#AskLav: Handing out season-ending awards

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 18, 2014, 1:30 pm

With only 21 days before the start of the PGA Tour’s new wraparound season, there isn’t enough time for any of those long-winded, cringe-worthy speeches. No, sir. This will be the most frenetic awards ceremony in history, so cue the get-the-heck-off-the-stage music.


Nominees: Rory McIlroy, Billy Horschel, Bubba Watson 

Winner: Rory McIlroy 

It wasn’t just the three wins in a row, though hose back-to-back major titles certainly were memorable. For the first time, at age 25, McIlroy finally embraced the title of golf’s leading man.


Nominees: Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Jim Furyk

Winner: Rickie Fowler

The 25-year-old became the third player in history to post top-5s in all four majors. Unlike Jack and Tiger, though, Rickie walked away empty-handed.


Nominees: The Players, Colonial, PGA Championship

Winner: PGA Championship

On the final day, Rory, Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson and Rickie were all in the mix for the title, with Furyk, Ernie Els, Jimmy Walker and Hunter Mahan among those cracking the top 10. It truly was Glory’s Last Sh … ah, forget it. 


Nominees: Adam Scott-Jason Dufner playoff at Colonial, WGC-Match Play final, PGA Championship Sunday

Winner: WGC-Match Play final 

Victor Dubuisson, at the time a little-known Frenchman, channeled Seve’s short-game magic to not once but twice get up-and-down from the cacti before finally succumbing to Jason Day.


Nominees: Martin Kaymer’s par on 17 Sunday at The Players, Rory McIlroy’s two eagles in the last three holes Saturday at the Open, Billy Horschel’s par on 16 Sunday at the Tour Championship 

Winner: Martin Kaymer 

Kaymer’s lead had been trimmed from three shots to one by the time he stood on the famed 17th. His tee shot spun back down the slope and came to rest about a foot from the bulkhead, leading to an awkward chip that came up 30 feet short. The left-to-right-breaking putt went up and over a hill and slammed into the back of the cup – the par that preserved the win and gave Kaymer his first victory in the States since the 2010 PGA.  


Nominees: Erik Compton finishes runner-up at U.S. Open, Jarrod Lyle returns to competition, Billy Horschel gets last laugh at critics 

Winner: Erik Compton

How fitting that a two-time heart-transplant recipient recorded his best-ever finish (and told his incredible story nationally) at the more grueling test in golf.


Nominees: Jimmy Walker, Patrick Reed, Billy Horschel 

Winner: Patrick Reed 

Love him or loathe him, fans now certainly know him. After a victory at the Wyndham last August, P-Reed set the 54-hole scoring record en route to a win at the Humana, then topped an elite field at Doral, where he made even bigger news by declaring himself a “top-5” player. Alas, he has been very cautious with the media ever since.


Nominees: Phil Mickelson’s season, Tiger Woods’ return from injury, Dustin Johnson’s self-imposed leave of absense, Bubba Watson’s petulance at the PGA 

Winner: Tiger Woods 

After going under the knife in late March, the former world No. 1 missed two majors before surprising everyone, even himself, with a return at his own event in late June. He missed the cut in D.C., wasn’t competitive at the Open, reinjured himself at Firestone, labored through two rounds at the PGA, parted ways with his swing coach and now has shut it down until December. Yep, just another ho-hum year for golfs most fascinating player.

OK, enough awards. Everybody out. The after-party is at Rory’s waterfront crib. 



First rookie: Justin Thomas. He’s the same age (21) as Jordan Spieth, whom he beat out for college player of the year in 2012. Spieth has gone on to enjoy tremendous success in the big leagues, and there’s no reason why Thomas won’t do the same. During his one-year apprenticeship on the Web.com circuit, he won once and finished in the top 10 in six other events. The preeminent ball-striker will be on ’boards early and often in this new season.  

First-time major winner: Sergio’s time is coming, whether the golf gods want it to or not, but Jason Day is the most likely to break through next year – assuming, of course, that he returns to full health. Yes, the Aussie seemed poised for a monster year after winning the WGC-Match Play in February, but injuries to his thumb and back stalled his momentum. This is a guy with seven top 10s in majors since 2010, including a T-4 at this year’s U.S. Open, and he’s too solid from tee-to-green not to nab one soon.  



Don’t like it at all, to be honest, and in many ways it’s related to my main beef with the FedEx Cup. The premise is flawed. All along, the Cup has been billed as the race to determine a season-long champion, except that’s not what the FedEx Cup does at all. With its current points structure, the Cup identifies two very different things: 1.) the playoff field, or the 125 players who keep their card for next season; and 2.) the player who gets hot at the right time in the playoffs. Rory McIlroy was the best during the regular season. Billy Horschel won the postseason component. Just call it like it is. These Web.com Tour Finals, and specifically the priority rankings, also attempt to equate season-long performance and “playoff” results but they, too, should be viewed separately.

Let’s use Blayne Barber and Tom Hoge as examples. Barber won a tournament and finished sixth on the Web.com regular-season money list. Hoge had two top 10s and finished 65th in earnings. Barber has one top 10 in the Finals, a T-6 at last week’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship. Hoge also has one top 10, a solo third at the Chiquita Classic. Barber (with a win, five other top 10s and nearly $270,000 in earnings) is No. 10 on the priority rankings. Hoge (with no wins, three top 10s and $72,000 in earnings) is No. 11.

