Thursday, July 20, 2017

British Open 2017

The best part about the British Open is that it's always about 150 degrees wherever I'm watching it and everybody on TV's in sweaters--I love imagining I'm there, and I love remembering happy days in sweaters in my distant and recent past and hoping for more of them soon. There's the British Open, and then there's the fact that my wife's dad's side of the family has its annual reunion about this time of year. These two events signal the turn toward cooler weather and effectively kick off the Christmas season every year for me.

So I love the British Open, and I might especially love it this year because, at the moment, Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth share the lead at 4-under, each with four or five holes left in his first round. I'd be thrilled if either of these guys won. Also, there's an ex-Glasgow High Scottie, Kent Bulle, who is playing in the tournament, and a friend of mine here in Madisonville is friends with that guy. There's all kinds of stuff about this tournament for me to love.

Go, Koepka and Spieth! Bully, Bulle! And hooray for Christmas!

Comments flow ...

82 comments:

  1. So both Koepka and Spieth come in with 5-unders, and now my favorite golfer and the top golfer in the United States, Matt Kuchar, is 5-under through nine holes. This is working out just peachy keen.

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  2. Oooooh, and Louisville's Justin Thomas is 3-under. This is outstanding.

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  3. I didn't give Kenny Perry enough love for his U.S. Senior Open win a few weeks ago. That was fantastic. I watched most all of it, but I can't remember what was going on that I didn't post much about it at the HP. But, anyway, the senior British Open is coming up, and I hope Kenny Perry plays it, too. He has a Cochran caddying for him these days, and I'll bet that guy is kin to Paducah's Russ.

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  4. The tone and language around all the golf-equipment commercials on Golf Network is such cartoony tough talk that it makes all of the manufactures sound like they're scared of being found out to be junk.

    On the other hand, there's a commercial for a financial-services provider that turns up on this and other networks where a middle-aged couple is apologizing for the small amount of money they've saved and wanting advice about. The guy working for them congratulates the couple for the "fortune" of $103,000 that they've built over their whole lives, and then everybody relaxes into their living-room seats to get down to the business of figuring out the best next moves. Bully to that tone and approach--in everything.

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    1. Golf Channel, not Golf Network, of course.

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  5. As Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller tag out to Terry Gannon and Nick Faldo on the Golf Channel's first-round coverage, Charley Hoffman have joined my guys Brooks, Jordan and Matt in the lead at 5-under.

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  6. Golf Channel shows some posters of a Colgate-sponsored tournament that Faldo won in 1978--his first 72-hole professional victory--and Faldo laughs that he still uses Colgate toothpaste. Having watched steely-faced Faldo as a player all of those years, I've been surprised that he turns out to be a funny, light-hearted guy in the same way that I've been surprised it turned out that British actor who was on the second Star Trek TV show has turned out to be a funny, light-hearted guy.

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  7. Kuch has missed opportunities to break from the T1 pack for sure, and Dan Jenkins and everyone, I imagine, are deadly certain that my guy is going to fade into the pack by Sunday. But all I know is that when so many other golfers were finding reason to not go to the Olympics, Matt Kuchar got himself down to stinky-water Rio 2016 and brought home a key bronze for good, ol' Team USA, and I'll forever appreciate him for that.

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    1. Dan Jenkins‏ @danjenkinsgd
      Matt Kuchar may be tied for the lead, but as a press colleague says,
      there's still no second paragraph there.
      10:22 AM - 20 Jul 2017

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  8. So Kuchar finishes off his 65 to stay tied with Koepka and Spieth, and Hoffman has bogeyed a couple in a row to fall back with Thomas and the rest of the 3-under crowd.

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  9. My gosh, the guy from Glasgow, Kent Bulle, is now 3-under and part of a five-way tie for fourth (along with Louisville's Justin Thomas), two strokes behind co-leaders Brooks Koepka, Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth. This is really something.

