Old Course doesn't always make good first impression

By Ryan Reiterman July 14, 2015, 8:30 pm

The Old Course at St. Andrews is on every golfer’s bucket list, and it’s often listed by the game’s biggest stars as their favorite course.

But it’s not always love at first sight with the Home of Golf.

Waves aren’t crashing against the course like at Pebble Beach. There isn’t the “I-can’t-believe-I-made-it-inside-the-gates” feeling of Augusta National. And outside of the Road Hole 17th and No. 18, none of the holes really stick out.

You can't even curse the architect when your ball lands in a pot bunker, because, well, it's not exactly clear who designed the course in the early 1400s.

Bobby Jones famously became so frustrated by St. Andrews at the 1921 Open that he stormed off the links after 11 holes in the third round. Sam Snead said it looked like an “old abandoned golf course."

Jones and Snead would both go on to win the claret jug at the Old Course, but St. Andrews still doesn’t leave a good first impression with many of today’s players.

“Hated it,” Rory McIlroy said last year at the Dunhill Links. “Thought it was the worst golf course I've ever played … I just stood up on every tee and was like, ‘What is the fascination about this place?’ But the more you play it and the more you learn about the golf course and the little nuances, you learn to appreciate it. Now it's my favorite golf course in the world, so it's definitely a course that grows on you.”

“Honestly, I wasn’t a fan in the beginning,” said Kevin Na. “I didn’t understand why the golf course was designed like this. I couldn’t see the holes, I couldn’t see the bunkers. I thought 17 and 18 were cool, but besides that I didn’t think it was very good. But the next time I played it … I knew a lot more about golf courses and architecture and I remember playing the first practice round and the second practice round, and I was like, ‘You know what? This place is really cool. I get it now. I get why this is one of the coolest places to play in the world.’ So it took me two tournaments to figure that out.”



However, not everyone had a bad first experience.

“For me it’s the most special place in golf,” said Shane Lowry. “We’re lucky enough on the European Tour we get to play there every year in the Dunhill Links. The first time I played it it was amazing. I was lucky the second time I played it was in the Open Championship in 2010. I’m not sure how the golf course would rate if it wasn’t where it is, but as regards to the whole aura about the place. That’s what makes it for me.”

“It’s always been a magical place,” said Justin Rose. “That atmosphere on holes No. 1 and 18, you feel like the walls are watching. There could be not a soul around, but it has that magical vibe about it, and you almost feel like your adrenaline is going and you could be the only person around. And very few places have that magic.”

It certainly helps to try and gain a little course knowledge before arriving. Jordan Spieth, who is trying to win the third leg of the Grand Slam, said last week he had been prepping for the Old Course by playing it on the simulator in his home in Dallas.

While simulators weren’t available in Ben Crenshaw’s day, he also studied up before his first round at St. Andrews.

“I had seen pictures of it before and kind of knew a little bit of what I was going to see,” Crenshaw said. “I must say when you see it for the first time just off the side you go, ‘God, where’s the course?’ Because it’s encased in two other golf courses. And it’s a narrow strip within these courses, and you’re looking up, ‘Where is it?’

“But when you see it and play it for the first time it’s not like anything else in the world. If you talk about knowing a golf course, there is a lifetime of knowing about that course, and discovering different ways to play it is the fascination of it. I’m looking forward to watching the British Open this year because a British Open at St. Andrews is extra special. I’ve always enjoyed watching how people get around it because there’s a million ways to play it and it changes all the time and you have to know it. You have to have a knowledge of it unlike any other. It’s very difficult [for a] first-timer to win there.”

But no one had a first experience with the Old Course quite like Gary Player. So we’ll leave you with the Black Knight’s equivalent of a mic drop for first impressions of St. Andrews.

“My first experience at St. Andrews was far from the typical trip a professional golfer will have today, and my first impressions of the Old Course were forgettable,” Player said via email. “It was 1955, and my golf club in South Africa took up a collection to fund my ticket to the UK. “Not being able to find affordable accommodations, I went and slept on the beach the first night. I put on my waterproofs and my sweater and I slept curled up in a sand dune. That is quite unfathomable in today’s game, but there I was on my first trip sleeping under the stars! “You have to remember that St. Andrews is not a typical Open Championship course. The fairways are wide and generous, and there is not a great premium for driving the ball. That did not stop me from missing it completely on my first shot. I missed it so bad that the starter asked, ‘What’s your handicap?’ I am certain that I could never forget my first time teeing it up at St. Andrews even if I tried.

“Although my first round at the Old Course left a sour taste in my mouth, St. Andrews is a place you grow to love – especially the town and the people. The golf course was built hundreds of years ago, but continues to stand the test of time. Incredible. It is a golf course that you have to play a couple times to understand and fully comprehend the strategy of the course, and I truly think that the designers were ahead of their time.”

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

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 16, 2018, 9:30 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.

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John Deere purse payout: Kim wins a million

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 16, 2018, 9:07 am

Michael Kim won his first PGA Tour event, and with it, over $1 million. Here's how the purse was paid out at the John Deere Classic.

