Compelling subplots abound as Asian swing begins

By Randall MellOctober 6, 2015, 6:53 pm

The LPGA turns for the home stretch with some compelling subplots in play as the tour’s fall Asian swing begins this week in Malaysia.

Will the Americans key to the U.S. Sollheim Cup victory in Germany two weeks ago experience a positive bounce in their return to competition?

How will Suzann Pettersen fare in her return to action after finding herself at the heart of a Solheim Cup controversy?

Can Lydia Ko win her third consecutive LPGA start?

Can Inbee Park hold off Ko in the ongoing battle for the Rolex No. 1 ranking and the Rolex Player of the Year race?

Will Shanshan Feng successfully defend her title?

There’s a lot on the line with the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia beginning Thursday at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club. It’s the first of five consecutive Asian events before the tour returns to North America for the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico and the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla.

Kuala Lumpur is a familiar Asian venue for more than the women. The course has been home to the LPGA event since 2010 but also has been host to the PGA Tour’s CIMB Classic and the European Tour’s Maybank Malaysian Open.

Nine of the top 10 players in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings are in the field this week. South Korea’s In Gee Chun, the reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion, is the only player among the top 10 who isn’t there.

Ten American Solheim Cup players are scheduled to tee it up as they look to enjoy a positive bounce from their record-setting come-from-behind victory in Germany. The Americans have won just four LPGA titles this year but will be looking to ride some winning momentum into the fall finish.

Gerina Piller, Angela Stanford and Paula Creamer should take special satisfaction from the American victory into this week’s event.

Piller won a vital singles match in the American comeback. She made a pressure-packed 8-foot putt at the final hole in Sunday singles to defeat Caroline Masson, 1 up. While the putt didn’t clinch the American victory, it was the most important putt in the comeback. If Piller had missed, the Europeans would have gained the half point they needed to retain the cup.

Angela Stanford broke out of a Solheim Cup slump defeating Pettersen, 2 and 1, in a singles match. It was a brilliant effort, giving the Americans an important point in the Sunday match they arguably most wanted to win.

Creamer, who was heavily scrutinized as a captain’s pick, defeated Germany’s Sandra Gal, 4 and 3, in the anchor singles match to deliver the point that clinched the victory. She went out with Morgan Pressel in the Solheim Cup’s leadoff foursomes match to win a point from the formidable European tandem of Pettersen and Anna Nordqvist.

Park and Ko enter this week amid tight battles for special prizes in the women’s game.

Park is the Rolex world No. 1, but Ko can take back the top ranking with a victory or second-place finish this week, depending upon what Park does. Park has reigned atop the world rankings for the last 16 weeks. Ko took it from Park on Feb. 2 and held it for 19 weeks.

Ko is coming off a victory in her last start at the Evian Championship, where the 18-year-old became the youngest winner of a women’s major championship. She won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in her start before that.

Park leads the POY race with 243 points, Ko is second with 224. An LPGA victory is worth 30 points.

Ko and Park each have a tour-leading four victories this season. Ko was asked Tuesday in Malaysia if she was up to winning a third consecutive start.

“This tournament, it's a top field,” Ko said. “It doesn't get much better than that. Coming and saying, `Hey, I'm going to win every week’ is kind of unrealistic. I just got to play some good golf out there and just have fun. There's a lot of great things to look forward to, and, personally, I think I play better when I have fun and I've got a smile on my face. If the win comes, great, but that's kind of the last thing I'm thinking about.”

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 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.

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McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

Said Harmon:

“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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How The Open cut line is determined

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

• After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

• There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

• There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.

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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  

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; or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (