BMW win gives Zach Johnson shot at $10 million

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 16, 2013, 8:37 pm

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Zach Johnson isn’t one to be bogged down with rankings and projections, not even in this FedEx Cup era of up-to-the-second updates.

When he skipped the opening playoff event, The Barclays, to be the best man in his brother’s wedding, he didn’t know it would so greatly jeopardize his playoff chances.

When he buried a 25-foot birdie putt on his final hole in the last round in Boston, he didn’t know it knocked good friend Webb Simpson off the Presidents Cup team, at least for two days.

And so this week, Johnson didn’t stare at the massive electronic leaderboards and run through various scenarios. He kept his head down, as is his wont, and now finds himself with a very simple equation heading into Atlanta, one even he can comprehend:


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Win, and you collect a $10 million bonus.

On Monday, Johnson shot a bogey-free 65 to rally from three shots back to win the weather-delayed BMW Championship. At 16-under 268, he was two shots clear of Nick Watney (64) and three ahead of 54-hole leader Jim Furyk (71).

The $1.44 million first-place paycheck moves Johnson from No. 27 to No. 4 in the FedEx Cup standings, and now he has a clear shot at an even more lucrative prize.

“This week provided me a great opportunity for next week,” Johnson said. “The beauty of what I have now is that I control my destiny next week. If I play really, really good, I can win it.”

It shouldn’t surprise if he does.

After beginning the season with just one top 10 in 16 starts, Johnson has been one of the hottest players on Tour in recent months, recording six top 10s in his last seven events.

Said Johnson, “I didn’t need to win to know that I’m going in the right direction.”

Maybe so, but something has clearly clicked this summer.

Caddie Damon Green attributed the recent hot streak to Johnson’s ongoing work with swing coach Mike Bender. They’ve been “tightening” Johnson’s action through the hitting area, and now he has once again become the driving machine who is annually near the top of the Tour’s driving statistics.

On Monday, Johnson hit all but one fairway, turned in 3-under 32, and added three more birdies on the back nine to build a comfortable cushion.

Most impressive was his birdie on the 16th hole, where he had 179 yards to the flag, uphill, into the wind. He pulled 4-iron – normally his 210-yard club – and his second shot “never left the pin the whole way.”

Alas, the ball settled in the uneven rough just behind the green, but Johnson “chopped” down on the ball with his putter and judged it perfectly. Birdie.

The very next hole, his 6-iron tee shot flew 12 feet right of the cup, and he poured it in the middle to build a two-shot cushion he wouldn’t relinquish.

“He played one of the best rounds I’ve seen in a long time today,” said Brandt Snedeker, who was paired with Johnson in the final round.

With the victory, the short-and-straight Johnson joined the 10-win club. Since 2004, only Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh and Adam Scott also have both 10 PGA Tour wins and a major.

“I’m not so sure I even understand what that is and what that means, especially considering whose era I’m playing in,” said Johnson, the 2007 Masters champion. “I’m not wanting to be a prideful guy, but I certainly take pride in that fact that I’ve done what I’ve done.”

Said Green, “He’s just got a lot of guts. He’s not afraid to win. When he gets in this situation, a lot of guys might back up. He wants to keep going, put the pedal to the metal.”

Where’s that mentality come from?

“He gets it from his daddy,” Green said. “When you’re down, he wants to stomp on you. He doesn’t want to let you up. That’s just the way he is. You can’t learn that; you just have to have that in you.”

Johnson’s macho finish stands in stark contrast to what happened to 54-hole leader Furyk. Not even a Monday finish could help the 43-year-old end nearly three years of final-round futility. The front-runner, who slept on the lead for two nights, made three bogeys in the last eight holes and finished in solo third, three shots behind.

That second-round 59? Rendered a mere footnote now, as Furyk becomes the third player to shoot a sub-60 score and not go on to win the tournament.

Worse, he has now failed to win the last six times he has been staked to at least a share of the 54-hole lead.

“I don’t know if I used them all up on Friday and knocked them all in or what,” he said, “but I just wasn’t able to get the putts to go.”

There have been so many near misses in the past two years, it’s difficult to pinpoint which was the most crippling: Tampa, Olympic, Firestone, McGladrey, Oak Hill and now this. Each time he held at least a share of the lead, and each time he walked away searching for consolation, congratulating someone else. In his career, he’s now a 9-for-23 closer.

This time, Furyk led by two shots with eight holes to play, but he three-putted from the front edge on No. 11, missed a 5-footer on 13 and bogeyed 16 after finding a fairway bunker off the tee.

