Spieth, McIlroy invite you in to the new era

By Randall MellJune 24, 2015, 9:00 pm

We’ve all got front row seats now to the majors.

In fact, we’re all invited a little closer to all the game’s big events.

That’s what it feels like with Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy separating themselves at the top of the game, with Spieth and McIlroy combining to win the last four majors, with McIlroy and Spieth reigning as Nos. 1-2 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

This new era unfolding in the game isn’t just younger. It’s different in another way, too.

Spieth, 21, and McIlroy, 26, are making it feel more accessible, more intimate even, more open to all of us.

Each in his own way has reached out a hand, invited us to share their journeys in meaningful ways. They’ve welcomed us to closer glimpses of how and why they do things. They both do this in news conferences. They’re already two of the best interviews in the game, insightful and even precociously wise. They do it hanging around for scrums after news conferences end, giving us extra time to explore topics, to pick their brains about the way they’re thinking.

There’s a gravitating charm in these two, undeniable but also distinct.

There’s the Texan’s charm in Spieth.

“I thought I was looking at Wyatt Earp,” Ben Crenshaw said of the look he saw in Spieth’s eye in a practice round at the Masters this year. “He looks like he wants to gun you down.”

That’s only half the amalgam. There’s also the chivalry ingrained in Spieth, and we mean that in the way C.S. Lewis defined chivalry, in an ability to be tough to the nth degree and gentle to the nth degree. We see that in Spieth’s relationship with his little sister, the way he adores Ellie, a special needs child born with a neurological disorder.

And there are the charms of the Northern Irishman, gifted with the eloquence the Irish are so famous for. When he’s opening up on a topic, McIlroy has the ability to make you feel like you’ve both got a pint of Guinness in front of you, bellied up to the bar at a local pub. He has that disarming, earnest and engaging nature.

Spieth and McIlroy will practically write stories for you in their interviews, revealing opinions, beliefs or insights that change the nature of what you planned to write.

Spieth engages us beyond interviews. It feels as if he’s talking to us when he’s playing, when he’s chastising his golf ball, or bouncing ideas off his caddie, or muttering to himself. The way he corrals and wrestles disappointment over mistakes, it’s more than fun to watch. It’s fun to listen to. He commands a stage in his own engaging way.

When McIlroy is striping it, he walks in a way you want to emulate, with a confident gait and bob of the head, like a fighter pilot on his way to his jet.

Of course, there’s no escaping the shadow the game is emerging from, the once overwhelming but now fading presence of Tiger Woods, whose reign was so towering, so majestic and yet often so cold and forbidding. This isn’t meant as a criticism of Woods. Nobody’s stage presence in the history of the game compares to his. His march through the game’s history books was electric, crackling with unforgettably brilliant moments. His footsteps landed so hard they echoed through time, his fist pumps summoned thunder, his glare and smile mesmerized, but he always made sure he was more than an arm’s length from us. In fact, he often stiff armed us. He was more like Ben Hogan than Arnold Palmer, with an intimidating aura he seemed to like to cultivate. That was Tiger’s style, and it worked for him, though we’re seeing a gentler side of him now.

But that brings us back to Spieth and McIlroy, who are almost Palmer-esque in the way they engage us, in the way they let us in.

Tiger was like the Beatles were, a storm of brilliance, with a breathless, chaotic swarm of energy always chasing after him. Spieth and McIlroy are showing more the brilliance you see in singer songwriters, performers motioning for us to pull our chairs a bit closer to enjoy their music.

Spieth and McIlroy aren’t perfect. Who is? They’ll reveal human frailties. They’ll make mistakes along the way, but there’s something refreshing in the charms they’re bringing to the majors, to the top of the world rankings. Here’s hoping we all continue to enjoy having front row seats.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 22, 2018, 11:00 am

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)

7AM-3PM (Watch): Jordan Spieth fired 65 to move into a three-way share of the 54-hole lead, while Tiger Woods (66) played his way into contention. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler and Thorbjorn Olesen.

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. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Henrik Stenson and Bryson DeChambeau.

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.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 22, 2018, 8:30 am

Tiger Woods is playing the final round of The Open at Carnoustie, hunting his 15th major victory. We're tracking him.

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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 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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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.”