Weekend Wrap

TPC Four Seasons 18th Green

LPGA Tour
International Crown
Caves Valley Golf Club
Mills, Maryland

The new International Cup for the ladies is a Ryder Cup flavored event pitting international teams against each other. Points are scored in match play matches at two points for a win and one for a tie. The event is the first of its kind, a biennial competition featuring four-player teams from eight countries: USA, Spain, Sweden, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Australia.

The winner of the inaugural event was team Spain with a total of 15 points. Sweden came in a distant second place with 11 points. The USA team came in 3rd from last with only six points.

Champions Tour
Senior Open
Royal Porthcawl, Wales

German Bernhard Langer’s golf game is like a finely crafted German vehicle. His game is high performance, consistent, stylish, and can be downright explosive.

Langer brought that German golf engineering to the Senior British Open at Royal Porthcawl and lapped the field like the competitors were driving 1975 Ford Pintos.

Langer’s final margin of victory was 13 shots, the 2nd place finisher being Colin Montgomerie. That 13 shots is a new Champions Tour record, breaking the old margin of victory record of 12 strokes which was held by Hale Irwin from the Senior PGA Championship in 1997.

PGA Tour
Canadian Open
Royal Montreal Golf Club
Montreal, Canada

Jim Furyk looked to take his 3rd Canadian Open title as he came into the final round holding a three shot lead. As scoring was low, Furyk knew he couldn’t stand pat and that he would have to shoot 3-4 under par to secure the victory.

He didn’t.

South African Tim Clark came on strong in the final round, making birdie on five of the last eight holes. Clark’s back nine 30 and final round total of 65 overtook Furyk and secured a one shot victory.

Weekend Wrap – Open Championship

royalbirkdaleOpen Championship
Royal Liverpool
Hoylake, England

What a fantastic weekend of golf at Hoylake, also known as Royal Liverpool. Hoylake was the scene of the famous 2006 Open win for Tiger Woods.

Woods was one of the many stories coming into the event. Would he be as ready to compete as he said, following a return from back surgery? When asked by the media about his chances before the tournament he said he was there to win. But realistically, making the cut was a more reasonable goal. Woods did make the cut on the number, by making birdie on the final hole Friday.

By the end of Friday though, Woods was 12 shots behind the leader and would never be a threat the rest of the weekend.

Rory McIlory started the tournament with a fantastic 6-under round of 66 to lead the tournament after the first round. One of the most difficult things to do in golf is follow up a low round with another, but that is just what he did. A 2nd round 66 put McIlory at 12-under and firmly in command of the tournament.

McIlory’s lead varied, but for the most part was 4-6 shots for the bulk of the tournament, blowing up to seven at one point. Sergio Garcia put some pressure on McIlory during the final round, but McIlroy’s lead was too be for anyone to overcome.

McIlory’s ball striking and putting were quite impressive, leading to a wire-to-wire win.

With the win McIlory has moved to #2 in the world golf rankings. More importantly, he captured the Claret Jug and the 3rd leg of the four major championships. He’s one Masters win away from achieving the rare “grand slam,” owning all four major championships.

Ways to Watch the British Open

royalbirkdaleIf you are a night owl and love golf, this week is for you.  It is Open Championship week at Royal Birkdale.  Some know the Open Championship as the British Open.  If you’re not an night owl, your DVR technology is your friend.

Phil Mickelson is the defending champion, having won an unexpected Open Championship last year, along with the Scottish Open in 2013.

There are several ways to watch the broadcasts from across the pond.  ESPN is the carrier here in the USA, with coverage starting at 4:00 a.m Eastern Time Thursday and Friday, 7 a.m. Saturday and 6 a.m. Sunday.  See below.

JULY 17 First Round 4 a.m. – 3 p.m. — ESPN
JULY 18 Second Round 4 a.m. – 3 p.m. — ESPN
JULY 19 Third Round 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. — ESPN
JULY 20 Final Round 6 a.m. – 3 p.m. — ESPN

Live hole by hole coverage is also available on “Watch ESPN,” which is a subscription service for browsers or mobile devices.  Depending on your current television subscription package, you may be able to watch for free.  The Watch ESPN app is covering every shot of Tiger Woods through the entire 2014 Open Championship.

The Open website, at TheOpen.com, has all sorts of information, leaderboards, and even a live radio broadcast of the tournament as well.

Weekend Wrap

royalbirkdalePGA Tour
John Deere Classic
TPC Deere Run
Silvis, Illinois

This season on the PGA Tour has been very interesting in terms of how even the fields have been. There have been numerous first-time winners, a breakneck pace. Once again, the Tour produced a first-timer, this week at the John Deere.

