals will kick off at 8 a.m. ET on Sunday, April 1, airing live from Augusta National Golf Club. In partnership with the Masters Tournament, PGA of America and USGA, the youth golf initiative highlights the 40 boys and 40 girls having advanced from more than 260 local events, 50 sub-regional events, and a culmination of 10 regional qualifiers. Golf Channel – in its fifth year of televising live coverage of the National Finals – also will showcase a series of features introducing viewers to competitors across the eight respective age groups (Boys/Girls 7-9, 10-11, 12-13 and 14-15).

Rich Lerner and Peter Jacobsen will call the action from the booth, while Justin Leonard and Paige Mackenzie will report from the Tournament Practice Area, and Charlie Rymer from the 18th green. Steve Sands will handle interviews with special guests on-site, including Tournament Invitees and past Masters champions. Golf Channel also will dedicate pre- and post-event coverage on its daily news shows, Golf Central and Morning Drive, and on Golf Channel Digital.

Morning Drive

Morning Drive will kick off each day of Masters week dissecting the latest news and storylines. Damon Hack and Charlie Rymer will report live from Augusta National, while John Cook, Robert Damron, Tom Abbott, Lauren Thompson and Matt Ginella will cover the latest news from Golf Channel’s World Headquarters in Orlando. Guests expected to join Morning Drive from Augusta National include Masters champions Gary Player and Nick Faldo, reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion and Tournament Invitee Matt Parziale, among others.

International Programming

Golf Channel will produce international Masters news programming from its Orlando World Headquarters in both Japanese and Mandarin, featuring reports and custom content throughout the week. These productions will complement the international distribution of Golf Central Live From the Masters, which is distributed to markets within Golf Channel’s worldwide footprint of nearly 500 million viewers in 78 countries and nine languages around the world.                         

Golf Channel Digital Coverage

Golf Channel Digital will feature expanded coverage of the men’s first major championship, with Jay Coffin, Rex Hoggard, Ryan Lavner and Randall Mell reporting from on-site at Augusta National. Beginning Thursday, April 5 and continuing through the tournament’s conclusion, Golf Channel Digital will feature a live blog with up-to-the-minute analysis and reaction to the latest news. Chantel McCabe, George Savaricas, Brian Bateman and Tripp Isenhour will provide previews, analysis and news coverage throughout the week via Golf Channel Digital, originating from Golf Channel’s headquarters in Orlando, Fla., including “Instant Analysis” once tournament play begins.

PGA TOUR Champions Learning Center: Monday, April 2

At 11:30 p.m. ET on Monday, April 2, a new episode of PGA TOUR Champions Learning Center will showcase several past Masters champions ahead of the season’s first major. Hosted by Vince Cellini, the episode will feature a 20th anniversary reenactment of Mark O’Meara sinking his memorable putt in the 1998 Masters. Two-time Masters champion Berhard Langer and 1991 champion Ian Woosnam will share insight into their respective victories; address the favorites among this year’s Tournament Invitees; and assess Tiger Woods’ chances. Two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal also will provide a swing analysis of his friend and defending champion Sergio Garcia.

Masters Week Programming Air Times (All Times EST):

Sunday, April 1

8 a.m.-1 p.m.              Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals

Monday, April 2

7-9 a.m.                       Morning Drive

9 a.m.-2 p.m.              Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals (Replay)

2-5 p.m.                      Golf Central Live From the Masters

5-6 p.m.                      Masters Highlights: 2013 (Adam Scott)

6-7 p.m.                      Masters Highlights: 2017 (Sergio Garcia)

7-9 p.m.                      Golf Central Live From the Masters

11:30 p.m.                   PGA TOUR Champions Learning Center

Tuesday, April 3

7-9 a.m.                       Morning Drive

9 a.m.-5 p.m.              Golf Central Live From the Masters

5-6 p.m.                      Masters Highlights: 2014 (Bubba Watson)

6-7 p.m.                      Masters Highlights: 2015 (Jordan Spieth)

7-10 p.m.                    Golf Central Live From the Masters

Wednesday, April 4

7-9 a.m.                       Morning Drive

9 a.m.-3 p.m.              Golf Central Live From the Masters

6-9 p.m.                      Golf Central Live From the Masters

Thursday, April 5

6-8 a.m.                       Morning Drive

8 a.m.-3 p.m.              Golf Central Live From the Masters

7:30-9:30 p.m.            Golf Central Live From the Masters

Friday, April 6

6-8 a.m.                       Morning Drive

8 a.m.-3 p.m.              Golf Central Live From the Masters

7:30-9:30 p.m.            Golf Central Live From the Masters

Saturday, April 7

7-9 a.m.                       Morning Drive

9 a.m.-3 p.m.              Golf Central Live From the Masters

7-9 p.m.                      Golf Central Live From the Masters

Sunday, April 8

7-9 a.m.                       Morning Drive

9 a.m.-2 p.m.              Golf Central Live From the Masters

7-9 p.m.                      Golf Central Live From the Masters


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Punch shot: Predictions for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 4:00 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In advance of the 147th Open Championship, writers sound off on burning questions as players ready for a fast and firm test at Carnoustie. Here’s what our writers think about myriad topics:

The Monday morning headline will be …

REX HOGGARD: “Survival.” This one is easy. It always is at Carnoustie, which is widely considered The Open’s most demanding major championship test. Monday’s headline will be that the champion - pick a champion, any one will do - “survived” another dramatic Open. You don’t dominate Carnoustie; you endure.

