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Randall's Rant: Young stars ignoring Tiger's bite

By Randall MellMarch 12, 2018, 6:06 pm

Paul Casey said if he couldn’t win the Valspar Championship on Sunday, he wanted Tiger Woods to win.

Jordan Spieth said today’s generation wants a showdown against a resurgent Woods.

“We want that chance to be able to battle it out with him on Sunday,” Spieth said.

Rory McIlroy said the same thing not so long ago.

“I would still love to have a crack at him down the stretch in a major,” McIlroy said.

That all begs a question.

Are you guys nuts?

Don’t you see what’s happening?

Maybe you need a pair of those special sunglasses Rowdy Roddy Piper wore in John Carpenter’s cult film classic “They Live,” the glasses that allowed Piper to see the real horror engulfing him. 

Yeah, boys, he looks like a kinder, gentler Tiger, but this could be your worst nightmare.

This could be the monster back from the dead.

This could be the beast back from the grave, coming for all of you. By the looks of it, he’s coming in the not-too-distant future to rip all your hearts out.

If Woods comes all the way back, and, astonishingly, that looks like where he could be headed in a hurry, you’re all going to know what it’s like to be extras in a Carpenter horror film.

You’re all going to be reduced to teenage scream queens.

So snap out of it.

If you get caught up admiring the comeback, if you allow this guy to get a taste of winning again, to build momentum and confidence again, you’re going to end up fighting over his scraps, just like all those guys who got beat up in Woods’ prime.

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And, whatever you do, don’t let him get a 54-hole lead.

You’re really screwed if you do that.

Woods was Michael Myers with a 54-hole lead.

An unstoppable force.

After losing to Ed Fiori at the Quad Cities Classic as a rookie in 1996, Woods went 13 years without coughing up an outright 54-hole lead. Y.E. Yang ended that run at the ’09 PGA Championship. Woods was 47-3 with at least a share of the lead as a pro before the loss to Yang.

Yeah, there’s a little tongue in cheek in this hyperbolic writing, but just a little, because Woods really does look scary close to realizing his full powers.

At 42, with head-shaking swing speed and power, with a short game that looks every bit as good as it ever did, Woods appears to be reawakening.

Or reanimating, if we’re staying on script.

A little sharper iron play Sunday, a couple more putts holed, and Woods wins the Valspar Championship.

The Masters is just four weeks away, and Woods looks as if he has his game closer to winning there than Spieth and McIlroy.

Spieth, 24, played the first two rounds at Innisbrook with Woods, and by the weekend Spieth was in front of a TV somewhere watching Woods try to win. Well, we’re presuming Spieth was watching, because who wasn’t?

McIlroy, 28, missed the cut, too.

Yeah, who really knows where this all goes, because it’s still conjecture, but all you lads admiring Woods’ return might want to talk to the boys who got beat up by him. You might want to ask to see their scars.

Because while so many of you have already carved out nice careers in Woods’ absence, your opportunities at making more history might be more limited for a while.

If you let Woods win another major, it’s great for all of us who love golf, but not so much for you. If you allow him to win next month at Augusta National, you’re going to feel a shadow falling on you that is darker and colder than any you have ever felt in the game.

If you allow Woods to win his 15th major, you guys won’t mean Jack, literally. You will become annoying nuisances and obstacles in the monster story that will reignite.

You’ll be in the way of . . . Tiger Woods vs. Jack Nicklaus.

If you allow Woods to renew his pursuit of Jack in any meaningful way, that’s all we’re going to care about for a while.

So snap out of it. You’ve got work to do.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”

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After 36, new Open favorite is ... Fleetwood

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 7:49 pm

With a handful of the pre-championship favorites exiting early, there is a new odds-on leader entering the third round of The Open at Carnoustie.

While Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner share the 36-hole lead, it's England's Tommy Fleetwood who leads the betting pack at 11/2. Fleetwood begins the third round one shot off the lead.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at

Tommy Fleetwood: 11/2

Zach Johnson: 13/2

Rory McIlroy: 7/1

Jordan Spieth: 8/1

Rickie Fowler: 9/1

Kevin Kisner: 12/1

Xander Schauffele: 16/1

Tony Finau: 16/1

Matt Kuchar: 18/1

Pat Perez: 25/1

Brooks Koepka: 25/1

Erik van Rooyen: 50/1

Alex Noren: 50/1

Tiger Woods: 50/1

Thorbjorn Olesen: 60/1

Danny Willett: 60/1

Francesco Molinari: 60/1