1 Michael Kim -27 $1,044,000
T2 Francesco Molinari -19 $382,800
T2 Joel Dahmen -19 $382,800
T2 Sam Ryder -19 $382,800
T2 Bronson Burgoon -19 $382,800
6 Harold Varner, III -18 $208,800
T7 Kevin Streelman -16 $168,780
T7 John Huh -16 $168,780
T7 Chad Campbell -16 $168,780
T7 Keith Mitchell -16 $168,780
T7 Andres Romero -16 $168,780
T12 Scott Brown -15 $117,450
T12 Steve Wheatcroft -15 $117,450
T12 Tyler Duncan -15 $117,450
T12 Matt Jones -15 $117,450
T16 Zach Johnson -14 $81,366
T16 Mackenzie Hughes -14 $81,366
T16 Whee Kim -14 $81,366
T16 Parker McLachlin -14 $81,366
T16 Seamus Power -14 $81,366
T16 David Hearn -14 $81,366
T16 Johnson Wagner -14 $81,366
T23 Dominic Bozzelli -13 $48,886
T23 Joaquin Niemann -13 $48,886
T23 John Merrick -13 $48,886
T23 Chris Kirk -13 $48,886
T23 Richy Werenski -13 $48,886
T23 Derek Fathauer -13 $48,886
T23 Fabian Gomez -13 $48,886
T30 Patton Kizzire -12 $36,830
T30 Jason Bohn -12 $36,830
T30 Chris Stroud -12 $36,830
T30 Robert Garrigus -12 $36,830
T34 Hunter Mahan -11 $27,453
T34 C.T. Pan -11 $27,453
T34 John Senden -11 $27,453
T34 Vaughn Taylor -11 $27,453
T34 Austin Cook -11 $27,453
T34 J.J. Henry -11 $27,453
T34 Nick Taylor -11 $27,453
T34 Cody Gribble -11 $27,453
T34 Denny McCarthy -11 $27,453
T43 Nick Hardy -10 $18,096
T43 Dylan Meyer -10 $18,096
T43 Troy Merritt -10 $18,096
T43 Steve Stricker -10 $18,096
T43 Patrick Rodgers -10 $18,096
T43 Ricky Barnes -10 $18,096
T43 Blayne Barber -10 $18,096
T50 Tom Lovelady -9 $13,990
T50 Kevin Tway -9 $13,990
T50 Hudson Swafford -9 $13,990
T50 Stuart Appleby -9 $13,990
T50 Corey Conners -9 $13,990
T55 Conrad Shindler -8 $13,108
T55 Ryan Moore -8 $13,108
T55 Ryan Blaum -8 $13,108
T55 Andrew Landry -8 $13,108
T55 Matt Atkins -8 $13,108
T60 Nick Watney -7 $12,644
T60 Lanto Griffin -7 $12,644
T60 Sam Saunders -7 $12,644
T63 Mark Wilson -6 $12,354
T63 Kelly Kraft -6 $12,354
T65 Benjamin Silverman -4 $12,006
T65 Arjun Atwal -4 $12,006
T65 Brett Stegmaier -4 $12,006
T65 J.T. Poston -4 $12,006
T69 Nicholas Lindheim -3 $11,658
T69 Tommy Gainey -3 $11,658
71 Kris Blanks -2 $11,484
MDF Chesson Hadley -3 $11,136
MDF Bill Haas -3 $11,136
MDF David Lingmerth -3 $11,136
MDF George McNeill -3 $11,136
MDF Martin Flores -3 $11,136
MDF Ryan Palmer -2 $10,730
MDF Sean McCarty -2 $10,730
MDF Andrew Putnam -1 $10,556
MDF D.J. Trahan E $10,440
MDF Brian Stuard 1 $10,324
MDF Brendon de Jonge 3 $10,208
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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 16, 2018, 9:00 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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Davies wins by 10 on 'best ball-striking round'

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 1:53 am

WHEATON, Ill. - Laura Davies immediately recognized the significance of having her name inscribed on the first U.S. Senior Women's Open trophy.

It might be a long time before anyone secures the title as emphatically as Davies did.

Davies went virtually unchallenged in Sunday's final round of the inaugural USGA championship for women 50 and older, claiming the title by 10 strokes over Juli Inkster.

''It's great seeing this (trophy) paraded down for the very first time and I get my name on it first, you know?'' Davies said. ''This championship will be played for many years and there will only be one first winner - obviously a proud moment for me to win that.''

The 54-year-old Davies shot a 5-under 68 to finish at 16-under 276 at Chicago Golf Club.

It was the English player's 85th career win, and she felt the pressure even though her lead was rarely in danger.

''I haven't won for eight years - my last win was India, 2010,'' Davies said. ''So that's the pressure you're playing under, when you're trying to do something for yourself, prove to yourself you can still win.

''So this ranks highly up there. And obviously it's a USGA event. It's hard comparing tournaments, but this is very high on my list of achievements.''

A 7-under 66 Saturday provided Davies with a five-shot lead over Inkster and what she said would be a sleepless night worrying about the pressure.


Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


The World Golf Hall of Famer widened her advantage early Sunday when she birdied the par-5 second hole and Inkster made bogey. Davies said a par she salvaged at the 10th was another turning point.

''It wasn't the greatest hole I ever played, but I think that, to me, was when I really started to think I might have one hand on the trophy and just had to get the other one in there.''

Inkster shot an even-par 73. England's Trish Johnson also shot 73 to finish third, 12 shots back.

''I mean, she was absolutely spectacular this week,'' Johnson said about Davies. ''I've played against her for 35 years. Yesterday was the best I have ever seen her play in her entire career.

''She just said walking down 18 it was best ball-striking round she ever had. Considering she's won 85 tournaments, that's quite some feat.''

Danielle Ammaccapane was fourth and Yuko Saito finished fifth. Martha Leach was the top amateur, tying for 10th at 6-over 298.

Davies plans to play in the Women's British Open next month, and called this win a confidence-booster as she continues to compete against the younger generation. She finished tied for second at the LPGA's Bank of Hope Founders Cup earlier this year.

''You build up a little bit of momentum, and a golf course is a golf course,'' Davies said. ''Sometimes the field strength is a little bit different, but in your own mind if you've done something like this, 16 under for four rounds around a proper championship course, it can't do anything but fill you full of confidence.''