Latest From GolfDigest.com
Latest From The Loop
Twitter
Books
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
Current Reading
  • The Early Days of Pinehurst
    The Early Days of Pinehurst
    by Chris Buie
  • Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    by Bill Fields
  • The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Professional Golf 2014: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2014: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
Classics
  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
  • The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    Treewolf Prod
  • Reminiscences Of The Links
    Reminiscences Of The Links
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast, Richard C. Wolffe, Robert S. Trebus, Stuart F. Wolffe
  • Gleanings from the Wayside
    Gleanings from the Wayside
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast
  • Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    by Darius Oliver
  • Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
Writing And Videos
Feedblitz
Enter your Email


Powered by FeedBlitz

It's a boring course. You can fall asleep on it because you're always hitting the same kind of shots--woods or long irons.  JACK NICKLAUS on Firestone


    

Monday
Jul212014

HOYLAKE, England--The 2014 Open Championship Ledes

The craft known as the lede, 2014 Open edition. They came in all shapes and sizes, but they were all about Rory.

Doug Ferguson, AP:

Rory McIlroy had to work a little harder, sweat a little more. No matter. Just like his other two majors, this British Open was never really in doubt.

Ewan Murray, The Guardian:

It was appropriate that Tiger Woods was long gone from the premises by the time Rory McIlroy stepped on to Royal Liverpool’s 1st tee.

A new age of golf, with McIlroy as the star, was endorsed by his claiming of the 143rd Open Championship. A sport that is so in need of heroes and poster boys to compensate for Woods’s fall from grace has one in the form of a barman’s son from Holywood.

James Corrigan, The Telegraph:

So, as predicted, the final round of the 143rd Open was a triumphant procession for Rory McIlroy – yet only for the very last yards of the 72nd hole.

But then, history should not come easily and the Northern Irishman was most definitely made to work for the honour of becoming the first European to win three of the four majors.

Kevin Garside, The Independent:

Rory McIlroy hailed his Open Championship victory as the high point of his career so far and said he wanted to be the next great player to dominate golf.

McIlroy fired a 71 for a 17-under-par total to claim his third major crown at Hoylake by two shots from Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler.

Derek Lawrenson, The Daily Mail:

Sweet Caroline was the chant emanating from a few boozed-up spectators when Rory McIlroy reached the first tee on Sunday.

By the time he got to the 18th green, his face a picture of rapture, it was abundantly clear he had composed his own response, for good times never felt so good. So good.

Karl MacGinty, Irish Independent:

THE 'new' Rory McIlroy lifted the Claret Jug at Hoylake and became Ireland's fourth winner of the British Open, golf's oldest and greatest Major, in eight glorious years.

Steve DiMeglio, USA Today:

Rory McIlroy's Sunday procession to anticipated triumph in the oldest major championship in golf became a tad wobbly around the crumpled links at Royal Liverpool Golf Club. But the substantial lead he built with a stunning finish in the third round proved sufficient.

Armed with a six-shot lead courtesy of two eagles in his last three holes on Saturday, McIlroy had enough in reserve and enough nerve to remain steady and hold off Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler & Co. to win the 143rd British Open.

Christopher Clarey, the New York Times:

By the standards of final British Open chapters, this was no major thriller, but it was not the relaxed Sunday stroll around Royal Liverpool that it might have been for Rory McIlroy.

His lead, as imposing as seven strokes in the early stages of the fourth round, was down to two with five holes to play. It was still only two when he knocked his final approach shot of the tournament into an awkward spot in a greenside bunker at the 18th hole.

Barry Svrluga, Washington Post:

It is difficult to ask a 25-year-old in any profession, be he athlete or accountant, to accurately project a career path over the next two decades. There is so much to learn, so many decisions to make, so many directions to travel.

And yet that is what Rory McIlroy left us Sunday after his blitzkrieg here.

