Bunker Shots

By Randall MellApril 20, 2009, 4:00 pm
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Now thats how you close
A week after watching the worlds greatest players take turns botching their endings to the Masters, Brian Gay put on a clinic on how to close with his 7-under-par 64 at the PGA Tours Verizon Heritage. No ricochets off trees at the end, no skulled chip shots racing across greens, no wayward short irons from point blank range. Of course, closing out a regular PGA Tour event isnt the same as closing out a major championship, but Gays tidy finish at Harbour Town was still impressive because theres typically more choking than winning on any given PGA Tour Sunday.
The Tours heading to the Zurich Classic of New Orleans this week, where we saw the biggest choking dog ever a year ago. Thats what Woody Austin called himself after topping a hybrid and then pushing a shot in the water in a nervous ending to the tournament Andres Romero won. Austins colorful language reminded us that while one man may win a PGA Tour event, you can usually bank on more than one counting the ways he blew a chance to win. The rarity of Gays 10-shot victory is that he left no one close enough to choke away a chance.

The Price is finally right
Well, you cant accuse Nick Price of a tidy finish, but it was even more entertaining than Gays. Three times on Sunday Price looked like he was choking away his first Champions Tour victory. Thats how many double bogeys he made in the final round of the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am before finally claiming his first over-50 title in 39 Champions Tour tries. Price, who made seven final-round birdies and still only shot even par, said he was absolutely dumbfounded by his round. The beauty of the Champions Tour is that if Price never won on the tour his reputation wouldnt be diminished. Before Sunday, you couldnt really call him the best player never to win a Champions Tour event because its a silly title, given the nature of the tour and the fact that the best players have already proven themselves. Still, the silly title belongs to Mark OMeara now, doesnt it? Or possibly Greg Norman, if he starts playing enough to qualify for such silly status.

The Clown Prince of Golf gets his laughs anyway
Gayle DiMaggio paid a higher price than most customers to be entertained by Bill Murray. Shes the woman who got clunked in the temple by Murrays errant tee shot as she watched Saturdays second round of the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am from her backyard. She ended up needing a trip to the hospital and some stitches, but not before Murray tended to her. She told the Associated Press he made sure she was OK before trying to ease her pain with his trademark funny-man routine. All she wanted for her duress was an autographed copy of Murrays film Caddyshack. The scar she gets to show all her friends is a bonus. So is the story she gets to tell.

Speaking of wounds . . .
Kenny Perry makes his return to golf this week at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans with lots of folks sure to watch for signs of lingering emotional injury from his disappointing Masters loss. It almost seems unfair that Perry should carry another major championship disappointment into the final phase of his PGA Tour career. His stellar play helping the United States win the Ryder Cup at Valhalla in his home state of Kentucky last fall seemed a satisfying conclusion to a career that had been haunted by memories of his PGA Championship failure at the same Valhalla course so many years ago. The Ryder Cup victory made him seem healed and whole, but now theres this other major memory sure to haunt him. At 48, Perry doesnt have a lot of time to trump the Masters memory with something larger again, but it will be a terrific story if he does. His play in New Orleans will tell us a lot about whether hes resigned to fade away or determined to mount one more summer charge with the U.S. Open at Bethpage less than two months away.

Waiting on Tiger and Lefty
With Perry the highest ranked player in the Zurich Classic field at No. 5 in the world rankings, and just one of three players in the top 20, theres a bigger PGA Tour event set to unfold Friday. Thats the commitment deadline for the Quail Hollow Championship (formerly the Wachovia Championship). Will Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson commit to play in the Quail Hollow? Will we get to see a reprise of their Sunday Masters face off in Charlotte, N.C., next week? If Woods and Mickelson dont commit, well have to wait another week to see them both at The Players Championship (May 7-10). After Perry, the only other top-20 players in the Zurich Classic field are Steve Stricker (No. 12) and Mike Weir (No. 20).

New Orleans gets another spicy ingredient
Danny Lee may rank just 148th in the world, but the U.S. Amateur champions professional debut will garner plenty of attention when he tees it up at the Zurich Classic this week. Lee, 18, missed the cut at the Masters last week, but he showed hes more than ready to win as a pro when he claimed the Johnnie Walker Classic in February, becoming the youngest player, and just the second amateur, to win on the European Tour. Lee didnt exactly whip a bunch of nobodies there. He beat a Johnnie Walker field that included Paul Casey and Lee Westwood. Whether Lees ready to contend on the PGA Tour, though, may depend as much on his speech patterns as his ball flight. He told reporters at the Masters that when he gets really nervous, I cant talk properly. Birdies have a way of loosening up the tongue, so look for Lee to try to make a lot of them this week.

