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Royal Portrush receives rave reviews, so how long before British Open returns?

Golf Golfweek

PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – Outgoing British Open champion Francesco Molinari has given Royal Portrush the ultimate compliment on (..)
'PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – Outgoing British Open champion Francesco Molinari has given Royal Portrush the ultimate compliment on its first return to the Open rota after a 68-year absence: there have been no complaints. “The greatest compliment is that all the feedback I’ve heard from the players has been positive and, especially on a links course, that’s not something you often hear,” said Molinari, who finished his year as Champion Golfer with a closing 5-under 66. Molinari is not alone in saying Royal Portrush has been flawless for the 148 th Open Championship. Jim Furyk and Paul Casey also believe the golf course has stood up to the world’s elite. “I like the golf course,” said Furyk, who was making his 22 nd appearance in the game’s oldest championship. “I don’t think it suited any particular style. I felt like it gave everyone a chance to play. It was mostly straightforward. There’s some blind shots, some hidden humps and bumps but you could figure out the golf course pretty quickly. “If I can steal an Irish term, it’s a ‘proper’ links.” Casey was making his 17 th Open Championship appearance. He believes the Northern Irish course is the fairest he’s played, and wants to see the Open return sooner rather than later. “I never really think links golf is fair, but this course is pretty close,” Casey said. “It’s as good as it gets. I would like to see the course used again on the Open rota very soon. “From the golf course and the crowds alone, why would you not come back? It’s already been a massive success. It’s been the best Open I can remember for a long, long time in terms of atmosphere. “This was something special. That first tee I experienced with Rory (McIlroy) on Thursday and again on Friday gave me goose bumps. That roar when he made the birdie on 16 on Friday to get within one shot of the cut was the biggest roar I’ve heard outside of a Tiger roar, or Ryder Cup roar. “This course should definitely have another Open Championship soon.” The R&A has named Open venues through 2022. Royal St. George’s hosts next year’s championship. St. Andrews is in line for 2021 to mark the tournament’s 150th playing. Royal Liverpool is set for three years from now. Many feel Muirfield is lined up for 2023. So Royal Portrush’s return is a matter of speculation. However, if player feedback is anything like that of Molinari, Furyk and Casey, then Northern Ireland will have to wait considerably less than 68 years for the Open’s return. How about 6-8 years?'

British Open: Best photos of the final round at Royal Portrush

Golf Golfweek

The quest for the Claret Jug all comes down to this. The honor of being crowned 'Champion Golfer of the Year' is upon us at Royal (..)
'The quest for the Claret Jug all comes down to this. The honor of being crowned “Champion Golfer of the Year” is upon us at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland for the final round of the 148th British Open. Shane Lowry entered Sunday’s round with a four-shot lead at 16 under after an impressive Saturday 63 in the third round, with Tommy Fleetwood in second at 12 under. Lowry’s 197 was the lowest 54-hole total in Open history. Here are the best photos from Sunday at The Open:'

