So goes golf on the links--those sacred bits of God's earth--where men have battled for generations, like the sailor or the mountaineer, with what nature has placed before them. ROBERT HUNTER
The PGA Tour put out a few pretty shocking numbers from Jason Day's RBC Canadian Open win that suggest either (A) the course is now at altitude, or (B) someone's vertigo is all cleared up!
Steve Elling at GolfBlot.com with the roundup of Day's numbers from the week, plus a couple of Tweets from the PGA Tour's Mike McAllister.
And there was this from the Shotlink gurus:
As noted here a few days ago, there wasn't as much to be ashamed of in the putt left short at St. Andrews by Jason Day. Still, that missed opportunity to put himself in The Open playoff ultimately won by Zach Johnson was certainly on his mind at the RBC Canadian Open, where Day just won his fourth PGA Tour event and second of 2015.
Mark Hayes with the report for Golf Australia.
“The first thing I said was I’ve got to get to the hole this time, that’s what I said in my head.
"There's no better feeling than coming down to the wire and contending with these guys. It was just back and forth all day, and I'm so glad that I got that putt in.
"To be able to do that it just gives me a lot more confidence going in to the rest of the season."
Day, who had been in contention for the past two majors, the US Open and The Open at St Andrews, fired a final round four-under-par 68 to finish 17 under the card to beat American Bubba Watson by a shot.
A further stroke back was hometown hope David Hearn who was aiming to become the first Canadian winner in 61 years.
The highlights of what turned out to be a compelling final round at Glen Abbey.
John Barton's November 2014 Golf Digest interview with Donald Trump is worth another look now that the mogul is leading Republican polls in the bid for the presidential nomination.
In it, Trump says golf is a small part of his net worth.
Well, it's an interesting question. It's a relatively small part of it. You know, I own buildings. I'm a builder; I know how to build. Nobody can build like I can build. Nobody. And the builders in New York will tell you that. I build the best product. And my name helps a lot.
Yet CNBC's Tim Mullaney breaks down Trump's financial disclosure forms and feels that golf was declared as an unduly large portion of the candidate's net worth.
The Donald's financial-disclosure paperwork, released Wednesday by federal election officials, claim that Trump's 16 golf-related businesses are worth $550 million to more than $675 million. That's a big chunk of his net worth, which the filing said was at least $1.15 billion and which Trump himself says is about $10 billion.
Experts say there could be good reason to disqualify the Republican presidential hopeful's scorecard math when it comes to the way he values his golf courses, based on standard valuation measures in the golf sector.
The financial disclosure form values many of Trump's courses at two to four times the multiples of annual revenue other courses command, in an industry where most operators struggle to make profits, according to golf course appraisers. An industry rule of thumb is that courses are worth 1 to 1.5 times their annual revenue.
Trump reported combined revenue of less than $160 million, excluding the Miami resort, which doesn't break out golf-related revenue, and land sales at the Los Angeles property. Based on the industry standard valuation metric, that would put the value of Trump's golf empire closer to $160 million to $250 million.
Allenby's Caddy: "I think he fell over and someone picked up his wallet and had a great time with his credit card."
The Age's Megan Levy reports on veteran looper Mick Middlemo's radio interview where he confessed to telling the story Robert Allenby wanted told, not the one the now-fired caddy believes was the truth back in January.
That's when his boss said he'd been drugged, kidnapped, beaten and many other things. Now Middlemo, having been fired mid-round, says what he really thinks about this former boss.
Middlemo now says he believes Allenby simply fell over and injured his face after drinking too much wine and tequila and not eating enough food.
"Do I think he got mugged and bashed and absolutely robbed? No I don't. That's the story I told because that's the story he told me to tell because I wasn't there," Middlemo told News Corp Australia.
"Do I think he just fell over and cracked his head? Honestly I do … I think he fell over and someone picked up his wallet and had a great time with his credit card."
As for the firing incident in Canada that allowed Middlemo to free up his thoughts, Al Tays has this from another caddie in the group backing Middlemo's story. Not that anyone was doubting him at this point in light of his bosses' street cred.
The concept of a rollback in distance is understandably awkward for a culture as self-involved as ours. One where folks naturally recoil at the thought of losing a few yards from their drives and pay for the privilege in so many unsustainable ways.
