July 19, 2014 - 5:39am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Rory McIlroy
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If Rory McIlroy is able to win the Open Championship this weekend, he will put his name alongside some elite company in the annals of golf history.

Rory McIlroy is hoping to do something this week that has only been done six times in the long history of the Open Championship -- win from start to finish.

Ted Ray (1912), Bobby Jones (1927), Gene Sarazen (1932), Henry Cotton (1934), Tom Weiskopf (1973) and Tiger Woods (2005) are the only players to win the Open wire-to-wire.

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

McIlroy began the third round of the Open on Saturday at Royal Liverpool with a four-shot lead at 12 under over Dustin Johnson.

According to Justin Ray, a researcher for Golf Channel, in major championship history, players with a 4+ shot lead after 36 holes have gone on to win 51 percent of the time.

So, yes, the odds are in McIlroy's favor, but perhaps not as severely as you'd think.

It should be noted that McIlroy is included among that 51 percent -- he won the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional after taking a six-shot lead into the weekend (he was also the wire-to-wire winner there).

Should McIlroy win come Sunday, he'd also join Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only players in history to win three majors (since the Masters became a major) by the age of 25.

McIlroy looking to join elite list at Open Championship
Bob Torrance
Bob Torrance, longtime golf coach and father of European Tour star Sam Torrance, was a beloved figure on the practice range for many decades.
The buoyant mood at the Open Championship was broken a bit on Friday when European Tour star Sam Torrance revealed that his father, longtime golf coach Bob Torrance, had died at age 82.
 
"Sad day my dad just passed away peacefully in his sleep," Torrance said on Twitter. Bob Torrance had been battling cancer.
 
Torrance was a disciple of Ben Hogan, and on several occasions visited Hogan at his home in Texas. He worked with a number of Europe's top players, including his son – who won 21 times on the European Tour and played on eight Ryder Cup teams – as well as Ireland's Paul McGinley and, more recently, Padraig Harrington, whom he coached to all three of his major championships.
 
 
"Bob is the best swing coach in the world," Harrington said after winning his third major at the 2008 Open Championship. "You can see his genius in the way he can analyze any swing. He's spent his whole life examining the golf swing and his knowledge of cause and effect is just incredible."
 
He was also quite a character on the range and, not surprisingly, many players and fellow instructors took to social media to express their respect and condolences. Here is a sampling of the outpouring:
 
Sergio Garcia: Very sad to hear the passing of the true golf coaching legend Bob Torrance today! Our best wishes and love to June & Sam at this time #RIPBob
 
Luke Donald: Bob Torrance lived and breathed golf, a true gentlemen admired by all, he will be missed. Thoughts with June and Sam at this time #RIPBob
 
Justin Rose: Really sad to hear the passing of Bob Torrance. Always stopped to chat with him and his wife June. Great people
 
Graeme McDowell: The golfing world lost a legend today #RIP
 
Maarten Lafeber: Sad to hear that Bob Torrance passed away. What a nice man he was and a great coach!! RIP Bob
 
Simon Khan: So sad to hear news of Bob great character and legend of the range condolences to June and @torrancesam
 
Thomas Levet: @torrancesam dear Sam, your dad was a legend, we will all miss him ..all my wishes to you and your beautiful family, RIP Bob ..
 
Peter Kostis: @torrancesam Sam... I'm so sorry for your loss. Bob was a one of a kind legend. He and June were a special couple. Condolences, Peter
 
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño: Sorry to hear about Bob Torrance. Golf legend and a true gentleman. My thoughts are with you @torrancesam. As he used to say: #AdiosAmigo
 
Simon Dyson: So sad to hear about bob Torrance passing away..the range on tour will never be the same..:(
 
Marc Warren: @torrancesam ur dad dedicated his life and soul to the game we love.We're all forever in his debt, there will never be another like him #rip
 
Darren Clarke: Very sad news about Bob Torrance. Spent many hours on the range with him up in Largs. I would not be where I am today without Bob. #RIPBOB
 
Pablo Larrazabal: Sad news for all the world of golf about our friend Bob Torrance... #RIPBob #thanks
 
Soren Hansen: Just heard we sadly lost one of golfs great today. Rip Mr Torrance. Thanks for showing the way in my early years on tour. #Legend #1
 
Claude Harmon III: Sadly, we lost a legend today. RIP Bob Torrance. 
 
Players pay respects as beloved coach Bob Torrance dies at age 82
July 18, 2014 - 1:07pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Tiger Woods
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Tiger Woods made just one birdie in the second round of the Open Championship and it came on the final hole. It was a putt he needed desperately.

Tiger Woods waited until the final hole in his second round of the Open Championship on Friday to make his first birdie of the day.

Better late than never and it came just in the nick of time.

Woods needed a birdie -- in all likelihood -- to avoid missing the cut, which was projected to fall right at 2-over 164. He had just come off a triple-bogey 7 on the par-4 17th hole after hitting his tee shot out of bounds.

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

Woods was just right of the green in two shots on the par-5 18th hole, but was faced with a tricky chip shot from behind a pot bunker. He hit a stellar third shot, but still had six feet left for birdie.

After giving the line a good look, Woods dropped the putt in for a 5-over 77 to avoid missing the cut in consecutive starts for the first time in his professional career in a round that also included a double bogey on his opening hole. Woods also avoided missing the cut for just the fourth time in a major.

Even though Woods has struggled this season -- before and after back surgery -- CBS analyst Peter Kostis put Tiger's remarkable career in perspective with this tweet:

That's incredible when you really think about it -- over a career that's 17 years strong, Woods has four more major wins than he does missed cuts. 

Woods makes late birdie to sneak inside cutline
July 18, 2014 - 12:35pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Rickie Fowler
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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. 

Fowler contending in yet another major
July 18, 2014 - 9:22am
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T.J. Auclair
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John Daly
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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.

Daly's impressive back-nine charge
July 18, 2014 - 8:50am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Sergio Garcia
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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. 

Garcia's eagle hole out