John Huggan, GolfDigest.com:

Three down, one to go. In the eight decades that have passed since the evolution of the Masters Tournament, only five men have so far annexed all of golf’s four most important events -- Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. But a sixth is on the horizon. With victory in the 143rd Open Championship at Hoylake, Rory McIlroy needs only a win at Augusta National to join one of the game’s most exclusive clubs.

Any others you spot, please pass along and I'll post. Nice work putting a historic win into perspective by the deadline set.

Sunday
Jul202014

Tom Watson Has More FedExCup Points Than Tiger Woods

Dave Shedloski watched Tiger Woods Sunday at Hoylake and while Woods completed his first full tournament since March, the 6-over 294 aggregate total left Woods needing to play well in his next to events just to make the FedExCup playoffs. The Ryder Cup?

Shedloski writes:

But Watson was clear that Woods is not an "automatic pick." He repeated the assertion that Woods would have to be healthy and playing well. Watson, who closed with a 68, was not aware that Woods was struggling a few groups behind him. "Well that isn't good," Watson said when told that Woods was, at the time, eight shots higher on the day than the 64-year-old Watson.
"He's not in the mix. He needed to get in the mix to get some points, to get some money and get in the FedExCup," Watson said. "That was what I was hoping he was doing this week."

Mark Tallentire has more in The Guardian on Tiger's Ryder Cup prospects, Watson's comments about Mickelson and Woods' assertion that his situation is similar to when Corey Pavin picked him for Celtic Manor.

Watson has to submit his three names in the first week of September and, with the 2013 Open champion Phil Mickelson also struggling in the rankings, the USA captain will face an anxious few weeks either side of the US PGA Championship.

“Everybody is thinking that I’m going to pick them automatically,” he added. “I can assure you that I’m not going to pick them automatically. I said about Tiger that I’ll pick him if he’s playing well and he’s in good health. And Phil is the same way. If he’s playing well, how can you not pick those two?”

After his final round 68, the 64-year-old Watson moved to 210th in FedExCup points while Woods sits at 214th.

Sunday
Jul202014

Rory McIlroy Shatters His Open Championship Glass Ceiling

Confession: I was sure we were not going to see this day.

And tell anyone who says Rory McIlroy won on a soft golf course that while the greens were holding Sunday, this was genuine links golf with enough wind, challenge and quirk to amount to a stunning breakthrough for the Northern Irishman.

While we wait for the Champion Golfer Of The Year's remarks in the media center, your thoughts on this breakthrough win for a player who just a year ago looked completely lost at Muirfield and who now is one Masters win away from the career Grand Slam.

Sunday
Jul202014

Final Day At Hoylake: Live Chat, The Open Comment Thread

Does Rory run away, does he fold, is it dull, holding pattern golf?

Why is he wearing pink-trimmed shoes? Questions and more questions.

The early scoring suggests no shortage of birdies are available to the rain-drenched Hoylake, so sit back and enjoy fast play and lots of red numbers.

The leaderboard is here.

At 9 am ET I'm chatting live at GolfDigest.com, but here's the chat below:

Live Blog British Open Live Final Round Chat
 

Course setup notes below. Note the extra work to get the greens sped up.

Weather (provided on site by the Met Office)

Saturday: Significant risk of thundery activity today, but with occasional lulls, these expected between 0600-1000, then 1400-2000, although risk won’t disappear completely. The situation will be closely monitored and thunderstorm level warnings issued appropriately. Outside of any thundery activity some bright or sunny spells will develop. During spells of thundery activity, there will be some heavy rain and gusty winds, otherwise winds will be light. Max temp 21C but still feeling rather humid.

Fairways and Rough

  • Fairways cut at 11mm
  • First cut (semi) rough (approximate width 2.5 metres) cut at 38mm (daily)
  • Second cut of rough (approximate width 4.5 metres) cut in early June and has been allowed to go to seed

Greens

The greens were double cut last night at 3.5mm and triple cut this morning at 3.5mm to reduce the impact of yesterday's heavy rain on today's pace. The greens were also rolled this morning. The greens are running at 11 feet but the moisture in the greens will result in the growth during the day, so there will be slight reduction in pace during the afternoon.