But let's allow the narcissism to run rampant for a moment and just agree that the world economy would collapse if the current USGA and R&A Overall Distance Standard was tightened a wee bit.
Instead, how about we agree that as in professional tennis, where enough integrity was unearthed to agree that a slightly slower ball would make Wimbledon better, we could do the same in golf at our Wimbledon: the Old Course.
From John Huggan's post-Open-at-the-Old-Course assessment:
Everything the R&A did to prepare the Old Course for this Open was designed to make the ancient links more difficult. Not more interesting. Not more fun. Just more difficult.
Appallingly and inappropriately, the Old Course surely has more long grass growing within its boundaries than at any time in its long history. With varying degrees of offensiveness, many bunkers are surrounded by rough. Plus, almost all of those wonderful hazards now appear man-made. So perfectly round are they, their faces close to vertical, they resemble doughnuts more than bunkers.
His point: all of the hole-tucking, green speed-pushing ways were employed not to test skill, but to work around modern distance that dates the Old Course. The same distance we are told has been capped. Though tell that to Jason Day and Bubba Watson, who had under 75-yard shots into a 456-yard par-4 Sunday in Canada.
I think we can all agree visiting the Old Course for the Open is a special affair and that it would be fun to actually see the it play somewhat more like it did 20-40 years ago when a long iron had to be used on par-4s.
So I ask: what would be so awful about an Old Course ball emerging every five or six years? The manufacturers could package it in a fun way, sell it to us suckers and advertise how they did their part to make The Open better?
What would be so terrible about this? Please, enlighten me...
Reading and considering the information presented in Jim McCabe's exclusive on how the 2016 schedule mess will shake out a year from now when the Olympics are added to the calendar, it looks like the world's best will have to skip a key event.
While McCabe notes the politics involved for the John Deere Classic and Travelers Championship--two events with strong sponsors and long term agreements--it sure looks to me like the WGC Bridgestone is ripe for a mass defection from elite players and those with heavily stamped passports.
The 2016 breakdown from McCabe at Golfweek.com:
Thus will the summer of 2016 flow this way with the PGA Tour schedule:
• June 2-5: The Memorial
• June 9-12: FedEx St. Jude Classic
• June 16-19: U.S. Open (Oakmont)
• June 23-26: Quicken Loans National
• June 30-July 3: WGC Bridgestone Invitational
• July 7-10: Greenbrier Classic
• July 14-17: British Open (Royal Troon)
• July 21-24: RBC Canadian Open
• July 28-31: PGA Championship (Baltusrol)
• Aug. 4-7: Travelers Championship
• Aug. 11-14: Olympic Golf
• Aug. 11-14: John Deere Classic
• Aug. 18-21: Wyndham Championship
McCabe argues that the Travelers and Deere, who have settled well into their potentially cumbersome dates, would suffer in this scenario. But I think it's harder to imagine anyone in the world of golf wanting to go to Akron ten days after the U.S. Open and 11 days before The Open, even though the event's primary perk is easy cash and easier world ranking points.
This issue will be avoided in 2020 (to an extent) when the PGA Championship is not played in its traditional date. Though all of this would be moot if the playoffs weren't in a hurry to be played before football season.
Andrew Orishak lost a 5-up lead to lose the U.S. Junior Amateur on the 37th hole. While there's nothing to be ashamed when you reach such a prestigious final, the lad has been understandably frustrated.
But as Andy Zunz at Golfweek notes, via Twitter he has still secured one Holly Sonders as his prom date despite having needed to win to lure the Fox Sports personality.
Orischak and Sonders made a bet earlier in the week that if the class-of-2017 Virginia commit won the U.S. Junior, she would accompany him to his Hilton Head Island High School prom. He came up just short of the win, but Sonders had some news on Twitter later Saturday night...
Of course I’m rubbing it in by mentioning the great privilege of playing St Andrews the day after The Open. But move past the envy stage! Because there is still plenty to consider from the 2015 Open Championship.
The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play after such a fascinating Open also meant getting to play the final round hole locations in far more pleasant conditions than the leaders faced. (Though we did get an opposite wind direction: into the breeze going out, downwind coming in.) The greens were not cut, but there was no shortage of speed.
