Rooting for drama in the battle of Tiger vs. Jack

By Randall MellFebruary 13, 2012, 9:00 pm

There is no cheering in the press box.

The mandate governs an important ethical principle among sportswriters.

We are not supposed to root, but I have a confession to make. I do root.

Father, forgive me, for I have sinned.

I’ve rooted at nearly every sporting event I’ve ever covered.

I don’t do it openly, but in my head, I’m cheering like a face-painted NFL fanatic in a crazy team-colored wig.

I root for drama. I always have. I typically root for the team that is behind to make it close, to cut into the deficit it is facing. In the wildest back-and-forth games, I’ve rooted for both sides.

As a sports writer, as a lover of sports, I want to see a game, match or contest come down to the last play, to the last shot or the last point. (Though I admit deadlines make blowouts easier to write in late night games.)

There is nothing in sports better than a two-minute drive with the outcome on the line in an NFL or college football game . . .

Nothing like the last shot in a tie game in the NBA or college basketball . . .

Nothing like a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth in Major League Baseball . . .

Nothing like watching a player needing to make birdie at the 72nd hole to win a golf tournament . . .

There is nothing more riveting in sport than seeing how talented human beings respond when the pressure is ratcheted up to the highest level. We’re all more alive with that last Hail Mary pass in the air, with that last fade-away jump shot floating toward the basket, with the last pitch blazing toward home plate. That’s where greatness is revealed, or undone, if just for a moment in a player’s life. Those are the moments I root to see.

That’s why I have another confession to make.

I’m not just rooting for Tiger Woods to win another major championship. I’m rooting for him to win three more. I’m rooting for him to get to 17 major championship triumphs, to get to where he’s breathing down Jack Nicklaus’ neck in the greatest quest in modern sports. I’m rooting for a dramatic, pressure-packed conclusion to Woods’ attempt to overtake Nicklaus as winner of the most major championships.

Now, what happens after Woods gets to 17 majors, that is left to fate, to destiny, to the will and gifts of the humans involved in the struggle.

But I want to see the drama that quest can produce, the excitement it can create.

I want to see the greatest chase in our generation re-engaged. I want to see it come down the wire. I’m rooting for that moment.

Woods, you know, wants it more than anyone. His Sunday failure at Pebble Beach feels like it makes the quest harder, creating another scar to overcome, but it’s possible the failure merely heightens his drive. Phil Mickelson said Woods brings out the best in him. The sting of that loss might ultimately bring out the best in Woods again.

As a kid, I was a Hank Aaron fan riveted by his pursuit of Babe Ruth’s career home-run record. Growing up in southern Wisconsin, I was a paper boy for the Chicago Tribune, and every morning, before folding the papers, I’d peel out the sports page to see if Aaron hit another homer, to see how close he was to reaching and passing Ruth’s magical mark of 714 homers.

I think my face was about 2 feet from the TV screen when the Dodgers’ Al Downing served up the ball Aaron hit to pass Ruth. I felt like I was 10 feet in the air when Aaron’s blast cleared the fence at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

Back then, I was rooting for Aaron to break the record.

Today, I’m rooting for the drama, for the possibility of returning to a moment like that, where greatness is defined or denied, where we’re all more alive with the last ball in the air

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 22, 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  

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 (

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 22, 2018, 8:30 am

Tiger Woods begins the final round of the 147th Open Championship four shots off the lead. He's out at 9:25 a.m. ET on Sunday and we're tracking him.

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Schauffele just fine being the underdog

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

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

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1