Story 5 Another Thrilling Chapter

By Rex HoggardDecember 22, 2008, 5:00 pm
Top 10 StoriesOn the eve of the 137th Open Championship a group of reporters had gathered at a Southport, England, watering hole when the proceedings were interrupted by a familiar figure meandering down Lord Street.
Linn The Growler Strickler is a caddie-yard legend having looped for the high-profile likes of Curtis Strange, Fred Couples and Nick Price. He had emerged from semi-retirement to carry Greg Normans bag at Royal Birkdale.
Greg Norman
Greg Norman acknowledges the crowd during the Open Championship. (Getty Images)
As omens go, the random encounter didnt send any of the scribes scrambling to Ladbrokes to play a hunch. But it should have.
Six windswept days later Norman had nearly beaten the elements, the toughest course and the deepest field on Tour in 2008 and the games hottest player not on the DL. Instead, the Sharks parting gift was a 1-up victory over the relentless efforts of time and a cosmic make-good in the form of a 2009 Masters invitation.
At 53, Norman came within an untimely poor Sunday start of the Claret Jug, finishing six strokes behind champion Padraig Harrington after starting his final round bogey-bogey-bogey.
I can walk away from here being disappointed, but I can walk away from here with my head held high because I hung in there, Norman reasoned as Harrington collected the games oldest title for the second time in 12 months. It wasnt meant to be and youve got to take that with a grain of salt.
But this was a slight of different sort, a respectful nod from the golf gods to a man who has suffered more than his share of slings and arrows from the heavens.
Norman had spent the days before arriving at Royal Birkdale working on his game with longtime swing coach David Leadbetter, but there was little in the part-time players prep work that made him think his 26th British Open would be his most memorable.
More important than Normans resurgent swing, however, was his relaxed deamenor. Less than three weeks before Norman teed off at Royal Birkdale hed married tennis great Chris Evert in a sunset ceremony in the Bahamas.
I came in here with a good attitude and kind of like a fresh approach to life in general, Norman said. Its nice to have a balanced life.
The extended honeymoon seemed to carry Norman for three days, particularly when reality and the relentless conditions began closing in on the storybook week. He answered every major setback, posting back-to-back birdies after an untidy double-bogey at the sixth hole on Friday. He pulled off a similar rally after a double bogey at the 10th on Saturday with birdies at the 14th and 17th to close his round.
As the wind howled through the rough-covered dunes and the rain pelted the games best into submission, Normans age became less liability and more lethal. His towering drives seemed to defy the thick, heavy howl and his calm stroke on the greens belied the blustery conditions.
The Australian followed his opening-round 70 in the weeks worst conditions with cards of 70-72 for an unlikely two-stroke cushion heading into the closing frame.
But three consecutive bogeys to begin the final round gave Harrington all the room he needed and the Irishman closed out the field with a 5-wood second shot at the par-5 17th for eagle.
If he wouldve won, it wouldve knocked the stands down, Strickler said. It wouldve been Woodstock. I was going to go to Amsterdam if he knocked this one out, never to be seen again.
For a career defined by near-misses more so than a Hall of Fame resume, Birkdale was a heartache with a measure of hope. That 1996 Masters meltdown suddenly didnt seem so sour.
I can stand here now and say, yeah, I'm disappointed. Where does it rank in those (other disappointments)? Probably not as high as some of the other ones. Quite honestly, I'm sure I surprised a lot of people, Norman said.
Even to his contemporaries, Normans ageless Open set a new standard for Grand Slam expectations, regardless of age or psychological baggage.
I want to go out and pull a Norman, said Paul Azinger prior to the PGA Championship, transforming the Aussies name into verb of another sort.
Normans tie for third also delivered an expected opportunity ' another shot at Masters redemption.
Im going to have my expectations the same level as when I went into the British Open, because I havent played (Augusta National) for . . . six years, said Norman, who plans to focus on his game early next year and the games of others as he transitions to his role as International Presidents Cup captain after the Masters.
I still think Augusta is the purest golf tournament in the world. Of course, I have had a lot of pain there, too.
After Royal Birkdale, Norman has never seemed more prepared to put that pain behind him.

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    Furyk: Not a 'good idea' to team Tiger, Phil at Ryder Cup

    By Ryan LavnerJune 25, 2018, 1:12 pm

    Those hoping for another Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson partnership at the Ryder Cup might be sorely disappointed.

    U.S. captain Jim Furyk all but slammed the door on the reboot Monday on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive.” Speaking at the CVS Health Charity Classic, Furyk laughed off the idea and said that it wouldn’t be a “good idea” for him to team them again.

    “It worked out so well the first time,” he said, chuckling, referring to the 2004 matches, where captain Hal Sutton paired the sport’s two biggest stars and watched them go 0-2 en route to a lopsided team defeat at home.

    Colin Montgomerie, who was also on the set and a member of that ’04 European squad, chimed in: “It was a great decision for Europe!”

    Woods and Mickelson’s relationship has improved in recent years, since they were part of the task force that morphed into the Ryder Cup committee. They even played a practice round together this year at the Masters. But Furyk seemed to suggest even that wouldn’t be enough to put them together again in Paris.

    “I hope they’re both watching, because they just fell off the couch laughing,” Furyk said. “I wouldn’t guess that would be a good idea as a captain, I’m just saying.”

    Both Mickelson and Woods are outside the top 8 automatic qualifiers. Mickelson is currently ranked 10th, while Woods is now 39th.