More on that and some other random observations…
-The hole locations. I can only recall two pin placements that seemed genuinely accessible. The 9th was so center cut that it was almost deceptive due to the lack of definition. The 5th hole was cut 85 yards deep. I faced a third shot yardage of 73 yards to the front. Now there’s something you don’t experience everyday. The rest of the holes were tucked, hidden or stuck in places the caddies had rarely seen. I heard the same observation from locals who were pleased to see some new locations used, but who also groused about the inability to come up with a few more creative uses of these amazing greens.
- Were these tucked pins offering risk-reward possibilities? Not really. The third and seventh holes featured locations that a ball could be funneled to by a player who could recall how to use the contours, but the rest seemed designed to prevent scoring. Which only makes the final round 66’s from Zach Johnson and Marc Leishman that much more extraordinary. They performed in some of the worst weather and managed to take advantage of the limited opportunities. - The putting were shockingly good. Consider this: no mowing, a full tee sheet from 6:50 am on and play to hole locations that were used the day prior. Our group, that included Australian journalist Ben Everill and Golf World editor Jaime Diaz, teed off at 3:40 (and behind Americans…you know who you are!). Yet I felt like anything inside six feet was going in if you started the ball on the proper line. The greenkeeper and his crew really do work wonders there. But clearly there is also something very special in the St Andrews turf that allows it to withstand the abuse it gets.
- Jason Day’s 18th hole birdie putt could very easily be left short. On our list of key putts to try was Jason Day’s final effort that would have gotten him into a playoff. Day left it short and many were shocked how well he took it or that a player could leave that putt short. We tried it and sure enough the cup was on a spot where the ball slowed dramatically near the hole. Whether this was an intentional choice or mere coincidence, we won’t know. But we all agreed to appreciate Day’s point of view.
- Jordan Spieth’s first of four putts on No. 8 was, to be fair, pretty terrible. I was pin high of the back left hole and because of the contours, had a nearly impossible two-putt from about 75 feet. I pulled it off but had to make about a 20 footer. Jordan Spieth’s path to the hole had very little contour in the way. It was just long and you couldn’t leave it above the hole (the green rises up and then falls down to the collar area). It was just a very, very bad attempt that could only happen on greens that large and with an immense amount of pressure.
- Jordan Spieth’s par putt on 17 was very good. Many pointed out that his putt for four at the Road hole missed and forced the need for an 18th hole birdie was actually quite difficult from our late evening sampling. It took quite the dive at the hole if you didn’t hit it firm.
- The Road hole plays better and just as tough with light rough. Naturally. Without the pitch-out rough to the left of the 17th fairway like we saw in 2010, the Road played as hard as ever. Many players curiously took an Auber-conservative route to the hole by playing into No. 2. Yes a new back tee was required, but I can assure you the difficulty is maintained by the difficulty of the green and not the bizarro work down to the area around the Road bunker. Let’s hope they remedy that and then leave the hole alone.
- The course remains a marvel in so many ways. From the way it handles all of the traffic to the magical contours, to way the greens are mere extensions of the fairway, the endearing qualities written about for so many years remain as ever-present today as they did 150 years ago. And while some don’t care for the commercial quality to the place with so much tourist play, the Old Course at St. Andrews is the world’s most important course and the Links Trust ably balances the needs of the local clubs, the town and the university player with the desire of golfers worldwide to experience this historic place.
Score Golf's Jason Logan with the latest twist in the wild, wacky and weird world of Robert Allenby, who bickered with caddie Mick Middlemo over club selection. The resulting brouhaha ended with Middlemo getting fired (but finishing the front nine!), then walking off and according to Allenby--I repeat, according to Allenby--suggested he'd be waiting for the Australian golfer in the parking lot.
And this is mostly in Robert's words. Enjoy. Including this:
“This is the worst incident I’ve ever witnessed as a player,” the veteran continued. “I’ve never been threatened and as he walked away he said, ‘I’ll be waiting for you in the car park.’
“He’s an Australian and he didn’t act like an Australian, let’s put it that way.”
Allenby said he would be asking tournament officials for a security escort out of the golf course.
No leashes (except around the clubhouse), sausages during the round and no lost balls (for some). What's not to love?
