Not so black and white

By Rex HoggardSeptember 3, 2011, 10:12 pm

NORTON, Mass. – It was, essentially, a playoff snapshot. With two holes to play in Round 2 at the Deutsche Bank Championship and jacked on the business end of Saturday’s 36-hole cut, Kevin Na’s year was quickly winding down.

Moments after Na’s 8-footer for birdie at the last slipped past the right edge of the cup he bolted out of the scoring trailer and straight to a nearby ShotLink computer that was busily keeping pace with the action, “Where am I?” Na asked as he gazed at the ever-evolving FedEx Cup points list. The answer: out.

Farewell, see you . . . well, in four weeks in Las Vegas, or maybe at Sea Island (Ga.) Resort? Disney?

“Probably Las Vegas,” Na said of his next likely Tour start before shrugging his shoulders and moving on. It was an apropos indictment of all that is wrong with the circuit’s faux postseason.

Those in search of finality within the Tour’s four-event postseason have mistaken the playoffs for something other than what they are  – the ultimate member-member where millionaires play for millions of dollars.

Without question, the current format is a dramatic upgrade over the pre-2007 dog days when the Tour Championship amounted to little more than an anticlimactic 72-hole march to nowhere, but it just seems the Tour arrived at the doorstep of an intriguing idea and forgot to knock.

Whatever excitement East Lake brings – be it real or perceived – the ultimate winner will be decided by the guy with the most zeros next to his name.

Point is the Tour’s playoffs don’t quite have the finality of say a loss in the American League Division Series or NCAA Sweet 16. And this town, after all, knows a thing or two about the cruel finality of a season that can no longer be salvaged having endured 86 consecutive winless calendars before the beloved Red Sox won the 2004 World Series.

Na likely won’t make it into the BMW Championship field in two weeks, mired at 72nd on the projected points list and unable to help his own cause, but don’t expect to find him slumped over his locker at TPC Boston lamenting a lost season or what could have been.

We like closure in our sports. Just as ties are akin to kissing your sister, the FedEx Cup is the competitive equivalent of an All-Star game – fun to watch but ultimately not that meaningful.

Sure someone will be crowned champion and cash the $10 million lottery ticket, but for pure drama the postseason leaves your correspondent looking forward to Disney, the actual end of the Tour season, and Q-School, where the difference between gainful employment and journeyman status is measured moment to moment.

“It’s obviously less pressure than Q-School, where you are fighting for your job,” Na said. “It’s not as stressful, but I know the BMW is a tournament where I’ve played well, so there’s a lot at stake.”

Charlie Wi began the week at 65th on the FedEx Cup points list, signed for rounds of 73-74 and will watch the rest of the Deutsche Bank, as well as the playoffs, from his couch, yet as he made his way off property he didn’t have the look of a man looking for something to throw.

“I knew I had to make the cut. You’re definitely aware, it’s like missing the cut and missing the cut,” Wi said. “(But) when you have already made $1 million it’s different than fighting for your job. Our mindsets are not as dire here.”

Forgive Na and Wi if they sound a tad too at ease with their plight, but in their defense TPC Boston is not the end – not for them, not for anybody. Therein lays the fundamental problem with the playoffs, an ill-suited concept for golf from the outset of the experiment.

The postseason works in other sports because it is the lone reason to exist, whereas golf careers are defined by major championships. If the Tour wanted to bolster the postseason’s appeal, however, there is an easy fix – make the season-ending race the actual end of the season.

There are some fine stops on the Tour’s fall calendar, but for the sake of clarity the playoffs would work best if, for example, they began at The Barclays with a 156-player field (currently, the event the week before Barclays has a 156-player field), cut to 125 for the Deutsche Bank and then 70 for the BMW, followed by the top 30 at the Tour Championship and nothing else.

As an added bonus, players would keep their cards based on FedEx Cup points – not money – which would also help to clear murky waters.

Imagine the pressure, and the stories, that would be born from the race within the race – players vying to advance to East Lake for the $10 million jackpot as well as those scrapping for their Tour cards.

Your correspondent subscribes to the theory that a tournament is important only if those participating in it consider it worthwhile. Employment is as worthwhile as it gets, and no amount of sponsorship money will give the playoffs that kind of immediate street cred.

Advance to Boston and you keep your Tour card, make it to Chicago and you lock up invitations to next season’s biggest tournaments, book a time at East Lake and you’ve got a shot at a cool $10 million.

“(The playoffs) are a totally different pressure,” said Brandt Jobe, who birdied the last from 8 feet on Saturday to make the cut and give himself a chance to advance to Chicago at 56th on the points list. “This one is giving you an opportunity, you’ve had a good year, if you don’t make it you can look back and reflect on all the good things you did. I know what I’m doing next year.”

Imagine then the combined pressures of job security and the chase for the cup wrapped into a single, neat package. Imagine Na slumped over his locker wrestling with the reality that the end has arrived. No Las Vegas, no Disney, just the thrill and defeat of closure.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 21, 2018, 9:00 am

Tiger Woods shot his second consecutive 70 on Friday at Carnoustie and enters weekend play at even par for the championship, still in contention for major No. 15.


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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 8:30 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 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)

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson