Tiger, Phil likely to contend on Sunday

By Randall MellApril 9, 2013, 10:05 pm

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Tiger Woods is in better form coming to the Masters, but Phil Mickelson may be more confident here.

Woods arrives with the hottest hand in the game again, with a command and confidence we haven’t seen in his play since his career took a detour with his personal woes four years ago.

Mickelson arrives in typically unpredictable form, even confessing he’s nervous without his customary start the week before the Masters, but he will tee it up knowing nobody has shown more command at Augusta National in the last decade.


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Woods arrives off three victories this season, off six in his last 20 PGA Tour starts, but if there is any last nagging, gnawing notion of doubt to slay in his return to top form, it is in his ability to close out another major championship. It’s in knowing he hasn’t won a Masters in eight years. It’s in knowing he hasn’t won any major in almost five years and that he struggled with chances to win on the weekend in last year’s U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship.

Mickelson arrives having won once this year, but, more importantly, having won three Masters in the last nine played.

Here’s the thing, though. Whether you like Woods or Mickelson, this is your week. This is the event you can watch with near certainty one or both of these titans will tee it up Sunday in contention to win.

You have to go back before 14-year-old Tianlang Guan was born to find a Masters that didn’t end with Woods or Mickelson finishing fifth or better.

You have to go back to 1994 to find a Masters that didn’t end with Woods or Mickelson finishing among the top 10.

Back in 2005, Mickelson put the green jacket on Woods at the Masters trophy presentation. In ’06, Woods put it on Mickelson.

“I think that's what makes the Masters so exciting is having an opportunity to win, playing the back nine with an opportunity,” Mickelson said. “That is what is so enjoyable, exciting as a player. I've been fortunate to come out on top a few years, and I've been unfortunate to have a number of them come close but not quite good enough. But either way, having that opportunity to be in the thick of it, and to feel that excitement, to feel that pressure, to grace Amen Corner knowing that you need birdies, and trying to win a green jacket, that is the greatest thrill a golfer can possibly experience.”

Woods has won four Masters in his lifetime, but he has come so close to winning a closet-full more. He has finished T-4 or better nine times.

“I put myself in the mix every year but last year, and that's the misleading part,” Woods said. “It's not like I've been out of it with no chance of winning this championship. I've been there, and, unfortunately, just haven't got it done. I've been there in the mix on the back nine, and either not executed, not made enough putts, or didn't take care of the par 5s, or whatever it may be.”

After winning in ’05, Woods went on this run of close calls: T-3, T-2, 2, T-6, T-4 and T-4.

That consistent run in contention ended last year, when Woods failed to break par in any round of the Masters and ended up tying for 40th.

That was part of a run of weekend stumbles in the majors last year. At the U.S. Open at Olympic Club, Woods teed it up Saturday tied for the lead. He shot 75 and 13 players passed him. At the British Open, Woods teed it up four shots off the lead on Saturday and shot 70-73 on the weekend to watch Ernie Els claim the claret jug. At the PGA Championship, Woods started Saturday tied for the lead and shot 74 to fall back.

Mickelson, 42, said Woods, 37, still commanded his attention through that.

“I think that even at times where he has not played his best, you know what he's capable of, and so you're always looking at his score,” Mickelson said. “You're always worried about him making that big run the way he's always done throughout his career.

“Now that he's doing it, and winning tournaments in such a dominating fashion, it does have the feel of what we expect to see from Tiger.”

With Woods back at No. 1 in the world, with command of his swing and driver, with his short game, wedge play and putting returning to sharp form, his Masters drought may be nearing an end.

“I feel comfortable with every aspect of my game,” Woods said. “I feel that I've improved, and I've got more consistent, and I think the wins show that. That's something that I'm proud of so far this year, and hopefully I can continue it this week and the rest of the year.”

Mickelson has won three green jackets, but he had his own weekend stumble a year ago that cost him winning his fourth. He started Sunday of the Masters a shot off the lead and derailed his chances nuking his tee shot at No. 4 off a grandstand railing and making triple bogey. He ended up tied for third.

Mickelson said the failure doesn’t add any fuel to his desire to win another Masters.

“There's not one thing that's going to make me more excited for the upcoming Masters, whether it's close, won, or play poorly,” Mickelson said.

Whether Woods or Mickelson wins another green jacket is uncertain; that one of them will at least have a say in who wins is a pretty good bet.

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More sun, dry conditions expected early at Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 9:14 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – An atypically dry Scottish summer is expected to continue this week at The Open.

There’s a possibility of a few showers Thursday and Friday, but otherwise conditions are expected to remain dry with temperatures around 70 degrees and winds in the 15-20 mph range.

The forecast for the opening round at Carnoustie is sunshine with clouds developing later in the day. The high is expected to be around 70 degrees, with winds increasing throughout the day, maxing out at 18 mph.


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There’s a chance of rain overnight Thursday and into Friday morning, but it’s not expected to slow down the fiery conditions.

It’s been one of the driest summers in recent memory, leading to fairways that are baked out and fescue rough that is lighter and thinner than in previous years.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 8:40 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 18, 2018, 8:30 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.