British Open Final Round Live Blog: Shane Lowry leads at Royal Portrush

Golf Golfweek

The British Open concludes Sunday with the final round at Royal Portrush. Shane Lowry holds a four-stroke lead at 16 under after (..)
'The British Open concludes Sunday with the final round at Royal Portrush. Shane Lowry holds a four-stroke lead at 16 under after carding a third-round 63 on Saturday. Tommy Fleetwood sits in solo second at 12 under and J.B. Holmes is in third at 10 under. Brooks Koepka  and Justin Rose are tied for fourth at 9 under, one stroke ahead of  Rickie Fowler  and  Lee Westwood  in sixth. BRITISH OPEN :  Scores  |  Best photos | TV/Streaming TEE TIMES: Final round tee times at Royal Portrush SPORTS FANS :  Here are some of the best credit cards available Tee times for the final round were pushed up to begin at 7:32 a.m. local time (2:32 a.m. ET) due to strong wind and heavy rain in the forecast at Royal Portrush. The R&A announced  tee times were moving up in hopes of getting players off the course before the weather deteriorates. Here is our live blog for the final round of the Open Championship. Bubba Watson made an eagle on the par-5 2nd in one of the day’s early groups. He’s 4 over with four holes to go. The two-time Masters champion doesn’t have a great record in this major. Playing in his 11th Open Championship, Watson’s best finish is T-23 in 2012. British Open Final Round Twitter Stream Open Championship Final Round Tee Times, Pairings Tee Times (ET) Players 2:32 a.m. Ashton Turner 2:42 a.m. Shubhankar Sharma, Kiradech Aphibarnrat 2:52 a.m. Eddie Pepperell, Nino Bertasio 3:02 a.m. Paul Waring, Thorbjorn Olesen 3:12 a.m. Jason Kokrak, Branden Grace 3:22 a.m. Jim Furyk, Callum Shinkwin 3:32 a.m. Kevin Streelman, Bubba Watson 3:42 a.m. Bernd Wiesberger, Kyle Stanley 3:57 a.m. Paul Casey, Benjamin Hebert 4:07 a.m. Adam Hadwin, Matt Wallace 4:17 a.m. Francesco Molinari, Thomas Pieters 4:27 a.m. Louis Oosthuizen, Andrew Wilson 4:37 a.m. Yosuke Asaji, Stewart Cink 4:47 a.m. Joost Luiten, Doc Redman 4:57 a.m. Innchoon Hwang, Ryan Fox 5:07 a.m. Yuki Inamori, Charley Hoffman 5:17 a.m. Lucas Bjerregaard, Ernie Els 5:32 a.m. Aaron Wise, Lucas Glover 5:42 a.m. Patrick Cantlay, Sergio Garcia 5:52 a.m. Mikko Korhonen, Dustin Johnson 6:02 a.m. Rory Sabbatini, Robert MacIntyre 6:12 a.m. Romain Langasque, Kevin Kisner 6:22 a.m. Tom Lewis, Graeme McDowell 6:32 a.m. Justin Harding, Erik Van Rooyen 6:42 a.m. Tyrell Hatton, Webb Simpson 6:52 a.m. Syeong Hun An, Matthew Fitzpatrick 7:07 a.m. Patrick Reed, Justin Thomas 7:17 a.m. Sang Hyun Park, Russell Knox 7:27 a.m. Xander Schauffele, Cameron Smith 7:37 a.m. Andrew Putnam, Dylan Frittelli 7:47 a.m. Matt Kuchar, Alex Noren 7:57 a.m. Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth 8:07 a.m. Tony Finau, Jon Rahm 8:17 a.m. Danny Willett, Lee Westwood 8:27 a.m. Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose 8:37 a.m. Brooks Koepka, J.B. Holmes 8:37 a.m. Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry Open Championship Final Round TV/Streaming Info Sunday, July 21 NBC Sports Network 1-1:30 a.m.: The Men in Blazers Golf Channel 2:30-6 a.m.: The Open– Final Round 6-9 a.m.: Golf Central Live 3-4 p.m.: Golf Central Live Live Stream:  fuboTV ( watch for free ) NBC  6 a.m.-2 p.m. ET: The Open – Final Round Live Stream: fuboTV ( watch for free ) NBC Sports Network 10-10:30 p.m.: The Men in Blazers GolfChannel.Com 4:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.:  Marquee Groups 1 5 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.:  Marquee Groups 2 5 a.m. – Noon:  Three-Hole Channel'

Helped by Trump’s putting advice, Herman leads Barbasol

Golf Golfweek

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Helped by President Donald Trump’s putting advice, Jim Herman had two eagles in a 10-under 62 to maintain (..)
'NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Helped by President Donald Trump’s putting advice, Jim Herman had two eagles in a 10-under 62 to maintain a one-stroke lead Saturday in the PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship. Trump’s regular golf partner while working as an assistant professional at Trump National Bedminster in New Jersey, Herman changed to a conventional putting grip and clubhead at the president’s suggestion following a recent round. “He gave me a good talking to and told me to use a different style if it’s not working,” Herman said Friday after shooting his second straight 65 to top the leaderboard. “Some great advice, so I appreciate it.” On Saturday, Herman made an 11-foot eagle putt on the par-5 eighth and a 10-footer on the par-5 15th. He also had six birdies to get to 24-under 192 at rain-softened Keene Trace. Encouraged by Trump to pursue a playing career, the 41-year-old Herman won the 2016 Shell Houston Open for his lone tour title — a victory that followed a friendly round with Trump. Kelly Kraft was second after a 61. He also eagled the 15th, holing a 65-footer. Austin Cook (63) and Bill Haas (65) were four strokes back at 20 under. David Toms, two shots back after a second-round 64, had a 73 to drop into a tie for 32nd at 11 under. The 52-year-old Toms is making his third PGA Tour start of the season. The winner will receive a spot in the PGA Championship, but not in the Masters.'