How is that bottom-heavy system possibly fair to guys who traveled the country for 20-plus events and battled for $33,000 paychecks? The 50 players who earn the most money during the entire year (including both the regular season and the Finals) should get their cards. Simple.



Despite Paul McGinley’s insistence that there will be no hard feelings between Rory and G-Mac – whose lawyers are currently brawling in court – it’s hard to envision them together for more than a session at Gleneagles, if at all. Instead, the team we’d most like to see is Rory-Sergio. They are pals, both are in form, and Sergio thrives in this competition (16-8-4). On the U.S. side, a Rickie-Phil tag team has the potential for some fireworks, especially if Lefty and Keegan misfire early. Then again, it’s entirely possible that Tom Watson will ignore all outside advice and match players with dissimilar games and combustible personalities. As a writer, I’ll be rooting for that disastrous scenario.



Expecting about a four-point loss for the U.S. – somewhere in between the Medinah nail-biter (14.5 to 13.5) and the K Club massacre (18.5 to 9.5). The Europeans have better players at the top, better vibes in the event (won five of last six) and better support with the home crowd. Anything can happen during a three-day match-play competition with 24 of the world’s best players, of course, but if the home squad jumps out to a comfortable lead after Day 1, this thing is ovah. Predicted final score: Europe 16.5, U.S. 11.5.



Breakout star: Hideki Matsuyama. Surprised that he was unable to capitalize on his Memorial victory (no top 10s since), but this is a big-time talent with all of the necessary tools to be a multiple winner every season on Tour.

Fading star: Jason Dufner. Reportedly scheduled to return to competition next month, but the neck injury that forced Duf out of the PGA will linger for the rest of his playing career. When talking to him at Valhalla, he wasnt just disappointed and frustrated. He was also scared – two bulging disks is a career-threatening ailment. It’s a shame too, because his popularity has surged in recent years, but already 37 he likely has one eye on the endgame.  



Let’s not forget where Rickie was a year ago – lost with his swing, at home during the Tour Championship, an afterthought for the Presidents Cup. He hooked up with Butch Harmon during the offseason, shelved the Crayola outfits and cut his hair, and after a few lean months transformed into a player who recorded a top 5 in all four majors, who closed out the year with eight top 15s in nine starts and who will play in his second Ryder Cup next week. The only thing he needs now: more titles. 



This is one man’s list of the 25-and-under crop as it currently stands, not a projection of future success:

1. Rory McIlroy, age 25

2. Rickie Fowler, 25

3. Patrick Reed, 24

4. Jordan Spieth, 21

5. Hideki Matsuyama, 22

6. Victor Dubuisson, 24

7. Russell Henley, 25

8. Brooks Koepka, 23

9. Harris English, 25

10. Matteo Manassero, 21



Seems like forever ago that Spieth had a two-shot lead with 11 holes to play at the Masters. The 21-year-old told the AP’s Doug Ferguson last week that he cracked his driver head at The Players (where he had a share of the 54-hole lead) and hasn’t been able to find the right combination since. He lost some distance off the tee, and it’s a big reason why he has recorded but one top 10 in a full-field event since May. Obviously he’ll be fine once he gets his equipment squared away, but his oh-fer in 2014 serves as yet another reminder that there’s a wide gulf between every-week contender and prolific winner. 

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 21, 2018, 2:15 pm

Tiger Woods, in search of his 15th career major championship title, started the weekend six off the lead at Carnoustie. We're tracking him in Round 3 of The Open.

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Rose's Saturday 64 matches Carnoustie Open record

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 1:03 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Rose needed to sink a 14-foot putt on the final hole Friday just to make the cut on the number at The Open.

Freewheeling when he came to the course Saturday, Rose tied the lowest score ever recorded in an Open at Carnoustie.

Entering the weekend nine shots off the lead, the world No. 3 carded a bogey-free, 7-under 64 to at least make things interesting. It won’t be known for several hours how many shots Rose will be behind, but his back-nine 30 gives him an opportunity, if the wind blows 25 mph Sunday as forecast, to challenge the leaders.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

After all, Paul Lawrie was 10 shots back entering the final round here in 1999.

“I think the birdie on 18 last night freed me up, and I’m just very happy to be out on this golf course and not down the road somewhere else this morning,” said Rose, who is at 4-under 209. “So that might have been part of the shift in mindset today. I had nothing to lose from that point of view.”

Rose’s 64 matched Steve Stricker and Richard Green’s record score at Carnoustie (2007).

It also was Rose’s career-low round in a major.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 12:20 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Saturday, Day 3 (Times ET)

4:30-7AM (Watch): Sunny skies and birdies were on the menu early in Round 3, as Justin Rose made his way around Carnoustie in 64 strokes. Click here or on the image below to watch.

Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

8:20AM-3PM (Watch): As the skies cleared on Friday afternoon, defending champion Jordan Spieth made a run to try and regain the claret jug. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith.

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 8:30 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)