Weekend Preview

TigerWoodsPGA Tour
Quicken Loans National
Dates: July 30-Aug. 2
Venue: Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, Gainesville, Va.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 2:30-6:30 p.m. (Live) / 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. (Replay)
Friday 2:30-6:30 p.m. (Live) / 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday 1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday 1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 10 p.m.-3 a.m. (Replay)

Though this is the ninth year of the Quicken Loans National, this year will be the first time the event is held at a new venue, Robert Trent Jones Golf Club. The golf club has hosted previous Presidents Cups from 1994, 1996, 2000, and 2005. Along with the new location is a new slot on the calendar, for the first time after the Open Championship.

Justin Rose is the defending champion this week. Rose won the event by defeating Shawn Stefani in a playoff on the first hole at Congressional Country Club last year. That win marked the sixth for the Englishman.

Notables in the field this week include Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Jimmy Walker, Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, Ernie Els, Bill Haas, Tony Finau, Ollie Schniederjans, Sangmoon Bae and Gary Woodland.

Tiger Woods is making an appearance this week following the missed cut at the Open Championship. Following the Open Woods thought his poor performance was due to “spin rates” being off. In a press conference earlier this week Woods says his spin rates have checked out.

CHAMPIONS TOUR
3M Championship
Dates: July 31-Aug. 2
Venue: TPC Twin Cities, Blaine, Minn.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Friday Noon-2 p.m. (Live) / 2-4 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday 3-6 p.m. (Live) / 2:30-5:30 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday 3-6 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 a.m. (Monday replay)

Greats of Golf Challenge during Saturday’s coverage: On Saturday, Golf Channel will feature the tournament’s “Greats of Golf Challenge” – which has been held since 2004 – which will include LPGA icons Annika Sorenstam, Nancy Lopez, Pat Bradley along with PGA TOUR greats Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller, Tony Jacklin and Tom Weiskopf, among others. Those competing in Saturday’s “Greats of Golf Challenge” will tee off immediately following the final scheduled tee time for Champions

Kenny Perry is the defending champion this week. Perry finished one stroke ahead of Bernhard Langer for his seventh Champions Tour victory.

Headlining the field: Bernhard Langer, Tom Watson, Kenny Perry, Tom Lehman, Jay Haas, John Cook, Ian Woosnam, Lee Janzen, Rocco Mediate, Corey Pavin and Kirk Triplett.

WEB.COM TOUR
Utah Championship
Dates: July 30-Aug. 2
Venue: Golf Club at Thanksgiving Point, Lehi, Utah

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 6:30-9 p.m. (Live)
Friday 6:30-9 p.m. (Live)
Saturday 6-9 p.m. (Live)
Sunday 6-9 p.m. (Live) / 5-6 a.m. (Monday replay)

After 16 years at Willow Creek Country Club the Utah Championship moves to the Johnny Miller designed Thanksgiving Point.

Headlining the field: Oliver Goss, Trevor Immelman, Patton Kizzire, Matthew Goggin, Steve Marino, Jamie Lovemark, Trey Mullinax, Abraham Ancer, Si Woo Kim and Cody Gribble.

EUROPEAN TOUR
Satire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play
Dates: July 30-Aug. 2
Venue: Murcar Links Golf Club, Aberdeen, Scotland

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 7:30-9:30 a.m. / 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (Live)
Friday 9 a.m.-Noon (Live)
Saturday 6-8 a.m. / 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (Live)
Sunday 5:30-7:30 a.m. / 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (Live)

Scotsman Paul Lawrie hosts this new event at Murcar Links Golf Club in Aberdeen, Scotland. The Satire Energy is a 64-man, single-elimination match play event.

Headlining the field: Paul Lawrie, Thorbjorn Olesen, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Alexander Levy, Peter Uihlein, Richie Ramsay, Marc Warren, Alvaro Quiros, Robert Karlsson, John Daly.

Lost Golf Ball Without Penalty

091212-embedded-golf-ballDid you know there is a situation covered in the rules of golf in which a player could lose a ball without incurring a penalty?  Normally a “lost ball” would mean that the player would have to replay a new ball from the spot in which the original ball was lost, under penalty of one stroke.  So if one hits a shot (1), then loses the ball (1 penalty stroke), then hits the dropped ball (3), the stroke total from that point would be three. This is not a fun situation and can be a score-wrecker!

