Scott looks to shut the door at Bay Hill in Round 4

By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2014, 11:39 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Be it a coronation or collision course, Adam Scott simultaneously added a level of intrigue to the upcoming Masters and a dollop of suspense heading into what was shaping up to be a victory lap on Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Unlike his swing, silver screen looks and financial portfolio, Scott’s Saturday wasn’t picture perfect like it had been for his first two trips around Arnie’s place. The Australian bogeyed his opening hole, just his fourth misstep of the week, and added another at the fifth.

Before Scott reached the halfway hut his seemingly insurmountable lead had been trimmed from a touchdown (seven strokes) to start the day to a single shot.

The tournament, and the tantalizing prospect of overtaking Tiger Woods atop the World Golf Ranking before the year’s first major championship in a fortnight, which seemed a foregone conclusion, finally had a measure of drama.

Scott, however, would birdie Nos. 6, 10, 13, 15 and 16 for a 1-under 71 and a field goal advantage over a resurgent Keegan Bradley heading into Sunday’s finale.

The world No. 2, 3 up and cruising is not the best-case scenario for Bradley, et al, but at least the pack has a reason to consider a second option.

“I like the underdog role,” said Bradley, whose 66 tied for the round of the day with Matt Every and put him in the hunt for his first title since the 2012 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

It wasn’t Mercer stunning Duke in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but given the alternative Bradley will take what he can get.

“My goal was to go out and cut into the lead. I like being in this position,” said Bradley, who will be paired with Scott on Sunday. “I knew Adam wouldn’t come back to me. I knew I had to shoot a really low number today.”

It may take another really low number and some help from Scott to deny him his 11th Tour title.

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, videos and photos

Even on his worst day of the week, Scott hit 12 of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens in regulation. The difference on Day 3 was his putter (31 putts) and a golf course that had played like the softer side of Bay Hill for the first 36 holes.

And if the defending Masters champion was disturbed by his suddenly sloppy play he wasn’t letting on. If anything, Scott figured to use his door-opening 71 as a reason to improve.

For too long, Scott figured, he’s let victory chances slide and now, in the self-described prime of his career, he has no plans to go quietly into any more Sunday nights without a trophy.

“I’m hungry to win,” he said. “I just don’t think you get the chance that much, because there are so many guys playing well. If I only win one tournament in the peak time in my career it’s no different than the rest of my career so far.

“I’ve got to start closing at a better rate.”

This from a player who has collected four international titles in the last 12 months, including 2 of 3 during his victory lap through Australia last fall, and established himself as the game’s most consistent player.

As if that wasn’t enough, Scott also has experience on his side. Of the six players within five strokes of the lead only Bradley and Chesson Hadley (T-5), who claimed his first Big League title at the opposite-field Puerto Rico Open earlier this year, have won on Tour.

Still, for an event devoid of drama for much of the first 36 – that is other than Kevin Na’s run in with father time and a few overly expressive fans on Friday (In an aside, when asked on Saturday if he drives fast, Na replied, “Oh, I drive fast. I have a Lamborghini.”) – the alternative would be a Sunday sans any excitement.

On Saturday, Bradley, with an assist from Scott, breathed life into an event that had the forlorn look of a boat race when the Australian opened with a course-record-tying 62 on Friday.

But on Sunday Bradley & Co. will likely need more help from Scott – another slow start, more missed opportunities, more daylight – to make a game out of it, and for a player who in another life was considered by some too soft, those types of gifts no longer seem realistic.

“My mindset is to go out there and put the foot down early, unlike today, and extend the lead and make it very difficult for anyone to catch me,” Scott said.

It’s not over at Bay Hill, but it’s very close.

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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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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 17, 2018, 8:40 am

Tiger Woods is competing in his first Open Championship since 2015. We're tracking him this week at Carnoustie.