Ochoa back on her turf
Mexicos Lorena Ochoa will be looking to re-establish her dominance and win for the third time in her homeland as an LPGA player when the tour returns to action this week at the Corona Championship at Tres Marias Residential Country Club in Morelia, Mexico. After two weeks off, the LPGA features a good field with Brittany Lincicome teeing it up after winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship, her first major. Cristie Kerr and Kristy McPherson, who got beat by a shot when Lincicome made eagle at the 72nd hole, also are playing, as is Paula Creamer, Suzann Pettersen, Morgan Pressel, Juli Inkster and Michelle Wie. American golfs on the upswing, Kerr said after the 1-2-3 American finish at the Kraft Nabisco. Look for Lincicome and McPherson to build on what theyve started this year with both highly motivated to make the U.S. Solheim Cup team.

Wies globe-trotting disappointment
Michelle Wie has gone halfway around the world and back this month in search of her lost form. She finished tied for 36th at the Korea LPGAs Lotte Mart Womens Open last week, posting rounds of 77, 75 and 71 to finish 7 over. It wasnt much of a rebound from her struggles at the Kraft Nabisco, where her rounds included a pair of 81s while tying for 67th. Wie made some news before the Korean event even began, withdrawing from the pro-am after she was informed she couldnt use her own caddie. According to foreign news reports, its KLPGA custom to exclude regular caddies from the pro-am so as to encourage better interaction between pros and amateur partners. Wie offered a no comment to the Korea Times when asked about the withdrawal. Whatever Wies rationale, its hard to imagine a scenario where passing up a pro-am doesnt, at minimum, disappoint sponsors and fans, the lifeblood of an event.

Wadkins waits for official elevation to legend
Greg Norman is scheduled to team with Keith Fergus in his first Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf appearance at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa in Georgia this week, but he wont be the biggest news there. The PGA Tour is expected to announce on Thursday that Lanny Wadkins will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, according to Golfweek. Jose Maria Olazabal is expected to be announced later, possibly at The Players Championship, as joining Wadkins for the November induction. Wadkins will team with his brother, Bobby, in the Legends two-man team event. At 59, the Wadkins induction is a welcomed case of better-late-than-never news. The 1970 U.S. Amateur champion and 77 PGA Championship winner won 21 PGA Tour events, more than current Hall of Famers Ben Crenshaw, Hale Irwin, Hubert Green and Tom Kite.
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The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 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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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:30 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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First-, second-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:30 am

Three-time champion Tiger Woods is playing in The Open for the first time since he missed the cut in 2015 at St. Andrews. Woods will begin his first round Thursday in the 147th edition at Carnoustie at 10:21 a.m. ET, playing alongside Hideki Matsuyama and Russell Knox.

Defending champion Jordan Spieth delivered the claret jug to the R&A on Monday at Carnoustie. He will begin his title defense at 4:58 a.m. ET on Thursday, playing with world No. 2 Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

Other notable groupings:

  • Rory McIlroy will look to capture his second claret jug at 7:53 a.m. Thursday. He goes off with Marc Leishman and Thorbjorn Olesen.
  • World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is playing with Alex Noren and Charley Hoffman. They will play at 8:04 a.m. ET in the first round.
  • World No. 2 Justin Thomas goes at 8:26 a.m. with Francesco Molinari and Branden Grace.
  • Masters champion Patrick Reed will play with Louis Oosthuizen and Paul Casey at 5:20 a.m. ET.
  • U.S. Open champion and world No. 4 Brooks Koepka is grouped with Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith (9:59 a.m. ET).
  • Phil Mickelson, the 2013 Open champion, will begin at 3:03 a.m. ET with Satoshi Kodaira and Rafa Cabrera Bello.