Approaches

Approaches double cut at 7mm and rolled, and have the same average firmness as the greens.

Additional information

Links Manager - Craig Gilholm. 40 greenstaff for the Championship. Royal Liverpool permanent staff of 11 supplemented by staff from local clubs, other Open venues and R&A greenkeeping scholars

Total Course Yardage for Round One (tee marker settings to flagstick)

7281 yards (as compared to the full yardage of 7312 yards)

Saturday
Jul192014

Rory Roundup: History And Big Money For Dad On The Line

I'm not sensing Rory McIlroy will do anything but dominate tomorrow. It's shocking to think this is the same golfer who was utterly lost playing links golf last year at Muirfield, but the lad has convinced himself to like wind, links and playing the Scottish Open to prepare. With nothing crazy in the forecast (writes Ryan Lavner), some wind peaking at leader tee off time might make things fun, but a runaway seems in the cards.

So television may have to settle for showing lots of dad Gerry or Tiger if he puts together some birdies. I'm going with Gerry. So is Gene Wojciechowski, who lists the things it'll take to derail Rory. All in good fun of course.

It seems the elder McIlroy placed a 400 pound 500-1 bet that can only be cashed if Rory wins tomorrow. For Americans, Rex Hoggard translates. That's $342,000.

Brian Keogh first reported this in 2006. Give him some hits. It's a beauty!

As for the implications of McIlroy's six-stroke lead and history, well, the UK papers and some others tackled that.

Oliver Brown of the Telegraph:

But McIlroy Snr might like to consider another thought: that his son could be about to become only the third 25-year-old golfer in history to hold three major titles. The other two were Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. The Holywood lad with the Hollywood game truly is touching that level of greatness. For an illustration, we needed look no further than his glorious, gasp-inducing coup de grâce on Sunday of two eagles in his closing three holes. Just to underscore McIlroy’s pre-eminence, not a single other player in the field managed an eagle at either the 16th or 18th all day.

Rory is not looking ahead to what might be: an Open win. Ewan Murray of The Guardian on what lesson from the BMW at Wentworth McIlroy will carry with him into Sunday's final round:

“I’ve won from seven back this year, so I know how leads can go very quickly,” McIlroy said. “I’m not taking anything for granted. If the guys in front of me had just finished a little better, finished the way I did, then my lead wouldn’t have been as much as it was.

“It seemed like Sergio and Rickie struggled down the closing stretch a little bit. But that could have been a completely different story. Instead of a six-shot lead it could have been a one- or two-shot lead. A lot can happen."

Alasdair Reid of the Telegraph reports on the devastating blow delivered by Rory late in the round for rivals Sergio and Rickie.

A mighty roar greeted Sergio García and Rickie Fowler as they strode purposefully down the 17th fairway. Or rather, a mighty roar was heard, for it really had nothing to do with them at all. Apart, that is, from telling them they had nothing to be purposeful about any more.

It came from the 16th green, where Rory McIlroy, having reached the putting surface with two imperious strikes, had just rolled his ball into the cup from 30 feet for an eagle. Goodness only knows if García and Fowler did the maths at that point, but it is hard to believe that the matching bogeys they subsequently recorded at the penultimate hole had no connection to what McIlroy had just done.

A sharp tap in the privates with a nine iron could scarcely have brought more tears to the eyes of Fowler as he headed for the 18th tee. Over the previous 40 minutes, he had gone from sharing the lead with McIlroy to trailing the Northern Irishman by five shots. Fowler had hit a couple of loose shots in that time, but otherwise he had not done a great deal wrong. Yet he had just been wiped out by golf’s equivalent of a runaway train, the Holywood Express himself.

Ian O'Connor reminds us of some fascinating history on the line, including this one:

At 16 under, carrying a lead of a half-dozen strokes entering the final round, McIlroy can break Tiger Woods' Open Championship scoring record of 19 under set at St. Andrews in 2000. You know Rory wants a piece of Tiger. You know Rory wants to become the first man to push his final score to 20 in any of the four majors.

