Another dominant day puts Rahm on WGC doorstep

By Rex HoggardMarch 25, 2017, 11:00 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – The newest edition of the Spanish Armada has cut a swath through the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play field on a path toward the ultimate competitive treasure.

Jon Rahm continued to defy his first-year player status with a sporty 7-and-5 victory over Soren Kjeldsen. That walk-over followed similar routs of Charles Howell III (6 and 4), Sergio Garcia (6 and 4), Shane Lowry (2 and 1) and Kevin Chappell (3 and 2) this week.

By any definition, the Spaniard has been dominant – think Seve Ballesteros without the magician’s ability to recover because there’s no need to scramble from where Rahm hits the ball.

For the week, Rahm is fourth in driving distance and driving accuracy, first in proximity to the hole and scrambling and second in strokes gained-putting. That’s called the Grand Slam of ShotLink.

Tim Mickelson, the brother of Phil who was Rahm’s coach at Arizona State and is now his manager, said there’s really no part of his game that stands out, “Because he’s above average at everything,” Mickelson said.

Those left in Rahm’s wake this week would agree.

Rahm played 27 holes on Saturday in 11 under without a bogey, he never trailed, never saw anything beyond the 15th tee and never once looked like a 22-year-old playing his first Match Play.

“The only thing I could have done better is maybe make that putt on [No.] 11 and that's about it,” said Rahm in reference to a missed 9-footer for birdie at the par 3. “There are not many rounds of golf where a player looks back and says I cannot play any better and today was one of those. Last time I said that was Torrey Pines.”

At Torrey Pines, just his fifth start as a PGA Tour member, Rahm closed with a 65 to win by three strokes, over Howell no less, and he hasn’t looked back, finishing tied for fifth at Pebble Beach and then third at the WGC-Mexico Championship.

The Scottsdale, Ariz., resident (via Barrika, Spain) was poised to play Phil Mickelson in the final four, but Lefty’s run ended with a 2-and-1 loss to Bill Haas. Maybe it was for the best.

Earlier this year, Mickelson spoke of a friendly match against Rahm at Whisper Rock Golf Club, a 4-and-3 loss despite Lefty posting a “nice, solid” 66.

“Let’s just say, I will only be his partner from now on,” Mickelson laughed at the time. “I haven’t been able to beat him.”


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So instead, Rahm will face Haas in the semifinals early Sunday.

 “I was making birdies but Jon Rahm has been making tons of birdies,” Haas joked. “Hopefully we both continue to do that and it will be an unbelievable match. Hopefully he eats some gas station sushi tonight and maybe he's sick tomorrow.”

Gas station sushi may be the only thing standing between Rahm and a showdown with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who is on an equally impressive path to his third consecutive victory and the World Golf Championships slam following a 3-and-2 triumph in the quarterfinals over Alex Noren.

Johnson will have to beat Hideto Tanihara early Sunday – that’s taw-nih-HAR-uh, the 38-year-old from Japan whose competitive claim to fame is a tie for fifth at the 2006 Open Championship. In other words, those who penciled in a DJ vs. Rahm final in their Match Play brackets are probably sleeping easy tonight.

In many ways it would be something of a coronation for Rahm, who has ascended quickly to world-beater status, at least within select golf circles.

Since winning the Famers Insurance Open in January, Rahm has become an increasingly popular pick for first-time major champion, which is something of a surprise considering he’s only played two Grand Slam events in his career.

“I've said earlier, I think he's one of the 10 best players in the world,” Phil Mickelson said. “He continues to validate that with some incredible play. He's a real threat.”

But it’s beyond the statistics and mechanics of an abbreviated backswing and cupped left wrist that makes Rahm such an interesting study.

He’s grounded beyond his 22 years to the point that after being asked how he prepares to play, he bypassed the normal routine of gym/range/putting green and launched into a telling glimpse into what makes the game’s newest star tick.

“I do a lot of work on my life outside golf. Because I'm a believer the better my life is outside my golf environment, family, friends, anything, the better I'm going to be able to play golf,” he said. “That's where I do a lot of work. And it's getting mentally ready and not getting hung up in wanting to win. Every day waking up motivated to practice hard and be aware that if I play good I'm going to have a chance.”

Rahm did concede that he’s “amazed” to be in this situation with just a marathon Sunday and the world’s best player standing between himself and his first World Golf Championships victory.

It was an interesting choice of words because amazing is really the only way to describe Rahm’s ascent up the professional ranks.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 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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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 17, 2018, 8:40 am

Tiger Woods is competing in his first Open Championship since 2015. We're tracking him this week at Carnoustie.


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The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 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.

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Thirty players have drivers tested by R&A

By Tim RosaforteJuly 17, 2018, 1:00 am

Thirty players, including seven major champions, arrived at the 147th Open and received a letter from the R&A notifying them to bring their respective drivers to the equipment standards office located on Carnoustie’s practice ground by 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

Keegan Bradley, Brendan Steele and Brooks Koepka all confirmed that their drivers all passed the COR test (coefficient of restitution, or spring-like effect) administered by the R&A.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


This was the first time the R&A took measures that were not part of the distance insight project being done in conjunction with the USGA.

The PGA Tour has been testing club for approximately five years but has not done random testing to this point.  The Tour’s rules department works in conjunction with manufacturers and tests clubs from manufacturer fans at tournaments on a voluntary basis. The USGA assists the PGA Tour in this process.