Cut Line The One and Only
There are no cuts at this week’s Chevron World Challenge or Q-School, although with 108 holes there will be those who wish there were, but if Perez Hilton and Gloria Allred have anything to do with it there will be no shortage of Friday angst.
Graeme McDowell. Even the most optimistic spin doctors would have a hard time polishing up the trash bin that was Tiger Woods’ withdrawal from his own Chevron World Challenge on Monday. The Northern Irishman, however, was a one-man marketing team on Tuesday at Sherwood.
McDowell was a last minute replacement for the host with the most and the Challenge is much more than a late-season money grab for him. McDowell’s currently 55th in the world and vying to break into the top 50 before the end of the year to secure a return to Augusta National next April.
“I had no shot before. Now at least I have a shot,” said McDowell, who opened with a 71 and was tied for fourth.
Almost enough to make one forget about “what’s his name.” Almost.
The Fantastic Four. Four players who earned 2010 Tour cards via their finishes on the Nationwide Tour this year have subjected themselves to the joys of Q-School in an attempt to improve their status for next year.
Although the practice used to be frowned upon by fellow pros, the reality of an ever-decreasing pool of available Tour starts makes the move, if not the 108-hole marathon, an easy choice.
The Tour also helped soften the blow, announcing that the motivated foursome will not count against the top 25 and ties who earn a ’10 Tour card on Monday. A “win-win” if you consider the competitive golf equivalent to elective dental surgery a win.
In-N-Out Burger. No disrespect to the Chevron World Challenge, Sherwood Country Club or Tinseltown, but the best part about an abbreviated week in L.A. was an overdue stop at this slice of fast food heaven just off Washington Boulevard.
Well, that and the flight home.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Golf media. Full disclosure here, the writing corps that covers the ancient game will never be confused for Woodward and Bernstein and much of what transpired over the last week seemed beyond the scope, if not the skill set, of the golf media.
Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Thomas touched on the issue when he dubbed the golf media “Labrador retrievers.”
“Stick them in a tent, feed them, pet them on occasion and they’ll happily chase whatever ball you throw them,” wrote Thomas, who, for the record, has never been spotted by this scribe in either the Bay Hill or Disney media center.
We concede Thomas’ point, but in our defense we’ve never had too much practice at mud journalism. Give us a few more scandals so we can get up to speed.
Luke and Christian Donald. Tiger has Stevie, Phil has Bones and since he turned pro in 2001 Luke Donald has had his brother Christian on his bag and in his corner. That is until about five weeks ago.
Christian was on Paul Casey’s bag this week at Sherwood and confirmed he and Luke split about a month ago. Although the split opened the door for Christian to team with sixth-ranked Casey, he said there is still a chance the sibling tandem can reunite.
Let’s hope so. Breakups rarely work out. Exhibit A: Regis has never been the same since Kathie Lee hit the road.
Tiger Woods. Regardless of his “transgressions,” his Wednesday mea culpa was three paragraphs too long and far too accusatory.
Rule No. 1 of crisis management: admit your mistake and ask for forgiveness. Save your lectures about privacy for your inner circle because as understandable, and justifiable, your wish for space may be the mainstream media consider you, and your family, public figures.
The public has an infinite capacity to forgive, but they like their clemency served with a portion of humble pie, hold the projecting.
Watch: Tiger makes 6 birdies, 1 amazing par in Rd. 3
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.
Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship
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
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.
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.
Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage
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)
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.