Abnormal Ground Conditions

A lost ball in “abnormal ground conditions” however, would mean the player could drop a ball one club length from the nearest point of relief from the abnormal condition, without penalty.

So what is an abnormal condition? An “abnormal ground condition” is any casual water, ground under repair or hole, cast or runway on the course made by a burrowing animal, a reptile or a bird.

In order for the free drop to be legal, the player(s) must be absolutely certain that the ball is in the abnormal ground condition. If there is any doubt the free drop would not apply and a likely stroke and distance penalty would be in order, unless the ball went into a hazard. In that case another set of rules regarding hazards comes into play.

Conclusion

In short, a player may be entitled to a free drop one club from the point in which a lost ball entered an abnormal ground condition. Such a condition might be an area of the course which is under repair like an area being re-sodded. Another example might be a flooded low point of a fairway with standing water. A third could be an area which the ball disappeared into a burrowing animal track or hole.

Once again though, the player(s) must be 100% certain the ball was lost in the abnormal conditions, and nowhere else.

Knowing the rules can save you strokes!

Weekend Wrap

IMG_0575PGA TOUR
RBC Canadian Open
Dates: July 23-26
Venue: Glen Abbey Golf Club, Oakville, Ont., Canada

Jason Day has been coming so close to victories in the major championships over the years with many top five finishes and several misses by one shot, like the Open Championship two weeks ago.

Perhaps the pressure of winning a non-major is easier to deal with? One might conclude so following the victory of Jason Day at last week’s RBC Canadian Open. Perhaps it was simply a case of a lot of experience dealing with pressure down the stretch.

It was looking good for Canadian golfer David Hearn coming down the final nine holes. Hearn was hoping to be the first Canadian to win the RBC Canadian Open in 61 years. But Jason Day rallied with three consecutive birdies on the final three holes to seal the victory in front of his not-home home of Canada? Wait what? See below.

“I’ve never felt so much at home, and I’m not even from Canada. I’m looking forward to coming back and defending the title here next year because I know that when I get here next year it’s going to be the same. It’s great to feel like a Canadian for a week.” ~Jason Day

One highlight of Day’s round was on the par-4 17th, where he launched a massive 386 yard drive. Wow.

EUROPEAN TOUR
Omega European Masters
Dates: July 23-26
Venue: Cans-sur-Sierre GC (Severiano Ballesteros Course), Crans-Montana, Switzerland

This week’s European Tour story is similar to the PGA Tour angle, regarding players who came close in the Open and win the following week. In this case the player is England’s Danny Willett. In the waning holes of the Open Championship Willett was in position to win, but like Day was not able to close the deal.

Willett held off fellow English golfer Matthew Fitzpatrick by one shot to close out the win at the Omega European Masters. The win marks Willetts third on the European Tour. Willett was tied for the lead heading into the final round and fired a flawless bogey-free round of 65 to claim the one-stroke victory.

LPGA TOUR
Meijer LPGA Classic
Dates: July 23-26
Venue: Blythefield Country Club, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Popular LPGA golfer Lexi Thompson captured her fifth victory on the LPGA Tour this past week at the Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft. Thompson’s final round featured eight birdies en route to a 65 and a one stroke margin of victory over Gerina Piller and Lizette Salas.

“It feels amazing. It still hasn’t really hit me yet because everything happened so fast. But it was a great day out there and we had perfect weather for it, so couldn’t ask for anything more.” ~Lexi Thompson

This week’s victory marks the fifth LPGA Tour win for Thompson.

Save a Life. Get Golf Lessons.

Vine is a place I’ve yet to truly tap into for entertaining golf videos. Here’s hillarious find though. I wasn’t sure it was possible to do this, but when the swing is bad enough, it is possible to hit one’s self with a golf ball.

If this is you, it is strongly suggested that you find your nearest PGA professional and invest in some lessons before attempting another golf swing. It will not only help your game, it could save a life, including your own.

Posted in Fun |

Weekend Preview

PGA TOUR
RBC Canadian Open
Dates: July 23-26
Venue: Glen Abbey Golf Club, Oakville, Ont., Canada

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 3-6 p.m. (Live) / 6:30-9:30 p.m. (Replay)
Friday 3-6 p.m. (Live) / 6:30-9:30 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday 1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 6:30-11 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday 1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 7-11:30 p.m. (Replay)

Thank goodness for private jets! There are 27 players in the field this week at the RBC Canadian Open who also competed in last week’s Open Championship in St. Andrews, Scotland. It’s only 3,300 miles.