And Derek Lawrenson with this in his Daily Mail account:

Only Tiger has ever won three majors by seven shots or more but, having won his first two by eight, that's certainly within McIlroy's compass.

Like all the great ones he saved the best for last, and a towering drive and five-iron to the par-five 18th that finished just 11 feet from the hole. That second shot from 237 yards was as pure a golf shot as you will ever see and when he duly rolled in the putt, it meant he had played the last five holes in the following: birdie-par-eagle-bogey-eagle. He is now 11 under for the par fives alone.

Saturday
Jul192014

The Historic Golf Course That John And Paul Traversed And Played Is Also In Crisis

A fun journey away from The Open this morning with Golf World editor Jaime Diaz took us to Allerton Golf Club, the inland 18-hole course that separated Paul McCartney and John Lennon's boyhood homes.

I wrote about this historic site, with comments from McCartney on the course and a fun story about one of the times he was strolling through Allerton Park, signing, strumming his guitar and thinking no one was around. And beyond the Beatles history, it's just the kind of quaint, lay-of-the-land golf course and green space every city can use for recreation or for the next musical genius to walk through playing his guitar.

So what a downer to see from Greg Walton in the Telegraph that Liverpool is facing massive cuts and the status of Allerton is very much up in the air.

But 17 miles from the gates of the Open is Allerton Golf Club. Royal Liverpool charges green fees of up to £175 a round. Allerton charges £11. But the public course has lurched from crisis to crisis of late as the council has tried to offload it. A deal with one golfing venture collapsed after it emerged the firm wanted to mothball the course for three months of the year for ‘commercial reasons’. The course remains in public hands while officials return to the drawing board. But Allerton’s future is perilous as Liverpool council struggles to make £156 million of cuts to its budget.

A trip down Penny Lane was required too. I can safely say it looks like thousands of streets over here. But it's still Penny Lane.

Note the "vandalism" in the upper right corner of the street sign:


Paul's boyhood home:

Saturday
Jul192014

Watching The Open With The Ancient Twitter

Sally Jenkins is visiting dad Dan in Fort Worth and watching The Open Championship with the Ancient Twitterer. It's the first he's missed since Lyndon Johnson was president.

Dan is still Tweeting, but Sally shares some fun anecdotes from inside the Jenkins viewing compound. Shockingly, Tiger's taken a few blows.

With that sort of deep family history, you can understand how we all keened with laughter when ESPN tried to make Woods out to be a figure from antiquity because he is trying to win his second British at Hoylake, eight years apart, Tom Rinaldi intoning solemnly, “Time is the longest distance between two places,” quoting Tennessee Williams. The Woods worship reached its peak Friday morning, when ESPN reported that he had crossed a footbridge to the first tee taking the steps “ two at a time.” A short while later, the actual leader, Rory McIlroy, made the same trip to the first tee.

Saturday
Jul192014

R&A Breaking New Ground With Fan App, Open WiFi

Hopefully you've downloaded The Open app by now, but if not here is the U.S. link at iTunes. I'm not entirely sure what's available in the States, but as I lay out in this Loop item, the R&A has broken new ground in the march toward a 21st Century fan experience with (working!) WiFi throughout the property.

Combine that with the ability to sit in the grandstand and listen to the BBC Radio feed or watch the BBC TV feed, and even get special information pushed to your phone if sitting on the third hole grandstand thanks to iBeacons.

The app it is one of the best-designed I've seen (especially the iPad version) and should serve as the new standard-bearer for golf's other tours and governing bodies to study.

Saturday
Jul192014

Instant Poll: Did R&A Make Right Call By Moving Times Up Even Though They Massively Helped The Leaders?

It seemed a pretty simple decision: for several days dangerous, perhaps unprecedented summer storms with possible lightning were forecast for Saturday at The Open. The R&A moved up tee times, anticipating possible stoppages in play to ensure a good portion or all of the round could be completed.

