Bickerton Holds Off Harrington for French Title

By Sports NetworkJuly 2, 2006, 4:00 pm
European TourPARIS -- John Bickerton fired a 2-under 69 on Sunday and edged Padraig Harrington by one shot to win the French Open.
Bickerton completed four rounds at 11-under-par 273 and earned $805,200 -- his largest career check and one of the top prizes on the European Tour. It was the 36-year-old Englishman's second tour victory.
'I've been out here a long time and it's nice to put some icing on the cake,' said Bickerton, who climbed to fifth on the tour money list and 10th on the European Tour Ryder Cup points list.
Harrington closed with a 5-under 66 to reach 10-under-par 274, claiming second place two weeks after finishing fifth at the U.S. Open.
Third-round leader Michael Campbell, the 2005 U.S. Open champion, sputtered in his final round, carding two bogeys and a double bogey at the 18th hole to finish with a 2-over 73 at Le Golf National's Albatross Course.
Campbell tied for third place with Marcus Fraser and Ian Poulter -- who both shot 69s -- at 8-under-par 276.
Bickerton has played 13 seasons on the European Tour, but it took him 12 seasons -- and 287 starts -- to claim his first title at the Abama Open de Canarias in October.
Career victory No. 2 came just 20 starts later and left Bickerton in a joking mood when asked what the title meant for the rest of the season.
'It means I'm a lot richer,' Bickerton said, laughing. 'This should make the year a lot more pleasing.'
Entering the round, Bickerton was one shot behind Campbell -- but with a birdie at the third and a Campbell bogey at No. 7, he held the lead around the turn at 10 under.
After both players birdied the 11th, Bickerton stuck his approach at the par-4 12th within a foot to set up another birdie and take a two-stroke advantage.
A 10-foot birdie putt at the 14th gave Bickerton a solid three-shot lead, but he ceded a shot at the 15th, where Campbell's bogey was still one stroke better than the leader's double bogey.
Bickerton's six at No. 15 was the result of him knocking his approach into the water guarding the green.
'It spun in the air and ballooned on me, so I had a lot of work to do after that,' Bickerton said.
Campbell gained a stroke with a birdie at the 16th, but found water and double bogeyed the 18th to hand Harrington second place alone.
Bickerton finished his round with three consecutive pars, including a scrambling four at the 17th where he saved himself with a chip to 7 feet after finding the rough twice.
The championship was sealed with a two-putt par from 35 feet on the 18th green. Bickerton left himself with a 2-foot knee-knocker to make the par.
'It was a little bit nerve-wracking coming down that last hole, which didn't make that last putt any easier,' said Bickerton. 'But I enjoyed it nonetheless.'
Harrington placed runner-up for the 22nd time in 10 years playing on the European Tour. His 66 on Sunday included seven birdies and two bogeys.
'I forgot how difficult taking second was,' said Harrington, a nine-time European Tour winner. 'But sometimes you have to be in the hunt before you win.'
Anders Hansen shot a 71 and finished in sixth place at 7-under-par 277, one shot ahead of Andrew Coltart, Richard Green and Peter O'Malley.
The oldest of the European continent Opens, this event was celebrating its 100th anniversary. Jean Van de Velde was the best among the French finishers, tying for 17th at minus-3 after a final-round 72.
France's Jean-Francois Remesy entered as the two-time defending champion. He shot a 73 on Sunday and tied for 40th place at plus-1.
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    Vegas helicopters in to Carnoustie, without clubs

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 9:33 am

    Jhonattan Vegas did some range work, putted a little and strolled to the first tee for his 5:31 a.m. ET start in the 147th Open Championship.

    Everything before that, however, was far from routine.

    Vegas' visa to travel to Scotland expired and the process to renew it got delayed - and it looked like his overseas' flight might suffer the same fate. Vegas, upon getting his visa updated, traveled from Houston, Texas to Toronto, Canada to Glasgow, Scotland, and then took a helicopter to Carnoustie.

    He arrived in time on Thursday morning, but his clubs did not. Mizuno put together some irons for him and was able to cobble together his preferred metal woods. He hit the clubs for the first time on the range, less than 90 minutes before his start.

    "I'm going to go out there and play with freedom," Vegas told Golf Channel's Todd Lewis.

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    How to watch The Open on TV and online

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:40 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  

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

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:30 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.