RYAN LAVNER: “DJ Bashes Way to Victory at Carnoustie.” If somehow a two-win season could be disappointing, it has been for DJ. He’s first in scoring average, birdie average, par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring, strokes gained: tee to green and proximity from the rough. Those last two stats are the most important, especially here at Carnoustie, with these dry conditions. The game’s preeminent long-and-straight driver, there’s a better-than-decent chance he rolls.

MERCER BAGGS: “Rahm Tough: Spaniard charges to Open victory.” Jon Rahm will claim him maiden major title this week by powering his way through the winds and fescue at Carnoustie.

JAY COFFIN: “Thomas wins second major, ascends to world No. 1 again.” Shortly after The Open last year, Thomas rolled through the end of the PGA Tour season. This is the time of year he likes best. Despite a poor Open record the last two years, he’s not remotely concerned. He’s a tad miffed he didn’t win in France two weeks ago and comes to Carnoustie refreshed, with a gameplan, and ready to pounce.

Who or what will be the biggest surprise?

HOGGARD: Style of play. Given Carnoustie’s reputation as a brute, the surprise will be how the champion arrives at his lofty perch. Unlike previous editions at Carnoustie, this week’s dry conditions will promote more aggressive play off the tee and the winner will defy the norm and power his way to victory.

LAVNER: Tiger Woods. This is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year, and here’s believing he contends. His greatest strengths are his iron game and scrambling, and both aspects will be tested to the extreme at Carnoustie, helping separate him from some of the pretenders. With even a little cooperation from his putter, he should be in the mix.

BAGGS: Padraig Harrington. He had a good opening round last week at the Scottish Open and has some good vibes being the 2007 Open champion at Carnoustie. He won’t contend for four rounds, but a few days in the mix would be a nice surprise.

COFFIN: Alex Noren. Perhaps someone ranked 11th in the world shouldn’t be a surprise, but with so much focus on some of the bigger, household names, don’t be surprised when Noren is in contention on Sunday. He hasn’t finished worse than 25th since early May and won two weeks ago in France. He also tied for sixth place last year at Royal Birkdale.

Who or what will be the biggest disappointment?

HOGGARD: Jordan Spieth. Although he was brilliant on his way to victory last year at Royal Birkdale, Spieth is not the same player for this week’s championship, the byproduct of a balky putter that has eroded his confidence. Spieth said giving back the claret jug this week was hard, but his finish will be even tougher.

LAVNER: Weather. This might sound a little sadistic, but one of the unique joys of covering this tournament is to watch the best in the world battle conditions they face only once a year – the bone-chilling cold, the sideways rain, the howling wind. It doesn’t appear as though that’ll happen this year. With only a few hours of light rain expected, and no crazy winds in the forecast, the biggest challenge for these stars will be judging the bounces on the hard, baked-out turf.

BAGGS: Jordan Spieth. The defending champion is still trying to find his winning form and Carnoustie doesn’t seem the place to do that. As much as he says he loves playing in strong winds, there should be enough danger around here to frustrate Spieth into a missed cut.

COFFIN: Rory McIlroy. I hope I’m wrong on this, because the game is better when Rory is in contention at majors. Putting always has been his issue and seemingly always will be. While there isn’t as much of a premium placed on putting this week because of slower greens, he may still have to hit it close. Super close.

What will be the winning score?

HOGGARD: 10 under. The last two Opens played at Carnoustie were won with 7-under and 6-over totals, but this week’s conditions will favor more aggressive play and lower scores. Expect to see plenty of birdies, but the great equalizer will come on Sunday when wind gusts are forecast to reach 25 mph.

LAVNER: 15 under. An Open at Carnoustie has never produced a winner lower than 9 under (Tom Watson in 1975), but never have the conditions been this susceptible to low scores. Sure, the fairway bunkers are still a one-shot penalty, but today’s big hitters can fly them. The thin, wispy rough isn’t much of a deterrent. And the wind isn’t expected to really whip until the final day.

BAGGS: 12 under. We aren’t going to see the same kind of weather we have previously witnessed at Carnoustie, and that’s a shame. Any players who catch relatively benign conditions should be able to go low, as long as they can properly navigate the fairway rollout.

COFFIN: 14 under. Walked into a local golf shop in the town of Carnoustie wearing a Golf Channel logo and the man behind the counter said, “It’ll take 14 under to win this week.” Well, he’s been here for years and seen Carnoustie host The Open twice before. He knows more about it than I do, so I’ll stick with his number.

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Watch: Na plays backwards flop and practices lefty

By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 3:16 pm

Fresh off his victory at The Greenbrier, Kevin Na is taking a quite-literally-backwards approach to his Open prep.

Caddie Kenny Harms has been sharing videos of Na's early work at Carnoustie.

This one shows Na standing in a bunker and playing a flop shot over his own head (as opposed to someone else's):

While it's unlikely he'll have a need for that exact shot this week, it's far more likely a player may have to think about turning his club over and playing from the wrong side of the ball, like so:

Na has made 4 of 6 cuts at The Open and will look to improve on his best career finish, currently a T-22 in 2016 at Royal Troon.

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McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.

Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.

“It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.

“Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”

He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.  

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Height of irony: Phil putts in front of 'rules' sign

By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 1:36 pm

A picture is worth 1,000 words and potentially two strokes for playing a moving ball under Rule 14-5 but not Rule 1-2.

Phil Mickelson has been having some fun during his Open prep at Carnoustie hitting flop shots over human beings, but the irony of this photo below is too obvious to go over anyone's head.

Mickelson also tried tapping down fescue two weeks ago at The Greenbrier, incurring another two-shot penalty.

And so we're left to wonder about what Phil asked himself back at Shinnecock Hills: "The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’”