Strange Scottish Screenplay

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2009, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship TURNBERRY, Scotland ' Scottish gems age well ' malt whiskey, ancient links, Old Tom, that would be Watson, an adopted Scot by way of Kansas City via his five names on the Claret Jug, not Morris.
 
Others ' like Tiger Woods bunting ballgame, the same one he used to roll over Hoylake in 2006 ' are best deemed works in progress. Either way, all four had big days on the Firth of Clyde.
 
Turnberrys Alisa Course was at its bouncy best, the whisky flowed freely in the restored resort and Watson, looking more like the toothy version who made history here in 1977 than a 59-year-old making a ceremonial turn on familiar ground, shot his age, or so it seemed.
 
As for Woods, his mastery of Hoylake seemed like a distant memory on Thursday. The cleek Woods used at Royal Liverpool was short and sideways at Turnberry, less a tactical flaw than a matter of execution, and he struggled to a 1-over 71 card that is six strokes adrift of a charging Watson not named Bubba.
 
The course is defenseless, Watson reasoned, who trails Miguel Angel Jimenez by one shot after an opening 65.
 
Scriptwriters could not conjure up such outlandish storylines. An aging warhorse 32 years removed from his memorable Duel in the Sun with Nicklaus at Turnberry in the hunt, a world No. 1 who struggled to find fairways and beaten in his own three-ball by a 17-year-old playing his first Open Championship. That screenplay doesnt sell, too X Files for mainstream.
 
But there it was, in yellow and black adjacent the 18th green as Woods finished up an untidy round: Watson 65, Woods 71, Ryo Ishikawa 68.
 
(Watson) knows how to play the golf course, said Woods, a rare smile inching across his face. Look at all the guys out there playing well, they know how to play the course.
 
So does Woods, if only his golf ball would cooperate.
 
For the most part Woods played under Turnberrys trouble, and behind his playing companions, in an attempt to add his second bunting title to the masterpiece he crafted three years ago at Royal Liverpool. Or maybe he just wanted to see what life is like from Corey Pavins tee shots, either way Woods Day 1 experiment rates an incomplete at best.
 
Woods drove down the right and struggled ' a common problem for Americans on Scotlands byways and fairways.
 
Although he hit driver or 3-wood five times on Thursday, he connected with just eight fairways and, even worse, 12 greens in regulation. Still, he was 1 under through 14 holes before gunning his third shot 12 feet by the hole at No. 15. At the 16th he was burned by the burn in front of the green when his 5-iron approach bounded into the creek. And the reachable par-5 17th was a microcosm of his entire day: a drive into the gallery right, a second shot into the hay right of the fairway and a scrambling par.
 
Sort of made a few mistakes out there and probably should have been 1 or 2 under, said Woods before heading to the practice range. Maybe tomorrow I can clean it up.
 
Maybe he should watch some of that grainy footage of Watson from the 77 Open, or, if unavailable, highlights from the seniors opening round on Thursday, when he proved for all the ages ballstriking is not age discriminate.
 
Watsons opening cards at Turnberry now read 68-77-68-65, a 278 total that would have won three of the last seven Open Championships. And that doesnt count his first-round 64 on the Ailsa Course during the 2003 British Senior Open.
 
It was old timers day at Turnberry and Watson was not the only player having a senior moment. Two behind were former champions Mark OMeara (52) and Mark Calcavecchia (49). Thats a combined 160 years and 77 Open starts in the top 15.
 
Its the kind of golf course where you try and play into position all the time and sometimes those positions arent 320 yards down the fairway, said Lee Westwood, who played with Woods. Toms obviously a classy player and hes quite capable of hitting it 280, 290 off the tee.
 
Perhaps, but then someone forgot to explain links rules to Japanese phenom Ryo Ishikawa.
 
The teen was 3 years old the last time the Open was played at Turnberry and, playing with Woods, eschewed the tactical status quo, muscling driver all over the lot and charging putts at the hole like a Young Tom Watson.
 
His course management is reflective of him being 17 years old, Westwood observed. He hit a lot of drivers, when Tiger hit 2-irons into position. Over time hell learn that.
 
It all added up to a 2-under 68, three shots better than his idol Woods, which created a buzz in betting circles considering an Ishikawa low-ball bet against Woods would have paid handsomely.
 
Luckily for Woods the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, unlike Ladbrokes, likes to go the whole 72 before they hand out checks. Roger Federer may be the world No. 1s texting pal and Grand Slam equal, but Woods approach to major championships is cut more from the Lance Armstrong mold ' keep pace with the leaders through three days and blow them away during Sundays run through the mountains.
 
Its a truth that makes Thursdays 71 less concerning, if not newsworthy. It wont be easy. Woods has still never won a major after trailing through three rounds and the distance between he and the lead will only get wider if the forecast holds.
 
But then Woods, much like Scottish gems, has a tendency of getting better with age.
 
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    Vegas helicopters in to Carnoustie, without clubs

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 9:33 am

    Jhonattan Vegas did some range work, putted a little and strolled to the first tee for his 5:31 a.m. ET start in the 147th Open Championship.

    Everything before that, however, was far from routine.



    Vegas' visa to travel to Scotland expired and the process to renew it got delayed - and it looked like his overseas' flight might suffer the same fate. Vegas, upon getting his visa updated, traveled from Houston, Texas to Toronto, Canada to Glasgow, Scotland, and then took a helicopter to Carnoustie.

    He arrived in time on Thursday morning, but his clubs did not. Mizuno put together some irons for him and TaylorMade got him his preferred metal woods. He hit the clubs for the first time on the range, less than 90 minutes before his start.

    "I'm going to go out there and play with freedom," Vegas told Golf Channel's Todd Lewis.

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    How to watch The Open on TV and online

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:40 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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    The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:30 am

    Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

    What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

    What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

    How old is it?

    It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

    Where is it played?

    There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

    Where will it be played this year?

    At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

    Who has won The Open on that course?

    Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

    Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

    Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

    Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

    This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

    Who has won this event the most?

    Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

    What about the Morrises?

    Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

    Have players from any particular country dominated?

    In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

    Who is this year's defending champion?

    That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

    What is the trophy called?

    The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

    Which Opens have been the most memorable?

    Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

    When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

    Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.