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  10. Bulle has fallen back to 2-under, but he knocks a nice approach and will have a shot at birdie on No. 10. The Golf Network dudes are having fun with the fact that Bulle is from the Glasgow in Kentucky. GO, KENT BULLE!

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  11. Kuchar finishes his second round in 1-over, so now he's in second place, with leaders Koepka and Spieth yet to tee off. The playing conditions are much harsher today, so we'll see where 4-under stands by the end of the day. On Tony Kornheiser's fantastic podcast earlier this week, somebody said that the last two British Opens played at this course, Royal Birkdale, were won by golfers over par.

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  12. Spieth dipped to 6-under momentarily but now is back in a tie with Koepka at 5-under as the weather worsens (and by "worsens," I mean, "looks fantastic and I wish I was there"). "That 4-under by Matt Kuchar is looking awfully strong right now," somebody on the golf channel says. Maybe Dan Hicks. Maybe Steve Sands. Maybe Jack Whitaker. Somebody.

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  13. My main man from Glasgow is on the 18th. He's regressed to even for the tournament. Stupid live-blogging jinx.

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  14. Bulls finishes his second round with a par.

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  15. CNBC's motto is apparently, "Get yours."

    Honestly, where did people learn to behave?

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  16. Oh, my word, the Volkswagen commercial where the grandmother takes her family on the cross-country trip for her husband to Simon and Garfunkel's "America" ... oh, my word ... Koepka, Kuchar and Spieth are now all tied for the lead.

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  17. OK, Spieth is getting moving ... chipped in at No. 10 to save par and stay in a tie for a lead and then rolls in a 25-foot-or-so putt on No. 11 for birdie and lead alone at 5-under ... Koepka's tied with Kuchar one back ...

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  18. And another birdie! Spieth is now 6-under. Well, this is exciting.

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  19. 1. Jordan Spieth of Dallas, 7-under through 41 holes
    2. Matt Kuchar, Winter Park, Florida, -6 (41)
    3. Brooks Koepka, West Palm Beach, Florida, -5 (41)
    4. Branden Grace, Pretoria, South Africa, -4 (54)

    Dustin Johnson, the world’s top-ranked player, is part of a T5 at 3-under, along with Rio 2016 silver-medalist Henrik Stenson and others.

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  20. Sandwiched around Spieth missing around a 10-footer for birdie at No. 6, Channel 6 shows us Koepka making a long putt to save par at 6 and then missing a long putt to save par at 7. Then we learn Kuchar also parred 6, and now we see that both Kuchar and Spieth are on the green with their drives at 7, where Koepka had driven into the bunker. So, anyway, all of that is to say that we might be seeing our three-man tournament turning into a two-. Koepka has slipped back to 4-under and T3 with Grace.

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  21. Well, somebody showed up at the door with eggplant, kale, potatoes and corn, which was super, super nice, but I missed Koepka's birdie at 8. Anyway, Kuchar and Spieth did same at the hole, so ...

    1. Spieth -9
    2. Kuchar -7
    3. Koepka -5

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  22. Koepka pars 9 and is just off the fairway with his drive at 10. Kuchar comes up just short of the green at 9; Spieth, just long.

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  23. Par and par for our lead group.

    Dan Hicks described Kuchar a few minutes ago as "a top-10 machine." And now he's talking about how frequently Spieth has led and won majors in comparison to Tiger Woods at the same age. Assuming these two guys continue to do well today, I imagine this is going to be the bracketing of the story that Mike Tirico tells all day Sunday--steady, old "Kuch" vs. wunderkind Spieth. And that's fine and accurate. I like both of these golfers, and, though I will be rooting for Kuchar, I will be happy for either of them to win.

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  24. Ian Poulter is Koepka's playing partner, and he just scored his second-straight birdie. He joins Grace in a T4 at 4-under. We'll see if the charge lasts. Rory McIlroy at a couple of times looked as though he might join the lead pack, but he's laboring again, back at 1-under.

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  25. Kuchar might've been trying to cut the dogleg on the par-4 10th at Royal Birkdale. Spieth had already driven safely in the fairway, and then Kuch might've thought this was an opportunity to maybe sneak a stroke closer to the leader. Either that or he just missed, into the rough in the crook of the dogleg left. Whatever, Kuch scrambled back to get his par, and now both golfers are safely in the fairway on 11.

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  26. Kuchar has about 20 feet for birdie to the right of the cup coming on No. 11; Spieth, about 20 for bird to the left.

    1. Spieth -9 (46)
    2. Kuchar -7 (46)
    3. Koepka -5 (47)
    4. Grace -4 (54)

    (Poulter bogeyed 11.)

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  27. Pars for Spieth and Kuchar at No. 11 and Koepka at No. 12.

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  28. Hicks says Spieth is "not too fond of the golden-boy label." "I don't blame him," says Johnny Miller, who should know.

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  29. Kuchar and Spieth are on the green with their drives on the par-3 12th.

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  30. Par and par for the lead group at 12. Koepka's in gnarly rough to the right of the green up at 13.

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  31. Koepka bogey.

    1. Spieth -9 (48)
    2. Kuchar -7 (48)
    T4. Grace -4 (54)
    T4. Koepka -4 (49)
    T4. Hideki Matsuyama of Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, Japan -4 (53)

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  32. Matsuyma just misses birdie at No. 18.

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  33. Oh, this is great. Golf Channel has brought that caddy nicknamed “Bones” on to its broadcast this weekend, and he’s on here now talking about how great Spieth’s caddy is.

    By the way, when Golf Channel kept talking about “Bones” the last couple of days, my mind’s eye picture was of “Fluff.” But this is “Bones,” not “Fluff.”

    Par and par for the lead group.

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  34. No. 14 is a 200-yard, par-3 hole. The first time I ever played golf was with my dad and brothers at a par-3 course down at Kentucky Lake, and my first-ever shot was a 7-iron drive of probably about 120 yards. Now that isn't very long, but it wasn't horrible--and it was straight down the middle. And, seriously, I think Dad thought he had a young Johnny Miller on his hands. He did not.

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  35. OK, Spieth's drive is way left of the cup, but he's on the green and probably in solid shape to two-putt his way to another par. Nonetheless, 23-year-old Jordan is angrily chastising himself, and I hope either he's one of those guys that works for or he learns to chillax a little.

    Kuch will have about 15 feet for birdie ...

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  36. When I was about 23, I turned into a vegetarian, and I didn't angrily chastise myself nearly as much after that. I never fulfilled my promise as Dad's wunderkind and won a major, but I did learn to chillax and became a happier person. You be you, Jordan, but I'm just saying.

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  37. 1. Spieth -9 (50)
    2. Kuchar -8 (50)
    T3. Grace -4 (54)
    T3. Koepka -4 (50)
    T3. Matsuyama -4 (54)

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  38. Oh, my ... holds on the lip ... that's tough ... but it's a birdie, and Koepka is now back to third place alone at 5-under ... good for our Mr. Brooks!

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  39. Uh, oh ... now Spieth is having his caddy quiet down the gallery ...

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  40. I never saw an episode of Will & Grace, and I'm stunned that it is coming back.

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  41. I watched a lot of Roseanne, and I'm not surprised it is coming back.

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  42. Spieth has a 59-foot try for eagle at No. 15, and the ball stays wide, wide, wide left of the hole. “He not only overhead it, he also mishit it,” says Miller.

    Kuchar taps in for birdie. For the moment, anyway, the British Open is tied ...

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    1. "Overread" is what Johnny Miller said--not "overhead."

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  43. "Clutch!" Hicks says. "Clutch putt by Spieth! ... Stays in front by a nose!"

