Pursuit of No. 1 unites new Big 3

By Randall MellSeptember 3, 2015, 7:52 pm

They are from such different parts of the world.

There’s the Ulsterman, Rory McIlroy, and the Texan, Jordan Spieth, and the Australian, Jason Day.

They speak with distinctly different accents from cultures with such different views of the world, and yet they’re alike in so many ways.

These three young stars atop the world of golf share a charm, an eloquence and an openness that make the game feel accessible in ways it hasn’t since Arnold Palmer ruled over it. They’re Palmer-esque in so many ways.

Day, 27, feels that in the youthful energy running through the top of the sport.

“I think it’s kind of refreshing for the game of golf right now,” Day said Thursday at the Deutsche Bank Championship. “The kids these days, especially Jordan, Rory and Rickie [Fowler], it’s a very approachable group of kids, who you can easily be fans of.

“I feel like back in the days 10 or 15 years ago, it was harder to approach the top players in the world. For me to be able to be in that trio, it’s neat.”

McIlroy, Spieth and Day may share a certain charm, but it’s another quality that is driving their names together.


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They share an ambition that belies their generous dispositions. They share an ambition that doesn’t want to share this grand stage in golf at all. Day will tell you this in the same breath he shares his admiration for his rivals. He wants to rule more than he wants to share.

“I want to be on top of the trio,” Day said. “That’s what I’m shooting for. It’s going to be tough for me to do that, but it’s going to be a lot of fun trying to top those guys.”

We heard McIlroy, 26, and Spieth, 22, present the same bold desires in the same gentlemanly language.

“Golf is in a cool place right now with young guys who aren’t afraid to win,” Spieth said.

McIlroy returned to No. 1 in the world rankings this week, with Spieth falling back to No. 2 and Day holding firm at No. 3.

They’re here at TPC Boston, though, to take what the others covet most.

They’re here to plunder trophies, FedEx Cup points, money and rankings.

“No. 1 is my No. 1 priority in life,” Day said of his career goals. “Rory and Jordan are the two I’m shooting for. I’m just a little bit behind them. It makes me hungry to try and go catch them.”

Spieth said Day is probably already the real No. 1 in the game, given his current form. Day is looking this week to win for the fourth time in his last five starts. Spieth is enjoying a terrific year, too. He won the Masters and the U.S. Open and was in the hunt until the end of the Open Championship and the PGA Championship.

McIlroy, who missed much of the summer with an ankle injury, won the last two majors of last year.

Together, this trio has combined to win five of the last six majors.

“Seeing Jordan and Jason being in contention so much over the summer, definitely it's motivation for me to get out there and try to play the best that I can,” McIlroy said. “I'm with those guys for a little bit, and I'll obviously try to surpass them.”

McIlroy said one of his goals this year was to build his world ranking average to further separate himself from challengers.

“The guys are coming at me,” McIlroy said. “I don't mind being in this position. It's a good thing. It makes it competitive. It gives you guys a great narrative to run with. I'm just enjoying being part of that conversation.”

Last week, Spieth downplayed giving the No. 1 ranking back to McIlroy, but he acknowledged Thursday he didn’t part with it as well as he made it appear.

“It stinks to lose that position, it really does,” Spieth said.

Spieth finds the Big Three talk motivational.

“It's enjoyable,” he said. “It was the Big One. And after the Masters, it was the Big Two. And Rickie won The Players, and then it was the Big Three. The U.S. Open happened, and it was the Big Two again. And Jason won three out of four weeks, and it was the Big Three again. I just hope I stay in the `Big’ moment, whenever it changes next. I hope I'm the one staying in that space.”

Or, preferably, atop that space.

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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 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)