Here's a superb ESPN feature tied to today's coverage of the Senior Open Championship at Sunningdale Old.
And here's Ran Morrissett's very recent review of this classic venue.
**Coverage is noon to 2 pm ET all four days on ESPN2.
The Open Championship Finishing On Monday: "There were a lot more families in the crowd than any of the other days."
Before we leave St. Andrews behind, I'm going to milk every drop out of this remarkable place both here and with my sticks!
Which also means while I'm out and about collecting a few more thoughts and insights from locals, let's try not to dwell too much on the negative. Except that we just had a 10-hour major championship delay, Monday finish and the third such play suspension in a row at an Old Course major. This is not acceptable.
With rumblings around town that the greenkeepers were overruled on a roll-instead-of-mow strategy for the putting surfaces prior to the forecasted winds, the R&A may be directly to blame for not having kept control of the links, making their 60% refund to fans paying 80 pounds a questionable (and unwieldy) solution.
From Martin Dempster's excellent assessment of the week.
High winds, of course, then became the next problem on Saturday but, alas, the R&A initially got it wrong with their attempt to tackle those conditions. Starting play on time was a gamble that should not have been taken and, in fairness, chief executive Peter Dawson did admit that in hindsight. In the final throes of his tenure – Martin Slumbers, who shadowed Dawson at the event, takes over the reins later in the year – a ten-and-a-half-hour suspension of play certainly wouldn’t have been on the wish list for the week. Nor would a decision about refunds and it is safe to say that Dawson may well have some heavy mail bags landing on his desk before heading off into the sunset because 60 per cent on a ticket costing £80 seems like short-changing spectators when they saw less than four hours of golf.
There was a silver lining. Many around town are noting that they either witnessed or heard about an unparalleled day here for golf viewing Monday. Alcohol was virtually non-existent on site and there was an air of youthful excitement thanks to the prices. Dempster writes:
In truth, the decision to extend the event into the Monday for only the second time in its history became the only one available to the R&A and, in a roundabout way, it may have actually helped attract some newcomers to the game.
Taking advantage of a day ticket at £10, many in an attendance of 35,370 may not have been at the event otherwise and, moreover, there were a lot more families in the crowd than any of the other days.
It was also pointed out to me that the corporate world had exited the stage, leaving the day almost solely to golf fans. Combine that with the civility and exuberance in the air, and it's something to note for all the grow the game crowd the next time they sit down to prioritize and set ticket prices, especially in this part of the world.
ESPN’s live coverage of The Open – the third major of the golf season from the famous Old Course at St Andrews, Scotland – delivered strong ratings and viewership throughout the weekend, posting double-digit increases from 2014.
Overall, The Open delivered a 1.4 US household rating, up 27 percent from 2014 (1.1), and 1,940,000 viewers, up 29 percent from 2014 (1,500,000), according to Nielsen. Monday’s final round coverage peaked from 1:30-1:45 p.m. ET with a 3.7 household rating and 5,294,000 viewers as American Zach Johnson captured his second career major, defeating Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman in the first playoff at The Open since 2009. Daily highlights:
First Round (Thurs): Coverage averaged a 0.8 household rating, flat with 2014, and 1,091,000 viewers, a nine percent gain from 2014 (1,000,000 viewers);
Second Round (Fri and Sat): Due to weather delays, the second round aired across Friday and Saturday, averaging a 1.2 household rating, up 33 percent from 2014 (0.9 rating) and 1,550,000 viewers, a 29 percent spike from 2014 (1,205,000 viewers);
Third Round (Sun): a 2.1 household rating and 2,910,000 viewers, increases of 110 percent (1.0 rating) and 115 percent (1,351,000 viewers), respectively, from the weather impacted 2014 event;
Final Round (Mon): a 2.1 household rating, up 11 percent from 2014 (1.9), and 2,851,000 viewers, up five percent from 2014 (2,703,000 viewers).
Nice digital showing too...
Across all platforms throughout the entire tournament, The Open on WatchESPN saw a daily average of 599,000 unique viewers that watched over 40 million minutes per day, up 60 percent and 105 percent, respectively, compared to last year’s tournament. Additionally, each round of The Open saw increases over their respective day of play in 2014, averaging a 23 percent increase in unique viewers and a 33 percent increase in total minutes.