Two top ten finishers in the Open last week are in this week’s field, Brooks Koepka and Jason Day. Day narrowly missed the playoff last week by one stroke. Another top name in the field who was in the Open is Bubba Watson. Watson missed the cut however.

Lastly from the Open last week is now former amateur Ollie Schniederjans. The the two-time NCAA first-team All-American from Georgia Tech was an amateur last week but has turned pro starting this week.

Local favorite Mike Weir announced that he is taking a leave from golf to work on personal/family issues and will not be competing this week, and for an indefinite period going forward.

Tim Clark finished one shot ahead of Jim Furyk for his second career PGA TOUR win at the RBC Canadian Open last year and is the defending champion.

Headlining the field: Bubba Watson, Jason Day, Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Ernie Els, Steve Stricker, Brooks Koepka, Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald and Ollie Schniederjans.

EUROPEAN TOUR
Omega European Masters
Dates: July 23-26
Venue: Cans-sur-Sierre GC (Severiano Ballesteros Course), Crans-Montana, Switzerland

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 5-7 a.m. / 9 a.m.-Noon (Live) / 3-4:30 a.m. (Friday replay)
Friday 5-7 a.m. / 9 a.m.-Noon (Live) / 3-6 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday 6:30-10:30 a.m. (Live) / 2:30-4:30 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday 5-10 a.m. (Live) / 3:30-6 a.m. (Monday replay)

This week’s Omega European Masters is being played the week after the Open for the first time since 1977. This event is co-sanctioned between the European Tour and Asian Tour.

31 players from last week’s Open Championship are in the field at the Omega European Masters, including top-10 finishers Sergio Garcia and Danny Willet.

David Lipsky is the defending champion this week having defeated Graeme Storm with a par on the first playoff hole for his first career European Tour victory.

Headlining the field: Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Danny Willet, Lee Westwood, Bernd Wiesberger, Anirban Lahiri, Victor Dubuisson, George Coetzee and David Lipsky.

Inbee ParkLPGA TOUR
Meijer LPGA Classic
Dates: July 23-26
Venue: Blythefield Country Club, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday Noon-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 1-3 a.m. (Friday replay)
Friday Noon-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 1-3 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday 3-6 p.m. (Live) / 11:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (Replay)
Sunday 3-6 p.m. (Tape delay) / 12:30-3:30 a.m. (Monday replay)

Inbee Park, women’s world #1 golfer, looks to add another victory to the three she has this season.

Mirim Lee outlasted Inbee Park with a birdie on the second playoff hole to earn her first LPGA Tour win.

Headlining the field: Inbee Park, So Yeon Ryu, Amy Yang, Anna Nordqvist, Brittany Lincicome, Lexi Thompson, Cristie Kerr, Mirim Lee, Minjee Lee and Morgan Pressel.

2015 British Open Championship Wrap

CKYRqYcWcAEk_5iIt took until Monday to wrap up the British Open.  High winds delayed the second round, pushing it into Saturday.  The R&A officials weighed their options and concluded that an 18 hole final round on Monday was the best option.  Yes, for those who follow links golf a “high wind delay” does seem a bit odd.

Close But No Cigar

The lead on Monday’s final round was shared or tied by nine different players at various points in the round.  Even more players were close to the lead.

Adam Scott was close to the lead until missing an 18 inch putt which derailed his mojo.  Once tied for the lead, Scott limped home in the final nine holes with a 40 which put him in a tie for 10th place.

Dustin Johnson was the leader after the first two days at -10, but lost his birdie ways in the final two rounds with two 75’s.  He would finish in a tie for 49th.

Jordan Spieth was the biggest news item coming into the Open, having won the Masters and the U.S. Open this year, along with two other regular PGA Tour wins.  A chance for the grand slam, winning all four majors in one season, was historic.  Spieth’s performance was nothing short of spectacular, but it was something short of winning.  One shot in fact.  Spieth’s bogey on the 17th Road Hole after making a mega-long birdie putt on 16 meant he would have to birdie the final hole to join the playoff.  To most viewers’ surprise, he couldn’t convert on the easy 18th.  The grand slam dream was done.  One shot short.

