What you missed from Tuesday at The Open: From Tiger getting snubbed to Justin Rose leading a player's revolt against the PGA Tour schedule...
The R&A’s ingenious solution to stop players bending the rules
You’ve probably heard of backstopping, but what about grandstopping? It’s a big thing at tournaments when players hit their approach into the grandstand, take a free drop and walk off with a trouble-free par. Only this week that won’t be happening. If or when someone overshoots the 18th green and finds their ball in or up against the grandstand, they’ll be taken to a drop zone which might as well be renamed the no-go zone. Once there, they’ll be forced to hack out of gnarly, thick rough – off a downhill lie, we might add – to a green which runs away from them.
Rose attacks PGA Tour
Justin Rose isn't normally one to complain, so you know there's something wrong when he starts sounding off about the PGA Tour schedule. Just hours after Tiger and Justin Thomas admitted they were struggling to adjust to the changes to the calendar, Rose went one step further by calling the Major season “too condensed”. “One major a month really I think is too soon,” he said. “As a professional, in terms of trying to peak for something, the process that's involved in trying to do that can be detailed and it can be longer than a month. But I also think it's pretty much driven by FedExCup, wanting to finish on a certain date and everything else having to fit in where it can. For me, a major championship should be the things that are protected the most.
Koepka admitting that his short game isn’t much better than yours!
Pete Cowen is a hard man to please. He famously admitted Brooks Koepka’s short game was a one out of 10 when he started working with him in 2016, and it’s not much better even now. “I’m a four, if you’re wondering,” joked Koepka.
The Harbour Bar being endorsed by the players
Who needs to advertise when you can get professional golfers to do it for you, Justin Rose, Darren Clarke and Brooks Koepka couldn’t resist namedropping and bigging up the Harbour Bar in their press conferences. So, if you do want to rub shoulders with some pros this week, you know where to head to in Portrush to buy your pints.
Koepka’s not returning Tiger’s texts
Most people would jump at the chance to play with Tiger, but not Koepka. In fact, he’s been ignoring Tiger’s texts and a request to join him for a practice round at Royal Portrush. What goes around, comes around, we say.
Phil’s looking slender
Phil Mickelson has never been afraid of giving diets a go, but his latest effort has seen him shed 15 pounds in just six days. The secret, he says, was fasting and drinking a special “wellness” coffee blend. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?
The big question...
Why you won’t be seeing golf’s hottest young star at Royal Portrush
If you were hoping to see Matt Wolff’s funky swing up close this week, you’ll be left disappointed. Despite earning his maiden PGA Tour win at the 3M Open, the tournament was not part of the Open Qualifying Series, meaning he’ll be watching at home just like you. He does, however, have the consolation of punching his way to the Masters next year. Silver lining and all that!
Quote of the day
“I always say the mark of a good golf course is the places to pee… and there’s no places to pee.”
One official wasn’t happy about being caught short on the course
The numbers zone
If Koepka wins this week, he can become the first player in the modern era to finish top-two in all four majors in a season.
Since last year’s Open at Carnousite, just two men (Tiger and Gary Woodland) have beaten Koepka in major championships.
Xander Schauffele has finished sixth or better in five of his first ten starts in majors.
32 UNDER PAR
Rory McIlroy has the best cumulative score to par at the past five Opens. Jordan Spieth is second on -30, Henrik Stenson is third on -28 and Sergio Garcia is fourth on -24.
DJ was presented with an award, courtesy of the official golf world rankings, for the most weeks (35) spent at World No.1 in 2018. Mickelson also walked away with some silverware in recognition of spending 25 unbroken years inside the world’s top 50.
Don’t bet on Tiger or any other player who has taken a month or more off winning this week. The last player to win The Open without playing any event worldwide after the US Open until then was Johnny Miller in 1976.