Stenson could put on show on, off course this week

By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2014, 4:46 pm

HOYLAKE, England – When Adam Scott, the No. 1 player in the world, walked into the vast media center here at the Open Championship, he was greeted by about, oh, a dozen scribes. He almost looked depressed.

Henrik Stenson can take over the top spot this week at Royal Liverpool. If he does, a hundred people might cram into his next presser – if only to see the entire comedy routine.

Here is a sampling of his work Wednesday:

• Reminded by the moderator that he had a pair of third-place finishes at the Open, Stenson interrupted him: “And now you’re going to find out what I really want.”

• Informed that Tiger Woods has his own dedicated TV channel this week, Stenson’s eyes widened: “Where did mine go?”

• Asked, jokingly, whether he thought Tiger feared playing with him, Stenson grinned: “Yeah, I think it would have been a lot of sleepless nights for him as of late. When did the draw come out? He looked tired, didn’t he?”

• Told by a reporter that he has a very good life, and has enjoyed a very good career, and has made a lot of money, Stenson stopped him mid-sentence: “You need a loan?”

• Finished with a 30-second answer in Swedish, Stenson peered down at the confused transcriptionist: “Did you get all that?”

Heck, even Woods seems to be eagerly anticipating the first two rounds of this Open.

“He’s fun to play with,” Woods said. “He’s got a very dry sense of humor. He always tells jokes throughout the whole day.”

There are countless fun-loving characters in golf, but Stenson provides both big laughs and a big game.

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Fortunately, we’ve seen plenty of him lately, at least between the ropes. No one in the OWGR top 10 has played as many events in the past two years as Stenson’s 57. For the sake of comparison, Scott has appeared in only 41 tournaments during the same window.

Stenson’s jet-set lifestyle has proved lucrative. Playing the best golf of his life last summer, he captured both the FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai, a haul worth nearly $20 million. If you actually were in need of a loan, he’d seem a good target.

But racking up so many air miles also has its consequences. At times this season he has battled burnout. It’s why he struggled at the start of the year, failing to record a top 10 until Bay Hill in late March. It’s why he faded on Sunday at the U.S. Open, shooting 73 when “there was not much left in the tank.” It’s why he skipped last week’s Scottish Open, opting for some more rest at home in Florida.

“I just couldn’t keep on going,” he said. “Coming into a major championship being tired is always a recipe for disaster, because you’ve got to have a fresh head on to take the challenges and the hard work that you need to put in this week.”

Road-weary or not, British oddsmakers love Stenson’s chances this week (listed at 16-1), and for good reason. Coming into the Open he has five top 7s in his last six starts, and he’s finished inside the top 3 in this event in two of the past three years.

A major title represents the crowning achievement for any player, of course, but it’d be particularly satisfying for Stenson, who at age 38 has already endured two career-altering slumps. That he’s once again among the game’s elite is a testament to his doggedness.

“I’ve come back from a very low pulse a few times,” he said. “I know I can do it a third time, if need be, but I’m not striving to put myself in that position again. If you keep doing the right things and keep your mind to it, then I shouldn’t be playing as bad as I’ve done a couple of times throughout the years.

“But the game is an interesting one, and you can never know for certain. I’ve had probably some bigger downs and potentially some bigger ups than a lot of players. But nothing is just a straight line. If it is, I don’t think we’re in the right place. Might be a coffin or something around us then.”

Even if he doesn’t get off the major schneid this week, Stenson can still ascend to world No. 1 for the first time. If he does win, he’d need Scott to finish outside the top 3. Two other possibilities: Stenson could get to No. 1 if he finishes solo second and Scott finishes outside the top 17; or Stenson could finish tied second with another player if Scott misses the cut (provided Justin Rose or Bubba Watson don’t win).

Whatever. Stenson isn’t worried about the complicated math. He’s more focused on trying to prolong another career resurgence.

“It was a boyhood dream to play in the Ryder Cup, and the other one was to win the Open Championship,” he said. “So just because I’ve had some great success, I don’t think that dream has gone away. It’s the last thing on my CV (résumé) to make it complete, more or less, in my eyes. I will try my hardest to make it happen.”