This week’s first-time winner is the 27-year-old Brian Harman. Harman’s first victory came by holding off the very hot playing Zach Johnson. Harman’s final round 5-under 66 was enough to edge the veteran Johnson.

With the win many doors are opened up for the 27-year-old, not the least of which is the door to the bank with a winner’s check of $846,000. In addition to the cash Harman claimed the last exemption into this week’s British Open as well as invites to the Masters and the Tournament of Champions.

A good week.

European Tour
Scottish Open
Aberdeen, Scotland

Who is the hottest player on the planet right now? One might argue that distinction belongs to Justin Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champion. Rose claimed a victory last week at the Quicken Loans National at congressional. This week Rose displayed his links golf skills for a Scottish crowd, claiming the Scottish Open.

Last year’s Scottish Open winner was Phill Mickelson, who then carried that momentum into the British Open, claiming his first Claret Jug. Can Rose carry that same momentum? If so, he would have won his third event in as many weeks.

Women’s British Open
Royal Birkdale
Southport, England

Those watching the final round of the Women’s British Open were treated to an incredible golf shot on the last hole. Mo Martin was 240 out with a 3-wood in her hand at Royal Birkdale.  The shot was so pure and so on-line that hit ended up hitting the flagstick and nearly dropping for a double eagle.

“An absolutely perfect 3-wood.  When it was in the air, I said, `Sit.’ And then I said, `Stop.’ And then when it was going toward the hole, I said, `OK, I don’t have anything more to say to that ball.’ I actually heard it hit the pin. It’s definitely one to remember.” ~Mo Martin

The ball settled to six feet, where Martin would drain the eagle put, securing a one-shot victory for her first major win.

Phil Mickelson’s Short Game on Display at Scottish Open

How fun is this?  We all know how great Phil Mickelson’s short game is and now we get to see a little comparison between him and many PGA Tour and European Tour players at the Scottish Open.  Check the video below, the Mickelson challenge.  In the video tour pros like Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlory hit flop shots over a cardboard cutout of Mickelson.

Keep in mind that the ground they are hitting off of is very hard.  Most amateur golfers from the USA could blade these shots because of the bounce of the golf club.

There are some other great Phil short game happenings this week already.  During a practice round Mickelson hit a flop shot over his own head, backwards.  He also made par off of a road.

If you get the chance, watch some of the Scottish Open this weekend.  It is quite entertaining.

Women’s British Open Preview

RICHOH Women’s British Open
Royal Birkdale Golf Club
Southport, Lancashire, UK
Par: 72

This week marks the beginning of a great time in the professional golf world. We have a couple of weeks of links style golf, starting with the LPGA and the international professional women golfers at the RICHOH Women’s British Open.

The venue for this year’s Women’s British Open is Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, Lancashire, United Kingdom. This links course plays to a par of 72 for the ladies and the event is 72 holes of stroke play.  How the ladies adjust to links style golf will be interesting to watch.

royalbirkdale

Stacey Lewis is the defending champion. Michelle Wie is perhaps the hottest lady in golf now and should be a big factor.  Other notables to keep an eye on in the field include Tiger Woods’s niece Cheyenne Woods, Suzann Pettersen, Lexi Thompson and Inbee Park.

TV Times

TH Jul 10 – ESPN2 9:00 AM-12:00 PM ET
FR Jul 11 – ESPN2 9:00 AM-12:00 PM ET
SA Jul 12 – ESPN2 8:00 AM-12:00 PM ET
SU Jul 13 – ESPN2 8:00 AM-12:00 PM ET

