Wednesday at The Open: The things you missed


All the big talking points from the final practice day of The Open at Royal Portrush, including Pete Cowen’s outburst, Tiger’s late range session and Rory’s new logo…

Cowen calling Wallace ‘a complete idiot’

Don’t count on Pete Cowen coaching Matt Wallace anytime soon. In an interview published in The Times, the Yorkshireman, who works with Brooks Koepka and Gary Woodland, launched a scathing attack on Wallace and called for the European Tour to ban him following his high-profile spat with caddie, Dave McNeilly, at the BMW International Open in Germany.

“He is a complete idiot and the European Tour has to do something about it,” Cowen said. “A bollocking is no good, a fine is no good. He needs a ban. It’s a form of cheating because you’re putting your opponent off. The best thing would have been if his caddie had dropped his bag — I’d have chucked it in the bloody lake — but that wouldn’t do Dave McNeilly any good.” Wallace, who will play with Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed for the first two rounds of The Open, has since vowed to rectify his on-course behaviour.

Read full report here – plus Wallace’s agent’s reply!

Rory wearing a washing machine logo on his polo

Remember the video of Rory chipping into a washing machine at the age of eight? Well, Nike have paid homage to it by kitting their man out in a new limited-edition polo, complete with a washing machine logo.

“They wanted to do something special for me this week,” Rory told us. “I grew up hitting golf balls into my mum’s washing machine, so it was a nice little touch.”

Read next: Rory says this season is “most consistent period of golf I’ve ever played”

rory mcilroy

Rahm’s YouTube prep for The Open

Just 24 hours after Justin Thomas admitted to spending his nights watching videos of past Opens on YouTube, Jon Rahm has revealed that he’s been trawling through footage of Seve as he looks for inspiration in his quest to win his first Major.

“I think I’ve seen as much as you can find on YouTube,” he said.

Tiger’s late show

While most players were already resting up in their hotel, Tiger was grinding on the range and putting green – in torrential rain– at gone 5pm. He did say on Tuesday he wasn’t happy with the way he was shaping the ball, and it’s never normally a great sign when a player is getting some ‘last-minute reps in’ before a major.

Phireside with Phil featuring Zach Johnson

Phil’s latest episode on social media features Zach Johnson, who tells a story about the history of pavlova and the champions dinner at Augusta National. Phil’s wearing a suit jacket, ZJ’s in a towel. It’s weird, but we couldn’t look away.

Record breaking attendance at this year’s Open

A record-breaking crowd of 237,750 is attending The 148th Open at Royal Portrush, setting an attendance record for a Championship staged outside St Andrews.

This year’s attendance surpasses the crowd of 235,000 who attended Royal Birkdale in 2017 and the 237,000 mark set at St Andrews in 2015, making it the second largest Championship ever.

And that includes 61,000 fans (another record) who have attended all three Practice Days, smashing the previous high of 52,000 set at Hoylake in 2006.

The R&A teasing plans for the Women’s British Open

The R&A won’t be taking full control of the Women’s British Open until 2020, but that hasn’t stopped Chief Executive Martin Slumbers from discussing some big plans for the future of the tournament. They include holding the event exclusively on links courses – something he says The R&A is “looking into” – and possibly changing the name of the Women’s British Open to the Women’s Open Championship. “That’s something we are considering very carefully,” he said with a smile. “We’ll be announcing something in due course.” 

And… don’t expect to see the Open in Wales anytime soon

When asked about the possibility of The Open coming to Wales, Slumbers didn’t offer much hope for the likes of Royal Porthcawl or Royal St David’s. “That is somewhat of a challenge at the moment, but we do have as we said ten courses that we’re very happy with,” he explained.

The numbers zone

This is just the second time in the last 20 years that American players have claimed the first three majors of the season. Not since 1982 have they completed a clean sweep.

Rory has 16 rounds in the 60s in The Open over the last 10 years, four more than anyone else. He’s also the only player to finish top-10 in The Open four times in the previous five years.

Dustin Johnson has the Sunday blues at The Open. Since 2010, he is a combined 22-under-par in rounds one to three. He’s 20-over in the final round. 

Don’t bet on a player outside the top 50 in the world. Gary Woodland’s win at the US Open was the 31st consecutive major championship victory by a player ranked inside the top-50.

Miguel Ángel Jiménez will become just the second man in European Tour history to play in 700 events when he tees it up on Thursday.

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