**Golf Channel had a good week too. Nice to see surging interest in The Open.
ORLANDO, Fla. (July 22, 2015) – Golf Channel posted its most-watched week ever for The Open Championship, driven by Golf Central’s Live From St. Andrews coverage from Monday through Sunday. Additionally, Golf Channel served nearly 8 million unique viewers across the week, not including viewership on Monday, July 20, with coverage surrounding the weather-delayed final round. This is the most unique viewers for Golf Channel during the week of The Open since 2009 (8.3 million).
For 24-hour Total Day (6AM-6AM), 105,000 average viewers per minute were tuned into Golf Channel, the network’s most-watched week ever for The Open (Mon-Sun) and representing +30% YOY and +46% vs. the historical average (72,000) for this week (2006-2014), according to data released by The Nielsen Company.
GOLF CHANNEL VIEWERSHIP COMPARISON: THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
2014 81,000 +30%
2013 86,000 +22%
2012 68,000 +54%
2011 58,000 +81%
2010 59,000 +78%
2009 69,000 +52%
2008 87,000 +21%
2007 73,000 +44%
2006 70,000 +50%
Last week, four respective days set new marks for most-watched day during the week of The Open, including Monday (92,000), Tuesday (98,000), Wednesday (136,000) and Sunday (133,000). And, Wednesday’s 136,000 average viewers was the second most-watched of any day during The Open for Golf Channel, trailing only Saturday of 2008 (150,000).
Reveals that ESPN showed many more shots during Monday's final round from St Andrews than last year at Hoylake.
From their write-up, which includes links to the breakdowns at the year's other majors.
ESPN showed 358 shots during this period which worked out to 1.23 strokes per minute - a sizable increase over the ESPN shot rate of 1.01 from the 2014 Open Championship.
This was also a higher shot rate than I tracked for CBS from the 2015 Masters and Fox from the 2015 US Open, but trailed the rate that NBC showed during the 2015 Players. The Masters post contains links to the shot charts I did for the 2014 majors.
As WatchESPN was blocked here in the UK, I wasn't able to see much of the Road hole coverage or other digital feeds. Anyone watch and any thoughts?
It's always a sad day to say goodbye to the Old Course, especially all signs point to no return until 2021. That year aligns the championship with the 150th anniverary of Willie Park Sr.'s win in the inaugural Open at Prestwick.
The R&A schedule includes old favorites Royal Troon (2016) Royal Birkdale (2017) and Carnoustie (2018). There is a commitment to considering the 2019 slot for Royal Portrush, depending on what happens there with the addition of two holes and other issues. The 2020 venue is TBD, and then St. Andrews figures to be the 2021 site. A pretty stout lineup with Turnberry looming for a return and Muirfield hopefully joining the conversation again soon thereafter.
As I noted in Golf World, the USGA will solidify it's schedule going forward this week by confirming the already reported news in local papers around Boston, Los Angeles and Pinehurst: the U.S. Open is going to some dynamite places over the next decade. They will take The Open to The Country Club in 2022, Los Angeles Country Club in 2023 and Pinehurst No. 2 in 2024. Thats on top of five-start venues in Oakmont (2016), Shinnecock Hills (2018), Pebble Beach (2019) and a revitalized Winged Foot (2020). We'll just have to grin and bear Erin Hills in 2017 and soak up the San Diego vibes in 2021 when Torrey Pines hosts.
The PGA of America venue roster inspires less after Whistling Straits this year and Baltusrol next year. Quail Hollow (2017) and Bellerive (2018) at least loom as nice opportunities to sweat. Bethpage in 2019 should be fun if the greens survive, while 2020 at Harding Park looms as a second tier course chosen in part for date flexibility in an Olympic year, while Kiawah isn't getting many juices flowing after the last go-round (2021). And 2022 at Trump Bedminster is, well, causing headaches.