Full Field

Sun-Ju Ahn
Holly Aitchison
Marina Alex
Beth Allen
Amy Anderson
Bree Arthur
Maria Balikoeva
Laetitia Beck (a)
Christel Boeljon
Amy Boulden
Stacy Lee Bregman
Becky Brewerton
Cathryn Bristow
Hannah Burke
Katie Burnett
Nikki Campbell
Dori Carter
Chella Choi
Na Yeon Choi
Carlota Ciganda
Holly Clyburn
Jacqui Concolino
Paula Creamer
Laura Davies
Valentine Derrey
Paz Echeverria
Austin Ernst
Jodi Ewart Shadoff
Shanshan Feng
Katie Futcher
Sandra Gal
Sophie Giquel-Bettan
Julieta Granada
Georgia Hall (a)
Erina Hara
Mina Harigae
Caroline Hedwall
Mamiko Higa
Charley Hull
Karine Icher
Jeong Jang
Eun-Hee Ji
Tiffany Joh
Trish Johnson
Malene Jorgensen
Hannah Jun Medlock
Ariya Jutanugarn
Danielle Kang
Haeji Kang
Kim Kaufman
Stacey Keating
Sarah Kemp
Cristie Kerr
Christina Kim
I.K. Kim
Joanna Klatten
Lydia Ko
P.K. Kongkraphan
Jessica Korda
Candie Kung
Vikki Laing
Brittany Lang
Louise Larsson
Ilhee Lee
Jee Young Lee
Meena Lee
Mi Hyang Lee
Minjee Lee (a) *
Mirim Lee
Camilla Lennarth
Amelia Lewis
Stacy Lewis
Xi Yu Lin
Brittany Lincicome
Pernilla Lindberg
Diana Luna
Player Name
Mo Martin
Caroline Masson
Catriona Matthew
Kristy McPherson
Stephanie Meadow
Ai Miyazato
Mika Miyazato
Rikako Morita
Belen Mozo
Azahara Munoz
Stephanie Na
Misuzu Narita
Gwladys Nocera
Haru Nomura
Anna Nordqvist
Ji Young Oh
Su-Hyun Oh (a)
Shiho Oyama
Lee-Anne Pace
Se Ri Pak
Brooke Pancake
Hee Young Park
Inbee Park
Florentyna Parker
Emily K. Pedersen (a)
Suzann Pettersen
Pornanong Phatlum
Gerina Piller
Titiya Plucksataporn
Morgan Pressel
Beatriz Recari
Marion Ricordeau
So Yeon Ryu
Miki Saiki
Lizette Salas
Onnarin Sattayabanphot
Dewi Claire Schreefel
Giulia Sergas
Alena Sharp
Jenny Shin
Jiyai Shin
Ashleigh Simon
Marianne Skarpnord
Sarah Jane Smith
Klara Spilkova
Nontaya Srisawang
Angela Stanford
Karen Stupples
Thidapa Suwannapura
Emma Talley (a)
Lauren Taylor
Lexi Thompson
Yani Tseng
Ayako Uehara
Mariajo Uribe
Line Vedel
Kylie Walker
Sophie Walker
Alison Walshe
Ayaka Watanabe
Sally Watson
Karrie Webb
Linda Wessberg
Michelle Wie
Cheyenne Woods
Amy Yang
Sun Young Yoo
Liz Young

Weekend Wrap

americanflagPGA Tour
Greenbrier Classic
The Greenbrier Resort
White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

For years it has been a strange golf fact that Angel Cabrera could only win one type of tournament on U.S. soil, major championships. The 44-year-old Argentie had two wins in the USA, the 2007 U.S. Open and the 2009 Masters. Strangely, a players with the skills to win at the absolute highest level in major championships had yet to win a “regular” tour event.

That oddity is no longer.

This past weekend at the Greenbrier Classic, Cabrera came into the tournament with no top 10 finishes and a FedEx Cup ranking of 154. After dropping a pair of 64’s on the field Saturday and Sunday, Cabrera’s power game brought home a win by two shots over the nearest competitor George McNeill.

Following the win and collecting the $1.17 million winner’s check, Cabrera should move from 154 to roughly 54th in FedEx Cup points.

Sadly, following his spectacular 61 in the final round, McNeill learned the news that his older sister passed away from cancer.

An amazing side story for the Greenbrier was that of 64-year-old Tom Watson. The senior player and Ryder Cup captain achieved yet another feather in his cap by making the cut on the PGA Tour at 64. Not only that, he finished in a tie for 35th.

European Tour
French Open
Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelnes, France

Graeme McDowel is a tenacious golfer and that tenacity paid off big time at the French Open. The former U.S. Open champion started the final round a massive eight shots behind the leader Kevin Stadler. When the dust settled, or perhaps when the pouring rain subsided, McDowell finished with a one shot lead over Thongchai Jaidee and Kevin Stadler.

Stadler looked to be cruising to a win, starting the final round with a four shot margin, which moved to five strokes after Victor Riu found the drink on the second hole. But short missed par putts on the 4th and 6th holes were followed up by a double bogey on the 7th. In a short few holes, the five shot lead evaporated and Stadler would card a final round 76.

Weekend Wrap

TPC Four Seasons 18th Green

TPC Four Seasons 18th Green

PGA Tour
Quicken Loans National
Congressional Country Club
Bethesda, Maryland

Seems odd, but the biggest news of the week (perhaps even the month) on the PGA Tour was about a player who missed the cut at the Quicken Loans Invitational in Bethesda, Maryland. After back surgery and months of rehabilitation, Tiger Woods entered the field to compete at the event he hosts.