Can anyone catch Shane Lowry Sunday at the British Open? Well ...

Golf Golfweek

PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – Shane Lowry nearly blew the proverbial roof off Royal Portrush Saturday afternoon, cruising around with an (..)
'PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – Shane Lowry nearly blew the proverbial roof off Royal Portrush Saturday afternoon, cruising around with an 8-under 63 in his native land to build a four-shot lead entering the final round of the British Open. Lowry birdied three of his final four holes and left the fans in a frenzy, moving to 16 under for the week. The singing and chanting that continued after his round could be heard from a media tent well beyond the 18th green. This was a scene. “We might never have a day like this on the golf course again, so let’s enjoy this next half hour,” Lowry told caddie Brian ‘Bo’ Martin walking off the 17th tee. “You know what I mean? And that’s what I did. The crowd was incredible. I just can’t believe what it was like.” The 32-year-old six-time European Tour winner has been here once before, in the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont, where he entered the final round with a four-shot lead and succumbed to the moment with a Sunday 76 to finish T-2 behind Dustin Johnson. The goal is the same but the weight not as heavy, Lowry says. Perspective and circumstance can change over the course of three years. “Look, if I’m sitting here this time tomorrow evening it will be one of the biggest things that’s ever happened to me. There’s no denying that,” Lowry said. “But I just felt at the time in Oakmont, my golf just meant a lot more to me back then than it does now. … I’ve got certain things in my life that make it different. I’ve got a family now. No matter what I shoot tomorrow, my family will be waiting for me.” Lowry will get going earlier than expected Sunday as the R&A moved tee times up to avoid the worst of seriously nasty wind expected to hit Portrush in the late afternoon. He’s set to tee off with Tommy Fleetwood at 8:47 a.m. ET Sunday and knows the task ahead of him. Not just due to the gravity of the situation, but the caliber of players behind him. However far back they may be. “Tommy Fleetwood grew up in Southport, he’s played in bad weather and bad conditions before,” Lowry said. “J.B. Holmes flights the ball lovely, he’s pretty good. Brooks (Koepka) is there. There’s a good leaderboard behind me. We’ll see what happens.” J.B. Holmes is six shots back after a 2-under 69 and an example of a player who, like Lowry, is a surprise contender having missed five of his last six PGA Tour cuts. Lowry has missed the cut in each of his last four British Open appearances before shooting three consecutive sub-70 rounds at Royal Portrush, matching his career total in this tournament. Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose are seven shots back at T-4, while Rickie Fowler and Lee Westwood begin the day eight behind. Do any of them have a chance? Perhaps not a great one in ideal conditions, but things look like they’re going to get wacky with gusts projected as high as 40 mph Sunday afternoon. It’s serious enough to provide even Jon Rahm, Tony Finau and Jordan Spieth a glimmer of hope at 7 under. “I need it,” Koepka said of conditions that could give him an outside chance at erasing the seven-shot deficit. “Here you need some wind, you need some rain. You need anything that can kind of go your way. … I’ve struck it so good. If it’s going to be windy, you need to be able to strike it good, control your flight and figure out where you want the ball to end up. If it’s going to blow 30 (mph), it can get out of control very quickly.” While Koepka gained plenty of experience in these conditions playing on the European Challenge Tour, Lowry was born here. And Rose doesn’t expect him to give too many shots back to the field. “I’m just projecting Shane is going to have a decent finish here,” Rose said. “He’s got a great short game that will stand him in good stead on a tough weather day. He’s Irish. If there is a tough-weather-day player, it probably is him. (But) it doesn’t make it easy trying to win a major in conditions like that.” Lowry’s most recent victory came at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January, where he got himself in the right frame of mind entering the final round. Sunday will bring a greater mental challenge on the course, especially considering the conditions and star-studded board. But he’s taking the same approach and hoping it will be enough to put him over the top for what would be a storybook victory. “Going into the final round, I said to my wife, just have her there waiting for me when I finish, because no matter what happens I’m going to be either standing there with the trophy or it’s going to be a disappointing day. And it’s going to be the same thing tomorrow.”'