The weather mostly cooperated and not long after play ended, a deluge fell that would have stopped play because of standing water on the greens and some thunderstorm possibilities. Play could have resumed arond 5:30 pm BST, but in that time the leaders would have played a few holes in very poor weather. Players largely endorsed the decision.

Great debate has broken out over what a gift this was to Rory McIlroy, who holds a six stroke lead with many suggesting he missed having to play in the kind of Open Championship weather that other champions have had to survive. Others feel this was a common sense call to ensure fan safety and getting 72-holes completed by Sunday night.

So...

Instant Poll: Did R&A Make Right Call By Moving Times Up Even Though It Massively Helped The Leaders?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

Saturday
Jul192014

The Open Third Round Thread & Commercial Break Reading

The Rory reads are below, but a few more items worth noting from Friday's reporting as we play an early Saturday round at The Open Championship.

The Daily Mail's Derek Lawrenson reports on the Adam Scott and Justin Rose becoming close mates.

While Rose has moved into contention to win The Open, his wife Kate has been putting the finishing touches to their move from Orlando to the Bahamas, about a stone’s throw from where Scott and his new bride live.

And so the pair will share a private jet to tournaments as well as walk the fairways together. They will try to coax one another into making the next five years a period where they leave a mark as indelible as the one Sir Nick Faldo and Greg Norman left before them.

Alasdair Reid on Sergio's inspiration for the Open as Seve's new film.

García had warmed up for his Friday round by watching Seve, the recently-released film that celebrates the life of his mentor and idol, one of the few sportsmen whose status transcends the need for a surname.

García would later describe the film as inspiring, but his start suggested he had been inspired too much.

There was a distinctly Seve-like quality to his opening three holes. Bogey-eagle-bogey went the 5-2-5 sequence, an astonishing six-iron hole-out from 162 yards at the second bringing back the shots that he lost on the other holes. But after that, García played a superb round, with birdies at the fourth, 10th and 18th helping him up the leaderboard.

Gavin Mairs of the Telegraph on Tiger's triple on 17 and up and down on the 18th to make birdie and the cut at the Open Championship at Hoylake.

The 17th hole, however, left Woods facing a sudden-death scenario. Only a birdie at the par-five 18th would suffice and, having put his second shot to the right of a greenside bunker, his third set up a tantalising and dramatic final putt.

It was the distance that the old Tiger would have sunk in his sleep, but you can no longer take anything for granted with the 38-year-old, especially after spending 3½ months on the sidelines having undergone back surgery in March.

Coleman McDowell with a breakdown of the Tiger's round and the issues with the driver.

James Corrigan of the Telegraph on Tom Watson being the oldest man to ever make the cut at the Open Championship.

The incredible story of Tom Watson and the Open Championship runs on and on after the 64-year-old became the oldest player ever to make the cut in the British major.

While the likes of Bubba Watson failed to advance to the weekend, his namesake, on his 37th appearance, scraped in at two over following a second 73. It says so much about the man who came so close to winning The Open as a 59-year-old that nobody was that surprised. He has missed only five Open cuts since turning 50.

“There’s no age when I’m out there,” Watson said. “I’m doing the same thing as I did when I was 22, although I can’t hit the ball very hard any more.”

Dave Shedloski with more from Watson on his amazing run.

Alasdair Reid of the Telegraph says stories of the raucous crowds at Hoylake are a bit exaggerated and I would concur:

But is it really so bad? To be perfectly frank, the makers of Grand Theft Auto are never going to model an urban dystopia on the leafy lanes of Hoylake, where a golf club with royal appellation sits cheek by well-fed jowl with the offices of the local Conservative Association. Grim up north it is certainly not.

Meanwhile, reports of mayhem on the course itself might just be a little exaggerated. Of course, the occasional ringing, and the much more frequent clicking, of mobile phones has put a few competitors’ noses out of joint, but it would be pushing it to suggest that civil disobedience is rife. Or maybe not, as what little disobedience that has been seen has been very civil indeed.

