Inkster relishes chance to captain on American soil

By Randall MellDecember 19, 2015, 12:24 am

Juli Inkster wondered how her leadership style would work going to Germany as the American captain for the Solheim Cup earlier this year.

She admitted Friday that she wondered if the fact that she isn’t the most organized person in golf would matter when so many important details go into the two-year run up shaping a team.

Her players laughed when she showed up for a practice round at St. Leon-Rot wearing the wrong outfit early in the week. They laughed again when she took the team out for a nice dinner in Heidelberg and forgot her credit card.

They marveled, though, when she was out front when it mattered, challenging European assistant captain Annika Sorenstam amid American concerns Sorenstam was improperly giving advice. She was out front again amid controversy over whether Europe’s Suzann Pettersen was being unsportsmanlike in the controversial phantom concession before singles.

“It’s just B.S. as far as I’m concerned,” Inkster told an international TV audience.

In the end, you got the sense the Americans learned what’s important and what isn’t watching Inkster lead, because they left a lot of nonsense behind following the seven-time major championship winner in their comeback victory in Germany.

Now, they’re going to follow her again, this time to Iowa with Friday’s news that Inkster will reprise her role as captain when the biennial matches are played in Des Moines in 2017. She joins Kathy Whitworth, Patty Sheehan and Judy Rankin as the only Americans to captain two teams.

Here’s all you need to know about what kind of leader Inkster turned out to be.

Her team wanted to be just like her.

You saw that right from the opening ceremony, when the Americans marched on stage wearing Converse basketball shoes. And remember, many of these American women were being criticized for being more concerned about style than substance, about how they cared too much about how they looked in six-inch stilettos, shiny bling and elegant dinner dresses.

Inkster, you may remember, showed up in flip flops at the news conference when she was first named the American captain in the spring of 2014. She joked about her fashion skills in leaning on experts in team uniform selections.

The Americans got rid of the face paint in Germany, and their elaborate red-, white-and-blue manicures.

They shook hands with their teammates after making big putts, instead of strutting, prancing or high fiving their way off greens. They fought hard, but they played with a lot of class.

“I think each one of us had a little bit of Juli in us,” Stacy Lewis said in the aftermath.

That says everything about Inkster’s leadership.

And the thing is, Inkster managed to put the emphasis on substance over style without forcing herself on her players. She wasn’t Tom Watson laying down the law in the team room. Inkster’s old school, but as a mom who basically raised her two daughters on tour, she knows today’s players hearts in ways that reach beyond competition.

Inkster set an example players wanted to emulate.

“I didn’t dictate it,” Inkster said of a humbler, simpler style. “I suggested it. I just wanted them to get back to playing golf. That's what they do week in and week out. If they wear face paint when they play regularly on tour, then have at it, wear face paint, but I don't see any of them wearing face paint.”

Inkster said after the victory in Germany that there was no reason her team couldn’t have substance and style.

They won with substance, but they also won with a big dose of Inkster style.

“I just think sometimes you can put so much energy into all that stuff that you really forget why you're there,” Inkster said.

Inkster said she left nitty gritty details to assistant captain Pat Hurst and to Solheim Cup tournament director Chris Garrett. Inkster, though, didn’t ignore the fine points of what it would take to win. She didn’t win seven major championships doing that.

To get a better feel for team dynamics before going to Germany, Inkster picked the brains of San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy and pitching coach Dave Righetti and former San Jose Sharks hockey players Ray Whitney and Jamie Barker as fellow Bay Area athletes she respected.

She reached out to former Ryder Cup captains Paul Azinger and Corey Pavin and Presidents Cup captain Jay Haas. She even borrowed a “modified” pod system from Azinger, setting up three pods of four players to help her team bond.

“Juli was the captain, but she was also one of the girls,” said LPGA president Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, who was among the team ranks helping out the Americans. “There was this unbelievable respect.”

Goetze-Ackerman was also part of the five-member committee that reappointed Inkster. The committee included LPGA commissioner Mike Whan, former captains Rosie Jones and Meg Mallon and a player representative. Geotze-Ackerman said Inkster was a “logical pick” and a “unanimous choice,” though she said other candidates were respectfully considered.

Inkster relishes the chance to captain on American soil. She was interested in the job when Mallon was named to lead the United States in Colorado in 2013.

“I always wanted to do it in the U.S.,” Inkster said. “Doing it in Germany was great, too, but I always wanted to be a captain in the U.S. I'm glad I'll have the opportunity to do that.”

Inkster understands the phantom concession that created so much controversy in Germany will follow the teams to Iowa, but she would rather the quality of golf be the focus.

“I would like to have no controversy,” Inkster said. “That would be awesome.”

Inkster says she doesn’t foresee a lot of changes in the way she will lead the second time around, except for one.

“Next time, I’ll bring the credit card [to dinner],” Inkster said.

Getty Images

Rose's Saturday 64 matches Carnoustie Open record

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 1:03 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose needed to sink a 14-foot putt on the final hole Friday just to make the cut on the number at The Open.

Freewheeling when he came to the course Saturday, Rose tied the lowest score ever recorded in an Open at Carnoustie.

Entering the weekend nine shots off the lead, the world No. 3 carded a bogey-free, 7-under 64 to at least make things interesting. It won’t be known for several hours how many shots Rose will be behind, but his back-nine 30 gives him an opportunity, if the wind blows 25 mph Sunday as forecast, to challenge the leaders.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


After all, Paul Lawrie was 10 shots back entering the final round here in 1999.

“I think the birdie on 18 last night freed me up, and I’m just very happy to be out on this golf course and not down the road somewhere else this morning,” said Rose, who is at 4-under 209. “So that might have been part of the shift in mindset today. I had nothing to lose from that point of view.”

Rose’s 64 matched Steve Stricker and Richard Green’s record score at Carnoustie (2007).

It also was Rose’s career-low round in a major.

Getty Images

Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 21, 2018, 12:45 pm

Tiger Woods, in search of his 15th career major championship title, started the weekend six off the lead at Carnoustie. We're tracking him in Round 3 of The Open.


Getty Images

Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 12:20 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Saturday, Day 3 (Times ET)

4:30-7AM (Watch): Sunny skies and birdies were on the menu early in Round 3, as Justin Rose made his way around Carnoustie in 64 strokes. Click here or on the image below to watch.


Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

8:20AM-3PM (Watch): As the skies cleared on Friday afternoon, defending champion Jordan Spieth made a run to try and regain the claret jug. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith.


Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.

Getty Images

How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 8:30 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)