If he does, just imagine all of the late-night media tours and the commercials and the packed news conferences. At long last, his comedy routine would get even more exposure. 

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Watch: Na punctuates caddie tiff with hole-out

Microphones captured a fascinating and testy exchange between Kevin Na and his caddie, Kenny Harms, on Na's final hole, No. 9.

Na was in the right rough, 185 yards from the green, which was guarded by water. He vacillated between a hybrid and an iron, but with either club he would have to hit "a 40-yard cut," as Harms termed it.

"Over the green's dead," Harms warned.

"It's not gonna go over the green, Kenny," Na replied.

Na finally settled on an iron and said to Harms, "As long as you're OK with this club."

"I'm not," harms replied. "I'm not OK with either one of them."

"I'm going with this," Na ended the discussion.

He missed the green with his approach shot, but avoided the water. After taking a free drop away from some TV cables, he had 92 feet 3 inches to the cup and of course, holed the pitch shot for a birdie-3, a 62 and a one-shot lead at the end of the first round.

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Na (62) leads Hoffman by one at Colonial

By Nick MentaMay 24, 2018, 10:38 pm

Kevin Na leads the Fort Worth Invitational by one over Charley Hoffman following a first-round 8-under 62. Here's where things stand through 18 holes at Colonial.

Leaderboard: Na (-8), Hoffman (-7), Emiliano Grillo (-6), Jhonattan Vegas (-6), Andrew Putnam (-6), Beau Hossler (-6)

What it means: The veteran Na is in search of just his second PGA Tour victory in 367 events played. The 34-year-old's lone victory came at the 2011 Shriners to go along with nine runner-ups, the most recent of which was a tie for second at this year's Genesis Open. Na missed three straight cuts in April but has rallied back with a weekend stay at The Players and a T-6 at last week's Byron Nelson. Ranked 75th in the world, he is not currently qualified for the U.S. Open or the Open Championship. 

Round of the day: Na turned in a clean card Thursday with six birdies and an eagle at the par-5 first, his 10th hole of the day. He closed with a chip-in birdie at No. 9 following a friendly disagreement with his caddie (more on that below). 

Best of the rest: Hoffman was likewise bogey-free, drawing seven circles. The four-time Tour winner and typically steady performer has yet to register a top-10 finish this season.

Biggest disappointment: Not that a round of 1 under is tragically disappointing, but Jordan Spieth has a pretty solid history of going low at this event and contending for the title. He's seven back through Round 1.

Shot of the day: Satoshi Kodaira recorded the second albatross in tournament history when he holed a 3-iron from 234 yards at the first.

Honorable mention: Na got into a pretty good back-and-forth with his caddie about whether to lay up or try to clear the water from the right rough at No. 9. Na went for it, avoided hazard, and holed this chip for birdie. 

Quote of the day: "I told you." - Na, after his chip-in

Golf Channel's NCAA Golf Coverage Continues Mon-Wed., May 28-30 With the NCAA Men's Golf Championships

By Golf Channel Public RelationsMay 24, 2018, 10:24 pm

Two National Championships to be Decided Over a Three-Day Span – Individual (Mon., May 28) and Team (Wed., May 30)

 Eight of the Top-10 Ranked Programs in the Country Set to Compete; Reigning NCAA Men’s National Champions Oklahoma and Current Top-Ranked Oklahoma State Paired Together Starting Friday

 Buick and Stifel Co-Presenting Sponsors of Golf Channel’s Coverage of the NCAA Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships

ORLANDO, Fla., May 24, 2018 – Coming on the heels of Wednesday’s dramatic championship match where Arizona defeated Alabama in a playoff to claim their third women’s golf team national championship, Golf Channel returns to Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla. next week for the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf National Championships. Taking place Monday-Wednesday, May 28-30, Golf Channel’s coverage will feature nearly 30 hours of live tournament and on-site wraparound news coverage, showcasing the top men’s college golf programs in the country.