My GolfDigest.com Loop take on Bubba Watson's post round claims that never a positive thing is said on golf telecasts and in particular, about him.

Mike O'Malley on nine numbers from day two.

As for course setup, these are the lone online notes supplied by the R&A.

These could be subject to change in the event of weather issues or unforeseen circumstances.

13th – 202 yards – Position of Hole on Green 31 5L

6th – 191 yards – Position of Hole on Green 11 5R

9th – 208 yards – Position of Hole on Green 32 4R

15th – 166 yards – Position of Hole on Green 22 6R

Saturday
Jul192014

Quick Roundup Rory Stories From Friday At The Open

It's not much of a secret at this point, for the first time ever split tees Saturday to give the R&A options should play need to be stopped by the "lively" rain that has arrived. From The Telegraph.

Now we joke about this Rory secondrounditis stuff and there are surely much bigger issues, but we know golfers are a superstitious lot and Friday's performance was mighty impressive from the lad in fluroescent.

Ewan Murray of the Guardian reports on Rory McIlroy's epic Friday round.

McIlroy’s second-round struggles had become so common that the player had run out of explanations and those describing them were well short on analogies.

Change was needed, and it duly arrived on the sun-kissed Royal Liverpool links, as McIlroy’s quest for a maiden Open success was emphatically enhanced. Back-to-back rounds of 66 have McIlroy four shots clear of Dustin Johnson and halfway towards a third major win. It is worth noting that his previous two have both come by eight-shot margins.

McIlroy has a firm grip on the Claret Jug for the first time in his career. If, and it is always an if, he continues to play in this manner then he won’t be beaten. He can’t be, to put it bluntly.

“I have an inner peace on the golf course,” McIlroy said. “I just feel very comfortable. I’m very comfortable in this position. I’m very comfortable doing what I’m doing right now.

The Daily Mail's Derek Lawrenson reports on Rory McIlroy's Friday round making his enemies feel misguided.

Caroline Wozniacki take note. Rory McIlroy is looking down on the rest of the field from a great height after consigning black Fridays to the ether in the most spectacular manner imaginable — at The Open Championship.

The Dane had wielded her stiletto by informing the world via social media that she could finally wear her heels for the first time in three years.

Trust her former fiance Rory to respond by showing a clean pair to everyone at Royal Liverpool and banishing all talk about what the heck happens to him on Fridays. Size doesn’t matter in golf, and certainly not when you play like the Northern Irishman.

Speaking of Caroline, she tweeted a jab at Rory's height. G.C. Digital with the details.

Oliver Brown of the Telegraph reports on Rory's encounter with a pheasant on Friday:

The ancient Chinese wisdom that the pheasant symbolised prosperity and good fortune was borne out by the tale of a hunter in Burma, who noticed a precious gem in the gizzard of his recent kill. Inspired by the discovery to seek out the stone’s origin, what should he stumble across but an emerald mine?

A similarly propitious fate, would you believe, was to bless Rory McIlroy on Friday as he lined up a 10-foot putt on the eighth green, when a male pheasant in full iridescent plumage tottered right across his path. The intervention proved a timely charm. For after the bird, came the birdie, and our leader’s course was set.

Friday
Jul182014

ESPN Starting Two Hours Early With Split-Tee Open Start

Thanks to this Tweet from Andy Hall at ESPN we know of the network's plans for what figures to be a long day at Royal Liverpool. Nice pivot by the Worldwide Leader to accommodate Saturday's unprecedented, forecast-driven two-tee threesomes planned start from 9 am to 11 am BST.

 

Friday
Jul182014

Hoylake Day Two: Roundup & The Open Comment Thread

As forecasted the winds are up Friday morning making the late-early end of the draw the misfortunate, as I noted in this Loop item. But the real story of day two: what will Rory shoot after again opening with a lead and now facing the hurdle of a second round.

The Daily Mail's Mike Dawes reports on Rory's low round of the day.

