Stallings joins elite group with third win before 30

By Will GrayJanuary 27, 2014, 2:06 am

SAN DIEGO – Scott Stallings vividly recalls the moment when he first became interested in golf.

Watching Tiger Woods cruise to victory at the 1997 Masters, a 12-year-old Stallings was amazed by the dominant performance.

“Tiger was the one that made me want to play golf,” Stallings explained. “At that moment I quit everything, every sport I was playing and said that’s what I want to go do.”

Seventeen years and two PGA Tour victories later, Stallings, 28, emerged from a crowded leaderboard Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open to put his name next to Woods’ on the trophy that bears the trademark Torrey pine.

“Tiger’s the standard,” said Stallings, who fired a 4-under 68 to win by one shot over a quintet of players. “Having my name close to his in a great event that he’s obviously dominated is pretty awesome.”

With the scoring average finally dipping somewhat on the brutal South Course, Stallings notched seven birdies after beginning the day in a tie for sixth. His final birdie came after his approach to the par-5 18th flirted with rolling back into the greenside pond, but ultimately remained on the putting surface.

“I knew it was enough to carry,” he said. “I just didn’t realize it was going to be that close.”

Prior to that shot, however, the Sunday storyline revolved around the changing group of names near the top of the leaderboard. Ten different players held at least a share of the lead during the final round, and as many as 19 were within two shots as the leaders neared the halfway point of their round. By the time the final group reached the 15th tee, six players (including Stallings) were tied at 8 under.

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Not that any of that mattered to the eventual champ.

“I wasn’t going to look at a leaderboard,” Stallings said. “On this course, the moment you start worrying about what someone else is doing and how they’re handling themselves is the moment that this place will beat you down.”

After finding the fairway with his final tee shot, Stallings had 227 yards to the hole over water – an approach that was eerily similar to the final shot he faced last year at the Humana Challenge.

While his 6-iron at PGA West drifted left and ultimately splashed in the greenside hazard, this time his shot found its target, leading to a birdie that proved to be the difference. After the round, Stallings asserted that his collapse last year in the desert – where he squandered a five-shot lead on the final day – helped to focus him Sunday.

“I don’t think one would happen without the other,” Stallings said. “Obviously you don’t like hitting it in the water on the last hole and losing … but when you look back at it, that’s going to be something I’m going to think about every single time in that situation.”

Before Stallings was able to get both hands around the trophy, though, no shortage of players took a run at the top spot on the leaderboard.

First up was K.J. Choi, who carded the day’s low round of 66 and nearly played his way from the cut line to the winner’s circle before tying for second. Local favorite Pat Perez gave it a run, but a costly bogey at the par-3 16th ended his chances.

Next was Jason Day, still somehow in search of just his second PGA Tour win, but the Aussie was undone by a plugged lie in a bunker at the penultimate hole, and his lengthy eagle try at No. 18 slid just past.

The player who appeared poised to claim the title for much of the afternoon was not Stallings, but rather Gary Woodland, whose length off the tee proved an asset all week. Though he stayed in contention with a string of up-and-downs on the back nine, his title run came to a crashing halt at No. 17, where a drive into the hazard lining the fairway led to a double bogey.

“I tried to hit it down the right side and I just pulled it. Got a little greedy probably,” explained Woodland, who held the 54-hole lead but ultimately finished T-10. “It was just a bad golf swing.”

The last man standing, then, was Marc Leishman, who had hopes of claiming his second Tour win on Australia Day. Needing to hole his wedge approach for eagle at the final hole, he watched as the ball spun back toward the target but ultimately settled a few feet away.

“I thought it had a pretty good chance,” said Leishman, whose runner-up showing was his second such result at Torrey Pines since 2010. “It was always a fraction left, but I was hoping I had misread it.”

Having dodged that final bullet, Stallings became the sixth player under the age of 30 with three or more PGA Tour wins to his credit, joining Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Anthony Kim.

“You don’t get very many opportunities to win golf tournaments on this Tour, and I’ve been fortunate to come out ahead three times,” said Stallings, who last won at the 2012 Sanderson Farms Championship. “As a player, all you ever want is chances.”

As a result of Sunday’s triumph he’ll head back to the Masters this spring for the second time in his career. The prospect of teeing it up again at Augusta National brought a smile to his face as he recalled the performance that first drew him to the game.

“Just like pure domination,” he said of Woods’ Masters triumph in 1997. “He was going to beat them so bad they were going to end up having to like it.”

While his performance Sunday lacked the dominance Woods has often displayed, the end result was the same. Stallings made the most of his chance, fending off myriad challengers, and now will head home once more with trophy in hand.

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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.

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Four players vying for DJ's No. 1 ranking at Open

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 8:41 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Four players have an opportunity to overtake Dustin Johnson for world No. 1 this week.

According to Golf Channel world-rankings guru Alan Robinson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm each can grab the top spot in the world ranking.

Thomas’ path is the easiest. He would return to No. 1 with either a win and Johnson finishing worse than solo third, or even a solo runner-up finish as long as Johnson finishes worse than 49th.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Twenty years after his auspicious performance in The Open, Rose can get to No. 1 for the first time with a victory and Johnson finishing worse than a two-way tie for third.

Kopeka can rise to No. 1 if he wins consecutive majors, assuming that his good friend posts worse than a three-way tie for third.

And Rahm can claim the top spot with a win this week, a Johnson missed cut and a Thomas finish of worse than solo second.   

Johnson’s 15-month reign as world No. 1 ended after The Players. He wasn’t behind Thomas for long, however: After a tie for eighth at the Memorial, Johnson blew away the field in Memphis and then finished third at the U.S. Open to solidify his position at the top.