NCAA Men’s Golf Championships Coverage: Coverage begins on Monday, May 28 to crown the individual national champion and to track the teams attempting to qualify for the eight-team match play championship. Golf Channel’s coverage on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 29-30 will include all three rounds of the team match play, ultimately crowning a team national champion.

In addition, Golf Central will surround live tournament action with pre-and post-event news coverage produced on-site at Karsten Creek Golf Club, as well as daily news updates on Morning Drive and online via Golf Channel Digital. News and tournament coverage also will be live streamed on Golf Channel Digital. College Central, Golf Channel’s online home for college golf, will provide comprehensive editorial coverage throughout the championships.

Golf Channel NCAA Men’s Golf Championships Coverage (all times ET)

Monday, May   28

Individual   National Championship

4-8 p.m.   (Live)

Tuesday, May   29

Quarterfinals,   Team Match Play

11   a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)

Tuesday,   May 29

Semifinals,   Team Match Play

4-8 p.m.   (Live)

Wednesday, May   30

Team Match   Play National Championship

4-8 p.m.   (Live)

Stifel and Buick Sign on as Co-Presenting Sponsors for Golf Channel’s NCAA Golf Championships Tournament Coverage: New for 2018, Stifel Financial Corp. and Buick have signed on as co-presenting sponsors for Golf Channel’s tournament coverage of the 2018 NCAA Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships. In addition, Stifel has extended its partnership with the Fred Haskins Commission, Golf Channel and Golfweek as presenting sponsor of the Fred Haskins Award, given annually to nation’s outstanding male collegiate golfer.Golf Channel will announce the Fred Haskins Award presented by Stifel following the conclusion of the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships, on a live edition of Golf Central, Wednesday, June 6 at 6 p.m. ET. The show will include profiles on the top candidates for the award and a live interview with the winner, who also will receive an exemption to compete in the 2018 Greenbrier Classic on the PGA TOUR. The Haskins Award honors the nation’s most outstanding male Division I collegiate golfer as selected by his peers, coaches and the golf media.

Semifinal Teams in Match Play to Receive Invitations to Compete in East Lake Cup: The East Lake Cup, taking place in late October at historic East Lake Golf Club, will feature the top-performing teams from the 2018 NCAA Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships. Invitations for the field have been extended to Arizona, Alabama, Southern California and Stanford – semifinalists in the NCAA Women’s Golf Championships, and also will be extended to the semifinalists in the Men’s Championships. Modeled after the NCAA Golf Championships, the format for the East Lake Cup consists of an opening round of stroke play to crown an individual male and female champion and determine seeding for the following two days of match play competition. Golf Channel will air live coverage of the East Lake Cup Monday-Wednesday, Oct. 29-31.

College Central – Golf Channel Digital Coverage: Golf Channel will provide comprehensive coverage via College Central,Golf Channel Digital’s home for college golf. Led by Jay Coffin, and Ryan Lavner, College Central will be the source for all things college golf, including tournament results and scores, features and columns, video highlights and breaking news.

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Country singer Owen shoots 86 in debut

By Will GrayMay 24, 2018, 7:51 pm

Country music star Jake Owen struggled in his Tour debut, shooting a 14-over 86 in the opening round of the Nashville Golf Open.

Owen, who played as a 1 handicap earlier this year while teaming with Jordan Spieth at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, put three balls out of bounds over his first nine holes, including two en route to a quadruple-bogey 9 on the par-5 18th hole. After making the turn in 46, Owen came home in 40 without making a single birdie.

Owen is playing as an amateur on an unrestricted sponsor exemption, the same type used by NBA superstar Steph Curry on the Tour last year and by former NFL quarterback Tony Romo this year on the PGA Tour. Curry missed the cut after rounds of 74-74 at the Ellie Mae Classic, while Romo shot 77-82 at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship.

Full-field scores from the Nashville Golf Open

Owen tallied nine pars, six bogeys, two doubles and a quad in his opener and was the only player from the morning wave who failed to break 80. The closest player to him in the standings was two-time major champ Angel Cabrera, who opened with a 79.

While Owen struggled against a field full of professionals, he took the setback in stride and even took to Twitter in the middle of his round to fire back at some of his online critics: