Golf Buzz

July 18, 2014 - 1:35pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rickie Fowler
USA Today Sports Images
Rickie Fowler is proving himself to be a major-contending machine. He shot a second consecutive 3-under 69 on Friday at Royal Liverpool.

Rickie Fowler is the only player in the world with top-5 finishes in each of the season's first two majors.

If the 25-year-old keeps plugging along the way he is at Royal Liverpool this week, there's a very good chance he'll make it 3-for-3 at the Open Championship.

Fowler -- who tied for fifth at the Masters and tied for second at the U.S. Open -- is at 6-under 138 through two rounds at the Open Championship this week. At the time he signed his scorecard, that gave Fowler a share of the clubhouse lead (Rory McIlroy was still finishing up his second round, leading the tournament at 10 under through 15 holes).

MORE: Open leaderboard | Friday's Open Championship photos | Complete coverage

On Friday, Fowler matched the 3-under 69 he turned in on Thursday. 

With the way he's played in the majors, it's hard to believe that Fowler's lone win on the PGA Tour came in 2012.

In a way, it's also unfortunate for Fowler that he could be the victim of a runaway for the second time in two majors. Germany's Martin Kaymer ran away with the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 where Fowler had that tie for second with Erik Compton.

And this week at Royal Liverpool, it appears everyone will be chasing McIlroy on the weekend.

The most important point is that Fowler is putting himself in position... frequently. 

July 18, 2014 - 10:22am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
John Daly
USA Today Images
John Daly rallied in a big way at Royal Liverpool on Friday to shoot a 1-under 71 with an impressive back nine that will have him watching the cut line the rest of the day.

John Daly's choice of apparel -- which has included Sponge Bob Square Pants-themed trousers -- has been getting a lot of attention this week at Royal Liverpool.

On the back nine Friday, however, Daly's impressive play stood out more than his clothing.

MORE: Open leaderboard | Friday's Open Championship photos | Complete coverage

With rounds of 77-71, Daly is at 4-over 148 through 36 holes at the Open Championship and will be watching the cut line all afternoon. Whether he advances to the weekend or not, the 1995 Open Champ should be proud of his effort.

After a 3-over 38 on the front nine, which included three consecutive bogeys beginning at No. 7, Daly settled down and rallied for a bogey-free, four-birdie back nine to post his 1-under 71.

This is Daly's 20th Open Championship start. His lone top-10 finish remains that unlikely win at St. Andrews in 1995.

July 18, 2014 - 9:50am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Sergio Garcia
USA Today Sports Images
Just like he did at Royal Liverpool in the 2006 Open Championship, Sergio Garcia holed out for eagle from the second fairway again today.

The start to Sergio Garcia's second round of the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool was a bit of a roller coaster on Friday.

His opening tee shot went so far left, it nearly found the adjacent 18th fairway. He would bogey the hole.

MORE: Open leaderboard | Friday's Open Championship photos | Complete coverage

Garcia, however, got that stroke back and then some on the next hole when he made eagle from the fairway at the par-4 second with a 6-iron from 162 yards.

Watch it here:

That eagle got Garcia to 5 under and in a momentary share of the lead. He bogeyed the next hole.

Interestingly, Garcia also eagled the second hole at Royal Liverpool in the third round of the 2006 Open. He holed a 9-iron from 167 yards out. 

July 18, 2014 - 9:19am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Phil Mickelson
USA Today Sports Images
Disappointed with a 2-over 74 on Thursday, defending Open Champion Phil Mickelson was four shots better at Royal Liverpool on Friday and will enter the weekend at even par.

Listening to Phil Mickelson following an opening-round, 2-over 74 on Thursday in the first round of the Open Championship, you could tell he was a frustrated man.

That score, the defending Open Champion insisted, was not indicative of how well he struck the ball. He just couldn't get the putts to drop.

MORE: Open leaderboard | Friday's Open Championship photos | Complete coverage

In a difficult, stiff wind on Friday, Mickelson was four shots better with an impressive 2-under 70 that pulled him to even par for the tournament with 36 holes to go.

If the wind hangs around at Royal Liverpool the rest of the day -- and it looks like it will -- there's a chance Mickelson could be within a handful of the lead at day's end. South Africa's George Coetzee shot an early 69 and has the early clubhouse lead at 5 under.

Friday's round was a move in the right direction for Mickelson, who is still looking for his first top-10 finish on the PGA Tour this season.

Mickelson responded to an early bogey on No. 3 with a birdie at No. 4 and an eagle on No. 5. He bogeyed No. 8 and made the turn at 1-under 34.

His inward nine was made up of a string of eight consecutive pars before a closing birdie.

July 18, 2014 - 7:40am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
A.J. Hawk
GolfChannel.com
Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk is in Lake Tahoe this week for the American Century Championship -- a celebrity golf tournament. On Thursday, he sent a fan into the sod.

We interrupt our scheduled Open Championship coverage to bring you this...

From the "what was that guy thinking" department, we bring to you this morning video of a man tackled by Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk.

It's not quite what you might think, however.

Hawk is out in Lake Tahoe participating in this week's American Century Championship -- an annual celebrity event that very much has a laid-back, frat party feel to it.

With that, a fan wearing a t-shirt with cut-off sleeves (great golf course attire, by the way!) begged Hawk to tackle him on Thursday. This wasn't one of those cases where a crazy fan storms the field in a baseball game.

This fan, very politely, kept asking Hawk to tackle him. Hawk was reluctant, but after some urging from the gathered fans, he obliged.

Check it out:

So now for the rest of his life, this fan can tell his friends, "I got tackled by A.J. Hawk."

That's awesome... we guess. People are strange. He should have just settled for an autograph. 

July 17, 2014 - 7:46pm
john.holmes's picture
Beatles playing golf
The Beatles dabbled in golf in their movie, "A Hard Day's Night," but that apparently wasn't enough to impress some of the game's top players at Royal Liverpool.
As the senior member of the PGA.com production team, I feel like I'm not surprised at much anymore. But I was surprised today.
 
ESPN asked several of the game's top golfers if they could name all four members of the Beatles, who of course came to fame right there in Liverpool, just down the road from where the Open Championship is being played this week.
 
I've been able to name the Fab Four since I was a grade-schooler. And while today's top golfers are a decade or two (or, in some cases, three) younger than me, I would have never guessed that so few of them could rattle off John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison.
 
Ian Poulter? Nope. Justin Rose? Nah. Hunter Mahan? Negatory.
 
 
Rory McIlroy came up with George Lucas, who of course is more famous for "Star Wars" than Fab Fours.
 
Bubba Watson's answer: "The lead singer, the drummer, the guitarist and the guy who packed all it it up." 
 
The only player who easily came up with all four names was Lee Westwood, who unsurprisingly was the oldest of the interviewees. "Everybody else," he said, "is uncultured."
 
I'm right there with you, Lee.
 
Here's the video from ESPN UK: