Lewis, Ko, Park competitively inseparable

By Randall MellMarch 21, 2015, 2:05 am

PHOENIX – Their shadows fall hard on each other.

Rolex world No. 1 Lydia Ko, No. 2 Inbee Park and No. 3 Stacy Lewis can’t seem to shake one another these days when they’re playing for a trophy.

It’s uncanny how often they’re starting to play their way into each other’s paths.

It’s that way again this week at the JTBC Founders Cup.

Park took this week off, but you almost expect to see her show up unannounced to see if she can play the weekend, too. Really, who wants to be left out of all the fun this burgeoning three-way rivalry is starting to offer?

Just two weeks ago, Park beat Ko and Lewis head to head in a dramatic final Sunday grouping at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore. Last November, days after Park took the No. 1 ranking from Lewis, they battled head to head in the final round of the Fubon Taiwan Championship with Park holding off a dynamic late charge by Lewis.


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There’s so much at stake when these players see each other on Sundays, and the Founders Cup is unfolding with that possibility yet again.

There hasn’t been a trio of players this capable of pulling away together at the top of the women’s game since Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb and Se Ri Pak took turns winning majors at the turn of the century.

“Fifteen years ago, I don’t remember it ever feeling as automatic as it seems for Stacy, Inbee and Lydia, where they just put themselves on the leaderboard,” Webb said. “They’re playing with that sort of confidence, where I don’t think they feel they have to press, that the scores are just going to be there, and that’s a great feeling to have.”

Ko, the 17-year-old wunderkind, was the story Thursday, racing into a share of the lead with a 6-under-par 66 in the weather-suspended first round.

Lewis, 30, who could only get six holes in Thursday, answered in a large way Friday with a blitz of early birdies. She made seven of them in a nine-hole stretch closing out a 64.

By day’s end, when the horn blew suspending the second round, Ko and Lewis were figuratively standing in each other’s shadows again. They’re both in contention, in position to turn Sunday into another final-round duel, but they’re mindful that this leaderboard is stacked with possibilities.

This is by no means a two-woman tournament. Not yet, anyway.

Hyo Joo Kim followed up a 65 with a 69 and was the leader in the clubhouse at 10 under overall when darkness suspended play. She was one shot ahead of Lewis, who followed her 64 with a 71, and two shots ahead of Karine Icher (70) Mi Hyang Lee (66) and Ilhee Lee (67).

Ha Na Jang was at 11 under through 29 holes.

Ko made the turn to the back nine within three of the clubhouse leader when play was suspended.

Webb (70), who twice has come from six shots back in the final round to win the Founders Cup, is three behind the clubhouse leaders.

Count Webb among those intrigued by the rise of Ko, Park and Lewis.

“It looks right now like Lydia could take that step where she’s going to dominate, but I really feel like Inbee and Stacy are hungry enough to maybe not let her get too far ahead,” Webb said. “And there’s a bunch of other good players.”

Nobody but Ko, Lewis or Park has held the Rolex No. 1 ranking the last 105 weeks.

They are ranked 1-2-3 in scoring average this year (Ko, Park and Lewis, respectively).

They were 1-2-3 on the final money list last year (Lewis, Park and Ko, respectively).

“This rivalry, that it’s becoming, I think it's really great for us,” Lewis said. “It's fun. I know Lydia is going to be up there every week. I know Inbee, even though she's not here, she would be on the leaderboard if she were. It makes us better, and that's what you're seeing. You’re seeing better golf out of all of us.”

Lewis said she believes a three-way rivalry is better for women’s golf than a single dominant player would be.

“More than anything, I think it's just great to talk about,” Lewis said. “It gives the media something to talk about. It brings attention to the tour. It gives fans something to follow. That's the biggest thing.”

When Lewis woke up early Friday morning, she didn’t need to surf the web to know Ko was holding a share of the lead.

“I wasn’t surprised Lydia shot what she did,” Lewis said. “It just kind of motivated me to get me up there with her, too.”

If Park were here, she might be saying the same thing.

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Vegas helicopters in to Carnoustie, without clubs

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 9:33 am

Jhonattan Vegas did some range work, putted a little and strolled to the first tee for his 5:31 a.m. ET start in the 147th Open Championship.

Everything before that, however, was far from routine.



Vegas' visa to travel to Scotland expired and the process to renew it got delayed - and it looked like his overseas' flight might suffer the same fate. Vegas, upon getting his visa updated, traveled from Houston, Texas to Toronto, Canada to Glasgow, Scotland, and then took a helicopter to Carnoustie.

He arrived in time on Thursday morning, but his clubs did not. Mizuno put together some irons for him and TaylorMade got him his preferred metal woods. He hit the clubs for the first time on the range, less than 90 minutes before his start.

"I'm going to go out there and play with freedom," Vegas told Golf Channel's Todd Lewis.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:40 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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The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 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.