Hooks & Cuts: Golf part of major sports weekend

By Rich LernerApril 28, 2015, 1:00 pm

With the Masters behind us, golf's stars are in full bloom and hopefully just in time for a big weekend in sports.

• One veteran Tour pro described Jordan Spieth this way: “He’s a really good kid but between the ropes an absolute bad a@@.” That rhymes with mass, as in mass appeal.

• On a weekend featuring Pacquiao vs. Mayweather, LeBron and likely D-Rose in the NBA playoffs, and American Pharoah and Dortmund at the Kentucky Derby, golf could use Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth in Match Play primetime.

• Dustin Johnson is 50 shades of cool. He doesn’t walk as much as he ambles, golf’s high plains drifter. The game seems easy for DJ, the harder battles fought within.

• I saw Steph Curry go for 39 in New Orleans, and I’m comfortable saying that in my more than 40 years following pro ball he’s one of the best I have ever seen. Dribbling, passing and shooting, he’s made the game high art. By the way, his pop, Del, shot 78 at English Turn earlier that day. Blessed with touch, the Curry family puts up nice numbers.

• For what it’s worth, Tim Barter, Sky Sports commentator and respected golf instructor, thinks Tiger’s closer to the Butch Harmon move from 2000 than he’s been in a long time. He also told me that Tiger’s comeback from what appeared to be chip yips was an enormous psychological victory for Woods. Bottom line, Barter, a no-nonsense type who’s covered the game for years, feels Tiger’s on his way back.

• Wednesdays may not be as tense as they used to be in the one-and-done days of the Match Play, but Saturday and Sunday should be much better.

• Keegan Bradley says his ceiling is much higher as a putter with the conventional method than it was with the anchored style. Alignment was easier with the big stick, but his feel is superior with the new approach.

• I’d love to hear Howard Cosell bellowing, “Down goes Mayweather, down goes Mayweather, down goes Mayweather.”

• If Jim Furyk were a fighter, he’d be the guy with excellent ring generalship.

• Steady and strong, organized and smart, Justin Rose may well be like Furyk in another 10 years, on the cusp of, or into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

• Lydia Ko and Spieth: They’re thinkers, not bombers. How refreshing.

• It was a good week for golf in China, and therefore a good week for golf, in general. Wu Ashun became the first Chinese player to win a European Tour event on his home soil at the Volvo China Open. Plus, 19 year old Li Hao-Tong contended throughout. On top of all that, Woods rolled into China on a promotional trip and gave basketball legend Yao Ming a golf lesson. When you’re 7’6” as Yao is, can you ever get comfortable over the ball? Seriously, Yao is one of China’s most popular figures and just the sight of him swinging a club could give golf a boost there. Yao against Charles Barkley on the links could be fun, too.

• Speith is suddenly golf’s American idol. Funny, 25 years ago moms and dads wanted to be like Mike. Now they want their kids to be like Jordan.

• On the mic for the big fight this weekend, Jim Lampley once called golf. He now owns the boxing space, a modern day Don Dunphy. On my all-time list of play-by-players, Vin Scully does baseball, Curt Gowdy pro football, Keith Jackson college football, Marv Albert basketball and the late, great Flyers’ announcer Gene Hart does hockey. And I also happened to like a young Vince McMahon with Gorilla Monsoon on pro wrasslin’.

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Woods: Fan who yelled had 'tipped back a few'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 6:37 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods stood on the 18th tee and thought he needed birdie to have a chance to win The Open. He pulled driver out of his bag, a sign he wanted to boot the ball as far down the fairway as possible.

Woods took a mighty swat and - right in the middle of his downswing - someone yelled. Woods flinched.

Luckily his ball still found a decent spot just off the right of the fairway.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I’ve had things like that happen a lot in my career with people who just tried to time it,” Woods said Sunday at Carnoustie after shooting 71 to tie for sixth place. “They tipped back a few, and it’s late in the day.

“Unfortunately, that’s part of what we have to deal with in today’s game. People are trying to yell out things to try to be on TV or be in social media or whatever it may be. That was too close to the game of play.”

Woods hit his approach to 6 feet and missed the birdie putt. He tapped in for par to shoot even par and finish 5 under for the week, in a tie for sixth.

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Pros melt down on Twitter as they watch Tiger

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:30 pm

Tiger Woods mounted a final-round charge and, for a little while, took the outright lead at Carnoustie on Sunday.

His fellow pros were watching and tweeting like your average fans.

We compiled some of their missives below:

Woods would go on to finish in a tie for sixth at 5 under par for the week.

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Woods shares emotional embrace with his kids

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 6:21 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods missed a birdie putt on the last hole that would’ve vaulted him into a tie for second place at The Open. It was a difficult way to end an otherwise successful week for the 14-time major champion, who is just happy to playing majors again.

Then he walked off the 18th, saw his two children, daughter Sam and son Charlie, and they all took a moment for a long embrace. Turns out, that was the perfect way to end the week.

“I told them I tried and I said, 'Hopefully you’re proud of your pops for trying as hard as I did,'” Woods said Sunday after putting the finishing touches on an even-par 71 to end at 5 under for the week.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“It’s pretty emotional because they gave me some pretty significant hugs there and squeezed. I know that they know how much this championship means to me and how much it feels good to be back playing again.”

In 2008, when Woods won his last major, the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, Sam was a year old and Charlie was not yet born. They don’t know how much their father used to dominate this game, especially majors. The last time Woods won a PGA Tour event was five full years ago. Woods has joked in the past that they only know him as a YouTube sensation.

“So, for them to understand what I was doing early in my career,” he said. “The only thing they’ve seen is my struggles and the pain I was going through. Now they just want to go play soccer with me. Man, it’s just such a great feeling.”

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TT postscript: Not a win, but an amazing week

By Tiger TrackerJuly 22, 2018, 6:04 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods had a chance to win his 15th major Sunday at The Open at Carnousite:

• Tiger shot 71-71-66-71 to finish at 5 under par and tie for sixth place.

• When Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele both bogeyed the fifth hole Tiger was in the solo lead. Amazing to think that only last September he said he never knew if he’d ever play golf again. Here he was, nine months later with a chance to win a fourth claret jug. Amazing.

• For 10 holes, Tiger was the calmest, coolest, most composed player on the golf course. Birdies at Nos. 4 and 6 looked easy, while most everyone else was struggling to make par.

• To me, the biggest mistake of the week, and certainly of the final round, was Tiger’s decision to get cute and hit a flop shot up and over a bunker into the 11th hole. It checked up and rolled back down and off the green. He failed to get up and down and made double bogey. If he’d have pitched the ball 12-15 past the hole he’d had have a chance to save par and would’ve made no worse than bogey.

• The double bogey felt worse when Tiger made bogey on the 12th hole. This two-hole stretch cost him three shots and he finished three shots off the lead.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

• Tiger moved to 50th in the Official World Golf Ranking, which qualifies him for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which he has won eight times.

• One of the best moments of the week came after Tiger’s round when he gave his kids, daughter Sam and son Charlie, long hugs. Tiger said it was especially emotional because both kids knew how much this week meant to their old man. They had only seen Tiger struggle; it was great for them to see his success.

• Tiger: “Today I did everything the way I thought I needed to do it to win the championship. This entire week, I felt like I needed to keep building my way into this championship. It's one of those where, as I said earlier in the week, it's going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win it on Sunday because we're all driving the same areas. Kind of turned out that way. There are a bunch of guys packed, a bunch of guys with a chance to win, and I was one of them.”

• Overall, an amazing week. Truly tremendous to watch.