English-McIlroy II: A vastly different result

By Rex HoggardFebruary 21, 2014, 12:22 am

MARANA, Ariz. – The first time Harry met Rory, things didn’t go to plan.

It was two years ago next week when young Harris English, some six events into his PGA Tour career, climbed to the first tee at PGA National for a Sunday shootout with golf’s new prince, Rory McIlroy.

Had that Sunday pairing been a match-play ordeal, McIlroy would have rolled over the rookie, 4 and 3. The stroke-play line wasn’t any better with McIlroy – who ascended to No. 1 in the world with his victory at the Honda Classic – carding a 69 to English’s 77 that included three double bogeys and three bogeys.

“I wasn’t mad,” English recalled of his Sunday swoon, “it was more disappointment. I felt like I was ready for the moment, but it seemed like everything was moving so fast and I couldn’t control it.”

By comparison English’s Round 2 match at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship against McIlroy on Thursday felt like super slow motion. From the first tee the tall Georgia native looked at ease, almost aloof.


WGC-Accenture Match Play scoring

WGC-Accenture Match Play bracket

WGC-Accenture Match Play: Articles, videos and photos


If every match at the Match Play comes complete with Sunday pressure, as the company line goes at Dove Mountain, it appeared as though that fourth round in 2012 in south Florida was much more than 24 months and a few hundred miles away.

English never trailed at the Match Play, turning in 2 under with a 1-up advantage, and arrived at the 14th tee 2 up when Rory, being Rory, ripped off three consecutive birdies – including a 4-iron to 4 feet at the 16th that English called “unbelievable.”

The two traded pars at Nos. 17 and 18 to force overtime until English, the man who wilted under the glare at PGA National, made a gritty par at the first extra hole to advance and amend that dark Sunday in 2012.

Over the last two calendars English has grown, both competitively and psychologically, winning twice on Tour and establishing himself as a five-tool player.

“I asked him what he learned at the Honda Classic and he said, ‘I have to belong out there. I need to play my game,’” said Mike Taylor, English’s Sea Island, Ga.-based swing coach. “That was his first opportunity to be in the mix and in the last group and he felt like he needed to fit in and now he does.”

Even McIlroy, who has done a fair bit of growing of his own over the last 12 months, acknowledged how far English has come since 2012.

“He’s a couple years more experienced and he’s a very solid player and doesn’t do a lot wrong,” McIlroy said. “Experience counts for an awful lot and he’s used to playing with his peers now as opposed to a couple years ago when he wasn’t that comfortable.”

When it comes to these two, age is relative. Although they are both 24 years old, and two of only three players under 25 to have multiple Tour wins, McIlroy and English are viewed in a vastly different light and justifiably so.

The Ulsterman has won two majors by a combined 16 strokes and after a difficult 2013 appears poised to return to the top of golf’s marquee, while English is still very much an unknown commodity to many fans.

But that has been changing over the last year. At the urging of Jimmy Johnson, Steve Stricker’s caddie, English added veteran looper Brian Smith to his team last season and has continued to refine his game despite his success, the ultimate sign of progress for a young, successful player.

Taylor, who worked with English last week, said his short game and wedge play have greatly improved and, unlike that fateful day at the ’12 Honda Classic, he now has a “go to” shot off the tee when the pressure is on.

“Choke up on the club a little, tee it low and swing left,” smiled English. “It’s a little cut and I didn’t have that at the Honda. Sometimes you don’t have your A-game and you need something.”

It was the shot English used on the first extra hole, which was playing into the wind. Although he narrowly missed the fairway on the 19th hole, English was able to put himself in position to make a relatively easy par while McIlroy pulled his approach into the desert, airmailed the green with his third shot and made the conclusion stress-free for English.

Even compared to Thursday’s faux Sunday pressure at Dove Mountain, English acknowledged how far he has come since the last time he went head to head with McIlroy.

“I feel I belong now. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into back then. I knew I could do it but I didn’t know how to finish it off,” said English, who will play Jim Furyk in Round 3 on Friday. “I’ve learned so much about myself and how to handle certain situations. How to breathe better and eat better, just little things.”

He would never say it himself, but there has been nothing little about English’s climb from PGA National to Dove Mountain.

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Woods: New putter should help on slower greens

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:35 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods’ ice-cold putting showed at least a few signs of heating up earlier this month at The National, where he switched putters and ranked seventh in the field on the greens.

The mallet-style putter is still in the bag as Woods prepares for The Open, and he’s hoping the heavier model with grooves will prove valuable at Carnoustie.


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“To be honest with you, I’ve struggled on slower greens throughout my entire career,” Woods said Tuesday. “So for me, it’s going to help on these greens, for sure.”

To combat the slower greens, Woods usually applied a strip of lead tape to his putter. But this heavier model of putter doesn’t need the extra weight, and the grooves on the putter face allow the ball to get rolling faster and hotter.

“You don’t necessarily have to do that with the grooves,” he said of the lead tape. “When I putted with the Nike putter, I didn’t have to put lead tape on the putter to get a little more weight to it. I could just leave it just the way it was. This is the same type.”  

For all of the talk about his putting woes this season, Woods still ranks 56th in strokes gained: putting. More crucial this week: He’s 102nd in approach putt performance, which quantifies how well a player lag putts.

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Woods: Open best chance for long-term major success

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:26 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods is more than a decade removed from his last major title, but he said Tuesday that The Open is the major that gives him the best chance for long-term success.

“I would say yes, because of the fact that you don’t have to be long to play on a links-style golf course,” Woods said during his pre-tournament news conference. “It certainly can be done.”


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Woods pointed to the late-career success for both Greg Norman (2008) and Tom Watson (2009), both of whom challenged for the claret jug deep into their 50s.

“Distance becomes a moot point on a links-style golf course,” he said.

That’s certainly not the case, however, at the Masters, where bombers long have thrived, or the U.S. Open, which places a premium on long and straight driving.

“You get to places like Augusta National, which is just a big ballpark, and the golf course outgrows you, unfortunately,” he said. “But links-style courses, you can roll the ball. I hit a 3-iron that went down there 330. Even if I get a little bit older, I can still chase some wood or long club down there and hit the ball the same distance.”

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"Vantage Point with Mike Tirico" set to debut Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJuly 17, 2018, 10:15 am

Special Hour Complementing the Network’s Week-Long Golf Central Live From The Open News Coverage; Premiere Scheduled to Include Interview with 2014 Open Runner-Up Rickie Fowler On-Site from Carnoustie

Features Include Tirico and Curtis Strange Re-watching ’99 Open at Carnoustie & Jim “Bones” Mackay Facilitating Exclusive Conversation with Caddies Michael Greller, John Wood Recounting Final Round Pairing at 2017 Open

To help set the table ahead of The 147TH Open at Carnoustie, Golf Channel will premiere Vantage Point with Mike Tirico on Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET. An extension of the network’s week-long Golf Central Live From The Open comprehensive news coverage, Vantage Point will revisit landmark moments in The Open’s history, uncover personal stories relevant to the fabric of the week and feature a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year” on golf’s original championship.

“It’s a thrill to be going back to The Open again this year, which is a fitting setting to launch this new opportunity,” said Tirico, NBC Sports host who this week will celebrate his 22nd consecutive year covering The Open. “I love being a part of the Golf Channel team during golf’s biggest weeks, and anticipate contributing to our commitment to great storytelling with Vantage Point.”

Kicking off the premiere of Vantage Point will be Tirico’s exclusive interview with 2014 Open runner-up and 2015 PLAYERS champion Rickie Fowler on-site from Carnoustie. One of Fowler’s favorite events, he has missed just one cut in eight previous appearances at The Open. Other highlights within the show include:

  • Jim “Bones” Mackay facilitating an exclusive conversation between caddies Michael Greller (Jordan Spieth) and John Wood (Matt Kuchar) recounting the final round pairing at The Open last July.
  • Tirico hosting a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year”: David Duval, Tom Lehman and Justin Leonard.
  • A recollection of one of the most unforgettable collapses in major championship golf, when Jean van de Velde surrendered a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole in 1999 at The Open. Tirico and Curtis Strange – both on the live tournament broadcast that year for ABC/ESPN – recently re-watched the telecast together for the first time since calling it live.

 

“This is harder to watch than I thought it was going to be. I’ve never seen anything like

that in my life. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that again.” – Curtis Strange

 

“I think I got caught up in the whole deal and felt human for the guy.” – Mike Tirico

 

Vantage Point with Mike Tirico will complement the network’s Golf Central Live From The Open, which will feature nearly 60 hours of comprehensive news coverage from Carnoustie. In total, NBC Sports will dedicate more than 350 hours to showcasing the third men’s major championship of the year, including nearly 50 live hours of the network’s Emmy-nominated tournament coverage – annually the most live hours of coverage from any golf event – spanning from Thursday’s opening tee shot to Sunday’s final putt.

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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)