To view it another way, look at the upcoming years. Needless to say next year is pretty stout as is 2019:
2016 - Oakmont-Troon-Baltusrol
2017 - Erin Hills-Birkdale-Quail Hollow
2018 - Shinnecock-Carnoustie-Bellerive
2019 - Pebble Beach-Portrush(?)-Bethpage
2020 - Winged Foot-(?)-Harding Park
2021 - Torrey Pines-St. Andrews-Kiawah
2022 - The Country Club-(?)-Trump Bedminster
While ESPN had a great week under difficult circumstances according to Golf World's John Strege, BBC's coverage was pretty weak visually. While I couldn't hear the announcing, apparently Peter Alliss made a few remarks that haven't gone over well.
An unbylined Telegraph report says two comments in particular didn't go over too well.
Alliss, 84, had already sent social media alight on Sunday night with his comment about young Irish amateur Paul Dunne being hugged by his mother as he came off the course with a share of the third-round lead.
"Ah, that must be mum," said Alliss. "Perhaps he likes older women. I don't know but I hope I got the right one."
And this when Zach Johnson's wife Kim was shown congratulating her husband.
As the camera focused on her, Alliss mused about how the couple would spend the prize money: "She is probably thinking - 'if this goes in I get a new kitchen'," commented Alliss.
The BBC has one more Open to televise in 2016 before handing the rights to Sky Sports.
The AP's Tim Dahlberg considers the Grand Slam quest and suggests the putt which will ultimately haunt Jordan Spieth came at the 17th green.
The Road Hole was playing so long into the rain and wind that Spieth couldn’t reach the green in two. No matter, because he plopped his pitch just eight feet from the hole.
“If I stood on 17th tee box and you told me I had that putt for par on the hole,” Spieth said later, “I would have certainly taken it.”
Almost shockingly, he missed it right. The best putter in the game didn’t make the one that mattered the most.
Ryan Lavner at GolfChannel.com points out the statistical and ironic notion of Spieth, the world's best putter, costing himself a shot not with loose ball striking, but with his blade.
Because after blowing away the field at Augusta and then watching Dustin Johnson crumble on the 72nd green at Chambers Bay, this time it was Spieth who cracked on the biggest stage.
The greatest irony? His magical short game – his greatest strength – was the part that let him down the most in his quest for a third major in a row.
Ranked first on Tour in three-putt avoidance, Spieth’s speed control was off all week, leading to a career-worst 37 putts in Round 2, including five three-putts, and a four-putt on the eighth green Monday.
Spieth's post round comments about his trouble with speed all week led to the miss that was so uncharacteristically poor: his first putt on the par-3 8th.
Q. Take us through 8. You said you made a mental mistake there.
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, I believe we played 8 and 17 as hard as anybody -- as hard as any group today, were those two holes. It was the hardest rain and the hardest wind at the same time of the day. We stepped on that tee box, and you'd like to maybe have a downwind hole where it doesn't really make that much of a difference, but when you look up from the ball and you're getting pelted in the face, it's a hard shot, and I just tried to sling one in there and I left it 40 yards from the pin on the green there, and it's just a no-brainer. If you make bogey, you're still in it. If you make double bogey, it's a very difficult climb, and there's absolutely no reason to hit that putt off the green. I can leave it short, I can leave if eight feet short and have a dead straight eight-footer up the hill where I'll make that the majority of the time. My speed control was really what cost me this week, the five three-putts the second round, and then just my speed control in general wasn't great. On that hole I had left so many of them short throughout the week, I said, I'm not leaving this one short, I'm going to get this one up there, and instead hit it off the other side of the green where it was really dead there, so that was a mental mistake on my part. Instead of being patient and just accepting eight feet from 40 yards like I do on a 40-yard wedge shot, I instead was a little too aggressive with it when it wasn't necessary.
And this regarding taking putting from the practice green to the course and his first putt proximity talents.
JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, it wasn't 100 per cent. It wasn't the way it felt at Augusta. I just didn't feel like I was getting aligned perfectly. My stroke was good. I had really good practice. On these practice greens you're not able to get a good feel for the touch. It's tough to get pace practice because they're so small, so I didn't have much of it this week, and I kind of had to go off my feels, when typically you've got enough room -- I did plenty of work on the golf course, it's no excuse, but as far as right before the round getting a pace for that day and the conditions and how the greens are cut, it's tough. You have to kind of go with it after you have one long putt. That was the struggle for me in this tournament was what my -- I think my biggest advantage over anybody in the world is, and that's my first putt proximity, and that was -- I think on the lower half of the field this week, and it certainly cost me at least a couple shots.
