McIlroy teases field, then pulls away at the British

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2014, 5:14 pm

HOYLAKE, England – They’ve already trashed tradition once this week, so what’s another?

On Sunday, they might as well swap out the Open’s traditional yellow flags for something, say, white.

This thing is over.

Rory McIlroy made sure of that Saturday, slamming the door with two macho eagles in the last three holes for a 4-under 68 in conditions that were far better than anticipated at Royal Liverpool. At 16-under 200, Boy Wonder is six shots clear of Rickie Fowler (68) and seven ahead of Sergio Garcia (69) and Dustin Johnson (71).

His six-shot advantage is the second-largest 54-hole lead at an Open in the past half-century, and even more history awaits McIlroy if – sorry, when – he closes it out on Sunday.

Like Phil Mickelson a year ago, an Open victory would give McIlroy, just 25, the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

“What would that mean?”he was asked afterward.

“A lot of hype going into Augusta next year,” he replied, laughing.

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First things first, though, because for a while Saturday it looked like we were in store for a final-round shootout.

McIlroy got off to a sloppy start with a bogey on No. 1, and then played his next nine holes in only 1 under when Hoylake – green, soft and lush – was yielding more birdies than it had all week. 

His four-shot overnight lead was halved after the opening hole. It was all gone when he bogeyed the par-4 12th. But that’s when McIlroy made a crafty up-and-down from right of 13 green and got rolling with a 40-foot bomb on 14.

Most impressive, however, was his work down the stretch. On the par-5 16th, he knocked a 252-yard 4-iron shot to 20 feet for eagle, and on the home hole he coolly hit 5-iron from 239 yards to 10 feet for a closing 3.

“I was just sort of waiting for those two holes,” he said. “It was nice to be able to come up with the goods when I needed them.”

Only one player in history has coughed up a six-shot lead in a major: Greg Norman, in 1996. Good thing for McIlroy, then, that he already has his Masters collapse out of the way.

Since then, he’s only won his majors in routs.

He went wire-to-wire at Congressional in 2011, where he pushed his three-shot lead to six and then eight. At the 2012 PGA, his weekend 66-67 at Kiawah erased a two-shot deficit and gave him another eight-shot major victory.

“I know how leads can go very quickly,” he cautioned. “I’m not taking anything for granted. A lot can happen. I’ve been on the right side of it, and I’ve been on the wrong side of it.

“That’s why you can’t let yourself think forward. You can’t let yourself think about winning or whatever it is. You’re just got to completely stay in the moment and stay in the present, and that’s what I’m going to try to do for all 18 holes tomorrow.”

Martin Kaymer made similar remarks on the eve of the U.S. Open’s final round, and he extended his five-shot lead to eight on the last day.

In the final group that Sunday at Pinehurst was Fowler, who double-bogeyed his fourth hole and never was a threat. As much as the fans encouraged Fowler and craved a competition, the closest any player drew that day was four shots. Late on the back nine, the only mystery was how Kaymer would celebrate.

“There just wasn’t really any pressure put on Martin,” said Fowler, and, to be sure, he won’t have the benefit of a home-crowd advantage on this major Sunday.

Only a final-round collapse – in addition to some exemplary play from the pursuers – could add some drama to the proceedings, but even that scenario seems unlikely.

A few years ago, McIlroy was criticized for being a fair-weather player, that he only enjoyed competing in a dome. Benign conditions were exactly what he encountered in the third round, when the wind never blew more than 10 mph, and the forecast for the finale doesn’t look fierce, either.

More than that, though, McIlroy has destroyed the par 5s this week, playing the four long holes in a combined 11 under for the week. That means the rest of the pack essentially has 14 holes to make up ground. Good luck.

Fowler struck all the right notes Saturday afternoon, saying that he must stick to his game plan, that he must get off to a fast start, that he must put some pressure on his fellow 20-something.  

“Maybe we can get into a fun little match come the back nine,” he said.

Yes, that would be fun.

But sorry, Rickie: By the back nine Sunday, this thing might have long been over.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 22, 2018, 11:00 am

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)

7AM-3PM (Watch): Jordan Spieth fired 65 to move into a three-way share of the 54-hole lead, while Tiger Woods (66) played his way into contention. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler and Thorbjorn Olesen.

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. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Henrik Stenson and Bryson DeChambeau.

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 22, 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  

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; or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 22, 2018, 8:30 am

Tiger Woods begins the final round of the 147th Open Championship four shots off the lead. He's out at 9:25 a.m. ET on Sunday and we're tracking him.

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Schauffele just fine being the underdog

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”