The Independent's Carl Markham focuses on the opening day from McIlroy and 69-shooter Tiger Woods.

James Corrigan of the Telegraph explains Tiger's dismay at the camera phone craze at Liverpool, though in his defense he did not bring the topic up in his post round presser.

Ian O'Connor on the marathon post-round practice session Tiger put in Friday.

Alasdair Reid
of the Telegraph reports on Rory's scorching first round and says "McIlroy collapses having lately become as predictable a part of Friday as the arrival of the fish van - but there were few of them in the travelling gallery that followed him round the course and applauded him off at the end."

Oliver Brown explains Tiger's love for Royal Liverpool when it is dry and sunny.

Gavin Mairs of the Telegraph reports on what is motivating Sergio Garcia to play better golf.

Some say his putting has caught up with his ball-striking, others that the former world No 2 has found off-course contentment now that he has a new girlfriend, Katharina Boehm, who played golf for Charleston University in the United States.

On the opening morning at Hoylake on Thursday, however, it was his sizzling duel with Rickie Fowler that appeared to bring the best out of the Spaniard’s game.

Ryan Herrington sheds some light on where most of the Open Championship scoreboards have one. The manual board on 18 remains.  Herrington also on the wonderful radios for on-site listening.

Eamon Lynch on Bubba Watson's awful Thursday attitude (good spot reader Shawn), which I also watched and found troubling considering his immense talent and game seemingly fit for links golf. Seemingly.

Mike O'Malley with 18 numbers you should know from day one. Nice compilation.

Dave Shedloski on the admirable effort of Ben Crane to get here, serve as first alternate and ultimately, not make the field.

According to BBC, a marshal got hit by balls twice in an hour. He got signed golf balls from Rickie Fowler and Charl Schwartze for his service.

John Singleton shot 78, but the local factory worker absolutely blasted a drive center cut off the first tee and had the galleries excited, writes Luke Kerr-Dineen.

The odds continue to fluctuate. It makes for fun reading!

As for day two, the R&A issued yardages for the par-3s of 190 (6), 186 (9), 191 (13) and 150 (15). And these notes:

Weather (provided on site by the Met Office)

Today: Risk of showers, possibly thundery with gusty ESE winds at first. Risk of showers and winds easing through the afternoon and becoming warm. Winds: ESE 15-20mph with gusts 35mph. Temp; 27C

Fairways and Rough

  • Fairways cut at 11mm
  • First cut (semi) rough (approximate width 2.5 metres) cut at 38mm (daily)
  • Second cut of rough (approximate width 4.5 metres) cut in early June and has been allowed to go to seed

Greens

The greens were double cut last night and this morning at 3.5mm. The greens are 10 feet 10 inches.

Approaches

Approaches double cut at 7mm and rolled, and have the same average firmness as the greens.

Additional information

Links Manager - Craig Gilholm. 40 greenstaff for the Championship. Royal Liverpool permanent staff of 11 supplemented by staff from local clubs, other Open venues and R&A greenkeeping scholars

Total Course Yardage for Round One (tee marker settings to flagstick)

7219 yards (as compared to the full yardage of 7312 yards)

Friday
Jul182014

"Fox Challenges ESPN With Pursuit of Time Warner"

Emily Steel and Richard Sandomir explore Rupert Murdoch and News Corp's desire to take over Time Warner and as with most things these days, the rationale leads to live sports as the only way to advertiser's hearts and away from cord cutters.

As reader Jay explained to me this week, it's all about those sub fees and trans fees and by golly, I'm starting to believe him after reading this NY Times piece.

TV ad spending generated by sports increased nearly 50 percent to $12 billion in the United States in 2013, according to the Interpublic Group’s MagnaGlobal ad buying firm. “It is DVR-proof,” said Kevin Collins, head of sports ad buying for MagnaGlobal. “Viewers are not skipping over the commercials.”