Not surprisingly Tiger was rusty, firing rounds of 74-75 to miss the cut. Tiger was not expected to be back this soon, but decided to make the one month early comeback in support of his event. Woods claims that for the first time in several years he is “pain free.” If true, that could mean the rest of the tour could be feeling some pain soon.

Justin Rose claimed a solid victory at the Quicken Loans National, dispatching Shan Stefani in a playoff. Rose should have own the tournament in regulation, but an errant 4-iron into the water on the 18th forced him to have to make a clutch bogey putt from 15 feet to force the playoff. When you are a U.S. Open champion, you know how to make clutch putts and that’s just what Rose did.

Patrick Reed had the tournament in hand Sunday, having made the turn with a two-shot lead. Nothing is secure on the Tour though, and his final nine 41 moved him from first to a tie for 11th.

LPGA Tour
NW Arkansas Championship
Rogers Arkansas

Big names were in the mix this week at the NW Arkansas Championship. Michelle Wie, coming off here first major victory at last week’s Women’s U.S. Open, was looking for a second victory in as many weeks. Wie had a two shot lead coming into the final round after back to back five-under 66’s. A final round 73 would end her chances at that second consecutive win.

World #1 Stacy Lewis rallied from behind with a final round 6-under 65 to claim her 3rd win of the season and a cool $300,000 check. The win went over big as she was playing in front of a bit of a home crowd, having earned All-American status at Arkansas University.

Champions Tour
Senior Players Championship
Fox Chapel Golf Club
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

In the final round of the Senior Players Championship several players had the chance to coast to victory, but none could take advantage. Kenny Perry, Bernhard Langer and Jeff Sluman all had opportunities to win.

The key shot of the tournament was a putt on the 17th hole made by Bernhard Langer, known to struggle with his putting for decades. The long 35 foot putt was so difficult Kenny Perry said he could put 100 balls down on that spot and never make one. Langer must have putted the 101st, as he made the crucial birdie which led to his victory at the Senior Players.

Weekend Wrap

Image credit: USGA website

Pinehurst #2 – Image credit: USGA website

LPGA Tour
U.S. Women’s Open
Pinehurst #2
Pinehurst, NC

This past two weeks has been a very interesting time in golf. The USGA (United States Golf Association) decided to do “back to back” U.S. Opens at the famous Pinehurst #2 course. Two weeks ago it was the men’s U.S. Open and this past week was the women’s.  The experiment was a success without a doubt.

A big story this week was that of the young Lucy Li. Li was the youngest qualifier in the history of the Women’s U.S. Open at 11 years old. Yes, 11. The sub-5-foot golfer fired two respectable rounds of 78 to miss the cut, but won over a huge new fan base.

A second big story is that of Juli Inkster. Inkster was competing in her 35th and final U.S. Women’s Open. For her final Open, she finished tied for 15th.

Major Breakthrough

For many years Michelle Wie had not reached the level many expected of her when she turned pro in her late teens. Those years of experience and maturing, along with patience, finally paid off for a major breakthrough.

Wie won her first major championship with a two-stroke victory over world #1 Stacy Lewis. It was a nail-biter down the stretch which Wie almost gave away. But in the end she kept it together and finally silenced the critics with that expected, albeit late, major win.

Winning takes care of everything.

PGA Tour
Travelers Championship
TPC River Highlands
Cromwell, Conn

The PGA Tour saw an amazing comeback finish Sunday in one of the best stretches of nine holes in tour History.

Kevin Streelman was far enough back that he was not considered a threat on Sunday. But ten one-putts in a row and a record seven birdies on the final seven holes constitutes a threat. That run of seven closing birdies to win broke a long standing Tour record of six closing birdies dating back to 1956.

“…you can’t plan for something like that to happen. It just kind of falls into place.”

In 2nd place were Sergio Garcia and K.J. Choi who both fired 67’s in the final round.

Garcia is hot of late, with six top ten finishes out of 10 tournaments this year on the PGA Tour.

Airlines and Golf Clubs – Oil and Water

The power of social media can be a great thing for business.  Conversely it can be very bad.  Case in point happened this week on Twitter.  Rory McIlroy, one of the golf world’s biggest golfers, has a following of nearly two million on Twitter.  He tweeted to United Airlines, sarcastically saying he “sort of” needed his golf clubs to play in this week’s Irish Open.

RoryUnitedClubs

This is clearly a black eye for United.  Quite embarrassing.  And one would guess Mr. McIlroy was flying first class.

The airline did respond with “good news,” saying his clubs would be there “tomorrow.”  This meant it was unknown whether he would have his clubs Wednesday for tournament preparation.