Cut Line Opening-day edition

By Rex HoggardJanuary 9, 2010, 7:56 am

It seems like just yesterday we were roasting Greg Norman over his Presidents Cup picks and celebrating the year of the spoiler.

Luckily, there is little rest for well-travelled Tour pros, and while this week’s SBS Championship may not have a 36-hole cut the game’s cosmic scoreboard has enough winners and losers to fill the year’s first edition.

Made Cut

The brothers Molinari. Thanks to Edoardo’s last-season surge – a run that included two worldwide victories in his final five individual events – he finished the year inside the top 50 in the World Ranking along with Francesco and the duo will be the first sibling tandem to drive down Magnolia Lane together since Jumbo and Joe Ozaki in 2000.

At this rate, they will have to tinker with the menu on the clubhouse’s venerable veranda. May we suggest adding a nice Italian red wine and maybe an order of pasta e fagioli to the Augusta National staples of pimento cheese sandwiches and sweet tea.

Hawaii. Let’s face it, the mainland is locked in a historic deep freeze which makes those high-def images from Kapalua that much more welcoming. It’s also comforting to know that the season-opener is on solid footing following a less-than-optimistic existence the last few years.

SBS is on board to sponsor the opener for the next decade, a salesman’s coup by any measure if you consider the world’s Nos. 1 (Tiger Woods) and 2 (Phil Mickelson) have a combined single start at the winners-only outing since 2005.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Groove hyperbole. The U.S. Golf Association’s new rule regarding the size and shape of grooves may indeed serve the intended purpose – which is mainly a few less drivers on the bomber’s tour – but the volume of analysis the new edict has received would suggest the powers have reinvented the ancient game.

One national magazine began the year with a 20-page cover story and some analyst have suggested the new grooves will reduce spin by as much as 40 to 50 percent on wedge shots from the rough (a claim, by the by, one longtime industry type quickly dismissed).

There will be an adjustment, probably some player carping as well, but the best players will still be the best players. The consensus seems to be that players will struggle with distance control from wet rough, but little else.

“Guys will have to figure out if that ball is going to jump or not,” said Allen Terrell, Dustin Johnson’s swing coach. “You’re going to see a lot of airmails this year. I wouldn’t sit in the stands right behind a green.”

Player hyperbole. There is no shortage of bright stars rotating into the Tour’s universe this year. Up-and-coming Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy took up membership and fresh-faced Rickie Fowler plowed his way through Q-School on his first attempt.

The marketers, however, seem to have gotten ahead of themselves. A recent press release from the folks at the Bob Hope Classic read, “Leading Rookie of the Year candidate Rickie Fowler conference call.”

Leading candidate? Really? It’s easy to like “The Main Event” – tons of game, Madison Avenue smile, plenty of confidence – but the lad hasn’t hit a shot as a Tour member. Let’s give him some time. And, while we’re at it, let’s give McIlroy and the other first-year players a little respect.

Missed Cut

Tim Finchem. For anyone who watched Tuesday’s Q&A with the commish it may not have looked contentious, but for the man who can make a freshman ethics lecture seem riveting the exchange was as heated as it gets.

Seems Finchem has had his fill of Woods questions, quickly dismissing queries about a Canadian doctor who has been linked to HGH investigations who treated the world No. 1 last year, and if the commissioner has spoken with the Tour’s embattled star recently.

Even more curious was a telling comment the commissioner offered later in his press conference, “Anybody who hasn’t talked about the Tiger thing in the last two months was on the moon.”

And anyone who thinks the topic is going to fade quietly into the background has been living on Mars.

Sponsor exemptions. It could be the toughest job a tournament director faces because you are never going to please everyone. And the freebies will be in even greater demand this year with the likes of David Duval, Chris DiMarco, Todd Hamilton and Rocco Mediate playing with limited status in 2010.

All of which makes this week’s announcement by Hope officials that Fowler and Sam Saunders got the nod even more curious. Fowler, who may get into the event on his current status and not need the exemption, is an easy pick, but Saunders, the grandson of Arnold Palmer, has played in a single Tour event and failed to advance out of the first stage of Q-School.

We applaud the loyalty shown by Hope officials to Palmer, but would hate to have to explain to the dozen or so players with Tour cards why they will be watching the action from the sidelines.

Colin Montgomerie. We may have to rename the “missed cut” portion of “Cut Line” to something more appropriate – how does “Monty’s Moment” sound? – because the European Ryder Cup captain promises to make this year’s matches a show.

The Scot starts the year with this assessment of Woods: “There is no question there was an aura about Tiger Woods over this incredible record he has, not just in majors but in other world events. That wall has been split slightly, and there are cracks. It gives us more opportunity to find ways of winning these events now, and I am thinking of myself as well as my peers.”

The American bulletin board at Celtic Manor may not be big enough for all of Monty’s fodder.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.