British Open: Tommy Fleetwood is up to challenge of chasing Shane Lowry

Golf Golfweek

PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – England has been waiting since 1992 for a British Open winner. It might be just 18 holes before Nick Faldo is (..)
'PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – England has been waiting since 1992 for a British Open winner. It might be just 18 holes before Nick Faldo is no longer the last Englishman to kiss the old claret jug in celebration. Tommy Fleetwood can eradicate Faldo from Open Championship trivia if he can put pressure on champion-elect Shane Lowry. A bogey free 5-under 66 has given Fleetwood the chance of winning his first major trophy. The 28-year-old is 12 under par and needs to come from four shots behind the Irishman to win the 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush. He can become the 15th English Champion Golfer of the Year if the stars align in the final round. Justin Rose has an outside chance. He’s seven shots off the lead at 9 under. Lee Westwood is another shot back. Danny Willett is 7 under. No one is surprised Fleetwood is in the last group at Royal Portrush on Open Sunday. He finished fourth and second respectively in the 2017 and 2018 U.S. Opens. His best British Open finish came at Carnoustie last year when he was 12th. The affable Englishman knows he’s up against it in the final group tomorrow. The majority of the crowd is hoping Lowry can become the sixth Irishman, and first since Padraig Harrington in 2008, to win the game’s oldest championship. In fact, from the partisan cheers at the end of the third round, you’d have thought Lowry had already won the Open Championship. “Playing tomorrow with Shane is going to be challenging trying to control yourself in that atmosphere,” Fleetwood said. “It’s going to be harder than for the rest of the field. “I’m very, very happy to have that challenge. If you’d said to me at the start of the day, the start of the week, the start of the year, you’re going into the last round in the last group Sunday of the Open with Shane and the crowd are not going to be with you, I’d have said that’s fine. It’s going to be another chapter in my career and I’m looking forward to it.” There have been close calls since Faldo’s third Open victory. Ian Poulter was second in 2008. Rose was runner-up to Francesco Molinari 12 months ago. Westwood was second in 2010, and a three-putt bogey on the final hole in 2009 denied him a playoff with Tom Watson and Stewart Cink, which Cink won. Is it England’s time? Can Fleetwood end 27 years of frustration?'

Brooks Koepka keeps slim British Open chances alive despite 'really bad' putting

Golf Golfweek

PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – A handful of reporters waiting to talk to Brooks Koepka Saturday night were asked to keep the media session (..)
'PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – A handful of reporters waiting to talk to Brooks Koepka Saturday night were asked to keep the media session brief. Five questions or so. The four-time major champion didn’t want to waste any time before heading to the practice green on the eve of the final round of the British Open at Royal Portrush. “Nobody’s hit it better than me this week,” Koepka said. “I’ve hit it as good as I can possibly imagine. I’ve putted the worst probably of anyone in the entire field. … It’s been really bad.” Frustrated as Koepka was with the putting he’s still T-4 after 54 holes, albeit seven shots behind outright leader Shane Lowry. The Irishman fired a ridiculously strong 8-under 63 in front of raucous crowds and threatened to lap the field before nightfall Saturday. Koepka wasn’t taking any solace in the fact that he’s once again near the top of the board, in position to finish first or second for a fifth consecutive major. He was thinking about the big number ahead of him. “Seven shots back. That’s the way I look at it,” Koepka said. “It’s been disappointing. It’s just not the week that I’ve expected. But at the same time, there’s one more round, so I need to figure it out.” There are a few factors that figure to work in Koepka’s favor Sunday. It always helps to have been in the arena before and emerged victorious. Multiply that by four. The R&A also moved tee times up by more than an hour due to severely windy conditions, the type which could theoretically blow a runaway leader back to the rest of the field. Lowry, spectacular as he’s been through three rounds, has little experience in moments like this and came up short entering the final round of the 2016 U.S. Open with a four-shot lead. In a weird way, Koepka’s own experience nearly letting a seven-shot lead slip away just two months ago in the PGA Championship at Bethpage might serve as a timely reminder. Seven shots sounds like a ton, and it is. But things move pretty fast out here on major Sundays. “I guess if you put it that way,” Koepka said. “The last time Shane had the lead at Oakmont we saw that. … It can go very quickly. Bad weather happened at Bethpage. I guess maybe the last, what, 15 holes was very, very windy, especially that back nine. In links golf, all of a sudden a couple bad bounces, you never know.” Koepka is more than comfortable in this position. If he gets comfortable with the putter, things might just get interesting Sunday afternoon at Royal Portrush. \t\t\t\t Related Schauffele blasts R&A again over driver testing, says others failed British Open: Rickie Fowler still has a shot to shed label with major win British Open: Sunday's final round tee times pushed up due to stormy forecast'