**Ian O'Connor at ESPN.com with some good behind the scenes observations on Spieth's run ending at The Old Course.
The standard bearer for the Spieth-Day group was a 19-year-old from Long Island named Luke Smith, who said he was struck by how much time Spieth had spent analyzing putts over the first 16 holes. But Smith and another official with the group thought Spieth spent less time on this one. "It seemed a little rushed," Smith said. Near the 18th green, as the fans quietly waited for the two-time major winner to play his way into Old Course lore, an official with a walkie-talkie whispered, "Spieth just missed a 6-footer for par on 17." The grandstand crowd groaned when his name was removed from the top of the board and restored a few notches below, next to the red number 14.
Brandel Chamblee thinks the Open was lost not on the greens, but in the pot bunkers which have, historically, been key to victory here. John Strege reports.
The last Open at the Old Course was a runaway, this was a thriller won by one of the shortest hitters in the world and now, a likely Hall of Famer with his second major win.
Zach Johnson has won The Open Championship at St. Andrews. Paul Newberry's AP report.
Your immediate thoughts, reactions, takeaways, dashed Grand Slam hopes and highlights from another memorable week in St. Andrews.
My kneejerk take: the Old Course was regularly overpowered during the week and, due to the combination of softness and so little difference in the precision of today's players, wasn't able to separate the field quite as well as we'd hope. However, to see a tactician win over the Old Course defending champion in Louis Oosthuizen and red-hot power player in Marc Leishman (along with the world's elite in Spieth, Day, Rose, Scott, etc...) only reinforces the purity of the place.
And we still need a distance rollback at the professional level.
An extra day should be worth the wait as any number of players stand a chance to win the 2015 Open Championship.
The weather forecast continues to look ominous during the key hours the leaders are on the course, though the gust numbers have come down, mercifully.
The traditional leaderboard.
The final round hole locations are here and maintain the streak of four straight days avoiding Peter Dawson's new second hole bunkers.
**Just in from a walkabout of the entire course and the front nine is there for the taking, while the back is currently playing incredibly tough (as some of the early tough starters have shown). The hole locations at 11, 12 and 13 will make that stretch unusually difficult.
The crowds are large considering the Monday situation and weather, but the only food options are coffee and ice cream (no pints). The 18th hole grandstand is also developing into an embarrassing situation, as all public stands have been full since 10 am while the reserved section immediately above the green remains empty as of 2 pm.
I'm not sure the ramifications are clear to many outside the golf world, but Monday's final round offers a chance to witness history on many levels. Based on a nice total of votes (thanks!), 39% of you like Spieth and 24% see Louis Oosthuizen as the most likely winner.
Joe Posnanski tries to comprehend what Jordan Spieth is doing under pressure and with confidence like we haven't seen in some time.
But you know what? He can do it. On the back nine Sunday, he played as if he had already won the tournament and was just acting it out for the public. To watch someone be that confident, that assured, that poised is inspiring. It’s at the heart of why I love professional golf.
Jason Day could win on Monday. He’s an amazing player who keeps getting close and one of these days he will break through. Louis Oosthuizen could win on Monday. He already won an Open at St. Andrews five years ago and he understands how to do it. Padraig Harrington could win on Monday. He’s a three-time major champion who seems to have found his game again.
Frankly, two dozen people could win the Open on Monday because the field is bunched up and the golf course is exposed and shootouts are unpredictable. But it sure seems to me that while a lot of players believe they can win the Open, Jordan Spieth believes he will. There’s a wide chasm between “can” and “will.” I believe, too.
Ian O'Connor talked to Jim "Bones" Mackay, who came out to watch Spieth after finishing his round with Phil Mickelson.
Lefty was out of the tournament, and yet Spieth was pulling Lefty's caddie right back into it. Mackay was waiting near the 17th green, the small of his back pressed against that ancient wall, because he wanted to see a 21-year-old chase history on the greatest par-4 in the world.
"I just think the kid is special," Mackay said. "I think he's gifted between the ears. When I say gifted, I mean like Jack Nicklaus-gifted. Jordan is going to do amazing things because he's such a killer between the ears."