When ABC wrapped up Sergio's round, Paul Azinger noted that he believed it was a good thing Sergio missed his last birdie putt, reasoning that he would be just a bit less likely to take Sunday for granted. When I heard Azinger say it, I wasn't so sure, but now I'm thinking he has a point. We'll know soon enough.
Garcia showed no signs of flinching, especially on the final hole. He hit a 5-iron from 220 yards that was so pure he chased after it, screaming out instructions with an intensity that showed he already knew the outcome.
“Oh, be good,” he said. “BE GOOD!”
It hopped onto the green and stopped 12 feet left the flag, and the only disappointment was having to settle for par.
“I wanted to make the putt on 18 just for them, and to hear the roar, that would have been just out of this world,” said Garcia, who was at 9-under 204 and holding the 54-hole lead in a major for the first time.
Huggan also looks at Tiger's position.
The putting, too, needs some work, despite his apparent contentment with his stroke. An average of 29 this week is but average for a leading professional. Then again, maybe we should not be too surprised. This would not be the first major title Woods has failed to win because of shoddy work on and around the greens. While we have all marvelled at his ability to hole out where other, lesser, players would be succumbing to the pressure of the moment, his short game, statistically at least, does not live up to that stellar reputation. This year he lies 100th in scrambling on the PGA Tour.
But I don't know about this...
Woods is a better player tee-to-green than he was back in 2000, when he won three of the four major championships. But he did so almost without missing a putt of any consequence. The swing he used at that time wasn't effective enough for him to win without making more than his fair share with the shortest club in his bag. Now Woods can win even when his putting is no better than average.
Mark Reason says it's not over until they've played 18, so he looks at its design evolution and various horror stories.
A BBC report captures Tiger's suggestion that since Paul Lawrie came back from 10 the final day in 1999, anything is possible Sunday.
Frank Hannigan signed up for the LiveUKTV site that afforded BBC access and serves up several gems...typos corrected:
No commercials obviously is a blessing. The American carriers TNT and ABC-ESPN sell the British Open to death. The audience is "away" from golf about ll minutes an hour. The R&A should be ashamed of itself for allowing a contract permitting such excesses.
Full disclosure insists I reveal that Mr. Alliss is a close friend. That doesn't mean he is not the greatest ever to do golf talking. Why? Another day.
The decision by the small bore minds who run ESPN to hire young Alliss, age 76, to do some of their weekend television was made only at the last minute and, undoubtedly, under pressure from the R&A and its secretary Peter Dawson.
Steve Elling looks at Steve Stricker's epic 64:
Longtime caddie Tom Mitchell leaned up against a metal rail, his head down, as he tried to organize his thoughts and describe the amazing metamorphosis of his boss.
Then, something clicked and his eyes brightened.
“If you change the things you think about,” he said, all Yogi Berra-like, “the things you think about will change. Does that make sense?”
Does it ever. Nobody has walked that home-made talk more than Steve Stricker, who reinvented his work ethic, readjusted his goals and his flagging attitude, then resurrected his career.
A mere 1½ years after he flopped at PGA Tour Qualifying School in an attempt to resuscitate his game, Stricker shot a 7-under 64 to match a course record at fabled Carnoustie Golf Links, leaping into second place, three shots behind 54-hole leader Sergio Garcia.
Ferguson also files this focusing on Chris DiMarco and his resurgence, though I feel less sympathetic about his shoulder injury after reading this...
There was an injury last year when he slipped during a ski vacation, and a flask in his back pack jabbed him in the ribs. He has taken a cortisone shot for his left shoulder, which might need surgery at one point.
Damon Hack zeroes in on Jim Furyk, who had this to say about his links preparation:
“When I came over, I didn’t do a good job of adjusting, and a good player should,” he said. “You should be able to adjust both ways and be able to play. A good player will come over and adjust in any conditions and play well. I just didn’t do a good job of it.”
Jim Litke hopes this is the beginning of a Tiger-Sergio feud rivalry.
AP's Paul Newberry ponders Ernie Els's devastating triple on the 6th hole, an 8 that marred an otherwise excellent card.
Newberry also reports on John Senden's wacky 18th hole approach shot. Naturally it's not on YouTube.
Golf.com supplies the best of SI's Saturday photos, including the woman hit by an errant Tiger shot...
David Davies in the Sunday Telegraph files a diary of observations, including a note about Peter Dawson outdriving Vijay three times in a pre-Open round.
Tim Glover files a similar diary.
Graham Otway says Paul McGinley believes he still has a shot.
Gary Van Sickle picks the five he believes still have a chance. McGinley isn't one of them and he says Tiger's going to need a 61 or 62.
Rex Hoggard thinks it's got the makings of a classic Sunday, I think and hope Sergio makes it a fun stroll because A) he's due, (B) golf needs him to take it to the next level and (C) we really need a major where the course is set up decently and where it separates the field organically. So far so good.
Tom English points out the absurdity of all the player insistence that golf could not possibly be impacted by performance-enhancing drugs...
PHIL Mickelson feels certain that golf has not been touched by the scourge of performance-enhancing drugs, so much so that when asked last week what the punishment might be if one of his fellow players was caught taking something he shouldn't be taking, the world No.2 dismissed it with a wave of his hand. "I don't know what the punishment should be," he said, "but I don't think there's even a remote chance that [doping] will happen."
Nick Faldo said the same thing yesterday. "Bottom line, nothing helps golf," he announced, emphatically.
Nothing, Nick? Not even a remote chance, Phil? One question here, chaps. How the hell would you know? Have you studied the possible benefits of steroids or Human Growth Hormone and concluded that there is absolutely no advantage to be gained by taking them? Have you done a quickie course in endocrinology while we weren't looking? How can you be so definite? What research have you done? Name the expert who says that golf has nothing to fear from performance-enhancing drugs and we'll say no more about it. Just one expert. Bet you can't.
And finally, semi-Open related, Dan Manoyan catches up with Bob Rosburg.
Rossie can be heard on Golf Channel's broadcast from Milwaukee and also during
ABC ESPN on ABC's memorable and oddly emotional (at least for me) segment on Jean Van De Velde's collapse.
Q: What are some of your most memorable moments as a broadcaster?
A: Probably three things stand out. No. 1 was the first time I covered the British Open in '77, (Tom) Watson and (Jack) Nicklaus had the great duel that year. They were one shot apart but 10 ahead of everybody else. It was unbelievable golf. Another time was Watson pitching in at No. 17 on Pebble Beach (1982 U.S. Open) to beat Nicklaus. The other was the whole (Jean) Van de Velde thing (at the 1999 British Open). I was there and it took 45 minutes to play the hole. I was thinking to myself, this will be nice. I can go home, have a couple drinks, get some dinner and be on the plane the next day. Two hours later, I'm still out there and it's raining.
Q: What was your most embarrassing moment as a broadcaster?
A: Oh, I don't know. A lot of times I have said something like "he's got no chance" and then he'll knock it stiff. I have felt you have to say something before the shot, not second-guess after. I'm out there to give my opinion before the shot. Sure, I've made mistakes, but I've never had a player come up to me and get mad at what I said. You have to have an opinion or there is no sense being out there.