Meadow Club superintendent Sean Tully is one of Portrush's expert bunker rakers

Golf Golfweek

PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland — As superintendent at Marin’s Meadow Club, Sean Tully rarely has a rake in his hand. This week at the (..)
'PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland — As superintendent at Marin’s Meadow Club, Sean Tully rarely has a rake in his hand. This week at the British Open, after volunteering at the British golf course superintendents’ website in large part to study one of the world’s great courses, “Tully” was one of 52 superintendents or assistants selected to follow groups as the dedicated bunker rakers. The Open annually reminds of one of their great traditions, the high-profile role of volunteers to handle the delicate task of raking the pot bunkers so caddies can focus on their players. Only one European Tour stop uses a similar system. The obvious benefit most years comes down to the obvious: speed of play, delicacy of the rake job. In a world where caddies often feel easily threatened, they welcome the rakers annually, but especially in Portrush’s beach sand hazards. For Tully, it’s the chance of a lifetime to be inside the ropes, see the British Open’s historic return to Northern Ireland and learn a thing or two he can take home. “They’re pretty hard to rake because they are beach sand and they get sticky when they get wet,” Tully said. Sean Tully is one of 52 superintendents or assistants selected to follow groups as the dedicated bunker rakers at Royal Portrush. (Geoff Shackelford, Golfweek) Calling the experience “awesome,” Tully took various jokes well about having to do morning warm-ups in the sand and arm stretches to carry the plastic-tined rake for 18 holes. He noted that the group of mostly UK superintendents tally up their daily totals for official record keeping and there is a competition at championship’s end for the raker who guesses the group’s final tally of rake jobs. So far, the most in one round is 16 bunkers, an impressive number given Portrush’s minimalist layout of just 59 pits. Tully said the Portrush bunker maintenance style is following the Australian style of not raking faces, instead smoothing those when needed while just raking the flat areas of the floor. They were trained to rake the tine lines parallel to the hole or toward the green if a greenside hazard. They are to maintain the circle at the base of the bunker barring some sort of bizarre bunker face calamity. So far, that hasn’t happened and Tully hopes he doesn’t have to face that dilemma. On Saturday Tully drew group 35 putting him in the third-to-last group, just missing Justin Rose and Brooks Koepka. Instead, he followed Cameron Smith and Justin Harding, with just one bunker shot raked on the front nine and another ordered by walking referee Alick Bisset, who spotted a bunker that had possibly been walked through by a spectator. Tully estimates that at weeks end he’ll have done 13 or 14, but doesn’t really care. The architecture buff has seen most every great course in the region, including Lahinch, an Alister MacKenzie redesign carried out near the same time as Tully’s course, Meadow Club. While the volunteer greenkeepers must find their way here and accept that they may not get drawn both weekend days, the R&A and Royal Portrush superintendent Graeme Beatt provide housing, breakfast and dinner, along with transportation vans so that they can enjoy an evening Guinness or two. In return, the tournament gets bunkers expertly raked, a little more peace of mind and a time-honored perk for the hard-working greenskeepers who rarely get the spotlight they deserve. \t\t\t\t Related While he relates to Rory's hurt, Graeme McDowell feeds off Portrush crowd British Open: Schauffele’s driver does not pass COR test British Open: Scottish rookie calls out Kyle Stanley for not yelling 'Fore''

British Open: Sunday's final round tee times pushed up due to stormy forecast

Golf Golfweek

PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – With strong wind and heavy rain in the forecast for Sunday's final round of the British Open, the R&A (..)
'PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – With strong wind and heavy rain in the forecast for Sunday’s final round of the British Open, the R&A announced tee times were moving up in hopes of getting players off the course before the weather deteriorates. The first pairing will tee off at 7:32 a.m. local time (2:32 a.m. ET) and the leaders will go off at 1:47 p.m. (8:47 a.m. ET). That’s about two hours earlier than a typical Sunday during the British Open. According to the Met Office, Sunday’s forecast calls for persistent and occasional heavy rain in the afternoon and evening. Winds of 15 mph with gusts up to 25 mph will increase throughout the day. There’s a 40% chance of gusts up to 35 mph after 4 p.m. local.'