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To look or not to look? That is the question

By Rex HoggardApril 10, 2018, 6:25 pm

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Jordan Spieth tapped in for bogey and turned toward that iconic leaderboard adjacent to the 18th green at Augusta National.

It was the first time all day he’d allowed himself a peak. He hadn’t checked after making birdie on his first two holes, after he made the turn at 5 under par, not even after his 33-footer for birdie at the 16th hole dropped to temporarily give him a share of the Masters lead with Patrick Reed.

“When I finished and I looked at the board, I could have been in the lead by two, and I could have been down four,” Spieth said on Sunday at Augusta National “Neither one would have surprised me.”

Many have balked at Spieth’s claim, figuring it would be impossible for him not to have known his position considering Sunday’s atmosphere and his proximity to final pairing, four holes behind him.

“Honest to God. Didn't look once today,” Spieth stressed.

Spieth’s approach to the final round, which he began nine strokes off the lead, is in juxtaposition to how Reed played his final 18 holes.

“I always, always watch leaderboards, no matter what event it is, whether it's the first hole on Thursday or the last hole on Sunday,” Reed said. “For some reason, I always want to know where I stand.”

Reed knew when Spieth tied him for the lead with his birdie at No. 16. And he was well aware of what Rickie Fowler, who would finish runner-up and a stroke back, was doing in the group ahead.

“To hear that roar on the last [which Fowler birdied], I just knew it had to be Rickie, because, you know, to win your first major is never going to be easy,” Reed said “It's just a way of God basically saying, let's see if you have it.”

The contrast in styles might have something to do with each players’ personality. Reed, who is renowned as one of the game’s top match-play opponents, seems to savor every uncomfortable minute. Spieth, at least on Sunday, wanted to box himself into a competitive cocoon and see where the day took him.

On Tuesday at the RBC Heritage, the should-you-or-shouldn’t-you-look conversation was a frequent topic.

“You don’t coach the fourth quarter of a football game without knowing what the score is,” Lucas Glover reasoned. “I don’t think I could do it with that round going. Kudos to [Spieth], and I don’t know if you can play any of those holes differently. If bunkers were ponds on 18 [at Augusta National], it might be different. It’s hard to criticize a 64 on Sunday at Augusta. I personally couldn’t do it.”

Robert Garrigus is the guy to ask when it comes to leaderboard watching. At the 2010 FedEx St. Jude Classic, Garrigus famously stepped to the 72nd tee with a three-stroke lead and pulled his drive wildly left and into a hazard. He would make a triple bogey-7 on the hole and lose a playoff to Lee Westwood.

“There was a situation where I didn’t look at a leaderboard and I lost because I didn’t look at it, so now I do,” Garrigus laughed. “Some guys are against it, some are constantly looking. I think I have a feel for the situation where I know where I’m kind of at.

But there are just as many examples of a player who denied himself the chance to feel distracted and had it it work out, like Davis Love III at the 2015 Wyndham Championship.

After staring the day four strokes off the lead, Love played his first seven holes in 4 under par and moved into the lead with an eagle at the par-5 15th hole.

“When I walked off the last hole, [tournament official] Bobby Long came up and said, ‘Congratulations,'” Love recalled. “I said, ‘Well, I think I had to make that putt [for birdie at the 18th].’ He was like, ‘What are you talking about? You had a two-shot lead.’”

It was exactly what Dr. Bob Rotella had been trying to teach Love for years, to ignore the distractions and the pressure that accompanies outcome-driven thoughts.

“I made an effort after my hot start to say I’m not going to look at the leaderboard. I’m not going to think about the Masters. I’m not going to think about winning a golf tournament. I’m going to do my routine until I run out of holes,” Love said. “Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”

There are countless examples of players, like Reed, who rely on what’s going on around them to dictate their actions, particularly late on Sunday.

At the 2016 Travelers Championship, Russell Knox stepped to the 16th tee and immediately sought out the closest leaderboard to determine how he would play the final three holes.

“I was two ahead with three to go, and I knew there was no one who could catch me. It made it more stressful, but it was nice to know that’s what I needed to do,” said Knox, who won a stroke. “The position [Spieth] was in, maybe he just said, 'OK, I’m not going to look and just go after it.' I would have been looking after I made the putt on 16.”

Players are split on whether they should or should not look at a leaderboard, but there was consensus on one front – whatever works for you is the right answer.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 9:20 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.

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McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

Said Harmon:

“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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How The Open cut line is determined

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

• After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

• There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

• There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:30 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 (