    Woods has already been named a vice captain for this year’s matches, though Furyk said that Woods had broached the topic of being a playing vice captain as early as January. Furyk added that he hasn’t discussed what Woods would need to show him over the course of the year to be considered for a captain’s pick.

    “He hasn’t played as big of a schedule as everybody else,” Furyk said, “but when he has played, he’s played pretty well. Definitely an eye-opener for everyone.”

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    Grandma hopes sick JT has some 's***-kicking antibiotics'

    By Grill Room TeamJune 25, 2018, 1:08 pm

    Justin Thomas tied for 56th at the Travelers Championship, still recovering from a brutal test at the U.S. Open and, apparently, battling an illness.

    Thomas is next competing at this week's French Open, along with the likes of Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia and a host of potential Ryder Cup foes.

    Count his grandmother as one who is pulling – really, really pulling – for his physical recovery.

    Grandmothers are the best. And as you can make out from the top of the text exchange, she finally figured out what was on JT’s pants in Round 1 at Shinnecock Hills.

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    What's in the bag: Travelers champion Watson

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2018, 12:22 pm

    Bubba Watson won the Travelers Championship for a third time in his career. Here's a look inside his bag:

    Driver: Ping G400 LST (7.6 degrees), with Grafalloy Bi-Matrix Prototype X shaft

    Fairway wood:  Ping G (13.2 degrees), with Fujikura Tour Spec 8.2 X shaft

    Irons: Ping iBlade (2), Ping S55 (4-PW), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts

    Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 (52 degrees, 55 degrees, 63 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts

    Putter: Ping PLD Anser

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

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    Travelers purse payout: Bubba, Cink close low, earn big

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2018, 12:06 pm

    Bubba Watson shot 63 on Sunday to win the Travelers Championship. He took home the trophy, but he wasn't the only player to earn a big payday. Here's how the purse was paid out at TPC River Highlands:

    1 Bubba Watson -17 $1,260,000
    T2 Stewart Cink -14 $462,000
    T2 Beau Hossler -14 $462,000
    T2 J.B. Holmes -14 $462,000
    T2 Paul Casey -14 $462,000
    T6 Kevin Tway -13 $234,500
    T6 Brian Harman -13 $234,500
    T6 Russell Henley -13 $234,500
    T9 Chase Seiffert -12 $189,000
    T9 Bryson DeChambeau -12 $189,000
    T9 Anirban Lahiri -12 $189,000
    T12 Rory McIlroy -11 $147,000
    T12 Ryan Blaum -11 $147,000
    T12 Jason Day -11 $147,000
    T15 Charley Hoffman -10 $115,500
    T15 Patrick Cantlay -10 $115,500
    T15 Danny Lee -10 $115,500
    T15 Kyle Stanley -10 $115,500
    T19 Brooks Koepka -9 $79,000
    T19 Fabian Gomez -9 $79,000
    T19 David Lingmerth -9 $79,000
    T19 Zach Johnson -9 $79,000
    T19 Emiliano Grillo -9 $79,000
    T19 Matt Jones -9 $79,000
    T19 Jamie Lovemark -9 $79,000
    T26 Sam Ryder -8 $49,700
    T26 Si Woo Kim -8 $49,700
    T26 Richy Werenski -8 $49,700
    T26 Blayne Barber -8 $49,700
    T26 Steve Marino -8 $49,700
    T26 Peter Malnati -8 $49,700
    T26 Patrick Rodgers -8 $49,700
    T33 Alex Cejka -7 $39,550
    T33 Tyler Duncan -7 $39,550
    T33 Kevin Streelman -7 $39,550
    T36 Seamus Power -6 $35,175
    T36 James Hahn -6 $35,175
    T38 Scott Stallings -5 $30,800
    T38 Russell Knox -5 $30,800
    T38 Brandon Harkins -5 $30,800
    T38 Lanto Griffin -5 $30,800
    T42 Adam Hadwin -4 $24,500
    T42 J.J. Henry -4 $24,500
    T42 Jordan Spieth -4 $24,500
    T42 Mackenzie Hughes -4 $24,500
    T42 Brett Stegmaier -4 $24,500
    T47 Billy Hurley III -3 $17,578
    T47 Vaughn Taylor -3 $17,578
    T47 Sam Saunders -3 $17,578
    T47 Kelly Kraft -3 $17,578
    T47 Keegan Bradley -3 $17,578
    T47 J.J. Spaun -3 $17,578
    T47 Wesley Bryan -3 $17,578
    T47 Denny McCarthy -3 $17,578
    T47 Scott Brown -3 $17,578
    T56 Ryan Armour -2 $15,680
    T56 Keith Mitchell -2 $15,680
    T56 Ken Duke -2 $15,680
    T56 Justin Thomas -2 $15,680
    T56 Hunter Mahan -2 $15,680
    T61 John Huh -1 $14,910
    T61 Martin Laird -1 $14,910
    T61 Steve Wheatcroft -1 $14,910
    T61 James Driscoll -1 $14,910
    T61 Tom Lovelady -1 $14,910
    T61 Nick Hardy -1 $14,910
    T67 Daniel Berger E $14,350
    T67 Trey Mullinax E $14,350
    T69 Cameron Tringale 1 $14,000
    T69 Kyle Thompson 1 $14,000
    T69 Ethan Tracy 1 $14,000
    T72 Dominic Bozzelli 2 $13,650
    T72 Martin Flores 2 $13,650
    74 Padraig Harrington 4 $13,440