Hooks and Cuts St Andrews

By Rich LernerJuly 16, 2010, 3:21 am

Granted it’s early, but it’s also tempting to consider the ramifications of a Rory McIlroy win at 21 at the 'Home of Golf.' Tiger Woods won the Masters at the same age, Jack Nicklaus the U.S. Open at Oakmont at 22. Is Rory potentially that good? As I said, it’s early.    

  • Al Pollock produced 'Being John Daly' for Golf Channel. He knows JD as well as anyone. Wednesday I asked him in passing if he thought Daly had a shot. “If he gets off to a good start he can definitely win,” said Pollock. “But if not, then you know John, and that part hasn’t changed.” Daly’s off to a really good start. 
  • Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer aren’t the only Americans getting degrees from St. Andrews University these days. Nearly 10 percent of the student body at the nearly 600-year-old institution is from the U.S. It’s apparently a nice fall back for the affluent but not quite Ivy League-ready kid.
  • Former Golf Magazine editor George Peper lives to the right of 18 at the Old Course. He hit a nasty slice on the home hole in 1983, lost the ball but found a For Sale sign and bought the place for $67,000. Today it’s worth about $3,000,000. “It’s a moot point,” he said. “I have no intention of selling.”
  • Nowhere does luck of the draw factor more than at St. Andrews with its manic weather swings. Phil Mickelson was on the wrong end, but to his credit admitted that his attitude mirrored the lousy weather.  
  • Over drinks in The Jigger Inn by the Road Hole a local told me, “Your average 15-handicap American is probably better coached than the 15-handicap Scot. But in a match the Scot would win because he knows how to get it in the hole.” We have better food, though.
  • Scots make better whiskey. It’s a push.
  • The original caddies of St. Andrews in the 1800s were fisherman who supplemented their incomes toting bags. Jimmy Reid, salty longtime looper at the Old Course, reeled in a good line when describing in his thick Scottish delivery the stereotypical tourist golfer. “He hits one in a bush and turns ta me and asks, ‘Is that all right?’ And I’ll say, ‘Does it look all right? Hit another one.'”
  • Peper points out that the Old Course is a terrific course to grow old on. “It’s flat,” he explained. “The distances between the tees and greens are just a few yards. You get a tremendous amount of roll. If you’re 80 or 90 years old you can still hit a 250-yard drive when the conditions are right.”
  • Reid once caddied for Vice President Dan Quayle. “Pretty good golfer, but not as good as he thinks he is,' was  Jimmy’s blunt assessment. And he’s just as straight forward in describing his own family. “One’s a youth leader, one works at a dry cleaner, one’s pregnant and one does nothing.”
  • Peper’s written books on links golf and still rates the Old Course as the best. “Turnberry,” he says, “has the most charm and the best new course is Castle Stuart, about three hours north of St. Andrews.” Peper believes Muirfield’s a bit over-rated, calling it somewhat “charmless.”  As for an under-rated course, he says, “I’ve always felt Western Gailes, which lives in the shadow of Royal Troon, was under-appreciated. I’d rather play Western Gailes than Troon any day.”
  • Wouldn’t you love to see a counter to Thursday’s early cupcake conditions with something really brutal?
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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.