Open Championship no longer 'too big' for Spieth

By Rex HoggardJuly 15, 2015, 12:51 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Playing his first Open Championship with four holes to go on Day 2 in 2013 fresh-faced Jordan Spieth found himself tied for the lead at 3 under par.

“I remember almost thinking like that was too big for me at the time, in a way,” he recalled on Wednesday at St. Andrews.

He would play his final four holes that day in 4 over par and finish the weekend with rounds of 76-75 to tie for 44th place, exposing a rare, albeit entirely understandable, vulnerability to the moment.

Now just imagine how that flood of contextual uncertainty will compare to the 21-year-old’s date with destiny on Thursday at the Old Course as he looks to become the second player to win the Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship in the same season following breakthrough victories this year at Augusta National and Chambers Bay.

As Spieth has proven in his short career, he’s a quick study when it comes to high-pressure situations – like when he converted his disappointment over his loss in the 2014 Masters into his first major championship earlier this year at Augusta National – and with the world watching he seems to have struck an impressive balance between competitive indifference and situational awareness.

“I like to study the history of golf, and I think it's extremely special what this year has brought to our team and to have a chance to do what only one other person in the history of golf has done doesn't come around very often,” he allowed.

“But by the time I start on Thursday, it won't be in my head. It'll be about how can I bring this Open Championship down to just another event, get out there and try and get myself into contention.”

It’s another example of how far Spieth has come in just two short years since Muirfield and at least partially explains why, in the absence of world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, he’s the clear favorite this week.

As looking glass moments go, last week’s John Deere Classic proved to be a compelling indication of how Spieth will handle the enormity of the moment this week.

Widely second-guessed for his decision to play last week in Silvis, Ill., considering what was on the line at the Open Championship, as well as his inexperience around the Home of Golf, Spieth answered by winning his fifth PGA Tour title in a playoff.

It was a subtle, and predictably respectful, counter-punch to all the critics.

“I don't think anybody is going to argue with a win, and that was what we set out to do last week, to feel the pressure,” he said. “The whole point was to try and feel pressure over the weekend and try and perform my best, and that's exactly what we did.”

Spieth did concede, however, that an extra few trips around the Old Course, as well as a few days to adjust to the time change, would have been beneficial, but if he’s proven himself adept at anything it is formulating – and then carrying out – a plan.

After landing in Scotland on Monday morning on the chartered flight from the John Deere Classic, Spieth played 18 holes, added 10 more on Tuesday and planned to brave a light rain on Wednesday for another 18 holes.

“I would have liked to see tougher conditions in practice rounds to get used to prevailing winds and wind switches. But that's part of the fun and the adjustment,” he smiled.

Spieth also allowed that despite his success and his status as just the sixth player to win the first two legs of the single-season Grand Slam, he doesn’t expect the field to buckle if he gets off to a good start. It’s a byproduct of his style of play, with greens in regulation and mid-ranging putting being his stock and trade as opposed to the bombing likes of McIlroy and Dustin Johnson.

“Jim Furyk said he has one of the best short games he’s ever seen,” said Ryan Palmer, who played a practice round with Spieth on Tuesday. “[He’s] 21, fearless, all the confidence in the world. Look at his stats and he’s No. 1 in almost every putting category.”

In theory, that kind of “small-ball” mentality shouldn’t make Spieth an undeniable force, particularly on a course that is billed as a bomber’s paradise.

But that’s the same company line held at Augusta National and Chambers Bay and we all know how that turned out. Spieth’s abilities have a tendency to eschew the status quo, an element that makes the enormity of this moment somehow less than the sum of its parts.

In 2013 the then-19 year old found the idea of hoisting the claret jug too big to consider, but there are always varying degrees of desire and pressure is always relative.

“I don't think of those other two majors as being in a row this year, I just think of them as tournaments that I've won that are of the same caliber,” he said. “I don't look at this as trying to win three in a row; I look at this as trying to win the Open Championship at a very special place.”

That it’s a very big moment filled with untold pressure is also obvious, just don’t expect him to spend much time thinking along those lines when his first tee shot goes in the air on Thursday.

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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 (