Everything finally falling into place for Johnson

By Will GrayJuly 4, 2016, 12:00 am

AKRON, Ohio – Little things have finally begun to add up in a big way for Dustin Johnson.

He’s been lurking all season long it seems, just off a bit in the distance. While Jason Day and Adam Scott and Jordan Spieth received a bulk of the attention with early wins, Johnson logged his T-8s and T-12s and went about his business, waiting for everything to fall into place.

Consider that wait over.

Johnson rallied from a three-shot deficit in the final round to win the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, toppling the world No. 1 in the process. After waiting 15 months in between wins, he now has left with the trophy each of the last two times he has teed it up.

The source of his recent run, according to Johnson, is rooted in the small stuff.

A draw off the tee stopped cooperating late last season, so Johnson decided to switch things up. He adopted a power cut shot – emphasis on power – and has never hit the ball better, or straighter, off the tee.

The putter, which so often has been his nemesis in recent years, has officially come around. Never was that more evident Sunday than on the 17th green, when he poured in a 16-foot birdie that gave him the lead.

Oh, and those wedges have begun to cooperate, too – an important factor for a guy who hits plenty of them and now leads the PGA Tour in proximity from 50-125 yards.

“He won for a reason,” said Scott Piercy, who finished second to Johnson for the second straight event. “That’s pretty awesome. We all know how good DJ is, and he’s shown it in the last two weeks.”

WGC-Bridgestone Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

If there was any sort of secrecy surrounding Johnson’s sudden return to form, the secret is out. His U.S. Open victory moved him past Rory McIlroy in the world rankings, and this latest trophy edged him ahead of Spieth to a career-best No. 2 in the world.

Day’s name may still be ahead of his, but there’s no question as to who the hottest player in the world is after the finish in Akron.

“I feel like if I’m hitting it in the fairway, I’m going to be very tough to beat,” Johnson said. “The last couple weeks my putter, I’m making the putts I’m supposed to make. That’s the big difference in me finishing a lot of top-5s that I’ve had this year to winning a few.”

Johnson appeared notably more relaxed throughout this week. Winning a major, and bringing to a screeching halt the incessant line of questions about when you’ll win one, tends to help loosen things up.

But he’s also a different man off the course than he was even a couple years ago thanks to his son, Tatum, who he had with him throughout the weekend with fiancée Paulina Gretzky out of town since Friday.

It’s a transition many elite players have undergone before him, but fatherhood appears to have centered Johnson both inside and outside the ropes.

“I mean, golf isn’t the most important thing anymore,” he said. “I don’t know if that helps or hurts, or what. But he’s most important, and whether I shoot a good score or a bad score, when I see him, it doesn’t matter.”

Thankfully for both father and son, there haven’t been many bad scores to work through in recent weeks.

In the span of a less than a month, Johnson has done more than just shed the label of an underachiever on the major stage. He has stamped his name as one of this generation’s most prolific winners, now with a major and three WGC titles among his 11 Tour victories.

 He has also now demonstrated a consistent ability to come from behind, even against the world’s best. Johnson’s 2015 win at Doral saw him erase a five-shot deficit during the final round, while his two wins this summer have been from four and three shots back, respectively.

With so much focus on who can close the best, and whose record with the 54-hole lead is the most impressive, Johnson’s no-nonsense approach has proved effective at chasing down leaders with increasing regularity.

“One thing I do know is, I can’t control what they’re doing. But hopefully I can control what I’m doing,” he said. “We’re all playing the same golf course. The way I look at it is, I go out there and handle my business, do what I need to do no matter what they’re doing.”

Johnson has been viewed as one of the Tour’s most physically gifted players for years, and he has turned those gifts into a fair number of wins.

But suddenly, with the convergence of a number of little factors both on and off the course, he’s peaking at just the right time. He has reached heights unprecedented in his nine-year career, and it appears to have only fueled his appetite for more.

“The goal is to get to that No. 1 spot. I’ve still got a lot of work to do to get there,” he said. “It’s not just getting there, you want to stay there. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

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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 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 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.”

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Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1