Amateur Paul Dunne shot up the leaderboard in the third round with a 66.  His first two rounds were 69’s, making him the only player in the field with all first three rounds in the 60’s.  Dunne had a shot at history as well, having already been the first amateur since Bobby Jones to share or hold the lead going into the final round.  That was back in 1927.   Dunne started off shaky and couldn’t quite recover, carding a final round 78 and dropping from first place to a tie for 30th.  Still fantastic for an amateur player who barely qualified for the event.

Aussie Jason Day was close to, or tied for the lead through much of the final few holes.  Day may have the most close calls in majors in the past 5-10 years.  Like Spieth, Day had to make birdie on the 18th hole to join the playoff.  Amazingly the long hitter could only muster a tearful par.  Day will get his day, so to speak.

The last time the Open was played in St Andrews the champion was Louis Oosthuizen.  It would seem his game is well suited for the Old Course.  Oosthuizen held the lead after three rounds but struggled with his swing during the final round.  Amazingly his off-strikes were just good enough to keep the ball in play.  Like Day and Spieth, Louis needed birdie on the 18th hole to join the playoff.  Unlike Day and Spieth, Louis made the putt.   His playoff was solid at even par for the four holes, just one shy of the win.

Other notables who were close included Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, and Danny Willet.  A stroke saved here and there for those respective players would have made the difference.

Not Close and No Cigar

Tiger Woods fired his worst round in a major at the Old Course in the first round, a 76.  He followed that up with a 75 which took two days to complete.  Jokingly he made it to the weekend.  Woods’s game seems to be as lost as a ball in Old Course gorse bushes.  Not even Woods himself seems to know what the issue is, having mentioned looking at his “spin rates” to see what the problem was.

After hovering around the cut, Bubba Watson missed the cut after a horrible triple bogey derailed his second round.   It seems the two-time Masters champ is still trying to figure out links golf, with all its quirks.

So Long

Tom Watson said his goodbyes to major championship golf this week, looking to the sky on the Swilken Bridge, then waving to the loving crowd of Scots and fans from around the world.  Winning five Open Championships will earn that love.

Another farewell was that of Nick Faldo.  Faldo sportingly waved goodbye on the Swilken Bridge as well, wearing the same ugly sweater he wore when he won the Open back in 1987.  If the move proved anything, it was ugly sweaters stand the test of time.

Monday History at The Open

Open-GolfMonday Finish at The Open

Tune in today (Monday) to ESPN folks, for Open Championship final round coverage which starts at 6 a.m. eastern time.  No matter what happens or how the crowded leaderboard unfolds, history will be made.

Weather Delays

In case you were not aware, the Open Championship (British Open) has had some delays due to bad weather.  High winds made completing the second round Friday impossible and play was suspended.  Yes, it does sound strange to hear the Open, St. Andrews, and links golf having a suspension of play due to wind.  As they say in Scotland, nae wind, nae gowf.  But since the R&A and professional tours have decided to speed the normally slow greens on the Old Course up, winds were blowing balls off the greens.  When that happens the must stop play.

The delays moved play about a day off and the 3rd round was contested Sunday, but let’s go back a bit to the first two rounds.

Notables Who Missed The Cut

Tiger Woods struggled in round one with a 76, his worst score ever on the Old Course in the Open.  A lackluster second round 75 which completed on Saturday (yes Tiger made it to the weekend… #joke) left Woods five shots off of the cut and 17 shots behind the then leader Dustin Johnson.  More questions than answers remain regarding the state of Tiger Woods’s golf game.

Long hitting Bubba Watson had a decent first round, but a late triple in his second round dashed his hopes of making the final two rounds.  Links golf seems to be a mystery to Watson.

Speaking of players named Watson, Tom Watson’s career major ending round was on the Old Course this week.  The five time Open Champion, a favorite in Scotland and the UK, said goodbye from the Swilken Bridge, the same place Jack Nicklaus said goodbye to majors 10 years ago.

Former Open champion John Daly showed signs of life with a first round 71, but missed the cut after a final round 74.

Others who missed the cut include Ian Poulter, Miguel Angel Jimenez, JB Holmes and Darren Clarke.

PaulDunneandCaddie

Dunne and caddie

Packed Leaderboard

The leaderboard for Monday’s final round is packed.  There are 14 players within three shots of the lead.  In major championships, especially at the Old Course where one bad swing can mean a double or a triple, the field is wide open.

