Newsmakers of the Year: Honorable mentions

By Will GrayDecember 8, 2015, 8:00 pm

A busy year in golf means that some compelling stories don’t make the cut.

There was history made in Scotland and drama at TPC Sawgrass. Trophies were won, sure – but some big names also let hardware slip through their fingers. Oh, and the clock on one of the game’s biggest rule changes continued to tick.

All gained headlines, but none of them were among the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. The list will be revealed, one by one, day by day, beginning Tuesday with No. 10 Donald Trump. For now, let’s take a look back at the honorable mentions from this past year:

Dustin Johnson: Johnson began the year on the sidelines, with his six-month leave of absence stretching into February. There were highlights both on and off the course, as the birth of his son, Tatum, was followed by a win at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March. But there were also lowlights, as Johnson three-putted the final green at Chambers Bay to lose the U.S. Open and then forfeited a 36-hole lead at St. Andrews the following month.

Grand Slam: One of the most elusive feats in golf entered the conversation not once, but twice this year. First it was Spieth, who gave the single-season slam its best run since 1953 when he captured both the Masters and the U.S. Open before coming up one shot short at the Open Championship.

Then there was the Grand Slam that wasn’t, as Inbee Park won her fourth different major at the Women’s British Open. The LPGA deemed it a career Grand Slam, but other outlets, including Golf Channel and the Associated Press, said no because the Evian Championship wasn’t deemed a major until 2013 – one year after Park won the event.

Eras: Has the Tiger Era closed? Has the Spieth Era begun? Is this the newest incarnation of the Big Three? Incredible performances from several of the top golfers in the world led many to paint in broad strokes this past year. Those narratives were aided by the fact that the rise of a new crop of stars coincided with Tiger Woods’ worst season ever. But the summer was dominated by Spieth and Jason Day, who along with Rory McIlroy separated from the pack atop the world rankings and drew comparisons to the halcyon days of Nicklaus, Palmer and Player.

R&A women members: After 260 years, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews became a co-ed institution. Its 2,400 members voted “overwhelmingly” in September to admit female members effective immediately, and the first wave of new additions included the likes of Annika Sorenstam and Laura Davies. Now the focus shifts to the three remaining all-male clubs in the Open rota – Muirfield, Royal Troon and Royal St. George’s.

The Players: It was arguably the most exciting tournament of the year, as storylines abounded on the Stadium Course. Woods, battling injury, made the cut on the number but never contended. Sergio Garcia nearly won the event where he and Woods had been embroiled in controversy two years prior, and Kevin Kisner continued his affinity for overtime.

But in the end, the event belonged to Rickie Fowler, who closed the tournament in historic fashion. Fowler birdied the famed par-3 17th hole three times on Sunday, including twice during a four-hole playoff, and outlasted both Garcia and Kisner to seal the biggest win of his career.

Bryson DeChambeau: When you join a list that includes the likes of Woods, Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson, you’re doing something right. DeChambeau completed an impressive double this summer, first winning the NCAA individual title then following with a U.S. Amateur victory in August. With his SMU team banned from the postseason next year, DeChambeau won’t return to defend his NCAA title, but it won’t be long before he and his evenly-measured clubs are on the PGA Tour.

Phil Mickelson: While Woods’ slide garnered more headlines, Mickelson’s season wasn’t much better. Sure, there was the runner-up at the Masters, but Lefty was largely absent from leaderboards, and at age 45, he hasn’t won since the 2013 Open Championship. He failed to reach the Tour Championship for the second straight season and ended the year by closing a significant chapter in his career, replacing longtime swing coach Butch Harmon with a relative unknown in Andrew Getson.

Anchoring ends: After being debated into the ground for more than a year, the anchoring era finally came to a close. Some anchorers opted to ride it out until the bitter end, as David Hearn and Tim Clark were seen using long putters well into the fall. Others, like Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley, used the year to transition to a shorter model, while Adam Scott couldn’t quite make up his mind.

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”