Here's a look at the full list of times for Rounds 1 and 2 (all times ET):

1:35AM/6:36AM: Sandy Lyle, Martin Kaymer, Andy Sulliva

1:46AM/6:47AM: Erik Van Rooyen, Brady Schnell, Matthew Southgate

1:57AM/6:58AM: Danny Willett, Emiliano Grillo, Luke List

2:08AM/7:09AM: Mark Calcavecchia, Danthai Boonma, Shaun Nooris

2:19AM/7:20AM: Kevin Chappell, Oliver Wilson, Eddie Pepperell

2:30AM/7:31AM: Ross Fisher, Paul Dunne, Austin Cook

2:41AM/7:42AM: Tyrrell Hatton, Patrick Cantlay, Shane Lowry

2:52AM/7:53AM: Thomas Pieters, Kevin Kisner, Marcus Kinhult

3:03AM/8:04AM: Phil Mickelson, Satoshi Kodaira, Rafa Cabrera Bello

3:14AM/8:15AM: Brian Harman, Yuta Ikeda, Andrew Landry

3:25AM/8:26AM: Si Woo Kim, Webb Simpson, Nicolai Hojgaard (a)

3:36AM/8:37AM: Stewart Cink, Brandon Stone, Hideto Tanihara

3:47AM/8:48AM: Gary Woodland, Yusaku Miyazato, Sung Kang

4:03AM/9:04AM: Ernie Els, Adam Hadwin, Chesson Hadley

4:14AM/9:15AM: Pat Perez, Julian Suri, George Coetzee

4:25AM/9:26AM: David Duval, Scott Jamieson, Kevin Na

4:36AM/9:37AM: Darren Clarke, Bernhard Langer, Retief Goosen

4:47AM/9:48AM: Matt Kuchar, Anirban Lahiri, Peter Uihlein

4:58AM/9:59AM: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Kiradech Aphibarnrat

5:09AM/10:10AM: Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler, Chris Wood

5:20AM/10:21AM: Louis Oosthuizen, Paul Casey, Patrick Reed

5:31AM/10:32AM: Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Jhonattan Vegas

5:42AM/10:43AM: Yuxin Lin (a), Alexander Bjork, Sang Hyun Park

5:53AM/10:54AM: James Robinson, Haraldur Magnus, Zander Lombard

6:04AM/11:05AM: Kodai Ichihara, Rhys Enoch, Marcus Armitage

6:15AM/11:16AM: Sean Crocker, Gavin Green, Ash Turner

6:36AM/1:35AM: Brandt Snedeker, Sam Locke (a), Cameron Davis

6:47AM/1:46AM: Patton Kizzire, Jonas Blixt, Charles Howell III

6:58AM/1:57AM: Charl Schwartzel, Daniel Berger, Tom Lewis

7:09AM/2:08AM: Alex Levy, Ryan Moore, Byeong Hun An

7:20AM/2:19AM: Michael Hendry, Kelly Kraft, Lee Westwood

7:31AM/2:30AM: Henrik Stenson, Tommy Fleetwood, Jimmy Walker

7:42AM/2:41AM: Matthew Fitzpatrick, Russell Henley, Jovan Rebula (a)

7:53AM/2:52AM: Rory McIlroy, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen

8:04AM/3:03AM: Dustin Johnson, Alex Noren, Charley Hoffman

8:15AM/3:14AM: Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Brendan Steele

8:26AM/3:25AM: Justin Thomas, Francesco Molinari, Branden Grace

8:37AM/3:36AM: Jason Day, Shota Akiyoshi, Haotong Li

8:48AM/3:47AM: Todd Hamilton, Beau Hossler, Jorge Campillo

9:04AM/4:03AM: Ryuko Tokimatsu, Chez Reavie, Michael Kim

9:15AM/4:14AM: Kyle Stanley, Nicolas Colsaerts, Jens Dantorp

9:26AM/4:25AM: Tom Lehman, Dylan Frittelli, Grant Forrest

9:37AM/4:36AM: Lucas Herbert, Min Chel Choi, Jason Kokrak

9:48AM/4:47AM: Padraig Harrington, Bubba Watson, Matt Wallace

9:59AM/4:58AM: Ian Poulter, Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka

10:10AM/5:09AM: Sergio Garcia, Bryson DeChambeau, Shubhankar Sharma

10:21AM/5:20AM: Tiger Woods, Hideki Matsuyama, Russell Knox

10:32AM/5:31AM: Jason Dufner, Ryan Fox, Keegan Bradley

10:43AM/5:42AM: Ryan Armour, Abraham Ander, Masahiro Kawamura

10:54AM/5:53AM: Jazz Janewattananond, Fabrizio Zanotti, Jordan Smith

11:05AM/6:04AM: Brett Rumford, Masanori Kobayashi, Jack Senior

11:16AM/6:15AM: Matt Jones, Thomas Curtis, Bronson Burgoon

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 5:25 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.