The biggest stories of the event so far include two players who are 21 and 22 years of age respectively.  Jordan Spieth (21) has a shot at history, having won the first two majors of 2015 in the Masters and the U.S. Open.  Spieth sits one shot behind the leaders at -11, not in the final group.  This is a similar position to a few weeks ago when he came from behind to win the U.S. Open at Chambers bay.  A win for Spieth would put him at three legs of the grand slam, winning all four major championships in one season.  Not even Tiger Woods did that, though he did win four majors in a row, calling it the “Tiger slam.”

Atop the leaderboard sits aussie Jason Day.  Day has been knocking at the door of major championships for many years, but fighting vertigo has made sealing the deal difficult.  Day seems to have worked out the vertigo issues.

Louis Oosthuizen knows how to win the Open at St. Andrews.  He did it the last time the Open was played on the Old Course in 2010.  He too sits at -12 along with Day and one other player.

The other player tied for the lead at -12 is an unknown amateur from Ireland named John Dunne.  Dunne shot up the leaderboard in the third round with a 66.  Only one player in the entire field shot in the 60’s for the first three rounds, Dunne.  The last time an amateur had a lead in the Open after three rounds was in 1927, Bobby Jones.  I doubt Dunne will have the nerves to pull off the win, but if he does the story will be one of the top five stories in golf in the last 100 years, no doubt.

Within Reach

Players who could win with a “special” round include Sergio Garcia, Padraig Harrington, and Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Marc Leishman, and Danny Willet.

Put your mouthpiece in and your crash helmet on and enjoy the final round of the Open.

Please DO NOT DO THIS

How much is a shiny Titleist ProV1 really worth?  Losing an arm?  Losing a leg?  Dying for?  Sure they’re expensive, but you have to be NUTS to do this.

It is not worth it people! We need you on the course and with all your limbs! Take a free drop and play on.  The rules of golf allow a free drop without penalty from a “dangerous situation.”  Use the rules and save yourself for another day.

Open Championship Preview

The Open Championship
The Old Course
St Andrews, Scotland

The third major championship of the 2015 golf season is upon us and what a great week it will be. Every five years the Open Championship (known to many in the USA as the “British Open”) is contested at the world’s greatest golf course, the Old Course. The Old Course is some 1400 years old, located in the town of St Andrews, Scotland. Every great player the game of golf has ever seen has contested on this course, and many like Tiger Woods, Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Seve Ballesteros, Bobby Jones… have won there.

Photo courtesy of Tony Korologos at HookedOnGolfBlog.com

Photo courtesy of Tony Korologos at HookedOnGolfBlog.com

There are many interesting plots to follow this year at the Open. Will Tiger Woods even make the cut? He missed the cut at the US Open at Chambers Bay and looked to be lost with his swing. The Old Course is one he has mastered in the past.

Rory McIlory was a leading contender until he injured himself kicking a soccer ball of all things. He will miss the Open and take six weeks to recover from the injury.

Bubba Watson is often flustered by links golf, but if he can hit it straight the course should be a pitch and putt venue for him, as well as Dustin Johnson.

The biggest question is how the hottest golfer on the planet will do, Jordan Spieth. Spieth has won four times on the 2015 PGA Tour season, including two majors in the Masters and the U.S. Open. With no weaknesses in his game to be found, could Spieth continue to make history by winning the first three majors of the year?

Other contenders include Jason Day, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, or even the mechanic, Miguel Angel Jimenez. Since the course is not long, many players will have an opportunity to contend, not just the bombers.

The Old Course will certainly be a feature to watch as well, with its quirky bounces, deep bunkers, and often very windy conditions. The course could play easy in no wind, like the year Tiger won the event at -18. In high winds, the course with its deep fescue could be brutal.

Old Course Details
Opened: 1552
Par: 72
Length: 7,305 yards
Course rating:72.1 rating
Previous British Opens: 28
Most recent champion at the Old Course: Louis Oosthuizen 2010

TV Schedule (All Times Eastern)

JULY 16 First Round
4 a.m. – 3 p.m. — ESPN

JULY 17 Second Round
4 a.m. – 3 p.m. — ESPN

JULY 18 Third Round
7 a.m. – 3 p.m. — ESPN

JULY 19 Final Round
6 a.m. – 3 p.m. — ESPN