The anti-Method Man: Hamilton a swing 'calibrator'

By Rex HoggardJune 4, 2015, 10:14 pm

DUBLIN, Ohio – In the age of the celebrity golf instructor, arguably the hottest swing guru on the PGA Tour this season is a self-described redneck with an affinity for simple that you’ve never heard of.

We all know Butch, Sean and Chris, but ask a group of average golf fans who Scott Hamilton is and visions of the gold medal-winning Olympic skater come to mind.

That’s exactly how the other Hamilton likes it.

“Man, I just take real complicated stuff and make it easier,” Hamilton said.

If you’re not familiar with Hamilton’s work, you haven’t been paying attention.

The 50-year-old club professional is the coach for the last two Tour winners – Chris Kirk at the Crowne Plaza Invitational and Steven Bowditch at the AT&T Byron Nelson – as well as last week’s winner on the Tour, Kyle Thompson.

So it’s no big surprise that two more of Hamilton’s players are in the hunt this week at the Memorial; Harris English and Brendon Todd who tied for fifth at Muirfield Village.

As impressive as that line up may be, it’s the different swings of his stable of Tour players that says the most about Hamilton. There is little, if anything, that even the most astute observers could compare between, say, Kirk and Bowditch’s swings, which is the way Hamilton likes it.

In short, the longtime head pro at Cartersville (Ga.) Country Club in is the anti-method teacher.

“I take a guy’s basic pattern and try to tighten that up,” he said. “I’m not an instructor as much as I am a calibrator. With Brendon we are working on his backswing plane, but with Boo [Weekley], I’m working on where his club is at the top. I tell each one of them totally different things.”

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Put another way, Hamilton said he is a “plane-and-clubface guy.” Just don’t confuse simplicity for simple.

On any given week Hamilton can be spotted working the Tour range with his always-present TrackMan machine, and back home in Cartersville his studio includes a high-tech SAM PuttLab and another device that measures foot pressure.

Like most modern teachers, Hamilton has embraced technology. Where he deviates from the pack is how he applies that information.

“I use TrackMan way differently, not to teach the swing but more as an impact monitor,” Hamilton said in his signature folksy tone. “A lot of stuff I see I can’t explain. It’s half art.”

On Thursday, Thompson – who won last week’s Rex Hospital Open on the Tour – tweeted a screenshot of his voice mails that inadvertently demonstrated Hamilton’s no-nonsense approach.

Thompson was referencing a voicemail from Steve Spurrier - joking that “It’s not every day that the ol’ ball coach calls. Sorry coach, but I’m out of eligibility,” - but also revealed three messages left by Hamilton on Sunday, none of which were more then 9 seconds long.

“It was just simple stuff,” Hamilton laughed when asked about the messages.

While that seems to be his theme, his work with Bowditch reveals the lengths Hamilton will go to assure success.

When the duo began working together in 2009, the Australian had dropped off the Tour and hadn’t come close to reclaiming his card on the Tour.

“I’m most proud of Bowditch; he was just lost when we started,” Hamilton said.

Since then Bowditch has three victories, two on the PGA Tour and one on the circuit, and has drastically improved his driving, which is Hamilton’s calling card.

“He’s not just been my coach, he’s one of my closest friends as well,” said Bowditch, who opened with a 3-under 69 on Thursday at Muirfield Village and was tied for 20th place. “We’ve come a long way. He’s one of the biggest reasons I’m standing here talking to you at the Memorial. He’s had a major impact getting me to this level.”

It’s no surprise that Hamilton has become the go-to Tour coach for players looking to improve their driving - and, no, Tiger Woods has never asked him for advice.

English has improved his driving accuracy while maintaining his distance since the two began working together, and Kirk won his second Tour title (the 2013 McGladrey Classic) the week he brought Hamilton onboard.

Hamilton recently added Aaron Baddeley to his stable, and at 202nd on Tour in driving accuracy the Australian may be his greatest project. But Hamilton welcomes the challenge.

“It’s plane and clubface, the most basic stuff,” he laughed. “I tell all my guys, ‘Shoot, you’ve only got a second [at impact].’”

At this rate, that's about the same amount of time Hamilton has before he joins the list of celebrity swing coaches.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:40 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  

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

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:30 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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Four players vying for DJ's No. 1 ranking at Open

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 8:41 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Four players have an opportunity to overtake Dustin Johnson for world No. 1 this week.

According to Golf Channel world-rankings guru Alan Robinson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm each can grab the top spot in the world ranking.

Thomas’ path is the easiest. He would return to No. 1 with either a win and Johnson finishing worse than solo third, or even a solo runner-up finish as long as Johnson finishes worse than 49th.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Twenty years after his auspicious performance in The Open, Rose can get to No. 1 for the first time with a victory and Johnson finishing worse than a two-way tie for third.

Kopeka can rise to No. 1 if he wins consecutive majors, assuming that his good friend posts worse than a three-way tie for third.

And Rahm can claim the top spot with a win this week, a Johnson missed cut and a Thomas finish of worse than solo second.   

Johnson’s 15-month reign as world No. 1 ended after The Players. He wasn’t behind Thomas for long, however: After a tie for eighth at the Memorial, Johnson blew away the field in Memphis and then finished third at the U.S. Open to solidify his position at the top.