Mr. Murdoch has long realized the value of sports. Over the years, Fox has amassed a sizable American sports footprint, buying rights to football, baseball, Nascar and the 2018 and 2022 men’s World Cup. Internationally, his businesses have long profited from a roster of international sports-rich channels in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

To date, Fox Sports 1 has not given ESPN reason for great concern. Over the last 11 months, Fox Sports 1 has averaged 88,000 male viewers 18 to 49 years old in prime time, and 122,000 people of both sexes 18 to 49 years old in prime time, compared with ESPN’s 762,000 and 1,070,000, respectively, according to Brad Adgate, director of research for Horizon Media.

Earlier this week it was revealed that Murdoch's Sky Sports may be closing in on the UK rights to The Open Championship, also possibly setting the stage for a battle over the U.S. rights when they become available after 2017.

Thursday
Jul172014

Ernie Els Had Good Reason For His Awful Open Start

I'm not sure I've ever seen a player as deflated as Ernie Els was after his opening tee shot injured a spectator, jarring Els so badly that he inexcusably backhanded a short putt and after the round, couldn't stop talking about the horror of seeing an injured spectator.

Bob Harig sums up the situation here.

Alex Myers posts the GIF of the putt.

Thursday
Jul172014

The Reason ESPN Is Not Playing Beatles Songs This Week...

...is explained in this Loop item for GolfDigest.com.

Hint, even $50 billion Worldwide Leaders have to draw the line on big ticket purchases when they come to Liverpool.

Here's the item.

Thursday
Jul172014

Bubba Files: "I have no clue, the names of the Beatles"

This Vine posted on Kyle Porter's live first round Open Championship blog is going to haunt me for years to come after listening to it over and over again.

Bubba Watson doesn't know the names of the Beatles. And I believe him.

Apparently this first aired on ESPN's telecast opening. Scary.

Thursday
Jul172014

GIF: Henrik Stenson Knows How To Make A Clean Break

Luke Kerr-Dineen on Henrik Stenson's ultra-clean intentional club break, with GIF work by Adam Sarson.

Love the way the caddie pulls back his hand and Stenson's confidence he'd be breaking the culprit behind his misfortune.

Thursday
Jul172014

Hoylake Day One: The Open Comment Thread

Glorious weather, huge crowds and no wind characterized the morning and players are responding with excellent scoring.

The course setup notes include some fun stuff about the great work of the local team here.

From those notes:

Weather (provided on site by the Met Office)

Thurs: Fine and dry with a good deal of warm sunshine. Max temp 25C. Very light S-SE winds at first, NW sea breeze developing around midday 10-12mph, occasionally 15mph mid afternoon.

Fairways and Rough

  • Fairways cut at 11mm
  • First cut (semi) rough (approximate width 2.5 metres) cut at 38mm (daily)
  • Second cut of rough (approximate width 4.5 metres) cut in early June and has been allowed to go to seed

Greens

This morning the greens have been double cut at 3.5mm and single rolled. The greens are 10 feet 9 inches.

Approaches

Approaches double cut at 7mm and rolled, and have the same average firmness as the greens.

Additional information

Links Manager - Craig Gilholm. 40 greenstaff for the Championship. Royal Liverpool permanent staff of 11 supplemented by staff from local clubs, other Open venues and R&A greenkeeping scholars

Total Course Yardage for Round One (tee marker settings to flagstick)

7200 yards (as compared to the full yardage of 7312 yards)

Thursday
Jul172014

Music To The Donald’s Ears: "Unthinkable” To Drop Turnberry

Martin Dempster talked exclusively with R&A Chief Inspector Peter Dawson, who was pretty clear in the R&A press conference about the rota, but left no doubt that Turnberry is safe in this exclusive.

From Dempster's report:

Speaking on the eve of the tournament’s 143rd staging at Royal Liverpool, however, Dawson insisted Turnberry is still in the R&A’s plans, admitting there would be outcry from players if it was dropped from the rota.

“It is very popular with the players and has provided a huge amount of drama in the past,” the R&A chief executive told The Scotsman. “It is unthinkable that it wouldn’t be an Open venue.”