It’ll also be another what-could-have-been week for Woods, who saw Conway Farms for the first time on Wednesday but climbed his way into contention after two rounds. Or so he thought, as he was pencil-whipped in the scoring trailer late Friday when a rules official determined that his ball moved, not oscillated, behind the first green.

Woods disagreed, adamantly, but it nonetheless was the third high-profile rules snafu this season. A Saturday 66 – alongside longtime nemesis Sergio Garcia – made up the two-shot penalty and moved him within four shots of the lead, but any thought of a final-round comeback was all but erased early Monday, as a wincing Woods added to his three-putt total (five for the week) and never seriously challenged.  He finished in a tie for 11th, seven shots behind, but returned to No. 1 in the FedEx Cup standings.

Like Woods, Johnson will now head to East Lake with his sights on landing the biggest prize in golf. Johnson’s journey into the top five was a bit more circuitous, however.

He had long planned to skip the opening Barclays to be the best man in his brother’s wedding. “I had zero intentions of missing that wedding,” he said, “especially if I’m going to get along with my new sister-in-law.”

Then came Boston, where he tied for 27th, but became a story afterward when he birdied the final hole to lock up his spot on the Presidents Cup team and, as a result, knock out Simpson, with whom he was playing.

“I had zero indication as to what that meant,” said Johnson, who adopted that same mentality this week at Conway Farms, where everyone is playing for position, whether that is the top 30 or the top five.

“It’s hard to grasp the last two weeks of golf because I was trying to make that Presidents Cup team without trying to make it. I was trying to get in the top 30 this week without trying to make it.”

Is he going to try to win the FedEx Cup?

“No,” he said, “I’m not going to try to win that $10 million. I’m going to try to play good rounds of golf Thursday through Sunday.”

Then he smiled: “But I like the momentum I have for next week.”


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"Vantage Point with Mike Tirico" set to debut Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJuly 17, 2018, 10:15 am

Special Hour Complementing the Network’s Week-Long Golf Central Live From The Open News Coverage; Premiere Scheduled to Include Interview with 2014 Open Runner-Up Rickie Fowler On-Site from Carnoustie

Features Include Tirico and Curtis Strange Re-watching ’99 Open at Carnoustie & Jim “Bones” Mackay Facilitating Exclusive Conversation with Caddies Michael Greller, John Wood Recounting Final Round Pairing at 2017 Open

To help set the table ahead of The 147TH Open at Carnoustie, Golf Channel will premiere Vantage Point with Mike Tirico on Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET. An extension of the network’s week-long Golf Central Live From The Open comprehensive news coverage, Vantage Point will revisit landmark moments in The Open’s history, uncover personal stories relevant to the fabric of the week and feature a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year” on golf’s original championship.

“It’s a thrill to be going back to The Open again this year, which is a fitting setting to launch this new opportunity,” said Tirico, NBC Sports host who this week will celebrate his 22nd consecutive year covering The Open. “I love being a part of the Golf Channel team during golf’s biggest weeks, and anticipate contributing to our commitment to great storytelling with Vantage Point.”

Kicking off the premiere of Vantage Point will be Tirico’s exclusive interview with 2014 Open runner-up and 2015 PLAYERS champion Rickie Fowler on-site from Carnoustie. One of Fowler’s favorite events, he has missed just one cut in eight previous appearances at The Open. Other highlights within the show include:

  • Jim “Bones” Mackay facilitating an exclusive conversation between caddies Michael Greller (Jordan Spieth) and John Wood (Matt Kuchar) recounting the final round pairing at The Open last July.
  • Tirico hosting a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year”: David Duval, Tom Lehman and Justin Leonard.
  • A recollection of one of the most unforgettable collapses in major championship golf, when Jean van de Velde surrendered a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole in 1999 at The Open. Tirico and Curtis Strange – both on the live tournament broadcast that year for ABC/ESPN – recently re-watched the telecast together for the first time since calling it live.

 

“This is harder to watch than I thought it was going to be. I’ve never seen anything like

that in my life. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that again.” – Curtis Strange

 

“I think I got caught up in the whole deal and felt human for the guy.” – Mike Tirico

 

Vantage Point with Mike Tirico will complement the network’s Golf Central Live From The Open, which will feature nearly 60 hours of comprehensive news coverage from Carnoustie. In total, NBC Sports will dedicate more than 350 hours to showcasing the third men’s major championship of the year, including nearly 50 live hours of the network’s Emmy-nominated tournament coverage – annually the most live hours of coverage from any golf event – spanning from Thursday’s opening tee shot to Sunday’s final putt.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 8:40 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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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 17, 2018, 8:40 am

Tiger Woods is competing in his first Open Championship since 2015. We're tracking him this week at Carnoustie.


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The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 8:30 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.