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  44. Now here's another Volkswagen commercial using "America," but this isn't the Simon & Garfunkel original. This is a female vocalist, and it's quite good, too. Beth Orton, maybe? There's no sweet grandmother in this version.

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  45. This is a fantastic tournament. Fantastic.

    1. Spieth -10 (51)
    2. Kuchar -9 (51)
    3. Koepka -5 (51)
    T4. Grace -4 (54)
    T4. Matsuyama -4 (54)

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  46. Kuchar's drive on the par-4, bending-right No. 16 is in a "pot bunker" or "pod bunker" or something like that. Not sure what the NBC dude said.

    Spieth's drive is off the fairway, too--to the left and some mild rough. He has a longer second shot ahead and "not a good angle to the hole," says Bones or somebody, "but at least he's not in the pot bunker" or something.

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  47. In the commercial break, Channel 6 is now giving us some eclipse-safety tips. Thanks, Channel 6!

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  48. Now here's an absolutely super commercial for a couple of businesses that sell golf carts. Or maybe it's one business with locations in both Paducah and Madisonville, but the two places do have different names. Anyway, it's too guys pretending to drive a golf cart all crazy and yelling. It's kind of like a Bennie Hill deal. Anyway, at the end, they're driving in front of film of police cars chasing them, and the guy who was in the driver's seat hands the steering wheel to the guy in the passenger seat and steps out of the cart (as it still appears to be driving).

    Well, that was a lot of typing, and, truthfully, you'd have to see it to enjoy it, anyway. And now I missed both Spieth's and Kuchar's second shots.

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  49. Oh, wow, now it's Kuchar who misses badly on his first putt--he'll have about 10 feet to save par at 16.

    Spieth just misses birdie.

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  50. No, excuse me! This eight- or 10-footer is for bogey ... AND IT MISSES!

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  51. Oh, my. And now Channel 6 jumps up to show us Koepka chopping out of some high grass on 17, and suddenly Spieth has all kinds of good reasons to chillax.

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  52. Spieth's drive on No. 17 is right down the middle of the fairway.

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  53. 1. Spieth -10 (52)
    2. Kuchar -7 (52)
    3. Koepka -5 (52)

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  54. Seventeen is a 567-yard, par-5 hole. If I was these guys, I'd be so mad that they put such a long hole at the end of the course when all I would want to do is get the round finished and head over to the Lone Oak Kentucky Fried Chicken.

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  55. But Koepka rallied from the high grass to birdie No. 17, so he moves to 6-under. Go, Brooks!

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  56. Kuch's second shot at No. 17 bounces and rolls too short of the green and trickles into the sand.

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  57. Birdie-birdie finish for the 20-year-old from Irving, Texas, who has dual citizenship in Canada, puts Connelly in fourth place, at 5-under.

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  58. Spieth and Kuchar both ended up in bunkers next to the 17th green. Spieth saves par. Kuchar birdies.

    1. Spieth -10 (53)
    2. Kuchar -8 (53)
    3. Koepka -6 (53)
    4. Connelly -5 (54)

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  59. So it's going to be Texas-Florida and Texas/Canada-Florida in tomorrow's last pairings. Koepka bogeys No. 18, so he comes in tied with Connelly at 5-under.

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  60. Oh, my word, Kuchar came pretty darned close to putting his second shot on No. 18 into the cup. I think he's going to have about 5 feet for birdie.

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  61. Spieth misses his wedge, but he's OK--on the fringe of the green, probably 25 feet away from the cup.

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  62. BUT, HOLY MOLEY, SPIETH SINKS HIS LONG BIRDIE!

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  63. You be you, Jordan. Eleven under.

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  64. And Kuch's shortish birdie try just lips off to the left.

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  65. What a third round that was! Hooray for sports!

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  66. Three rounds complete:

    1. Spieth -11
    2. Kuchar -8
    T3. Connelly -5
    T3. Koepka -5

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