July 11, 2016 - 10:43am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Zach Johnson
USA Today Sports Images
Zach Johnson will attempt to defend his title in the Open Championship at Royal Troon this week.

The season's third major championship -- The Open Championship -- is upon us this week from Royal Troon in Troon, Scotland. This week will mark the ninth time that Royal Troon will hosts the game's oldest major.

Troon hosted its first Open in 1923 when England's Arthur Havers was the victor. American Todd Hamilton defeated Ernie Els in a playoff when the Open was last held at Troon in 2004.

One thing we can be sure of -- as is always the case at the Open -- is this: weather will be a factor. Who will have the luck of the draw?

RELATED: Ryder Cup USA points standings | 2016 PGA Championship field

That's too soon to tell, but here's a look at seven pairings you'll want to watch in the first two rounds (order is listed chronologically based on first-round tee time):

7. Branden Grace, Patrick Reed, Byeong Hun An
Tee times:
8:03 a.m. Thursday; 1:04 p.m. Friday
Reason to watch: Grace has really been knocking on the door at majors over the past couple of seasons. He has three top-5 finishes in the majors since the 2015 U.S. Open, most recently a T5 in the 2016 U.S. Open. While his Open record isn't outstanding -- his best finish was a T20 last year -- it's the only major in which he has yet to miss a cut. Reed and An have yet to tally a top-10 in a major, but both players are more than capable of ending that drought this week.

6. Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Shane Lowry
Tee times:
9:03 a.m. Thursday; 2:04 p.m. Friday
Reason to watch: OK. So Spieth and Rose are a given when it comes to players to watch in any tournament. For Spieth, a win here would grab him three legs of the career Grand Slam and -- under no certain terms -- erase the Sunday meltdown at Augusta National in April so people can stop asking about it. Surprisingly for Rose, his best Open finish remains that T4 as a 17-year-old at Royal Birkdale in 1998. In fact, his only Open top-10 since was a T6 last year at St. Andrews. That brings us to Lowry who should not be overlooked. He won a World Golf Championship a year ago and has collected three top-10 finishes in major in the last three seasons, highlighted by last month's T2 in the U.S. Open. Lowry is a player who has really come into his own lately and it wouldn't be shocking at all to see him walk away from Royal Troon with the Claret Jug.

5. Danny Willett, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day
Tee times:
9:25 a.m. Thursday; 2:26 p.m. Friday
Reason to watch: This, right here, is a monster trio to follow for the first two rounds. The reigning Masters champ (Willett), the reigning PGA Champion (Day) and a player in Fowler who, though still major-less, snagged top-5 finishes in all four majors in 2014. As a major winner, Willett is now in a new stratosphere. Day enters as the world No. 1 and returns to the tournament that began his incredible run one year ago when he thought he had the tournament won, but instead finished T4. He responded by tallying seven of his 10 career PGA Tour wins since, including his first major at Whistling Straits, two PGA Tour Playoffs events and the Players Championship. Fowler had been slumping -- three missed cuts in his last five starts -- but may have found something at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, a T10, in his last start.

4. Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama, Bubba Watson
Tee times:
9:36 a.m. Thursday; 2:37 p.m. Friday
Reason to watch: Rory McIlroy has been itching for this week to begin for two reasons. First, with all due respect to defending champ Zach Johnson, McIlroy is also sort of a defending champ this year. He won the Open at Royal Liverpool in 2014, but was unable to defend at St. Andrews a year ago after sustaining an ankle injury while playing soccer with some friends. Secondly, McIlroy is reeling from a missed cut at Oakmont in the U.S. Open a few weeks ago. It was his first missed cut in a major since the 2013 Open. Matsuyama is one of the best young players in the game and has come close in four majors, including the Open where he finished T6 in 2013. And as for Watson, the Open is his lone major without a top-5 finishe, which is surprising when you consider that he may be the most creative player in the game today with his ball-shaping abilities. Will that trend turn this week at Troon?

3. Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, Ernie Els
Tee times:
1:26 p.m. Thursday; 8:25 a.m. Friday
Reason to watch: Just because this trio is made up for forty-somethings, don't think of it as one for nostalgia. All three are still very capable of winning. Open Championship venues -- more so than the other three major championships -- or the kind where anyone could win. Mickelson and Els both proved that with what were sort of "surprise" wins when they turned the trick in 2013 and 2012, respectfully -- same goes for Darren Clarke who did it in 2011. Westwood has come agonizingly close to winning a major so many times. If he could get it done this week, he'd be a very popular champion.

