Casey unmoved by European Tour changes

By Rex HoggardDecember 5, 2015, 8:22 pm

NASSAU, Bahamas – Paul Casey would rather make his statements with his golf clubs, like he did with a third-round 63 on Saturday when he bested the Albany course record by two strokes and moved within two shots of front-runner Bubba Watson at the Hero World Challenge.

When it comes to the Englishman’s complicated relationship with the European Tour, however, he has chosen to be slightly more outspoken.

For the second consecutive year, Casey has chosen to forego European Tour membership, a move that will keep him from playing next year’s Ryder Cup.

“It doesn’t have anything to do with the Ryder Cup,” he said. “That’s been the frustrating part, really. That reaction.”

The move to remain focused on the United States, where he lives with his wife and 1-year-old son, Lex, surprised some following the European Tour’s recent move to restructure its membership requirements, dropping the minimum number of starts from 13 (including the World Golf Championships and majors) to five (excluding the World Golf Championship and majors).

The restructuring was designed to give players who had fallen outside of the top 50 - like Casey, who began the year 75th in the Official World Golf Ranking - and weren’t qualified for the WGCs and majors a chance to maintain status on both tours.

“That number hasn’t changed, it’s still five [regular European Tour events],” Casey said. “There was a quote that said [European Tour chief executive officer Keith] Pelley had done everything he can to make it as easy for me to play the European Tour. The number is still the same, Keith Pelley. The number is still five.”

Casey points out he will continue to play the World Golf Championships and major championships he’s qualified for whether they count toward European membership or not, adding that the schedule in 2016 will be even more complicated by golf’s inclusion into the Olympics, which is a top priority for the 38-year-old.

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He specifically mentioned the difficult decision some players will have next year when the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be held opposite the French Open, which will count as two starts and be worth double Ryder Cup points on the European Tour.

“I love Bridgestone. I love Akron [Ohio]. I’m going to play Bridgestone,” Casey said. “It hasn’t gotten any easier.”

The reaction to Casey’s decision has been mixed, with some surprised he wouldn’t take advantage of the new tour minimum that would require he add as few as three events to his schedule if he were to qualify for both the Ryder Cup and the Olympics, which will count as official starts next year.

Some even viewed Casey’s decision as a product of lingering ill will toward the European Ryder Cup system, after he was passed over for a spot by Colin Montgomerie in 2010 when Casey was ranked seventh in the world.

“When you put so much into the Ryder Cup and feel like you should be on the team and you get let down like that, maybe that's harboring some of his decision-making to this day,” Justin Rose told ESPN UK recently.

Casey quickly dismissed that notion on Saturday.

“No, that never even crossed my mind,” he said. “The Ryder Cup was never even discussed.”

For Casey it was a relatively straightforward, if not emotional, decision to keep his focus on the U.S., where he turned a corner in 2015 with eight top-10 finishes and his second trip to the Tour Championship, where he finished tied for fifth place.

Still, the competitive benefits for a player who has been beset in recent years by injury and off-course distractions remain secondary to Casey’s primary motivation.

“I’ve approached it purely selfishly from a family point of view,” Casey said. “Lex has really changed my life and I want to spend as much time with him and Pollyanna as I can. It’s a tough decision, but one that I live with.”

Casey’s frustration with some of the reaction is evident, but for a man who was reportedly in tears when he learned he’d been snubbed by Montgomerie in 2010, there is a sense that things won't always stay this way.

“I have said that part of the reason I dropped out of the top 50 was that I was trying to play both tours,” Casey said. “There was talk that if I got back in the top 50 I would rejoin, but I always said, ‘maybe.’

“It’s still a maybe, but something has to give. I would love to, I really would. Some of my best moments, experiences were on the European Tour and the Ryder Cup.”

Until then, he’s content letting his play speak for itself and keeping his focus as close to home as possible.

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Watch: Tiger makes 6 birdies, 1 amazing par in Rd. 3

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 4:10 pm

Tiger Woods started the third round of The Open at even par, having made seven birdies and seven bogeys over the first 36 holes at Carnoustie.

Following three pars to start on Saturday, Woods went on a birdie binge.

No. 1 came with this putt at the par-4 fourth.

No. 2 with this two-putt at the par-5 sixth.

No. 3 thanks to this 30-footer at the par-4 ninth.

No. 4 after nearly jarring his approach shot on the par-4 10th.

No. 5 when he almost drove the green at the par-4 11th and two-putted, from just off the green, from 95 feet.

And No. 6, which gave him a share of the lead, came courtesy another two-putt at the par-5 14th.

Woods bogeyed the par-3 16th to drop out of the lead and almost dropped - at least - one more shot at the par-4 18th. But his tee shot got a lucky bounce and he turned his good fortune into a par.

Woods shot 5-under 66 and finished the day at 5 under par.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 21, 2018, 4:05 pm

Tiger Woods made six birdies and one bogey on Saturday for a 5-under 66 in the third round of The Open. We're tracking him as he vies for major No. 15.

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Rose's Saturday 64 matches Carnoustie Open record

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 1:03 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose needed to sink a 14-foot putt on the final hole Friday just to make the cut on the number at The Open.

Freewheeling when he came to the course Saturday, Rose tied the lowest score ever recorded in an Open at Carnoustie.

Entering the weekend nine shots off the lead, the world No. 3 carded a bogey-free, 7-under 64 to at least make things interesting. It won’t be known for several hours how many shots Rose will be behind, but his back-nine 30 gives him an opportunity, if the wind blows 25 mph Sunday as forecast, to challenge the leaders.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

After all, Paul Lawrie was 10 shots back entering the final round here in 1999.

“I think the birdie on 18 last night freed me up, and I’m just very happy to be out on this golf course and not down the road somewhere else this morning,” said Rose, who is at 4-under 209. “So that might have been part of the shift in mindset today. I had nothing to lose from that point of view.”

Rose’s 64 matched Steve Stricker and Richard Green’s record score at Carnoustie (2007).

It also was Rose’s career-low round in a major.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 12:20 pm

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)

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.

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.