2. Dustin Johnson, Martin Kaymer, Russell Knox
Tee times:
2:04 p.m. Thursday; 9:03 a.m. Friday
Reason to watch: Talk about a breath of fresh air for Dustin Johnson. For the first time in a long time, he enters a major with virtually no pressure. That's not to say he isn't going to grind like crazy to try and win. It's to note that at Oakmont, he finally became a major champ after so many near misses. Years from now, will we look back at that U.S. Open victory as a win that opened the major floodgates for Johnson the same way the 2004 Masters did for Phil Mickelson? Time will tell. But it'll be interesting to see how he fares in his first major as a major champion. Kaymer has had an incredibly slow season by his standards on the PGA Tour (no top 10s in eight starts), but is showing some flashes in Europe of late with a T5 and a T13 in consecutive weeks at the Open de France and Scottish Open, respectively. Knox, a native Scot, is enjoying his best PGA Tour season to date. Three top 10s, including a win at the WGC-HSBC Champions. Can he thrive on being paired alongside two major champions?

1. Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson
Tee times:
2:15 p.m. Thursday; 9:14 a.m. Friday
Reason to watch: Highlighted by defending champ Zach Johnson, this threesome is as strong as you'll find in the first two rounds with Scott and Stenson along for the stroll as well. Scott and a major-less Stenson have had more close calls at the Open than they probably care to remember. It wouldn't be the least but surprising to see these three names on the first page of the leaderboard come Sunday. 

Open Championship: The 7 most intriguing pairings at Royal Troon
July 11, 2016 - 8:07am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
John Daly
@ChampionsTour on Twitter
In Sunday's final round of the Dick's Sporting Goods Open on the PGA Tour Champions, John Daly began putting with just his left hand... It didn't go to well.

In Sunday's final round of the Dick's Sporting Goods Open on the PGA Tour Champions, John Daly began putting with just his left hand... It didn't go to well.

John Daly putts one-handed in final round of Champions Tour event

In case you missed it over the weekend, John Daly was in contention for his first PGA Tour Champions victory in the Dick's Sporting Goods Open in Endicott, N.Y.

After stellar twin 68s in Rounds 1 and 2, Daly entered Sunday's final round just three shots off the lead at 8 under.

Daly couldn't seem to get anything going in the final round so he decided to do something drastic: putt with one hand:



Based on what Golf Channel's Dave Marr had to say, it doesn't sound as though the switch went too well for Daly ("It's not that he hasn't made any of these," Marr said, "He hasn't even come close to making any of these.").

Daly would finish with a 1-over 73 to tie for 11th, his best finish on that Tour this season.

It seemed like an odd time to go with the one-handed stroke -- even if it is one style that many putting gurus swear by for practice drills.

Daly is proficient with the one-handed style in chipping and bunker drills, as you can see here:





Wonder if this is a style Daly might try out at Royal Troon this week in the Open Championship.

Now that would be something to watch. 

John Daly putts one-handed in final round of Champions Tour event
July 10, 2016 - 1:20pm
Posted by:
Austin Vaughn | PGA.com
Austin.Vaughn's picture
Bobby Jones
Rob Schumacher | USA Today Sports Images
The Georgia Amateur Golf Championship is celebrating its centennial on the same course where Bobby Jones took the first title in 1916.

You can’t mention major championship golf without thinking of the annual Masters Tournament held at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., and its co-founder, Atlanta golf legend Bobby Jones.

As reported in the Brookhaven Post, the Georgia Amateur Golf Championship is celebrating its centennial this week on the same course in Atlanta where Jones took the first Georgia Golf Amateur title in 1916, at the young age of 14.

The 100th Georgia Amateur will begin on the Capital City Golf Club’s Crabapple Course where a field of 144 Georgia amateurs will compete in individual stroke play. After 36 holes, the top 32 golfers will compete on the Brookhaven Course, where Jones played a century ago, in match play format to decide the championship.

The 100th Georgia Amateur Golf Championship will be held July 11-17. 

100th Georgia Amateur will be held where Bobby Jones played
kasey petty, proposal, us women's open
Twitter / ShaneODonoghue
Kasey Petty may have missed the cut at the U.S. Women's Open, but there was a surprise waiting for her when she finished her round Friday.

It was already an incredible week for Kasey Petty. The 22-year-old American is a recent graduate of the University of Findlay (Ohio), and turned professional just before the U.S. Women's Open. She got to play practice rounds with Lydia Ko and Brooke Henderson.

And although she was disappointed with her play, which resulted in a missed cut after scores of 81 and 83, it's a week she'll never forget.

After finishing her second round and signing her scorecard, she had a line of friends and family waiting for her. The last person in line was her boyfriend Jacob Miller, who dropped to one knee and pulled out a ring.

“I didn’t play very well,” said Petty, “but this makes up for all of that.”

(h/t to golfweek)




A surprise proposal at U.S. Women's Open
July 8, 2016 - 12:25pm
matthew.craig's picture
par 6, european challenge tour, 783 yard hole
Twitter / Challenge_Tour
The European Challenge Tour's stop in Slovakia includes the longest hole in Europe, a Jack Nicklaus-designed 783-yard par 6.

There was a videogame that was out when I was a little kid, I forget its name now, but it allowed you to create your own golf courses. I would always make them to be impossible, with insanely long holes and a ridiculous number of obstacles.

I always thought that those type of holes existed only in my childhood fantasies, until I heard about the 15th hole on the Legends Course at Penati Golf Resort in Slovakia.

Jack Nicklaus must have been having a bad day when he designed the 783-yard par 6. It's hard to even fathom how far 783 yards is, so here's some comparisons.

The course hosts this week's D+D REAL Slovakia Challenge on the European Challenge tour. Surprisingly, the hole didn't play very difficult in last year's tournament, yielding 26 eagles and 227 birdies.
Though it didn't happen at last year's event, it's not inconceivable that someone could score a three on the par 6, which would be an albatross. And while it would be essentially impossible, a two on the hole would be called a condor. A condor has never been recorded in professional golf, which isn't that surprising considering most weeks it would require a hole-in-one on a par 5.
And now what you've all been waiting for, a fly-over of the hole:
Without the benefit of professional-level length, the hole would play much more difficult for amateurs. Still, with four shots to get to the green, do you think you could birdie the longest hole in Europe?
Could you birdie this 783-yard par 6?
golf marathon
Twitter / WSJSports
Danie Steyn and Bill Boonn played 153 holes in a single day without a cart, walking over 45 miles.

There's a commonly held sentiment amongst sports fans who don't watch golf, especially those that have never seen Dustin Johnson hit a tee shot. "Golfers aren't athletes." You've heard it, you've argued with your friends about it, and as untrue as it is it's tough to shake.

That accusation will never be made about Danie Steyn and Bill Boonn.

The Wall Street Journal had the story of Steyn, 29-year-old a golf instructor, and Boonn, a 41-year-old radiologist, spending a sunny day playing golf, something we can all relate to. But that's where the similarities stop.

They teed off at 5:26 a.m., and didn't stop playing golf until 6:46 p.m. In between? How about 153 holes without a cart, logging 83,592 steps. The eight and a half rounds required 45 miles of walking, the equivalent of almost two marathons.

And the pair played some decent golf, playing an alternate shot format that tallied 705 total shots, which comes to an average of about 83 per round.

They started off sharing a bag, jogging between every shot in their morning rounds. In the afternoon, they decided to carry just two clubs each, splitting a 4-hybrid, 8-iron, sand wedge and putter.

The concept is one of the more unique ways to raise money for charity. Here's an exerpt from the full story:

The outing was part of a network of golf marathons called Hundred Hole Hike, in which people walk and play 100 or more holes in a day to raise money for a charity of their choice. For Steyn, that was the Junior League of Philadelphia. Boonn played for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

The concept took root in 2011, when a Chicago banker named Jim Colton raised more than $110,000 by walking 155 holes in a day for a caddie who had been paralyzed in a ski accident. The following year, he started the charity that oversees the hikes. Now, they attract nearly 100 golfers per year. There have been hikes across the U.S. and a few in Canada, Scotland and Australia.

Do you think you could walk 100+ holes in one day? And if had to pick four clubs to do it with, would they be the same ones as Steyn and Boonn?


A single day, 153-hole golf marathon for charity